Experts on both sides of the political spectrum advocate tax reform, and Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, an avowed liberal, is one of them.
He thinks taxes should be reduced for companies that create jobs domestically rather than overseas, and many conservatives would likely agree.
"Right now we have some perverted incentives, the way our tax structure actually encourages people to invest abroad," the Columbia University professor tells CNBC
. "If you're investing in America, yes you should get lower rates."
Many companies domicile overseas and keep their revenue there to avoid U.S. corporate taxes of up to 35 percent at the federal level.
Stiglitz doesn't think too much of the supply-side economic revolution, including personal income tax cuts, that began under President Reagan in the 1980s.
"The results are in — a third of a century, and what do we find?" Stiglitz notes. "Growth was slower than before we tried that experiment, and the middle class: their slice of the pie has gone down."
Meanwhile, the advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice
has released a report detailing 15 Fortune 500 companies that don't pay any taxes.
The list includes CBS, General Electric, Interpublic Group, JetBlue Airways, Mattel, Owens Corning, PG&E, Pepco Holdings, Priceline.com, Prudential Financial, Qualcomm, Ryder System, Time Warner, Weyerhaeuser and Xerox.
"The scope of corporate tax avoidance spans a wide variety of economic sectors. Moreover, the tax breaks that have allowed these companies to be so successful in their tax avoidance are, by and large, perfectly legal, and often have been on the books for decades," the report states.
So what's the solution?
"A sensible starting point should be to critically assess the costs of each of these tax breaks and to take steps to ensure that profitable corporations pay their fair share of U.S. taxes," the study says.
"The next step is just as important. The revenues raised from eliminating corporate tax subsidies should not be given right back to corporations in the form of tax-rate reductions, as corporate lobbyists and their allies inside the Washington Beltway preposterously argue."
So where should this money go? "As the vast majority of Americans understand, these desperately needed revenues should be used to address our nation's fiscal problems and to make critically needed public investments in our nation's future," the report argues.
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