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View Diary: Eliminate corporate tax, seriously (422 comments)

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  •  You really think (7+ / 0-)

    eliminating corporate taxes and shifting an additional tax burden to individuals would be a winning position?

    •  Um YES (17+ / 0-)

      especially since the burden would be shifted to the entitled 1% like Mitt Rmoneys who piss on the 99% anyway.  Or did you really think 'trickle down' meant something else.  

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 12:37:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How about pension plans (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thanatokephaloides, G2geek

        IRAs, etc.?  I understand your position if you under the impression that only the 1% would suffer this additional tax burden.

        •  Pensions and retirement accounts (7+ / 0-)

          are already tax advantaged which I can't imagine not continuing under such a plan. I don't know if a financial transaction tax would apply. It seems unlikely and would amount to a relatively small expense increase if it did. 401k accounts might be affected more than pensions due to the transaction tax but that could be fixed by using a lower or zero rate on retirement accounts. How this would work is completely dependent on how the bill is written.

          Time makes more converts than reason. Thomas Paine, Common Sense

          by VTCC73 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 12:54:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  OK (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Loge, JesseCW

            If it turns out this way (no pension tax, no IRA, etc. tax), it appears there will be much less of a revenue stream from these new taxes than Markos assumes.  Furthermore, the wealthier citizens have means to avoid falling prey to this tax except when absolutely necessary (ie, liquidity problem).  I don't see how it would work.  

            •  Please illuminate: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek
              Furthermore, the wealthier citizens have means to avoid falling prey to this tax except when absolutely necessary (ie, liquidity problem).
              What means? There is a record of every trade that a broker/custodian provides to the IRS. Other than failing to claim the income (which makes one vulnerable to a tax evasion charge) I have no idea how you avoid eventually paying the capital gain. I'd ask how but I don't care because it is not worthy of the risk to me.

              Buying and holding a stock does delay the transaction and thus the tax, capital gain or FTT, but does absolutely nothing to prevent losses through falling stock prices. The kind of wealth I think that you allude to makes far more trading and paying the tax than buying and holding. Buy and hold is for those who don't mind huge losses. I've never met that person.

              I really think you have a basic misunderstanding of how financial investing works for those who make a living, or grow wealth, from stock and bond trading. I hear the same sort of silliness form people all the time with "I'm not working overtime. It will only make me pay more tax!" or "...put me in a higher tax bracket!" I've watched guys lose some serious money because they were afraid to part with a minor portion of their gains or worse forgo larger gains due over fear of a relatively small tax. A tax on earnings, not all of their capital!

              Time makes more converts than reason. Thomas Paine, Common Sense

              by VTCC73 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 03:12:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Eventually" can be a very long time. (0+ / 0-)
                Other than failing to claim the income (which makes one vulnerable to a tax evasion charge) I have no idea how you avoid eventually paying the capital gain.
                There's no need for outright tax evasion, you just stop making transactions.  Stock market volume could drop off a cliff.

                And we might need another round of Teddy Roosevelt style trust busting.

                n the past four years, the amount of money administered by South Dakota trust companies like these has tripled to $121 billion, almost all of it from out of state. The families needn’t actually move to South Dakota, or deposit their money at a local bank, or even touch down in the private jet. Little more than renting an address in Sioux Falls is required to take advantage of South Dakota’s tax-friendly trust laws.

                -7.75 -4.67

                "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                There are no Christians in foxholes.

                by Odysseus on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 05:42:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Those with sufficient means (0+ / 0-)

                could hold onto their shares until they have a liquidity problem.  No shenanigans.  

          •  Let's be clear on that point. (5+ / 0-)

            Pensions and retirement accounts (excepting Roth IRAs) are tax-deferred accounts.  When they are drawn on or inherited, they are taxed at ordinary income rates, not capital gains rates.  

            It would make great sense to exempt retirement accounts from a financial transaction tax.

            "Get over it...and get out of the way." -- Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY)

            by mspicata on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 01:13:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was addressing the additional taxes (0+ / 0-)

              owing due to the funds' activities.  If the pensions and retirement accounts are taxed at a higher rate for their trading activities (capital gains), that would reflect an additional cost to the beneficiaries.  If pensions and retirement accounts are exempted, the pool of taxpayers would be reduced to over-the-counter and personal investment accounts.  I keep hearing that trickling sound, but I haven't quite found the exact source yet.  

              •  Pensions and retirement accounts are exempt now. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                orestes1963, ozsea1

                Neither pays capital gains. An FTT would be a drag on growth and makes little sense for either, IMHO, although the added expense is very small to accounts that already experience very small expenses if they are properly managed.

                I'm making an assumption here that may not be correct. Forgive me if I am wrong. I sense a knee jerk reaction to what looks to be a give away to business in general and big corporations in particular. (I'm also not sure thatyou have a solid an understanding of the elements of taxation, investment, and economic inter-workings but, again, I may be wrong.) That was my initial reaction to the post. Eliminating corporate income taxes alone would be a huge windfall to big business but this has the FTT to not only offset but increase tax revenue. It is a give and take that I think is a winner that might even be politically doable.

                Robert Reich generally has good ideas although I am skeptical that his loyalties lie with the ordinary citizen. He does seem to strike a balance which I think this works. That is why I paused after reading this to think through how his proposal would work. My closer reading and initial analysis of it is that it is almost certainly far better for us all than the current system of corporate taxation.

                It does several things. Repatriation of foreign earned income will likely have a considerable impact on economic growth in the US. An added benefit is it lowers the benefit large corporations have for offshoring. I don't know how much but it is probably just enough to reduce the incentives to offshore to a level where it is more cost effective for most companies to stay in the US. kos has already shown one estimate of the tax revenue benefits to a transfer to capital gains taxation instead of corporate income taxes. I think they are accurate although I'd like to see further analysis by trusted economists. There are certainly economic and tax revenue benefits to increased economic growth in the US. I think these two proposals, together, will make that possible.

                Two points:
                1. Both elements of the proposal must happen for this to work. The loss of either makes this a non starter economically. Politically I doubt there is any chance of getting an FTT without eliminating corporate income taxes and without the FTT the tax revenue loss is unmanageable.
                2. This proposal needs more study and further comment by all parties.

                Time makes more converts than reason. Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                by VTCC73 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 02:17:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think Orestes has a different issue (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  orestes1963, Odysseus

                  If my 401(k) and IRA consist of individual stocks, what you're saying is largely true. I am going to mostly be buying and holding, and the transaction fees won't bite into me much at all.  Then I pay (again a small amount) when I actually draw down the funds.

                  But suppose I don't want the tsouris of picking individual stocks. I invest my retirement accounts in some managed fund - an index or a sector fund. That fund is going to be actively managed, doing very frequent trades. Now my annual returns - even though I pay nothing on them until I actually withdraw funds - stand a good chance of being decimated by transaction fees. (I am using "decimated" here in the original sense of taking a 10% haircut.)  

                  To guard against that, some sort of exception would have to be carved out. What percentage of trades on any given day are carried out by pension and retirement fund managers?

                  The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

                  by nicteis on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 02:45:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

                    That is the point I was trying to address- the additional taxes incurred by funds in which one is invested from investment activities.  If the funds' activities are taxed at a higher rate, that cost is ultimately borne by the investor.  If I understand VTCC73 correctly, these activities are not presently taxed, so the assumption is they would remain exempt (which makes sense).  

                    Of course, the issue extends further if, for example, a pension fund invests in a PE fund and that PE fund's capital gains are taxed at a higher rate, but I didn't want to complicate the point.  

                  •  We are saying the same thing here. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ozsea1, delver

                    The elimination of corporate taxes is dependent on a transfer to capital gains (and I strongly support an increase of capital gains rate to marginal tax rate) and implementing a FTT. Package deal or nothing.

                    I strongly support, and don't see any sane politician (OK I may have found a flaw) not supporting, an exemption to the FTT for retirement funds. That is pensions and 401k accounts. I do not really have any problem with the FTT applying to Roth IRAs but in fairness maybe they should be exempted.

                    For clarity, there are no capital gains involved in pensions and 401k funds. All of these retirement funds grow tax free until withdrawn. Pensions are taxed as ordinary (considered deferred compensation) income. Traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income. Roth IRAs are not taxed at all. (There are some other forms of retirement savings/accounts with which I am only passingly familiar and I can't address them.) Perhaps this is the misunderstanding, I don't know.

                    The FTT proposed is .25% of the value of the transaction. The math question of the day is how many transactions do you have to make to reduce the value of you position by, say, a 10% threshold of "decimated" that you mention? I sincerely hope the answer doesn't start a helmet fire for anyone.

                    This is a very complex subject full of misconceptions and misunderstandings. I sincerely think that is why this part of the thread has grown so long. Is it possible that the thought of someone getting something at my expense an issue because they do not fully understand the elements of the subject? I do. And I fully understand why and how this could be so.

                    Time makes more converts than reason. Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                    by VTCC73 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 03:33:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

                  I was not sure whether pension funds and retirement accounts pay capital gains on their investment activities.  That is helpful information.  Are there data to show that eliminating corporate taxes in favor of increased capital gains tax would yield higher revenues for the government?  I understand it's your position that this would have to be done in tandem with an FTT to work, but I am curious to know whether CGT alone would work.  

                  I am not a tax expert by any means (dropped the subject in law school after three very tedious classes).  

                  I do oppose this proposal because I think it is foolhardy.  Better to correct the inequities in the current system than to dismantle it entirely in the vain hope that this proposal would not ultimately result in the same mess we have today re corporate taxation.  Note that no mention is made of fixing the system as a solution.  No, the only option is to dismantle the system and hope we can create something that works more effectively.  Nothing in this diary or Reich's proposal convinces me this is a wise move.  I'd liken the underlying rationale to arguing that there is fraud in the welfare system, so let's scrap it and have the government give funds to charities to provide for the poor.  

                  •  I think we have a breakthrough. YAY! (0+ / 0-)

                    As I stated just now above:

                    For clarity, there are no capital gains involved in pensions and 401k funds. All of these retirement funds grow tax free until withdrawn. Pensions are taxed as ordinary (considered deferred compensation) income. Traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income. Roth IRAs are not taxed at all. (There are some other forms of retirement savings/accounts with which I am only passingly familiar and I can't address them.) Perhaps this is the misunderstanding, I don't know.
                    Again I think this thing is only workable as a package deal. Capital gains alone, even with the rate indexed to marginal tax rate, is insufficient to make up the revenue loss due to the elimination of a corporate income tax. I'm almost positive someone has or will study this if the proposal gets traction.

                    The FTT is a good idea for several reasons not the least of which is increased tax revenue. One, off the top of my head, has to do with high speed trading and the often claimed rigging of the market. Front running trades of their customers by large financial institutions has been claimed (with strong evidence of accuracy to the charge) in HST systems. I support an FTT because of the complaints of HST traders whenever an FTT discussion breaks out. They claim their margins are so thin that the FTT would eliminate any profit from HST. I see decreased opportunities for shinanigans and increased market stability as a valid reasons for an FTT all by themselves. Let me put it this way I'll gladly pay the tax as proposed.

                    Time makes more converts than reason. Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                    by VTCC73 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 03:48:09 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  An FTT is silly (0+ / 0-)

                  All it will do is dramatically reduce transaction volume by eliminating high frequency trading.  But why is that a benefit?

                  The way to offset the elimination of corporate income taxes is to tax dividends and capital gains like ordinary income.  That would be justified because they would no longer be double taxed.

            •  Absolutely. (0+ / 0-)

              Roth IRAs are tax exempt. They are purchased with after tax money subject to annual limits. Regardless, pensions and traditional IRAs should be exempt from the FTT to further encourage retirement saving. I can see a counterargument that a lower rate FTT on Roth IRAs to both encourage retirement investment and to dampen excessive trading. The proposed rates are so low as to be insignificant in the larger scheme of things either way.

              Time makes more converts than reason. Thomas Paine, Common Sense

              by VTCC73 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 01:41:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Do you know how 401(k)s work? (5+ / 0-)

          When I invest money in a 401(k), that money is not taxed like the rest of my paycheck.  It's a tax free investment.  But when I retire and start to pull money out, I will pay regular income tax rates. And none of those tax rates are changing.  Pensions and IRAs work the same.

          As for the extra burden, Kos said the tax would be $1 on every $400 traded.  $400 happens to be what I put into my 401(k) every two weeks, so I get taxed an extra $2 per month.  Big freakin' deal.  I'd get a raise way more than that if my corporation stopped being taxed.

          And P.S., my 401(k) manager takes $2.50 every two weeks for "record keeping".  I'm supposed to complain about $1 more?

      •  And the burden will be shifted now. Right away. (0+ / 0-)

        That would be satisfying to a lot of citizens on both sides of the aisle. I think Republicans would have a hard time not passing it. They'd get pressure from most of their constituents. Including small business owners who usually would stand to gain more than what they lose.

         

    •  Yep. Look at Walker's Wisconsin (5+ / 0-)

      Take Scott Walker, who is promising companies massive tax breaks in exchange for campaign contributions.  Then you get the CEOs of those companies telling the workers they have to vote Republican or they all get fired.  Or companies threatening to move to other states or other countries to get lower tax rates.

      Now look at the same situation without any corporate taxes.  There's nothing for the politicians to give away anymore.  No benefit to changing states.  The CEO was always going to vote Republican, nothing changes there.  But the workers will see a more stable economic environment, a level playing table.  And they'll also be able to vote Dem for social issues without worrying that they're taxing their own jobs.

      Plus, the tax burden has ALWAYS been on individuals.  It's individuals that support corporations by working for them and buying goods.  All the taxes a corporation pays, ALL of them, either come from paying workers less, or charging customers more.  It doesn't come out of thin air.

      •  That's just wrong (6+ / 0-)

        Of course there is more to give away.  

        We see it happen all of the time.

        They will just give them money. The corp will say that they are operating at the closest margins they can.  

        They'll say that the thin margins they operate at are so dangerous that they need subsidies to remain.  

        Streichholzschächtelchen

        by otto on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 01:06:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then it's true corporate welfare (0+ / 0-)

          You think Dems can't run on tax dollars being just given to unprofitable corporations that pay zero taxes?

          No taxes, no subsidies.  It's very simple, and capitalism takes care of the rest.

          The most government should do is provide low interest development loans.  If even that.

          Walker today can run quite effectively by campaigning to offer tax breaks.  He won't be elected dog catcher if he's promising to take the taxes collected from the people of Wisconsin and just hand it over to businesses going broke.

          •  RIght (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Betty Pinson

            You will not be able to make governments stop giving money to corps.

            They'll say the same stuff they say now, people will buy it.

            Streichholzschächtelchen

            by otto on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 01:17:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then what's the point of having taxes? (0+ / 0-)

              What are you arguing for?  You're saying that gov't is hopelessly corrupt.  Okay, let's run with that and I'll break it down for you.

              With a tax, all corporations are taxed.  Government takes the revenue and then the politicians dole that money out to those with the best lobbyists or those that give the politicians the most kick backs.

              Without a tax, government takes in less revenue, and doesn't have money to give away.

              If it's hopeless, then you should be advocating to make government as small as possible, to limit the damage it can do.

              But I think you're wrong.  Welfare, corporate or otherwise, it highly unpopular.  No one likes giving their hard earned money away, and any corporate welfare programs will have giant bulls eyes painted on them.  Ending corporate welfare will not be the challenge you think it is.

      •  This assumes that states would also (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Betty Pinson, VClib

        do away with their corporate taxes.  That seems unlikely.  

        •  State taxes should all be equal IMHO (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek

          There should be one state tax rate nationwide.  And if that rate is zero, fine by me.  Unless you enjoy having states poach jobs from one another.

          Corporations don't pay taxes.  Workers and customers do.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul doesn't get you anywhere.

          •  Well, you have a huge constitutional issue (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Loge, Square Knot, VClib

            on your hands there.  There's this little principle called federalism.  Of course, congress can do away with state taxes under the commerce clause, but that's an even bigger stretch than expecting Reich's proposal to pass.  It would be a huge upheaval for the states to have to try to find those tax revenues elsewhere.  Wonder where they'd make up the loss?  

          •  Norm - Congress can't dictate state and local (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1

            taxes. They have no constitutional authority.

            "let's talk about that" uid 92953

            by VClib on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 04:39:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  the problem with this idea: (0+ / 0-)

            ... it impinges on state rights to tax their own citizens, according to their respective constitutions.

            States will 'poach' jobs with a variety of methods, taxation forgiveness being only one.  Other methods will be Right to Work (ergo, less or no troublesome union issues), incentives to build in developing communities, access to resources at reduced rates or with less regulatory oversight, all the way down to the company logo on a brand new public venue.

            Sadly, the companies offering these jobs are always looking for the Bigger Better Deal, and will gladly move operations to another state (or overseas) if it means they get a reduction in expenses to the tune of several million per year or more.  They don't pay their workers to relocate (that's crazy talk!) but they can move offices and associated services for less than they stand to pay by staying.

            And yes, I had to move from a state I loved to a state I despise because my employer didn't like paying higher wages and state taxes in California.  I pay less in costs of living, and no longer have to pay state taxes.  However, I now live in a worse climate, there's less opportunity for my fave leisure activities, and the political climate is much more tarnished and biased.  I've told Mrs. Blues that we are leaving a long set of tire skidmarks as soon as I retire, back to countryside, scenery, and politics I can actually live with.

            If your sole and entire rationale for doing something is "It's not illegal." then perhaps you should rethink doing it.

            by dcnblues on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 04:04:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, every bit as crazy as it sounds (5+ / 0-)

      DLC, Third Way must have come up with this one.  SMH.

      Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

      by Betty Pinson on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 01:22:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wondered whether this was a trial balloon (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shahryar, Betty Pinson

        being floated by Reich.  I don't see why he would do it, but the thought crossed my mind, especially given the lack of specifics.  It seems the capital-owning class if all for it here.

      •  Third Way has been pushing for another tax holiday (5+ / 0-)

        the last tax holiday, or 'repatriation' (that term always cracks me up when used in this context), was in 2004.

        Proponents of the tax holiday, including 'centrist' Third Way and most, if not all, of the Republican politicians, tout it as a job creating event:

        Speaking at the Third Way event, Jim Rogers, the president and chief executive of Duke Energy Corp. (DUK), said the $1.3 billion his company would return to the U.S. in repatriated profits would help it to build its workforce. Rogers said Duke Energy would use repatriated funds to modernize its power generation fleet, which would create 15,000 to 20,000 jobs at his company and across the broader economy.

        But the CBPP reports that jobs are not what happens.

        ◾A tax holiday enacted in 2004 failed to produce the promised economic benefits. The evidence shows that firms mostly used the repatriated earnings not to invest in U.S. jobs or growth but for purposes that Congress sought to prohibit, such as repurchasing their own stock and paying bigger dividends to their shareholders. Moreover, many firms actually laid off large numbers of U.S. workers even as they reaped multi-billion-dollar benefits from the tax holiday and passed them on to shareholders.
        It does sound, after reading all your comments, that increasing the tax on dividends might be an important piece of this puzzle. But any plan Eric Cantor would approve of sounds like something that needs to be very carefully considered for unintended consequences...
      •  It's New Democrat bullshit all the way, but then, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        triv33, Nada Lemming, ozsea1, angel d

        the guy selling it endorsed a New Democrat for the Presidency three years before the contest.

        The UN should give Iraq a restraining order against the US.

        by JesseCW on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 05:31:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. The rightward fringe of this site, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      triv33, Nada Lemming

      which includes the owner, believe businesses have a right to unlimited untaxed growth, provided that profits aren't taken out of the increasing stack of wealth produced by workers.

      The UN should give Iraq a restraining order against the US.

      by JesseCW on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 05:29:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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