While they keep pushing their plans to hack away at lifelines for Americans in the lower income tiers with debt scare-mongering, they've also got a plan to shift the nation to a territorial corporate tax plan. Under that plan, according to a new study, 59 of the 93 companies partnered with Fix the Debt holding hundreds of billions of profits in overseas accounts would harvest as much as an additional $173 billion. That's so because those profits would go untaxed.
The report, authored by Sarah Anderson, Scott Klinger and Javier Rojo at the leftist Institute for Policy Studies, is appropriately titled Corporate Pirates of the Caribbean. The pirates' objective: Bigger safety nets for corporations-are-people built on the shreds of the safety net for real people.
The IPS study is untrue, according to one of the principals at Fix the Debt:
Maya MacGuineas, a spokeswoman for the initiative and a budget expert who has worked with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, called the IPS report “nothing more than lies and mudslinging” in an email statement to HuffPost. Wednesday’s report was the latest in a series from IPS accusing Fix the Debt of pushing for reforms that benefit its members.While Fix the Debt conveniently does not formally endorse specific plans for anything, characterizing the territorial tax proposal as "mudslinging" when the co-chairs of the Simpsons-Bowles Commission are also co-founders of Fix the Debt operation is pretty danged hilarious. If only they could shield their objectives as well the partner corporations can shield their profits, they wouldn't have to put up with the irksome naysayers.
“In reality, the Fix the Debt campaign takes no position on how foreign income should be taxed and has repeatedly called for reducing, not expanding, corporate and individual tax breaks in the context of a broader deficit reduction deal,” she wrote.
Who benefits from the plan? It's not Main Street. Less than two in a thousand businesses (0.16 percent), IPS states. Which is why a March 2013 poll commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council and Main Street Alliance found that 85 percent of small business owners oppose a territorial tax system, including 67 percent of self-identified Republican owners.
The study concludes with recommended support for three already introduced pieces of legislation:
• Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act (S. 250, H.R. 694) introduced by independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. By ending the deferral of taxes on overseas profits, the Joint Committee on Taxation figures this would raise $590 billion over the next 10 years.
• Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes Act (S. 268) introduced by Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. Included in these stopped loopholes would be those that allow shifting profits overseas to avoid taxes. The JCOT estimates this would raise $189 billion over the next 10 years.
• Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (H.R. 1554) introduced by Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas. This would get rid of bogus accounting practices used to avoid taxes. Estimated revenue gained over 10 years: $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion.
The pirates, of course, view these reasonable measures as akin to being keel-hauled. And they're eager to deep-six these ideas so they can keep burying their treasure on those islands out of reach of the tax collector. That means "fixing the debt" will be done on the backs of those least able to afford it. An old and still infuriating story.