Loopholes in tax laws let giant corporations off the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes, with some massively profitable companies paying zero corporate income tax. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a plan to change that.
Warren’s Real Corporate Profits Tax would apply only to companies with more than $100 million in profits—“about the 1200 most profitable firms in the country last year,” she writes in a Medium post—and only to profits made after that first $100 million. Past that point, companies would pay a 7 percent tax, and while it would affect only a small minority of businesses, it would make a difference: “That means Amazon would pay $698 million in taxes instead of paying zero. And Occidental Petroleum would pay $280 million in taxes instead of paying zero.” Over 10 years, the U.S. would take in an additional $1 trillion, money that could be used for child care, or education, or dozens of other priorities.
Warren emphasizes that this isn’t just about raising corporate taxes. It’s about eliminating the loopholes that the biggest companies with the most accountants and lawyers use to legally avoid taxes: “To raise the revenue we need—and ensure every corporation pays their fair share—we need a new kind of tax that big companies can’t get around.” It also “helps level the playing field for small businesses,” she argues, by eliminating loopholes that big businesses ruthlessly exploit while small businesses can’t take advantage of them.
Raising taxes on the largest corporations is a policy idea with lots of public support, according to polls, but an idea that the Republican Party will do its utmost to block. Giveaways to big money are pretty much the Republican reason for being, after all. But this is one more example of Warren leading the way to show how to undo some of the damage Republicans have done to the American economy and government.