For a couple decades now, roughly two-thirds of Americans haven't believed American corporations were paying their fair share in taxes according to Gallup polling dating back to 2004. Naturally, Republicans took that as a mandate to cut corporate tax rates even further in 2017, from 35% to 21%, in a bill that ultimately proved to be wildly unpopular among the public.
“In 2017, Republicans slashed corporate tax rates, which decimated corporate tax receipts,” Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, told The Washington Post's Greg Sargent. “U.S. corporations avail themselves of the benefits of the U.S. economy — infrastructure, workforce and the like — but contribute very little to it.”
According to new data from Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, from 2000 to 2016, corporate tax receipts averaged about 1.7% of total GDP, or what he calls the "modern average." Immediately after the GOP's tax gift to America's wealthiest, corporate revenues dropped nearly 40% below this modern average. Over the next decade, corporate tax revenues will fall more than 25% under the modern average.
In 2018, following the GOP’s handiwork, the U.S. came in last among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development—37th out of 37—in terms of how much corporate tax revenue it collected as a share of GDP. If you compare the world's 10 largest economies, all nine of the other countries have corporate tax rates ranging from 25–34%, according to Sen. Wyden’s report.
“Corporations have never contributed less to federal revenues than they do now — thanks to Republicans’ tax giveaway,” Wyden told the Post.
The Tax Policy Center's Rosenthal agrees. “Historically, corporations that enjoyed the benefits of the U.S. economy contributed substantially more,” Rosenthal said. “In recent years, these contributions plummeted, which in my judgment is simply unfair. Corporations and their shareholders can afford to contribute more.”
But Republicans have decided raising the corporate tax rate is their "red line," and they're working to kill Biden's American Jobs Plan over it. Here's their three-step gambit:
- Declare that increasing corporate taxes is a deal killer
- Make a counteroffer on infrastructure/jobs that will be a mere fraction of President Biden’s (in other words, laughable)
- Tag American taxpayers with bearing the brunt of paying for it, which progressive Democrats will never agree to
In other words, the GOP counteroffer is dead on arrival and they know it.
So here’s where that leaves us: Republicans are more than happy to kill a plan to revolutionize America's infrastructure and create millions of jobs in order to shield corporations from helping to foot the bill for improvements that will undoubtedly help their bottom lines.
That seems fair. If you're a congressional Republican.