Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Highs & Lows of Obama's Taxing Lines

In his State of the Union address President Obama offered

Companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world.  It makes no sense, and everyone knows it.

From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here.

Third, if you're an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut.
Sorry Mr. President, American corporations paid the lowest tax rate in forty years under your term.  According to a CBO study:

As a percentage of ever-growing profits, corporations are paying less in taxes than they have in decades.

Thanks in part to federal tax breaks, corporations paid out just 12.1 percent of their 2011 profits in taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That's well below the country's top marginal corporate tax rate of 35 percent.

I've written many times regarding the global race to the lowest common denominator on taxes, worker pay/benefits, and regulation.

Obama believes government should do more to pick winners and losers, the China model favored by Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, a private equity underwriter (PEU).

If you're a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.
Rubenstein knows about government non-debt, non-equity capital injections, given Carlyle's Vought Aircraft got over $100 million from Texas and South Carolina to expand operations and provide employment.  Texas waited eight years for promised jobs, which never arrived.

Oddly, a corporate tax cut would be timely for The Carlyle Group, a virtual nonprofit, as it nears a public offering. Carlyle had this to say in their latest S-1/A:

If we were taxed as a U.S. corporation or required to hold all ISPIs through corporations, our effective tax rate would increase significantly. The federal statutory rate for corporations is currently 35%.
Carlyle's Rubenstein recently saturated the airwaves, highlighting his good deeds.  One interesting fact he shared:  Rubenstein's copy of The Emancipation Proclamation hangs in the Oval Office.

Should Mr. Rubenstein stop by The White House to view his investment, might he lobby President Obama on the need for lower corporate taxes?  If so, Rubenstein's fellow co-founder, Bill Conway, would most grateful.