Lost Corporate Taxes Could Fund Needed Infrastructure


Elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, increasingly view infrastructure investment as an essential step to creating jobs and bolstering the U.S. economy. That’s a good thing.

Yes, the plans may differ in size and scope, but the realization that money needs to be spent on roads, rail, mass transit, energy networks and water systems is one that will hopefully move beyond campaign promises after November. The Teamsters have been pushing such a message for more than a year. It needs to become a reality if this nation is to become the absolute best it can be.

To do that, however, will cost money. So how does the country come up with the funds? Easy, make corporations who have been stashing their profits offshore pay their fair share.

Currently, it is estimated that U.S. corporations have effectively shielded some $2.4 trillion in profits overseas. That means they are cheating America out of about $126 billion a year in tax revenue. There is nothing just about engaging in such activity.

A new report by the Economic Policy Institute and Americans for Tax Fairness found that about 55 percent of American corporate offshore profits are held in tax-haven countries. As a result, corporations only contribute $1 out of every $9 in federal revenue, down from $1 out of every $3 at its peak.

“While the statutory tax rate on corporate income is 35 percent, estimates of the rate corporations actually pay put the effective rate at about half the statutory rate,” the study finds. “Driving this divergence between what corporations are supposed to pay and what they actually pay is a combination of offshore profit shifting and tax avoidance. Multinational corporations pay taxes on between just 3.0 and 6.6 percent of the profits they book in tax havens.”

It is time for corporate America and Congress to do the right thing. Politicians and big business shouldn’t drape themselves in the flag while doing nothing to end this fleecing of the nation. Corporate fat cats making record profits don’t need these dollars – the U.S. does.