Tag Archives: Corporate Taxes

Burger King leaves U.S. 35% corporate tax rate for Canada’s 15% corporate tax rate

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Prime Minister Stephen Harper: all your base are belong to us!

Wow, I really hate Burger King, but this latest move leaves me very confused. Maybe I have to eat there now?

The Chicago Tribune reports on it.

Excerpt:

Canada has become the latest frontier for U.S. companies fleeing the high cost of business, spurred by low corporate taxes and a policy that keeps international earnings out of the clutches of the Internal Revenue Service.

Burger King, the second-largest U.S. burger chain, agreed to acquire Oakville, Ontario-based Tim Hortons on Tuesday for about C$12.5 billion ($11.4 billion) in a deal that creates the world’s third-largest fast-food chain and moves its headquarters in Canada. It’s “not fair” that companies can renounce their U.S. citizenship by filling out paperwork, a White House spokesman said Monday.

The deal for Oakville, Ontario-based Tim Hortons follows Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ merger with Canada’s Biovail in 2010, which sparked the latest so- called tax-inversion wave.

Burger King is unlikely to be the last U.S. company to consider moving north even as President Barack Obama and his aides try to curb the practice, tax experts say. In addition to avoiding U.S. taxes on global earnings, companies like Burger King can take advantage of Canadian tax rates that have been cut by about a quarter in the past eight years.

“We have now made it a lot more attractive for companies to say Canada is a good place to set up shop,” said Jack Mintz, director of the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.

[…]Lower corporate taxes may also be an attraction for foreign companies. Canada began cutting its federal corporate tax rate in 2001 under the previous Liberal government. Prime Minister Stephen Harper then took up the baton, dropping the rate in several steps to 15 percent in 2012. Combined with provincial rates averaging 11.5 percent, Canada’s rate of 27 percent is now the second-lowest in the Group of Seven countries behind the U.K.’s 21 percent, according to auditing and tax firm KPMG.

Canada’s combined rate is still above the 24 percent average for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, according to the report.

Low corporate tax rates helped the country rise to second place in a Bloomberg ranking of best countries for doing business in January, behind only Hong Kong.

“We are proud that our low tax environment in Canada attracts businesses,” Carl Vallee, a spokesman for Harper, said by email on Monday.

The U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the world. It warms my heart to think that corporations are moving out to Canada. And I hope they take the jobs with them, because that’s the only way people will learn to elect presidents who understand economics. Our leader is out of his depth trying to run this country, and is only able to his economic failures by borrowing trillions and trillions of dollars from our children. Anybody can appear competent if they borrow and spend that much money, but it’s a bubble, just like the housing bubble his party caused. Canada’s prime minister has a BA and MA in economics – he actually knows how economies work. We could have picked someone qualified, but we didn’t.

I fully expect Obama to whine like a little girl about this, and call Burger King “unpatriotic”. This is loser talk, because he is a loser. The limit of his knowledge of economics is that he makes snarky speeches insulting people who disagree with him. Why did we elect this stand-up comedian? Is that what a President is supposed to do?

Why do corporations ship jobs overseas? What causes outsourcing of jobs?

World Corporate Tax Rates
World Corporate Tax Rates

Here is a news story from Yahoo News that explains the problem and the cause of the problem. (H/T Dad)

Excerpt:

Large U.S. companies boosted their offshore earnings by 15 percent last year to a record $1.9 trillion, avoiding hefty tax bills by keeping the profits abroad, according to a new report.

The overseas earnings stockpile has climbed by 70 percent over the past five years, said research firm Audit Analytics. Data in its report covers the Russell 3000 index of the largest U.S. corporations.

U.S.-based multinationals do not have to pay U.S. corporate income tax on foreign earnings as long as the earnings do not enter the United States. Accounting rules also let the companies avoid recognizing a tax expense if management intends to keep the earnings indefinitely reinvested overseas.

“It would probably be nice to have this money in our country being used in our economy, but at the moment we see it growing elsewhere,” said Don Whalen, general counsel and director of research at Audit Analytics.

Conglomerate General Electric Co (GE.N), had the most indefinitely reinvested overseas earnings, at about $108 billion, while drugmaker Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) was next with $73 billion, according to Audit Analytics.

The simple answer is that Americans believe that corporations need to pay high taxes and operate under burdensome regulations. This eats into their profits, making it harder for them to grow and expand. The plain truth is that it is easier for corporations to expand and hire in countries with lower taxes and fewer regulations. Besides, who wants to be wiped out by a nuisance lawsuit just because someone spills coffee on themselves and then refuses to take responsibility? The smart play is to just opt out completely, and that’s what many corporations do – earning higher profits in more business-friendly countries.

New jobs report: unemployment rises and 70% chance of recession

James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute explains:

The May jobs report was a complete and utter disaster for the economy and, perhaps, President Obama’s chances for reelection.

Employers created just 69,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. That’s the fewest since May of last year. Economists had been expecting nonfarm payrolls to increase by 150,000. (In fact, the result was lower than what any economist polled by Reuters had predicted.)

Moreover, companies added 49,000 fewer jobs than previously estimated in March and April. Talk about a slowdown. The average monthly gain was 226,000 in first quarter vs. an average of just 73,000 in April and May.

Oh, and the U-3 unemployment rate rose to 8.2% from 8.1%. The broader U-6 gauge, which also measures underemployment, rose to 14.8% from 14.5%. The labor force participation rate did, finally, tick up to a still-low 63.8%, lending credence to the idea that the shrinking workforce reflects discouraged workers and not just demographics.

And here’s the forecast: WE’RE DOOMED.

So what is the true state of the labor market?

– If the size of the U.S. labor force as a share of the total population was the same as it was when Barack Obama took office—65.7% then vs. 63.8% today—the U-3 unemployment rate would be 10.9%. (Now, this doesn’t take into account the aging of the Baby Boomers, which should lower the participation rate due to rising retirements. But is that still a valid assumption given the drop in wealth since 2006?)

–  If you take into account the aging of the Baby Boomers, the participation rate should be trending lower. Indeed, it has been doing just that since 2000. Before the Great Recession, the Congressional Budget Office predicted what the participation rate would be in 2012, assuming such demographic changes. Using that number, the real unemployment rate would be 10.5%.

– Of course, the participation rate usually falls during recessions. Yet even if you discount for that and the aging issue, the real unemployment rate would be 9.5%.

– We continue to be stuck in the longest period of 8% unemployment or higher since the Great Depression, 40 consecutive months.

– And, as the above chart shows — originally from Obama economists Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein in January 2009 –the current 8.2% unemployment rate is 2.5 percentage points above where Team Obama predicted it would be right now if Congress passed his trillion-dollar stimulus plan.

–  The median duration of unemployment rebounded to 20.1 weeks in May, and 42.8% were unemployed for longer than a half year.

– Total hours worked fell 0.2% on weakness in the work week.

– Average hourly earnings rose just 0.1%. Coupled with a very stable overall inflation rate, real wages were likely flat in May.

The big question now: Does this report suggest the U.S economy is heading into recession, especially given the sharp slowdown in global economic activity from Europe to India to, perhaps most worrisome, China?

Consider this: Last year, the U.S. grew at just a 1.7% pace. Research from the Federal Reserve finds that that since 1947 when year-over-year real GDP growth falls below 2 percent, recession follows within a year 70 percent of the time. We are firmly within the Recession Red Zone.

Facebook friend WGB pointed me to this story in CNS News:

The number of American women who are unemployed was 766,000 individuals greater in May 2012 than in January 2009, when President Barack Obama took office, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In January 2009, there were approximately 5,005,000 unemployed women in the United States,according to BLS. In May 2012, there were 5,771,000.

[…]The number of women employed in the United States peaked at 68,102,000 in April 2008, according to BLS.  The number of women employed in the United States today is 1,216,000 less than that.

Remember, the Democrats got control of Congress in January 2007, and had control of spending in the 2008 fiscal year. My take is that the hiring is still going on in places like Canada and Chile and Sweden, where government isn’t taxing and regulating job creators into oblivion. Companies are still hiring and expanding and drilling for oil – just not here.

Canadian government to limit environmentalist obstruction of energy development

From Fox Business: the Canadians embrace federalism.

Excerpt:

The Canadian government released details Tuesday of its plan to dramatically streamline reviews for big energy and mining projects, capping the timeline for federal reviews and ceding more regulatory oversight to the country’s provinces.

The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said for months it would move to speed up the regulatory review of big energy, mining and infrastructure projects. It has expressed frustration at the sometimes-lengthy review timelines for big projects.

Mr. Harper’s government said in its annual budget announcement last month that it would cap federal reviews. Resources Minister Joe Oliver released details Tuesday, saying that federally-led hearings would be applied only to major initiatives that risk some environmental harm.

Further, the government said it was prepared to hand over more responsibility for the review to Canadian provinces, so long as their regulations meet or exceed federal standards. Canadian provinces already enjoy considerable regulatory oversight.

“It is counterproductive to have the federal and provincial governments completing separate reviews of the same project,” Oliver said in a speech in Toronto.

[…]The government had previewed in its budget last month that reviews for major projects would be limited to 24 months. Meanwhile, regular inter-provincial pipeline reviews, as conducted by the National Energy Board, would be limited to 18 months.

Oliver said Tuesday that Enbridge Inc.’s (ENB) proposed Northern Gateway pipeline – which envisions shipping oil from Alberta to Canada’s West Coast — would benefit from the quicker review. The line has been mired in stiff opposition from native groups in British Columbia, and the government has accused foreign-funded environmental groups of tying up the project in regulatory hearings. Government officials said the new rules would also limit who could participate as intervenors in the review process.

[…]In Toronto, Oliver said the current process is unworkable, with over 40 federal departments involved in reviews. He said he would pare that back to only three federal agencies: the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency; the National Energy Board; and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

The Canadian process, as it stands, forces investors to go “through hoops and hurdles as far as the eye can see,” Oliver said. “We simply have to turn that around.”

Canadians don’t want to scare businesses away from Canada – they want the jobs to come to Canada. That’s the exact opposite of what Obama’s socialist “Environmental Protection Agency” does – they regulate energy development, in order to block it or slow it down.

And Canada lowered corporate taxes to 15% compared to our 35% – and their revenues held steady.

Canada: Corporate tax cuts, not stimulus spending
Canada: Corporate tax cuts, not stimulus spending

They cut their corporate tax rate, but then businesses saw the lower rate and just kept on expanding in order to make more money. As businesses grow, they pay more in taxes. So government revenues from taxes haven’t dropped at all, even with the lower corporate tax rates! More businesses moved in to Canada to capitalize on the lower tax rates, generating revenue for the government. More workers moved off of unemployment and welfare as demand for labor grew, and they started paying income taxes and sales taxes, generating even more revenue for the government. Do you know what makes consumers more confident, so that they spend more? Having a job.  Not being dependent on government.

Look at their unemployment rate:

Canada and US unemployment rates
Canada and US unemployment rates

When we embraced “stimulus” spending, they went for the corporate tax cuts. Our unemployment rate used to be LOWER than theirs, before Pelosi and Reid took over Congress in January 2007. Now we are HIGHER than they are. That’s not rhetoric – that’s data. Even though Canada’s economy is linked to ours, and has suffered as a result of that, they have been signing free trade deals left, right and center. They did this in order to decouple themselves from our collapsing economy, massive debt and devalued currency. Barack Obama, of course, opposes free trade. He has to – he’s in the back pocket of the socialist labor unions.

Free trade empire: (click for larger image)

Canada: Free Trade Empire
Canada: Free Trade Empire

What a contrast Canada’s energy policy makes with Obama’s politicized “Cash for Cronies” energy policy. But then again, Canada hired a conservative right-wing capitalist economist to run their country. We could have just done the same and put in economists like Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams to run our economy, but we put in an unqualified community organizer instead.

Canada’s tax revenues steady as they lowered corporate tax rates

Canada: Corporate tax cuts, not stimulus spending
Canada: Corporate tax cuts, not stimulus spending

From the Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

The chart shows Canada’s federal corporate tax revenues as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) and the federal corporate tax rate. The tax rate plunged from 38 percent in 1980 to just 15 percent by 2012. Amazingly, there has been no obvious drop in tax revenues over the period.

Canadian corporate tax revenues have fluctuated, but the changes are correlated with economic growth, not the tax rate. In the late 1980s, a tax rate cut was followed by three years of stable revenues. In the early 1990s, a plunge in revenues was caused by a recession, and then in the late 1990s revenues soared as the economy grew.

In 2000, Canadian policymakers enacted another round of corporate tax rate cuts, which were phased in gradually. Corporate tax revenues initially dipped, but then they rebounded strongly in the late 2000s.

The rate cuts enacted in 2000 were projected to cause substantial revenue losses to the Canadian government. That projection indicates that the reform didn’t have much in the way of legislated loophole closing. But the chart shows that the positive taxpayer response to the rate cut was apparently so large that the government did not lose much, if any, revenue at all.

In 2009, Canada was dragged into a recession by the elephant economy next door, and that knocked the wind out of corporate tax revenues. However, it is remarkable that even with a recession and a tax rate under 20 percent, tax revenues as a share of GDP have been roughly as high in recent years as they were during the 1980s, when there was a much higher rate. Jason Clemens of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute notes that Canadian corporate tax revenues have been correlated with corporate profits, not the tax rate.

If a corporate tax rate is high, there is a “Laffer effect” when the rate is cut, meaning that the tax base expands so much that the government doesn’t lose any money. Estimates from Jack Mintz and other tax experts show that cutting corporate tax rates when they are above about 25 percent won’t lose governments any revenues over the long run.

This data is no surprise to supply siders – we expect this because of past experience with tax cuts.

Tax cuts: do they work?

Consider this article by the Cato Institute discusses how the Reagan tax cuts affected the unemployment rate.

Excerpt:

In 1980, President Carter and his supporters in the Congress and news media asked, “how can we afford” presidential candidate Ronald Reagan’s proposed tax cuts?

Mr. Reagan’s critics claimed the tax cuts would lead to more inflation and higher interest rates, while Mr. Reagan said tax cuts would lead to more economic growth and higher living standards. What happened? Inflation fell from 12.5 percent in 1980 to 3.9 percent in 1984, interest rates fell, and economic growth went from minus 0.2 percent in 1980 to plus 7.3 percent in 1984, and Mr. Reagan was re-elected in a landslide.

[…]Despite the fact that federal revenues have varied little (as a percentage of GDP) over the last 40 years, there has been an enormous variation in top tax rates. When Ronald Reagan took office, the top individual tax rate was 70 percent and by 1986 it was down to only 28 percent. All Americans received at least a 30 percent tax rate cut; yet federal tax revenues as a percent of GDP were almost unchanged during the Reagan presidency (from 18.9 percent in 1980 to 18.1 percent in 1988).

What did change, however, was the rate of economic growth, which was more than 50 percent higher for the seven years after the Reagan tax cuts compared with the previous seven years. This increase in economic growth, plus some reductions in tax credits and deductions, almost entirely offset the effect of the rate reductions. Rapid economic growth, unlike government spending programs, proved to be the most effective way to reduce unemployment and poverty, and create opportunity for the disadvantaged.

The federal revenues as a % of GDP were steady.

The conservative Heritage Foundation describes the effects of the Bush tax cuts.

Excerpt:

President Bush signed the first wave of tax cuts in 2001, cutting rates and providing tax relief for families by, for example, doubling of the child tax credit to $1,000.

At Congress’ insistence, the tax relief was initially phased in over many years, so the economy continued to lose jobs. In 2003, realizing its error, Congress made the earlier tax relief effective immediately. Congress also lowered tax rates on capital gains and dividends to encourage business investment, which had been lagging.

It was the then that the economy turned around. Within months of enactment, job growth shot up, eventually creating 8.1 million jobs through 2007. Tax revenues also increased after the Bush tax cuts, due to economic growth.

In 2003, capital gains tax rates were reduced. Rather than expand by 36% as the Congressional Budget Office projected before the tax cut, capital gains revenues more than doubled to $103 billion.

The CBO incorrectly calculated that the post-March 2003 tax cuts would lower 2006 revenues by $75 billion. Revenues for 2006 came in $47 billion above the pre-tax cut baseline.

Here’s what else happened after the 2003 tax cuts lowered the rates on income, capital gains and dividend taxes:

  • GDP grew at an annual rate of just 1.7% in the six quarters before the 2003 tax cuts. In the six quarters following the tax cuts, the growth rate was 4.1%.
  • The S&P 500 dropped 18% in the six quarters before the 2003 tax cuts but increased by 32% over the next six quarters.
  • The economy lost 267,000 jobs in the six quarters before the 2003 tax cuts. In the next six quarters, it added 307,000 jobs, followed by 5 million jobs in the next seven quarters.

The timing of the lower tax rates coincides almost exactly with the stark acceleration in the economy. Nor was this experience unique. The famous Clinton economic boom began when Congress passed legislation cutting spending and cutting the capital gains tax rate.

Tax revenues increased after the Bush tax cuts – due economic growth.

Those are the facts. That’s not what you hear in the media, but they are the facts.