Tag Archives: Corporate Taxes

New paper on income inequality: Does taxing the rich hurt the middle class?

Aparna Mathur (right)
Aparna Mathur (right)

Here’s an article by Indian economist Aparna Mathur.

She writes (in part):

In a recent paper that I co-authored with Kevin Hassett, we explored the effect of high corporate taxes on worker wages. The motivation for the paper came from the international tax literature (summarized by Roger Gordon and Jim Hines in a 2002 paper1) that suggested that mobile capital flows from high tax to low tax jurisdictions. In other words, in any set of competing countries, investment flows are determined by relative rates of taxation. The current U.S. headline rate of corporate tax is 35 percent. The combined federal and state statutory rate of 39 percent is second only to Japan in the OECD. With Japan set to lower its statutory rate later this year, the U.S. rate will soon be the highest in the OECD and one of the highest in the world. What effect do these high rates have on worker wages?

When capital flows out of a high tax country, such as the United States, it leads to lower domestic investment, as firms decide against adding a new machine or building a factory. The lower levels of investment affect the productivity of the American worker, because they may not have the best machines or enough machines to work with. This leads to lower wages, as there is a tight link between workers’ productivity and their pay. It could also lead to less demand for workers, since the firms have decided to carry out investment activities elsewhere.

Our paper was one of the first to explore the adverse effect of corporate taxes on worker wages. Using data on more than 100 countries, we found that higher corporate taxes lead to lower wages. In fact, workers shoulder a much larger share of the corporate tax burden (more than 100 percent) than had previously been assumed. The reason the incidence can be higher than 100 percent is neatly explained in a 2006 paper by the famous economist Arnold Harberger.2 Simply put, when taxes are imposed on a corporation, wages are lowered not only for the workers in that firm, but for all workers in the economy since otherwise competition would drive workers away from the low-wage firms. As a result, a $1 corporate income tax on a firm could lead to a $1 loss in wages for workers in that firm, but could also lead to more than a $1 loss overall when we look at the lower wages across all workers.

Following our paper, several academic economists substantiated our results, using different data sets and applying varied econometric modeling and techniques. Some examples of these studies include a 2007 paper by Mihir A. Desai and C. Fritz Foley of Harvard Business School and James Hines Jr. of Michigan University Law School, a 2007 paper by R. Alison Felix of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, a 2009 paper by Robert Carroll of The Tax Foundation, and a 2010 paper by Wiji Arulampalam of the University of Warwick and Michael Devereux and Giorgia Maffini of Oxford.3 A recent Tax Notes article that I co-authored summarizes these various studies and also the lessons from the theoretical literature on the topic. The general consensus from theory and empirical work is that while we may argue academically about the size of the effect, there is no disagreement among economists that a sizeable burden of the corporate income tax is disproportionately felt by working Americans. On average, a $1 increase in corporate tax revenues could lead to a dollar or more decline in the wage bill.

Conservatives and liberals have the same goal. We both want to help the poor. Liberals think that taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor helps, but all it does it cause the rich to move their capital and jobs elsewhere, leaving the poor poorer. Conservatives let the rich keep their money and encourage them to risk it trying to make more money by engaging in enterprises that create wealth – creating products and services from less valuable raw materials. In a socialist system, the rich get poorer, but so do the poor. In a capitalist system, the rich get very rich, but the poor also gain more wealth. That’s what happens when corporations like Apple make IPads out of junky raw materials. That’s how wealth is created – by letting people who want to make things keep more of what they earn. We all benefit from encouraging people to make new things and provide value for their neighbors.

Related articles

Canada’s economic boom: low tariffs, low corporate tax and more oil drilling

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Prime Minister Stephen Harper

From Canoe.

Excerpt:

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Sunday the government will scrap 70 tariff items to save Canadian businesses about $32 million a year.

“This builds on our government’s commitment in Budget 2010 to make Canada a tariff-free zone for industrial manufacturers,” Flaherty said in a statement. “By lowering costs for these businesses, we are enhancing their ability to compete in domestic and foreign markets and helping them invest and create jobs here at home.”

Various sectors — including food processing, apparel, electrical equipment and furniture — will benefit from the move.

The Conservatives had previously eliminated the duty on imported machinery and equipment in an attempt to make Canada a tariff-free zone for industrial manufacturers by 2015.

The Tories say that since 2009 they have eliminated more than 1,800 tariff items and have provided more than $435 million in annual tariff relief to Canadian businesses.

According to the leftist CTV news, Canada also has lower corporate taxes.

Excerpt:

The study released Wednesday by KPMG International found Canada’s corporate tax rate has dropped by more than 16 per cent over the last 11 years.

Canadian companies are actually paying less than their American counterparts.

On average, Canadian companies pay 28 per cent of their income in federal and provincial tax, well below the 40 per cent paid by American companies.

But Canada’s corporate tax rate is higher than Europe’s 20 per cent and the OECD average of 26 per cent.

Canadian corporate taxes fell three per cent in 2011, from 31 per cent in 2010.

“Canada’s corporate tax rate falls around the middle of the pack among the OECD countries,” said Elio Luongo, KPMG’s Canadian Managing Partner for Tax.

“But Canada’s general corporate tax rate is anticipated to continue to fall in 2012, when the federal tax rate will be 15 per cent, versus 16.5 per cent in 2011.”

I’ve written before about how Democrats oppose the job creation that would occur if the United States developed energy in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and the Ohio shale. Additionally, Obama has also opposed building the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have created 20,000 jobs paid for by a Canadian company. But Canada has no problems with developing their own energy resources, because their government operates independently of the environmentalist left.

Excerpt:

As world leaders gather in South Africa to discuss climate change this week and next, Canada’s environment minister says he plans to defend Alberta’s oilsands and is willing to argue they are an “ethical” and reliable energy source.

Heading into the 17th Conference of the Parties meeting, Environment Minister Peter Kent says he will not sign on to any deals that mandate some countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions while others don’t — as his government argues was the case under the Kyoto Protocol. He is also unequivocal in his defence of northern Alberta’s bitumen production, a position he expects will be supported by Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen when she joins him at the end of the week.

“We still need to — and the industry needs to and our provincial partners need to — be aggressive in ensuring international friends and neighbours and customers recognize Alberta’s heavy oil is no different from heavy oil produced in any number of other countries which don’t receive nearly the negative attention or criticism,” he says. “It is a legitimate resource.”

Kent has made headlines in the last year by arguing that Alberta’s oil is “ethical.”

“We talk about this on quite a regular basis,” Kent says. “I think it’s important we correct where we find … misunderstanding, misinformation or deliberate ignorance to demonize, to criticize and to attempt … to create a boycott.”

In January, on his second day as environment minister, Kent referred to Alberta’s oilsands product as “ethical oil” during an interview with a newspaper reporter.

Reports immediately linked Kent’s comments to the title of conservative activist Ezra Levant’s recent book, Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands.

The book essentially compares Canada’s human rights record to those of other oil-producing countries, and argues Canada’s “ethical oil” is preferable to “conflict oil” produced in countries with poor human rights records, such as Sudan, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia or Iran. The argument removes environmental issues, such as greenhouse gas emissions, from the equation, though Levant notes Alberta’s data on environmental issues is more transparent than information shared by other countries.

So in total I’ve presented three reasons why the Canadian economy is booming, while the American economy is stuck in neutral. Obama opposes free trade, lower corporate taxes and domestic energy production. When you elect a socialist lawyer, you get a Greece/Spain economy. When you elect a capitalist economist, you get Canada’s booming economy, and consequently, a lower unemployment rate. Recall that our recession began exactly when we elected Nancy Pelosi to the House leadership and Harry Reid to the Senate leadership in 2007. Democrats wreck economies. There is no reason why America cannot be more prosperous than Canada, but we have to not elect an abject buffoons as our leaders.

What happened to Illinois businesses when Democrats raised taxes?

Central United States
Central United States

How do Illinois businesses respond to Democrat Governor Quinn’s tax increases?

From CBS News. (H/T Marathon Pundit)

Excerpt:

The Chicago area will soon have a few hundred fewer jobs, while Northwest Indiana will have a few hundred more.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, sources say Modern Forge is moving from Blue Island across the state line to Merrillville, Ind., and the new town is rolling out the its welcome mat for the plant.

[…]On Tuesday, Indiana succeeded as Blue Island-based manufacturer Modern Forge announced it was moving across the state line. CEO Greg Heim said Illinois made it impossible to stay.

“The environment in Illinois, I would say there was no — we did not see any change coming in Illinois,” Heim said. “Illinois continues to stay on a path of not being – for us – a (pro-business) environment and the excitement and energy here in Indiana, that’s very important to us.”

That’s why, after 97 years in Blue Island, Modern Forge is picking up and moving its building and 240 jobs to Indiana.

“It’s a huge thrill for us,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said.

Daniels didn’t mince words when he said luring business is the Hoosier State’s #1 priority. And there’s no question that Illinois – and companies like Modern Forge – are main targets.

He claimed that “well over a dozen” businesses have moved from Illinois to Indiana in the past few months. “And it’s not like this just started recently,” he added.

In fact, it really ramped up last year when Illinois lawmakers hiked the state’s income tax. Since then, some businesses have bailed and others threatened to do so, citing high taxes, worker’s compensation issues, lack of incentives and an overall lack of encouragement from the Quinn administration.

[…]According to U.S. Labor Bureau statistics, Quinn needs to do something. Statistics show a steady jobs decline beginning in January, shortly after the tax hike passed.

Daniels said he sees tax concerns in Illinois as a potential Indiana win.

“We’ve had a big upsurge in contacts from businesses who want to explore an Indiana location because the arithmetic tells them it’s less expensive to hire people here,” Daniels said.

And more from the Illinois Policy Institute:

In a trend that continues to worsen, more Illinoisans found themselves unemployed in the month of July.

Illinois lost more jobs during the month of July than any other state in the nation, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report. After losing 7,200 jobs in June, Illinois lost an additional 24,900 non-farm payroll jobs in July. The report also said Illinois’s unemployment rate climbed to 9.5 percent. This marks the third consecutive month of increases in the unemployment rate.

Illinois started to create jobs as the national economy began to recover. But just when Illinois’s economy seemed to be turning around, lawmakers passed record tax increases in January of this year. Since then, Illinois’s employment numbers have done nothing but decline.

Data released today by the bureau confirms this downward trajectory. When it comes to putting people back to work, Illinois is going backwards. Since January, Illinois has dropped 89,000 people from its employment rolls.

Democrats complain a lot about companies that outsource jobs. And now we see what causes companies to outsource jobs – Democrats.They cause the very thing that they complain about. That’s insane.

Obama’s job creation advisor ships American business unit to China

From Jack Cafferty of CNN. (H/T Reason to Stand)

Excerpt:

Here is more evidence of the suicide mission this country is on: General Electric announced it’s moving its 115-year-old X-ray business from Waukesha, Wisconsin to Beijing, China.

The X-ray business is part of General Electric’s GE Healthcare unit, and this move is just part of a broader plan by GE to invest $2 billion in China.

This will become the first GE business to be headquartered there. A handful of the unit’s top executives will be transferred to China but otherwise, the company says, none of the 150 staffers in the Milwaukee-area facility will lose jobs or be transferred. However, GE plans to hire more than 65 engineers and a support staff at a new facility in China.

It’s the kind of news that makes you want to reach for something sharp and jab it in your eye. General Electric’s Chief Executive, Jeffrey Immelt, is one of President Obama’s advisers on… ready? U.S. job creation!

[…]Two months after Immelt was named to the council, The New York Times reported that General Electric paid no income taxes last year… thanks to some fancy accounting footwork, even though the company earned $14.2 billion in profits last year – more than $5 billion in the U.S. alone.

Obama named Immelt as the head of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in January. And it’s no surprise that he is shipping jobs overseas – that’s what happens when you elect a tax and spend socialist as President. When Obama attacks businesses with his anti-capitalist rhetoric, they curtail hiring here and hire in China instead. Who would try to expand a business with an anti-business liberal with his finger on the button? You would have to be stupid to risk your capital in a country that runs 1.65 trillion dollar deficits.

It’s important to understand that big businesses like General Electric are not conservative. Big business wants government to insulate them from competition by using regulations to block new entrants. Small businesses are conservative.

Andrew Klavan compares the Ryan budget to the Obama budget

Andrew Klavan on the culture. (H/T Club For Growth)

Douglas Groothuis also tweeted this Fox News article by Paul Ryan, in which Ryan talks about the current economic crisis and his plan to address the issues.

Excerpt:

There are three main reasons why the president’s policies have made this recovery weaker than usual:

1. Regulatory uncertainty: After the stimulus passed, the president turned his attention immediately to costly overhauls of the nation’s financial and health-care sectors. These overhauls needlessly transferred more control over America’s economy to government bureaucrats in Washington, without fixing the problems they were intended to address. The transfer of so much power to the arbitrary dictates of federal regulators has made it hard for businesses to plan for the future with confidence, and things will remain this way until these laws are replaced with real reforms.

2. Tax uncertainty: The president’s ad hoc tax policies, with a mix of tax hikes on job creators and temporary rebates for others being the hallmarks of his approach, have left businesses in the lurch. Moreover, the president’s new health care law imposes a crushing $800 billion tax hike, and he continues to threaten businesses and families with higher rates in the future, even as he dithers on his vague promise to address America’s uncompetitive corporate tax rate, which is the highest in the developed world.

3. Debt uncertainty: The president has not put forward a plan that saves Medicare from bankruptcy, even though nonpartisan experts tell us that this could happen in 9-13 short years unless we act. Each year that we fail to put our critical government health and retirement programs on a path to long-term solvency, we are making trillions of dollars of unfunded promises to future retirees. We are already borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend, and Washington’s inability to solve its spending problems is leading rating agencies such as Standard & Poors to downgrade our credit outlook. Government under this administration is failing at its number-one economic job, which is to create a stable, predictable environment for job creators.

Also: One seniors group is already supporting the Ryan plan.