Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reaganomics Redux

We read (in "The Hill") that the GOP members of the House Ways & Means committee are working on a plan whereby American corporations would not be taxed on the profits they make overseas. Leave it to the Republicans to come up with a massive tax cut as a kick start for the economy; haven't they heard that Reagan's "voodoo economics" [Bush 41's locution, not mine] create, in the long run, not prosperity but ruinous debt? Hello!?

In the heady days of the legislative takeover by the Republicans in 2004, Congress gave the corporations just such a holiday from their overseas earnings, anticipating that the savings would be invested in jobs and plants. Instead, the money somehow morphed into dividends, flowing directly into the pockets of the shareholders (quelle surprise!). To be sure, many of the recipients did indeed pay a personal income tax on their earnings, so there was some offsetting benefit, but the net loss to the Treasury amounted to $3.3B, hardly the economic liftoff we were promised.

Lord knows, the tax code needs an overhaul (even to include some relief for corporations) but this ain't the place to start, not in this economy.

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