US anti-export tax bias

Cesar Conda and Brian Reardon say America’s tax code is punishing US corporations for producing at home:

In 2005, 137 nations accounting for 94 per cent of trade with the US had some form of border-adjusted taxes on manufactured goods and services. By contrast, the US has direct taxes, such as the corporate income tax, which is precluded from being refunded on US exports or assessed on imports under World Trade Organisation rules.

The net effect is an unfair disadvantage for US companies and their staff, as the goods they produce and export are hit with taxes abroad, while foreign goods coming into the country are not. The additional embedded tax burden for US companies exporting goods is at least $100bn annually.

We must fix the US tax code so that American manufacturers can export more goods and services, not more jobs. The challenges of moving the US corporate income tax toward a border-adjustable system are sizable, but they can be overcome. Two stand out: WTO rules prohibit border adjustments of direct taxes and America’s corporate income tax is not readily border adjustable. These challenges suggest a two-front attack. First, the US must aggressively engage the Europeans to repeal the distinction between direct and indirect taxes… Second, Congress should move our corporate code towards a consumption-based tax…

For free-trade politicians, promoting tax-relief for American-made goods will help stem the growing tide against free trade and globalisation among voters. Without a proactive trade agenda, we are in grave danger of enacting protectionist policies proven in the past to hurt workers and industry alike. On the other hand, promoting a border-adjustable corporate tax allows pro-trade candidates to offer a workable, proactive and populist response to the ongoing decline in US manufacturing jobs.

1 thought on “US anti-export tax bias

  1. Ian from Ann Arbor

    While many who are invested in the current income tax system seek to demagog the well-researched FairTax plan, FairTax’s theoretical underpinnings have been professionally reviewed, and its acceptance in the professional / academic community continues to grow.

    Renown economist Laurence Kotlikoff believes that failure to enact the FairTax – choosing instead to try to “flatten” what he deems to be a non-flattenable income tax system – will eventuate into an irrevocable economic meltdown, because of the hidden aspects of the current system that make political accountability impossible. Tom Frey, of the DiVinci Institute, foresees the coming collapse of the income tax system.

    Here is why the FairTax MUST replace the income tax. It’s:

    • SIMPLE, easy to understand
    • EFFICIENT, inexpensive to comply with and doesn’t cause less-than-optimal business decisions for tax minimization purposes
    • FAIR, loophole free and everyone pays their share
    • LOW TAX RATE, achieved by broad base with no exclusions
    • PREDICTABLE, doesn’t change, so financial planning is possible
    • UNINTRUSIVE, doesn’t intrude into our personal affairs or limit our liberty
    • VISIBLE, not hidden from the public in tax-inflated prices or otherwise
    • PRODUCTIVE, rewards, rather than penalizes, work and productivity

    Its benefits are as follows:

    • No more tax on income – make as much as you wish
    • You receive your full paycheck – no more deductions
    • You pay the tax when you buy “at retail” – not “used”
    • No more double taxation (e.g. like on current Capital Gains)
    • Reduction of “pre-FairTaxed” retail prices by 20%-30%
    • Adding back 29.9% FairTax maintains current price levels
    • FairTax would constitute 23% portion of new prices
    • Every household receives a monthly check, or “pre-bate”
    • “Prebate” is “advance payback” for taxes payable on monthly consumption to poverty level
    • FairTax’s “prebate” ensures progressivity, poverty protection
    • Finally, citizens are knowledgeable of what their tax IS
    • Elimination of “parasitic” Income Tax industry
    • Those possessing illicit forms of income will ALSO pay the FairTax
    • Households have more disposable income to purchase goods
    • Savings is bolstered with reduction of interest rates

    • Corporate income and payroll taxes revoked under FairTax
    • Business compensated for collecting tax at “cash register”
    • No more tax-related lawyers, lobbyists on company payrolls
    • No more embedded (hidden) income/payroll taxes in prices
    • Reduced costs. Competition – not tax policy – drives prices
    • Off-shore “tax haven” headquarters can now return to U.S
    • No more “favors” from politicians at expense of taxpayers
    • Resources go to R&D and study of competition – not taxes
    • Global “free (and equitable) trade” becomes possible for currently-disadvanted U.S. exports
    • US exports increase their share of foreign markets

    For the COUNTRY:
    • 7% – 13% economic growth projected in the first year of the FairTax
    • Jobs return to the U.S.
    • Foreign corporations “set up shop” in the U.S.
    • Tax system trends are corrected to “enlarge the pie”
    • Larger economic “pie,” means thinner tax rate “slices”
    • Initial 23% portion of price is pressured downward as “pie” increases
    • No more “closed door” tax deals by politicians and business
    • FairTax sets new global standard. Other countries will follow

    The income tax system must ultimately fail, if for no other reason than that Washington politicians cannot seem to wean themselves from being “sucked down the spending hole” while seeking ways to hide the magnitude of taxation from those who ultimately pay for all of it – every working American. It’s well past time to scrap the tax code and pay for government the way that America’s working men and women are paid – when something is sold.

    (Permission is granted to reproduce in whole or part. – Ian)

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