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Elizabeth Warren: Big Corporations Pay Zero Taxes And It's A Problem

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 9/03/2016 Quora
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What are your ideas and proposals for reforming the US tax system? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.Answer by Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator for Massachusetts, on Quora.

Giant corporations tell the same story over and over: They are overtaxed. There's only one problem: It's not true. There's a problem with our corporate tax code, but it isn'tover-taxation. The tax code is so tangled with exceptions and credits that, for some of the biggest companies, the effective federal income rate is zero. That's right - not 35%. Not 20%. Zero.

Here are three ideas to start the tax reform discussion:

  1. The big corporations need to pay their fair share of running this country. They get a lot of benefits from being an American business, and they need to help pay for that. For decades, corporations contributed about 30% of all the revenue to the federal government, but the biggest corporations have gotten so many tax loopholes that corporations now contribute about 10% - and it's not enough to keep our infrastructure repaired, our schools well-supported, and our research funded.
  2. The current tax system is rigged to favor giant corporations over small business. Small businesses don't stash their profits in Luxembourg or put money away in the Cayman Islands. Loopholes and gimmicks are only available to the big guys, and they make it harder for the small guys to compete.
  3. Tax reform should promote investing in jobs here in the US - not subsidizing corporations to move jobs abroad. It's crazy that the US taxpayer is helping companies build jobs outside America.

The big corporations say tax policy is complicated, but most of this stuff is pretty simple - and most Americans probably agree with these commonsense ideas. But Congress doesn't talk to most Americans - they talk to CEOs and armies of lawyers and lobbyists who are all on the lookout for special deals. Right now Congress hands out billions in benefits to big, well-connected corporations - while middle class families and small businesses are left holding the bag.

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