Both President Obama and Mitt Romney proposed a cut in the corporate tax rate in their respective presidential campaigns. Neither of them need have shed crocodile tears about the taxation burden of U.S.-chartered corporations: they are instead on a very light taxation diet.
I. Corporate Taxation Scofflaws
1) In the 1950s, the corporate sector accounted for an average of 27.6 percent of national government revenue; in 2010, the sector share was 8.9 percent.
2) Census Bureau data puts the corporate share of total state taxes at 10 percent in 1980 and 5.9 percent in 2010.
3) According to a 2008 Government Accountability Office report, two-thirds of U.S. chartered corporations paid no federal income tax.
4) A study of the top 100 corporations om the Fortune 500 found that 25 of them paid their CEOs more than they paid in income taxes.
5) In a July 2011 article in the Washington Post, Harold Mayerson wrote that 75 percent of corporate profits have come from declines in worker wages and benefits.
6) A 2000 study by the General Accountability Office found that 83 of the 100 largest corporations operate subsidiaries in nations that are considered to be tax havens.
7) General Electric earned $14.2 billion in profits in 2010, paid no corporate income tax and actually accumulated $3.2 billion in tax credits.
II. Capital Gains Rates and Hedge Fund Managers
1) A single hedge fund manager earned $4.9 billion in 2010; also, the top 25 Wall Street hedge fund managers made a little over $22 billion in combined earnings in 2010, according to a survey in the AR magazine.
2) A historical study by Bruce Bartlett, a former high official in the Reagan administration, found no relationship between the capital gains rate and job creation.
3) Middle-class people who own stocks or bonds tend to stash them in tax-sheltered retirement accounts, where the capital gains tax rate does not apply.
4) Over the past 20 years, more than 80 percent of capital gains income raalized in the United States went to five percent of the people and about half went to the wealthiest 0.1 percent.
5) Hedge funds accounted for nearly half of all stock trades in the mid-2000s.