LAMBRO: Taxing time for business

Obama ties down commerce with heavy levies

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Only 58.1 percent of our population was working. That’s the lowest percentage since the early 1980s.

The way out of this recession is not to raise taxes on corporations and other businesses, but to reform our tax code to stimulate growth.

We have a corporate tax structure today that sets the top rate at 35 percent - the second-highest corporate tax rate in the industrial world.

It’s triple Ireland’s tax rate and 10 points higher than in Austria, China or Denmark. Only Japan’s is higher at 39.5 percent, though it plans to lower its rate this year.

It is no secret that few corporations pay the top rate because of a maze of tax breaks, loopholes and other ways to write off various expenses and losses, and even offset foreign tax bills. They have been written into the tax code by Congress over many decades. But now the tax system is in need of a thorough cleansing to eliminate many of these tax breaks to significantly broaden the tax-revenue base, while at the same time lowering the overall tax rates.

Mr. Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission proposed doing just this in a plan last December that would effectively bring in more revenue by plugging or shrinking tax loopholes, while lowering the top tax rates to 28 percent or less.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obama did not embrace his own commission’s recommendations, preferring to demagogue against “millionaires and billionaires” and big corporations who he claims are not paying their “fair share.”

That may appeal to Mr. Obama’s narrowing base of anti-business supporters, and lead to heckling Republican presidential candidates, but it doesn’t offer any pro-growth, pro-employment solutions to get the battered U.S. economy back on track.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.

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