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“Our biggest corporations have been sitting on a lot of money for many years, and it is not a transitory phenomenon. That fabled money bin just keeps growing,” while companies listed in the S&P 500 index have been increasing investment in their businesses by only 0.8 percent a year, he said.

“Instead of launching new products and identifying new markets, they have become obsessed with controlling costs and financial transactions,” he said. “Companies have become notoriously reluctant to hire and slow to raise compensation for those not in the front office. This is causing hardship for many people — inflation has outpaced wage gains for the past five years — and is undermining the economy that these businesses depend upon for their big profits.”

Frustration in Congress

Frustration over the persistent tax avoidance and business’ hoarding practices is growing in Washington. For several years, President Obama and Republican leaders have advocated reforming the tax code to reduce the top corporate rate to 25 percent to 30 percent, eliminating or paring back loopholes such as business depreciation and expense deductions.

Mr. Obama has proposed tackling the corporate tax code as part of a broader campaign to curb the budget deficit, while Republicans want broader tax reforms that encompass both corporate and individual taxes.

The stalemate blocked most reform efforts this year, although new Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, recently outlined his ideas about tax reform for the first time.

Short of overhauling the tax code, a growing number of legislators advocate another tax “holiday” like one enacted in 2004 that would temporarily lower the rates paid on repatriated cash as an inducement to get corporations to bring money back home. In his highway reauthorization bill submitted last month, Mr. Obama proposed using such a tax holiday as one way of paying for roads and bridges.

The holiday likely would provoke a “mad rush of repatriation,” and no doubt would be successful at temporarily filling federal coffers with a gusher of one-time tax payments, said Mr. Chang, but the money more likely would continue to be spent enriching shareholders rather than increasing hiring and business expansion in the U.S.

If Congress’ goal is to induce businesses to create jobs, a tax holiday will not do the trick, said Curtis S. Dubay, an analyst at the Heritage Foundation. The 2004 holiday prompted businesses to bring $362 billion back home, but most of them spent the money on dividends, share buybacks and acquisitions.

The 2004 holiday had a “negligible” impact on jobs, he said. To the extent the funds were used for corporate acquisitions, in fact, they may have helped cut jobs as merging companies eliminated overlapping functions.