GOP’S Economic All-Star Team: Carly Fiorina

Our guest blogger is Brian Levine, a Senior Policy Adviser at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

fiorina200.jpg Tonight in Minneapolis, Carly Fiorina will take the stage to talk about the economy. Pay close attention because John McCain listens to Fiorina -he even defers to her on economic questions at town hall meetings. He once cracked, “she’s a lot smarter than I am,” as he asked her to field a query on the subprime mortgage crisis.

So what can we learn from Carly Fiorina about McCain’s economic worldview? American companies can indefinitely avoid paying corporate taxes by leaving their profits overseas. As CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina exploited this loophole. According to the Washington Post, HP held more than $14 billion in profits overseas in 2004, reducing its effective tax rate from 35 percent to 12 percent. Fiorina also defended offshoring, which she called “right-shoring,” and she once declared “there is no job that is America’s God-given right anymore.”

McCain and Fiorina are in lockstep on this issue. He is against eliminating the tax incentives for companies to keep profits overseas instead of reinvesting them in the American economy. McCain even voted against an amendment to require companies to pay taxes on money they earn from foreign-made products sold in the U.S. Not only does McCain oppose closing the loophole, he is proposing massive new corporate tax cuts that won’t help American workers.

But there does seem to be one point of disagreement between McCain and Fiorina. When Fiorina was recently asked what her candidate would bring to the economy that President Bush has not, she replied: “A focus on job creation.” Senator McCain must not agree that Bush has failed to focus on job creation because he famously declared that we have made great economic progress over the last eight years and he has made the perpetuation of Bush’s failed policies a key part of his “Jobs for America” plan.