Last week, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) – a man ThinkProgress readers are familiar with – took to the House floor to bemoan the “insidious” tax on corporations. “We can compete with anybody,” Gohmert declared, “if you take off that insidious tax” on business. Watch it:
Gohmert’s defense of corporations are not the words of a single rogue congressman. Rather, sticking up for the big guy is an orthodoxy that pervades the Republican Party and the conservative movement. Newly-elected Gov. Scott Walker (R) of Wisconsin has pledged to repeal the state’s corporate income tax. Sen.-elect Marco Rubio (R-FL) wants to slash the federal corporate income tax. And Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) proposes completely eliminating the tax in his radical Roadmap for America.
Conservatives’ attempts to portray corporations as victims in this economy is dubious for two reasons. First, despite right-wing misinformation, American corporations actually already pay far less in taxes than those in other industrialized nations:
In fact, because of tax havens and other loopholes, many mega-corporations actually pay little to no taxes. The most recent high-profile example is Google, which has used income shifting and other tactics to reduce its effective tax rate to 2.4 percent. General Electric went a step even further. The company not only avoided all corporate income taxes last year, but actually recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.
Secondly, despite the myths that corporate taxes are “strangling” business, and that President Obama is “anti-business,” a report released today from the Commerce Department shows that American companies actually brought in record profits during the last quarter. With an annual profit rate of $1.66 trillion, the third quarter of this year produced “the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago.”
Still record profits are likely not enough to convince conservatives that corporations have it just fine in the U.S.. Even apologizing to mega-corporations that just dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico isn’t enough. Right-wingers like Gohmert and Ryan will not be satisfied until we give tax-free status to all corporations.