House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) appeared on CNBC today, where he endorsed giving a $78 billion tax break to some of the nation’s largest corporations, even though an identical plan passed in 2004 failed to deliver on its promise of economic growth and job creation. Later in the interview, Ryan revealed that he has little idea of the extent of the country’s corporate tax problem, as he thinks mega-manufacturer Boeing — which hasn’t paid a dime of federal corporate income taxes in three years — has an “extremely high” tax rate:
Sure, you can say GE and others [pay no taxes], but there are lots of large corporations that pay these high effective tax rates. UPS was 34 percent this year, I think. I talked to [Boeing CEO] Jim McNerny a couple of weeks ago, their tax rate is extremely high, far higher than their competitors. So when you tax American competitors a whole lot more than our foreign competitors tax theirs, they win and we lose.
As Citizens for Tax Justice found, Boeing has made $9 billion in profits over three years, while not paying any corporate income taxes. In fact, the company received tax benefits of $178 million over that period. But Boeing’s lack of a tax bill didn’t stop Ryan from pushing to give it another tax break, and it hasn’t stopped the company itself from lobbying for a corporate tax cut.