ThinkProgress filed this report from a campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
A member of the local Rotary Club stood yesterday to ask former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) a question weighing on the minds of millions of jobless Americans: At a time when corporations are sitting on record amounts of cash, why are the Americans who can least afford it being asked to shoulder the burden of trillions of dollars in potential budget cuts?
But Romney dodged the question, ignoring the plight of the poor and unemployed, and instead launched into a speech about how American jobs were being outsourced to developing countries with cheap labor and miniscule tax rates because the U.S. has made itself unattractive to major corporations. Instead of sticking up for Americans who are facing cuts to the safety net programs they desperately need, Romney took the opportunity to proclaim that America’s problems could be fixed if it gave corporations yet another tax cut:
QUESTIONER: We obviously need cuts to the budget…but many of the recipients of those programs are Americans whose jobs have gone places where labor is cheap. So corporate profits remain high and in some cases higher than ever. Is it fair to ask those Americans to shoulder reductions in favor of businesses and corporations who have sent those jobs overseas?
ROMNEY: [...] We need to make ourselves the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs and pioneers and businesses, just like it was when the Founders created this country. How do you do that? One, you make sure our employer tax rates aren’t the highest in the world. Right now they’re tied with Japan as the highest in the world. They’re about 10 points higher than the corporate tax rates in many of the countries in Europe.
Not only did Romney seemingly ignore the concerns raised by the question, his answer perpetuated the false idea that American corporations are subject to the highest tax rate in the world. In reality, those corporations pay an effective rate that is among the lowest in the industrialized world. Some of the nation’s largest businesses, in fact, had effective tax rates that were actually negative.
Meanwhile, the GOP continues to support cutting funding from programs that help the jobless and the poor. But for Romney, that’s easily justifiable: corporations, already earning record profits, need a tax break to go along.