Earlier this month, National Journal’s John Maggs sat down with anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist to discuss the future of conservatism and the economy. Asked by Maggs about the tax cut proposals in President-elect Obama’s stimulus plan, Norquist said there was only one “real tax cut” in the plan, but that there are “two other tax cuts that the Democrats could do when they get stuck.”
Norquist then suggested expensing for all businesses and cutting the corporate rate, which he said in its current form is comparable to torture:
NORQUIST: The other tax cut you could do is cutting the corporate rate. The U.S. corporate rate is 35 percent; the European rate is 25 percent. Obama is a more international guy, so we should be close to the European average. We’ll stop torturing people, we’ll stop torturing corporations, and that will make us more like Europe.
This isn’t the first time Norquist has made an outlandish and offensive comparison. In 2003, Norquist compared the estate tax to the Holocaust, saying that they share the same “morality.” But not only is Norquist’s comparison contemptible, considering the very real moral and human cost of Bush’s torture policies, his idea of a corporate tax rate cut would be ineffective stimulus.
As the Center for American Progress’ Will Straw has pointed out, permanent corporate tax cuts have a poor track record for providing stimulus:
The track record for such steps is poor in general, but they are particularly ill-suited for a recessionary period. After all, the reason that businesses and individuals are not investing at the moment has little to do with the taxes they may pay in the future and everything to do with a fear of losing money because there is no demand in the economy, asset prices are highly volatile, and credit is hard to come by.
Citizens for Tax Justice has found that “every dollar lost from cutting the corporate income tax would increase real GDP by just 30 cents,” which is a stimulative effect that would hardly justify slashing the corporate rate.