Several corporate CEOs representing the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group, were on Capitol Hill today to unveil a set of measures that they claim will boost the economy. Not surprisingly, some of the high-profile items are a cut in the corporate tax rate and shifting to what’s known as a territorial tax system:
Fresh out of a meeting with members of the Blue Dog Coalition, dozens of CEOs in town for a series of Business Roundtable policy and lobbying meetings today unveiled proposals to boost the economy.
The plan, billed as “Taking Action for America,” calls for a balanced federal budget, a reform of federal regulations and a lower corporate tax rate based on a territorial tax system, among others.
A territorial system, as well as cutting the corporate tax rate without raising more corporate tax revenue, are both misguided proposals. But the interesting thing about these particular CEOs pushing this particular policy prescription is that several of them already run corporations that pay little to nothing in taxes.
For instance, Boeing CEO Jim McNerny is part of the group calling for corporate tax cuts, despite the fact that his company has a negative federal tax rate for the last decade. Only twice in the last ten years has Boeing had federal tax liability in a given year, and between 2008 and 2010, the company made $9 billion in profits without paying any federal corporate income tax.
Andrew Liveris, president and CEO of the Dow Chemical, also joined the lobbying party, even though his company received nearly half a billion dollars in tax refunds in 2010. Proctor & Gamble’s CEO also participated, while heading a company very fond of exploiting loopholes to avoid taxes.
Corporate tax rates are already at a 40 year low. As billionaire investor Warren Buffett explained, “it is a myth that American corporations are paying 35 percent or anything like it…Corporate taxes are not strangling American competitiveness.” Yet corporate CEOs whose companies already pay literally nothing think driving rates down further is the answer to boosting the economy.