In recent decades, corporate tax revenue has plunged, falling from about 6 percent of gross domestic product in the 1950’s to less than 2 percent today, due to a proliferation of corporate tax breaks and the use of offshore tax havens. According to the Congressional Budget Office, in fact, corporate tax receipts as a share of corporate profits have hit their lowest point in 40 years:
Corporate tax receipts as a share of profits are at their lowest level in at least 40 years.
Total corporate federal taxes paid fell to 12.1% of profits earned from activities within the U.S. in fiscal 2011, which ended Sept. 30, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That’s the lowest level since at least 1972. And well below the 25.6% companies paid on average from 1987 to 2008.
Even the 25.6 percent share of profits that went to corporate taxes over the last quarter century comes in below the top statutory corporate tax rate of 35 percent. Meanwhile, corporate profits are currently at a 60 year high, rebounding back to above where they were before the Great Recession hit.
At the same time that corporations are pulling in huge amounts of money, workers are seeing their wages shrink. Last year, real wages fell by 2 percent, and “many employees are also working longer hours and getting more done without raises or overtime pay.” “Part of the reason why business profits are so high is it is a zero-sum game, so labor is on the losing end of that,” said Aaron Smith, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Businesses are getting more out of each worker they have.”