6,243 Lobbyists Or 11 Lobbyist For Every Member Of Congress,
Registered To Lobby Congress On Taxes In 2017
Remember a few years ago, when those talking about “tax reform” said they wanted to lower corporate tax rates, but would close loopholes to balance the impact? That’s not what’s in our stocking.
NPR says, “Trump might get the gift he’s been wanting for a while right before Christmas.” It’s not just a political gift; it’s a gift to the investor class, of which the president is, of course, a member.
But maybe “gift” is the wrong term. After all, the tax bill Congress will vote on this week is the result of untold hours of work by literally thousands of corporate lobbyists. Think of it more as return on investment, investment in political influence, that is.
According to a recent report from Public Citizen, “a total of 6,243 lobbyists have been listed on lobbying disclosure forms as working on issues involving the word “tax” in 2017. That equals 57 percent of the lobbyists who have reported any lobbying activity in 2017 and is equivalent to more than 11 lobbyists for every member of Congress.”
“Many of the discrete tax issues that these lobbyists and organizations have sought to influence are at the heart of the debate over the current legislation,” the group founded by Ralph Nader said in its report, “Swamped.” Corporate tax rates, repatriation of corporate profits, intra-organizational transfers of assets, depreciation rules and deductibility of interest were among frequently listed topics by the organizations that have hired the most tax lobbyists.”
The NY Times reported that the Business Roundtable, “desperate to remove the corporate alternative minimum tax, worked behind the scenes, calling lawmakers and raising concerns about how it would effectively kill the ability of companies to utilize the prized research and development tax credit.” They succeeded.
Remember Donald Trump saying on the campaign trail that “hedge fund guys are getting away with murder,” by using a tax break commonly known as the “carried interest loophole?” The loophole survived the “reform.”
The GOP bill ends taxation on most of the foreign-profits gained by so-called “American” firms, a measure that has long been on the agenda of the multi-national corporate lobby. Take a look at this 2013 report from the Heritage Foundation, which says a “territorial tax system would create jobs and raise wages.” The argument goes something like this: if multi-national corporations are taxed less on their foreign operations, they will have more incentive to invest in job-creating enterprises in the USA, and that will create jobs. In other words, take a walk on the supply side.
Not only could this have been predicted, it was. I’m currently reading People Get Ready: the Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy,” by John Nichols and Robert McChesney, who single out the tax system as an example of the rigged system. “Americans are told that tax cuts for the wealthy and for multi-national corporations must simply be accepted on faith as the necessary cost of doing business in modern times,” they write.
“Speaker of the House Paul Ryan” they write, “has long been a supporter of the ‘territorial tax’ scheme, which would let US-based multi-national corporations avoid paying taxes on dividends they receive from foreign affiliates… Ryan is always pitching proposals to balance budgets on the backs of working people while opposing tax hikes for wealthy campaign donors and corporations.”
If you didn’t look at the title page, which says the book was published in 2016, you might think you were reading the morning news.
It’s not all over; there’s still a chance that two or more GOP Senators could rebel. If you live in Maine or Arizona, pick up the phone and call your Senators.
This article first appeared in InZane Times by Arnie Alpert