Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bush to CEO Cronies: "I Got Ya' Backs, Pay Less Tax"

[Yeah, I realize that post title is corny as hell. Spare me, it's a Thursday.]

Let's see, by my last tally: we were still knee deep (financially and otherwise) in a pointless war, we're so in debted to China that they won't even lend us a basketball player, and the stock market is goin' down faster than Paris Hilton in front of a camcorder. Just how goes President Bush propose solving these dilemmas?

How else? By giving his boys a(nother) massive tax cut.

President Bush said yesterday that he is considering a fresh plan to cut tax rates for U.S. corporations to make them more competitive around the world, an initiative that could further inflame a battle with the Democratic Congress over spending and taxes and help define the remainder of his tenure.

Advisers presented Bush with a series of ideas to restructure corporate taxes, possibly eliminating narrowly targeted breaks to pay for a broader, across-the-board rate cut. In an interview with a small group of journalists afterward, Bush said he was "inclined" to send a corporate tax package to Congress, although he expressed uncertainty about its political viability.

The president's comments came as he tried to calm volatile stock and mortgage markets and reassure the country that the economy is fundamentally strong.

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. briefed Bush yesterday morning on various possibilities for overhauling a corporate tax structure that he considers disadvantageous for U.S. business. A paper Paulson released last month said the corporate tax rate could be reduced from 35 percent to 27 percent by scrapping the research-and-development tax credit, a deduction for domestic production, breaks for interest on state and local bonds, and other special tax breaks.

The administration said the U.S. corporate tax rate, once modest compared with international competitors, is now second only to Japan's among 30 member states in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Moreover, officials said, Germany, France, Japan, Britain and China have signaled that they will or may cut their rates.

"Our tax structure makes us less competitive, and if we want to be a competitive nation, we've got to analyze a lot of things, including taxes, dependence on oil or good education policy," Bush said.
If we want to be a competitive nation, we could help our cause by simply building better products. If American auto manufacturers could put together a car that makes it past 50k miles without turning into a smoldering piece of crap, maybe folks would choose a Dodge Stratus over a Honda Accord. If GE could build a TV that didn't conk out after 2 years of light play, maybe I'd cop one instead of a Sony. Shoddy engineering and manufacturing is surely a small part (think also: services, lending, etc.) of our inability to compete with other nations economically, but putting trade restrictions on China for giving us rancid Puppy Chow ain't the solution. Neither is giving struggling corporations a Laqueeta Jenkins-sized welfare subsidy, a tax-cut disguised as something more noble.

I realize that helping the people who forked over the money that got you (and all other Republicans... and Democrats for that matter) elected is an necessary evil of residing in that Number One Spot, but c'mon, Americans ain't that dumb (at least I hope not). Not that we can do anything to stop you of course, but still.

At least Bush got one thing right.
Despite mounting concern over the downturn in the housing market, he dismissed proposals advanced by prominent Democrats to grant government-chartered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac more freedom to buy mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. And he ruled out any taxpayer bailout of lenders threatened by the subprime home-loan crisis.
Amen, brotha. These greedy financial institutions lent goo-gobs of home loans to people who shouldn't have been qualified in the first place. They made these risky decisions. Stevie Wonder could have seen that a person making $30k a year shouldn't qualify for a home in Beverly Hills. Bailing them out would just be too wrong.

Even for "W".

Bush May Try to Cut Corporate Tax Rates [WaPost]

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