When Barack Obama gives a speech, whether it’s a State of the Union address or a campaign pitch, an unfavorable fact check is practically de rigueur. However, Obama’s effort to make his point on corporate taxes got so badly botched on so many points that actually negated his entire argument that taken together they make for a rather potent Obamateurism. The Cato Institute did the research that Obama should have done for himself:
Claim: “Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas.”
False: There are no such breaks. Instead, we punish U.S. and foreign businesses for investing and creating jobs here.
Claim: “If you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it.”
False: There is no such tax deduction.
Claim: “No American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas.”
False: America is not a prison camp. Besides, imposing a 40-percent tax rate on corporations that invest here is not a “fair share.”
Claim: “From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax.”
False: We’ve already got a corporate “alternative minimum tax,” and it’s an idiotic waste of accounting resources that ought to be repealed.
Claim: “It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas.”
False: We penalize them for locating jobs here. Besides, the overseas operations of U.S. companies generally complement domestic jobs by boosting U.S. exports. …
Claim: “If you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.”
False: It’s a horrible idea to create special breaks for certain types of government-favored businesses. It would simply encourage the exact type of tax game-playing and lobbying that the president decries. What’s a “high-tech” manufacturer? What’s an “American” manufacturer? What’s a “manufacturer”? How “hard hit” do towns need to be?
Obama managed to get only one thing correct about the corporate tax: it’s the highest in the free world. That’s why every effort to reform it, whether from Republicans or from the President’s own deficit commission, proposes to reduce it. The Bowles-Simpson committee gave those recommendations to Obama more than a year ago, and Obama has yet to act on it. And he’s given two SOTU speeches since, apparently without bothering to read the report or the laws he’s demanding to change.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!