Both halves of Congress are trying to create a more fair tax plan that will promote growth and simplify the code. I am skeptical that anything will get done though as it appears that this Congress is incapable of doing anything significant.
Since Congress will almost certainly fail, I thought I would put my suggestion on the table. As I analyze it, it is probably the most likely plan that I have ever seen to encourage employment growth.
The first step is to not change anything for individuals except to increase the amount of money saved in long-term savings without tax penalty. This should be doubled from its present rate. The government is in the retirement business, and it isn’t doing a sufficient job of managing it. The government needs to get out of the retirement business because the government can rarely do something well. Social Security is a broken plan, and we all know it – we just need to transition out of the retirement business slowly so that we do not screw up the American workers that depend on Social Security.
Currently, the government taxes employees directly via the FICA tax on each dollar earned. The government increases this tax by assessing the employer an equal amount. This direct tax exceeds 15% and is used to fund Social Security. While it is essential to finance Social Security for today’s seniors, we need to get away from this transfer of cash from working Americans to retired Americans. We need to make it financially affordable for working Americans to save for retirement so that they can live off of their own money and not their children’s and grandchildren’s money. The fact that Social Security will be insolvent between 2025 and 2034 (depending on analyst assumptions) points to the fact that the system is systematically flawed. I have ranted on this in the past.
The biggest change in the tax plan is to change the way we tax our employers. Not just big companies but every employer – be they big or small. We need to reward companies for investing in their business and investing in their employees.
Currently, the corporate tax rate is around 35%. This tax burden is massive. Unfortunately, it is unevenly allocated and most directly hurts companies based in the US, primarily employs US workers, and principally sells to US customers. This is preposterous! Why is the federal government trying to hurt the best companies, but reward those companies that have substantial foreign investments?
My suggestion is to eliminate all tax loopholes in the corporate plan except for the ones that I itemize here. Yes, that means that Congress will never go along with me since every special interest lobbyist will argue and bribe vehemently to fight my simple and easy ideas. Here are the highlights of the plan:
- Corporate income tax is 35% for all income.
- Income taxed in a foreign country returned to the US corporate parent is the difference between the original tax paid and 35%. This balance of tax is still available for the following discounts (as well as all US based income).
- For every dollar that is paid to train employees plus one additional dollar, there is no US corporate tax. Corporations should be encouraged to train their employees so that money shouldn’t be taxed and additionally they should be rewarded by claiming 200% of that investment up to 35% of corporate income. This reduction in taxes is good for the company, great for the employees, and magnificent for the US economy. In the 21st century, only smart workers are valuable, and we need to increase that pool of people.
- Today, wages and benefits to employees are already written off and not counted toward income. This expense will remain the same (as with all business expenses) however if the employer hires more workers in the US and its territories from the previous year then the company should be rewarded. The company will be able to write off that new employee’s wages plus an additional 300% up to 35% of corporate income. Please note that this is ONLY for the growth of full-time employees from the previous year to the current year. The employer doesn’t get to deduct this cost for perpetuity but only for the first year. Also, note that this doesn’t allow the employer to increase foreign-based workers, the workers have to be reporting to work in the US and its territories.
- Any improvements in facilities are already written off, and that will continue. However, this will be accelerated in my plan as the company can write off 200% of all INCREASES in facilities, marketing costs, sales costs, etc. as long as they are spent in the US and up to the 35% cap that already exists. They will be able to write this off in the year that the expense occurs. Note that this is only for increases in those costs over the previous year. If the company doesn’t grow those costs, then it is simply held at the standard 35% deduction, but if the company increases those investments in US-based assets, then the company can accelerate those year-over-year savings.
So how is this good for the US economy and the US worker? Simple, it is all about the economic growth, the growth of employment, and improving the lives of US workers. Companies that are unable to grow their business will not get this benefit, but companies that can employ more US-based people, create more US assets, and improve their ability to market to US-based customers will thrive. It puts America first in our corporate tax policy. It rewards companies that invest in America and it doesn’t help any company that chooses to invest internationally at the expense of America.
This plan will accelerate the return of money from foreign lands back to the US. This plan will encourage companies to hire more US-based workers and will significantly increase the quality of life of Americans.
This isn’t a giveaway to the corporations or a supply-side “hope for the trickle-down plan.” It only rewards companies that truly make the trickle-down (in the form of a gusher rather than a trickle) happen. No company will be able to take advantage of this plan unless they truly change that “trickle” to a firehose of economic prosperity.
This plan will never pass. Too many lobbyists will be hurt. Too many special interest groups will not have their interest served. However, this is one plan that would almost guarantee massive prosperity for the American middle class and therefore massively increased tax revenue for the Federal government.
It just makes sense which is why it will never be adopted by Congress. Simple things that make sense never seem to get done by Washington DC.