By Matthew Rothschild on February 28, 2012

Republicans love to talk about how high the U.S. corporate tax rate is, and how bad that is.

But when you examine their arguments, their case falls apart.

They predicate it on the fact that the current tax rate is 35 percent. But because of creative accounting and loophole sneaking, the actual rate that corporations paid last year was just 12.1 percent.

Many of our biggest companies paid nothing in corporate taxes, or even got rebates.

Take GE, for example. In the last decade, it made $81 billion in profits but paid only 2.3 percent in corporate income taxes. And over the last five years, it got $2.7 billion in rebates.

So for all the crying over how high the corporate tax rate is, it’s pretty much a myth. As Robert Reich points out, corporate taxes used to account for one out of every three dollars of federal tax revenue back in Eisenhower’s day. Now they account for only one out of every ten dollars.

And no less a knowledgeable person on corporate profitability than Warren Buffett says that “corporate taxes are not strangling American competitiveness.”

We don’t need to lower corporate taxes. We need to close the loopholes so they start paying their fair share.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has already proposed lowering the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, though he cushions that by proposing to close loopholes, as well.

What’s likely to happen, however, is that Congress will agree to lowering the corporate tax rate while closing few, if any, loopholes that corporations routinely use.

That’s how Washington works these days.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Ron Paul Pummels Santorum in Debate."

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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