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If We Just Cut Corporate Tax Rates Enough, We Might Finally Convince Corporations To Do Their Jobs

By Emily Cutler | Last Week Tonight | April 16, 2018 |

By Emily Cutler | Last Week Tonight | April 16, 2018 |


So I’d like to start by reminding everyone that doing taxes sucks for virtually no reason other than the fact that a few powerful companies spotted a way to make money. I use Turbo Tax or H&R Block every year, and every year I curse their terrible names (also I secretly enjoy doing my own taxes. It’s like a video game that gives you real money. And there’s paperwork. Who doesn’t love paperwork?).

But outside of the actual doing of the taxes, people are getting screwed over by the very perception of paying taxes. Namely that, unlike what Cardi B continually asserts, the government isn’t “taking” your money. The government is charging you for all of the goods and services it provides on a yearly basis. And there are all of the receipts and list of things that the government does, it’s just really goddamn boring.

That’s not to say I don’t understand Cardi’s frustration though. I get that my tax dollars are supposedly going towards maintaining infrastructure and subsidizing public transportation costs, but when my overcrowded el is delayed each morning, it’s hard to identify with the actual value I’m receiving for my payments. (It also makes me want to strangle every single person who voted against putting money into Chicago’s public transportation systems, but that’s another rant.) It’s especially hard to swallow paying thirty-percent of your salary towards benefits that seem, at best, shittily run when there’s also this fuckery happening.

See, for me at least, it’s one thing to pay for public schools, public transportation, public parks, and whatnot. I use all of those to some extent. It’s significantly different to know that I’m paying so a multinational corporation will do its fucking job.

And that’s been the basic idea behind lowering taxes to create jobs. Society needs businesses in order to supply us with the goods and services we want. The government, theoretically, needs many successful businesses in order to provide people with jobs so they don’t starve to death/revolt. Which now means that the government seems to think it’s in its best interest to make sure businesses are able to create more jobs. Or at least lie to people to tell them that in order to create more jobs, corporations will need large tax cuts, preferential treatment, and virtually no oversight.

I’d like you to run all of that by your bosses today if you get the chance. “Sorry, Janet, but in order to do the things I promised you I’d do in exchange for money, I’m going to need you to pay me fourteen-percent more, and get rid of that ‘wearing pants’ requirement.”

Of course, the issue is that the government just giving corporations more money doesn’t even usually result in more jobs. It results in corporations having more money. You could argue that increased wealth for investors is as noble and valuable a goal as creating jobs, except the fuck it is. We both know that’s not the case because no one is arguing for tax cuts in order to increase dividends. They’re arguing it creates jobs, and, so far, it just, you know, hasn’t.

So to be clear, the “let’s cut corporate taxes” public argument is that we need to pay corporations in order to do the thing we expect them to do, and then they don’t even actually do it. And then the response to that is, “This isn’t working. We’d better cut taxes more.” Which means if you really want to simplify your taxes next year, might I recommend incorporating? They seem to get to do just whatever the fuck they want.

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