When he was the majority leader in the GOP Senate under Trump, Mitch McConnell directed an outrageous and unaffordable tax cut of nearly $ 2 trillion for the rich through the Senate that they are now keen to hold on to. Andrew Harnik | AP
WASHINGTON – After Congress returns to town after hiatus on Labor Day-Rosh Hashanah, the country’s corporate class is working together to kill a key item on the legislature’s agenda: Legislation that helps people who are given a roadmap When lawmakers approved the $ 3.5 trillion budget “Reconciliation” resolution in August.
Their reasons have little to do with the reconciliation programs, including an expanded earned income tax credit, elements of the Green New Deal, expanded and improved childcare – and better pay for caregivers – perpetual paid family and sick leave , or even the Law on the Protection of the Right to Organize (PRO).
Instead, their goal is to preserve the financial bonanza that the GOP Trump regime and a GOP-led Congress gave them: lowering more than $ 1.7 trillion in personal and corporate taxes.
Progressives and unions are fighting back, particularly defending the virtual lifting of the 2017 tax disaster between Trump and GOP.
“We must not waste this historic opportunity to take action against tax avoidance by offshore companies and to align our tax regulations with the interests of the working population and not with the ultra-rich and multinational corporations,” wrote the AFL-CIO and 13 trade unions leading lawmakers.
Outside in the open and behind closed doors
A corporate campaign vehicle that is present both openly, in tweets and statements as well as behind closed doors in lobbying and campaign contributions is the “America’s Job Creators For A Strong Recovery”, an amalgamation of 28 industry groups.
Led by the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, the Job Creators launched in May include the notoriously anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors. Separately, the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business are also trying to crush laws, especially tax increases, that make reconciliation possible.
But the PRO Act, the most comprehensive labor law piece of legislation for workers since the original National Labor Relations Act, particularly angered the NFIB, a key cog of the radical right.
“The PRO Act would dramatically expose longstanding labor laws in favor of unions – at the expense of # small businesses and employees,” said a tweet by the NFIB.
The analysis of the NFIB deals in particular with the severe restrictions of the PRO Act with regard to the evasion of “independent contractors” by employers. This misclassification deprives workers of the right to organize and rights to unemployment benefits and employee compensation. It also puts the employer’s share of wage taxes for Social Security and Medicare on the workers’ backs by adding their own shares.
“@Chadheinrich says PRO Act would bring California-style independent contract rules to the rest of the country,” read a follow-up tweet from the NFIB subsidiary in Arizona. “Less flexibility, less choice, more litigation when the PRO Act passes, bad news for small businesses. We count on @SenatorSinema and @SenMarkKelly. “
That tweet also hints at another part of the company’s strategy: addressing “moderate” lawmakers who are suspicious of social program reconciliation would pave the way for Sens. Krysten Sinema and Mark Kelly, both D-Ariz., And Joe Manchin level. DW. Virginia, and the nine Democrats in the House of Representatives who threatened to vote against the reconciliation.
They said they would kill it – and had enough votes for it since House MPs only have a 220-212 majority – unless Biden-GOP’s $ 978 billion “compromise” infrastructure plan came first. House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-California, cleverly deflected her threat. The infrastructure will be completed in September. Reconciliation already existed.
Another coalition of companies is Reforming America’s Taxes Equitably (Rate), a group of 35 of the country’s largest corporations founded a decade ago. These include AT&T, Boeing, General Dynamics, Home Depot, FedEx and UPS, the pharmacy chain CVS, the Edison Electric Institute – the lobby for “investor-owned” utilities – Ford, Nike, Verizon and Walmart.
The award also includes the National Retail Federation, a major enemy in raising the federal minimum wage. Co-chaired by veteran Democrat Elaine Kamarck, Rate Crusades for Lower Corporate Rates. Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, Ind-Vt., A reconciliation legislature, plan to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% as part of their withdrawal of the Trump GOP tax cut.
“We believe that a lower corporate tax rate would better enable US companies to compete in today’s globalized marketplace. We believe that the best way to achieve a more competitive tax system is to directly lower the overall corporate tax rate, ”said Rate’s guideline.
Lobbying spending is a different matter. There is Big Pharma, led by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PHARMA) – and there are everyone else. PHARMA alone has already spent $ 15.22 million in the first half of this year alone, reported OpenSecrets.org. This is in addition to the lobbying expenses of individual pharmaceutical companies. Pfizer led them ($ 6.67 million). The lobbying of the pharmaceutical industry aims, among other things, at anti-reconciliation.
Pharmaceutical lobbying through the roof
Pharmaceutical lobbying expenses totaled $ 171.6 million as of June 30. That’s one of nine dollars all companies nationwide spent on lobbying in the first half of 2021. In contrast, the unions spent a combined $ 22 million in the same six months, OpenSecrets found.
There’s another reason Big Pharma wants to kill everything out of reconciliation. This $ 3.5 trillion plan would not only increase domestic corporate tax rates, it would also introduce a 15% federal tax on foreign profits. Big Pharma has many foreign plants. And, most importantly, for drug makers, Medicare would allow Medicare to cut drug prices just as the Veterans Affairs Department, Medicaid, and the Department of Defense can now bargain for.
Since these four agencies account for roughly half of all US health care spending, including drug spending, if the largest of them, Medicare, cut prices, it would also cut revenues and profits for drug companies.
“At least 60 new treatments and remedies will be sacrificed if this’ drug price negotiation” proposal becomes a reality and provides further evidence that patients with devastating diseases could be denied access to medicines now and in the future, “said PHARMA CEO Steven Ubl on his website. “Congressmen shouldn’t make the wrong choice that we need fewer life-saving treatments to reduce drug costs.”
Progressive groups and lawmakers are sounding the alarm over efforts by corporations to keep their fortunes by avoiding taxes, including the proposed increase in foreign profits. “That is what oligarchy and a corrupt political system are all about. The rich and big corporations get richer, and their lobbyists do everything to protect their wealth and greed. Not this time, ”tweeted Sanders.
“Our members live and work in every congressional district in the country, and they expect their representatives in Congress to take action now to fix the broken system that is putting their jobs at risk,” the AFL-CIO and eleven unions wrote to MP Richard Neal, D-Mass., Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, just before Labor Day.
“At the moment, offshore profits of American companies are taxed at about half the tax rate applied to US profits under the rules of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017,” the unions said. “Other provisions in the TCJA penalize companies for investing here.
“According to the Joint Tax Committee, US multinationals currently pay an effective tax rate of 7.8%, which is well below the effective tax rate of 18.1% levied by our ten most important global trading partners. An impartial analysis by Reuters confirms that even if all proposed Build Back Better corporate tax reforms are implemented, US companies will pay an effective tax rate several points lower than that of their foreign competitors, ”added the unions (their Emphasis). .
They also noted that Biden’s Treasury Department proposed two federal regulations to stop other corporate tax evasions. Action would be taken against firms selling to foreign firms in order to avoid US taxes by restricting these affiliated firms’ access to the US market. The other would forbid “inversions” in which the US multi integrates itself into a tax haven abroad and directs its profits there. Bermuda alone reported $ 97 billion in profits last year.
“This type of offshore corporation tax evasion… benefits corporate shareholders, who are mostly wealthy Americans and overseas investors. A recent study found that 40% of American company stocks are owned by foreign investors. Corporate tax evasion is bad business for working people – and our members know it, ”said the union’s letter to Neal.
In addition to the AFL-CIO, the other unions in the letter were the communication workers, the auto workers, the Teamsters, AFSCME, the teachers (AFT), the bakery-pastry and the tobacco workers and grain millers, the machinists, the technical and technical engineers, the national Education Association, the Service Workers, Unite Here, the Steel Workers and the Supply Workers.