Lawmakers and Mr. Obama have also expressed hope of reaching an agreement on an overhaul of the tax code, but have shown few signs of being able to forge the politically difficult compromises required. Business groups reacted coolly to initial details of the proposal on Sunday, which would impose a one-time 14% tax on approximately $2 trillion in accumulated foreign earnings. They would also face a 19% minimum tax on future foreign profits.
?Congressional Republicans have rejected many of the spending proposals underpinning Mr. Obama’s budget when many in the GOP remain focused on reducing the budget deficit.
“If he comes with a serious [budget] proposal that meets those principles of lowering the deficit and starts to deal with our long-term spending, I know Republicans would be glad to have that dialogue—but he’s got to come within those parameters,” said Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R., Ind.).
The White House still says it can reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion over the next decade, relative to current levels. Some of the steps to get there, such as $638 billion in tax increases on top earners, are a nonstarter with Republicans and haven’t moved anywhere when proposed in the past. It also presumes $160 billion in savings from better economic growth from a comprehensive immigration overhaul that faces long odds in Congress.
One of the costs of success is that accumulated profits become the target of politicians eager to fund pet projects or to plug holes in their budgets left by profligate spending. This is as true of private individuals as of corporations. For global companies that have expanded beyond the confines of their domestic markets the tactics of both the US and Eurozone governments represent a challenge. To date they have used tax efficient strategies to avoid taxes but loopholes are steadily being closed. So far corporate inversions have been mostly between the USA, Canada and Europe but there is no reason that large companies cannot decamp elsewhere if the tax structure is more favourable. This is a topic which is likely to gain increasing coverage not least because government actions mean corporations will respond.Back to top