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Horowitz: Taxation without representation: GOP must stop Biden’s global tax cartel

Horowitz: Taxation without representation: GOP must stop Biden’s global tax cartel

There’s nothing new about Europe wanting to take away American ingenuity, research and development, and freedoms and then make us pay for the rope to hang ourselves. What is new, however, is an American administration that is working with Europe on an international tax-cartel scheme that is designed to erode U.S. sovereignty, incentivize the growth of all governments, and penalize American taxpayers, consumers, and workers over those in other countries. It is why congressional Republicans must oppose the global corporate minimum tax scheme being adopted by the OECD and instigated by Biden’s treasury secretary, Janet Yellen.

What is the OECD Global Corporate Minimum Tax?

In 2021, the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development convened with the leadership of the Biden administration and European governments to combat the trend of lower taxation by instituting a global corporate minimum tax. The plan, which was agreed upon by 137 nations, is designed, as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has complained, to reverse a “30‐year race to the bottom” with lower taxation. The plan has two pillars:

  • Pillar One — Because of the growing trend of companies moving HQ to low-tax countries but then having intellectual property assets to conduct a large degree of business in other countries, the plan would reallocate some of the tax revenue to the countries where sales are done. All multi-national corporations with global sales above €20 billion would be subject to up to 25% taxation on all income above 10% profit. The OECD estimates that about $200 billion a year in profits would be reallocated from countries home to large MNCs to countries with few MNCs. Of course, this would harm the U.S. the most, which is home to the lion’s share of these companies.
  • Pillar Two – Every country would pledge to tax its own domestic companies at a minimum effective rate of 15%. That obviously is the prerogative of each individual country. However, as an enforcement mechanism for Pillar Two, the framework allows a country that has enacted the minimum tax on its own companies to “tax up” the effective rate on all subsidiaries of large foreign MNCs (with annual revenues above €750 million) operating in the country to 15%.

The OECD estimates that this pillar would raise global taxes by $150 billion a year. This would be the equivalent of allowing California to collect the balance of the lower tax burden companies pay from moving to Texas and Florida but conducting sales in its own state. It is designed to get countries to raise taxes in unison, rather than lowering them, thereby permanently sabotaging the incentive to lower taxes. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, $120 billion of that tax revenue would come from the U.S. to be redistributed to other countries.

Obviously, this agreement is not self-executing, and individual countries, including the U.S., must first adopt it in their respective legislatures. Some countries have adopted one or both pillars, including Switzerland where 80% of voters just adopted the 15% minimum tax.

The core problem: Incentivizing abuse of sovereignty and growth of government

It would be bad enough if there was an equal distribution of large corporations in all the participating countries in terms of the macro policy of incentivizing, rather than disincentivizing, high taxes and commensurate large growth of governments. It also erodes sovereignty by outsourcing tax policy that affects one country’s workers and consumers to the whims of political losers in socialist European countries. But it’s even worse because the U.S. is home to most companies (strategically) targeted in this agreement.

As former Texas Sen. Phill Gramm points out, most of the estimated $200 billion in redistribution of tax revenue will come from the U.S. and flow into foreign coffers. “Only two of the 25 top tech companies and two of the top 25 Fortune 2000 companies are based in Europe, while 18 and 13 are based in the U.S., respectively,” observed Gramm in a recent WSJ op-ed. “Denying amortization of intellectual property, allocating taxing authority based on where sales are made, and imposing what amounts to an excess profits tax on very large, highly profitable companies guarantees that American companies will pay most of the tax in virtually every nation in the world where the tax is collected.”

So, what is the breakdown of who shoulders the new tax burden? According to Gramm, “The Oxford Center for Business Taxation has estimated the U.S. will pay 64% of the profits tax, compared with 9.5% for China, 3.8% for the U.K., 1.6% for Germany and 0.7% for France.”

It’s no wonder every other country is adopting this scheme with alacrity. And sadly, now that we understand the anti-American values of this administration, it’s equally as unambiguous as to why they are enthusiastic about it.

Obviously, most of these American MNCs would include woke spewers like Pfizer. We’re no big fans of these companies. However, this agreement will encourage our government to either raise taxes domestically to recoup the loss or allow so much capital to flow to growing other governments while the cost in either scenario is passed down to American consumers and workers.

Other key problems

One can only imagine the nefarious schemes that will arise from this agreement becoming law. Here are a few considerations:

  • Welcome to the Global version of the IRS: The laws governing this reciprocal tax will be the most complex international tax and trade laws of all time. As Aharon Friedman, former senior tax counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee, recently warned, “It isn’t clear how these different taxes are supposed to interact or which country has the right to tax which income under which tax regime. In theory, only one country would have the right to tax any specific income but, inevitably, many countries will claim the right to tax the same income.” The only way to make this work would be the creation of a global revenue service. That would be the easiest way to implement ESG, central bank digital currency, and all of the global controls they intend to place on our bodies, minds, souls, property, and liberties.
  • Yes to corporate welfare, no low taxes: China, which donates nothing to the OECD, would be the biggest beneficiary. Although it has a higher corporate tax rate, it subsidizes the heck out of its industries with direct cash payments. So tax cuts, particularly America’s generous R&D credits, would be disincentivized under this plan, but not corporate subsidies. This would either place China at an even greater advantage or force the U.S. to move away from lower taxes and toward more crony subsidies, which is exactly what the left wants.

Biden’s illegal power play and the appropriate Republican response

Most egregiously, Biden is blackmailing Congress by threatening that if they don’t also adopt a 15% minimum global corporate tax, he will continue to encourage the other countries to unilaterally tax any American MNC the amount that company’s foreign subsidiary is taxed below the threshold. So they can tax our companies on U.S. profit simply if they feel our domestic tax rates are not high enough. That is in addition to these countries already adopting Pillar One, which is the percentage tax on sales over 10% profit margin in their countries, which is something hard to stop.

Although Republicans are typically united on tax issues, many of them have been tepid in their opposition to this scheme because they feel that Biden has already sabotaged us. As such, we have no choice but to adopt the minimum tax so at least there will be some degree of equal treatment of their corporations and at least the revenue will remain at home. But given that we supply 20% of the entire OECD governing body and remain the largest consumer market for many products, why not use our leverage to play hard ball and negotiate a better deal ahead of the planned 2024 implementation?

To that end, House Republicans should pass Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith’s Defending American Jobs and Investment Act, which would allow us to retaliate against any foreign company’s collection of a minimum tax with severe penalties to their companies. Moreover, among the many much-needed riders in the budget bill, there should be a prohibition on us joining the OECD plan, along with a provision conditioning all contributions to the partnership to the termination of this scheme.

Time is of the essence as the window for deterring this plot closes. We need to fight it with the same degree of zeal with which they are promoting it. The same reasons the globalists want it are why we should say “hell no”!

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Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz

Blaze Podcast Host

Daniel Horowitz is the host of “Conservative Review with Daniel Horowitz” and a senior editor for Blaze News.
@RMConservative →