Corporate tax inversions are getting a lot of ink now (thanks largely to the heavy lifting done by the Levin brothers–Carl in the Senate, Sander in the House, and Citizens for Tax Justice…not, respectfully, by the celebrity of the moment). The president has even spoken out a bit, though we will see whether that’s just mid-term elections political rhetoric. But, a related move is now on the agenda and I love the name: No Federal Contracts for Corporate Deserters Act.
Without a doubt, tax inversions should be stopped. But, in the meantime, an easy move would be to simply say: you wanna shift a huge piece of your profits abroad? Well, fuck you, don’t come knocking on the door of the taxpayers looking for federal contracts.
OK, so, Reps Rosa De Lauro and Lloyd Doggett, and Senators Dick Durbin and Carl Levin (there’s Carl again with actual action, not words), might not say it quite like I did. But, this will do:
“For too long we have let companies avoid their tax obligations at the expense of companies who pay their fair share,” DeLauro said. “Even worse, the federal government has been subsidizing this bad behavior, by continuing to reward inverted companies with lucrative federal contracts. These companies take advantage of our education system, our research and development incentives, our skilled workforce, and our infrastructure, all supported by U.S. taxpayers, to build their businesses. But when the tax bill comes due, they hide overseas. Yet suddenly, when federal contracts are being applied for, they are all as American as Uncle Sam once again. This has to stop.”“With every successful inversion, the tax burden increases on the rest of us to pay what the corporate inverter doesn’t,” said Durbin. “The burden is made worse by allowing companies to profit off of federal contracts paid for by U.S. taxpayers, while those very companies run from their U.S. tax responsibility. We should make permanent the long-standing ban on federal contracts for corporations that have renounced their American corporate citizenship.”
“Americans are rightly outraged at the wave of corporations seeking to abandon the U.S. to avoid their taxes,” Levin said. “We ought to put a stop to all inversions, but at the very least, we should stop these companies from receiving federal funding from the same American families who have to pick up the tax burden inverted companies shrug off.”
“Corporations that renounce their citizenship not only invert their business operations but pervert our laws,” said Doggett. “Those dodging their fair share of taxes should not be rewarded with taxpayer-funded government contracts.” [emphasis added]
It is kind of ludicrous: corporations that hide from the public when it comes time to pay for roads and other systems that lead to corporate profits have the gall to put out their hands when it comes to taking even more money from the public (which is essentially who pays for tax-funded federal contracts). Cut ’em off.