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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/27/15

Comprehensive Progressive Agenda & Wishlist Report

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It is about time to implement the following reforms that would ensure that corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share.

  • 17. Buffett Rule

    The Buffett Rule, suggested by extremely rich man Warren Buffett, would require tycoons to pay a base tax rate of 30%. Adopt https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffett_Rule">Buffett Rule to ensure secretaries don't pay more in taxes than the CEOs for whom they work. Buffett wrote in 2011 that he thought it was outlandish that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary does. The guideline's motivation is to raise government tax rates on America's wealthiest individuals and businesses.

    At a minimum, pass the https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/766">Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012 (H.R.766 -- 113th) proposed by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). It would raise $72 billion more than 10 years.

  • 18. Deducting "Performance pay" write-offs

    Most American citizens would be stunned to discover that they subsidize CEO rewards. A tax loophole clause permits companies to deduct from their taxable pay any sum paid to CEOs and their officials, as long as the the pay is called "performance-based." This means, by simply checking on a box that the more they pay their executives, the less they pay in government taxes. There is a growing chorus calling for closing the CEO Tax loophole that allows corporations to take advantage of http://www.americansfortaxfairness.org/tax-fairness-briefing-booklet/fact-sheet-tax-subsidies-for-ceo-pay/">"performance pay" write-offs.

    In the Congress, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) presented the http://www.reed.senate.gov/news/releases/reed-blumenthal-introduce-the-stop-subsidizing-multimillion-dollar-corporate-bonuses-act">Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonuses Act (S. 1476) in the 113th Congress. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) presented a companion bill https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr3970">Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonuses Act (H.R. 3970) in the House. Supporters believe these bills would raise $50 billion.

  • 19. Progressive Estate Tax

    Establish a Progressive Estate Tax. A portion of the ultra-rich have the capacity to take favorable position of loopholes so they pay nothing in inheritance taxes. Others exploit the way that the exclusion levels for the estate assessment are high -- $5.3 million for each person ($10.6 million for every couple.) President Obama proposes to restore the exclusions to their 2009 levels -- $3.5 million for an individual ($7 million for a few) burdened at a 45% top rate.This and other changes would raise $131 billion more than 10 years, according to http://www.americansfortaxfairness.org/files/Tax-Fairness-Briefing-Materials-Full-Packet-3-18-2015.pdf">Fair Taxation.org.

    Pass Responsible Estate http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/a-progressive-estate-tax_b_5784892.html">Tax Act by Sen. Bernie Sanders. If adopted, Sanders' bill would levy higher tax rates based on the size of the estate. For instance, for the value of estates above $ 50 million value would pay a 55 percent while a smaller estate whose value is above $3.5 million but less than $10 million would pay 40 percent.

  • 20. long-term Capital Gains and Dividends -- "investment income"

    Tax http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/key-elements/capital-gains/how-taxed.cfm">Capital Gains and Dividends the same as regular income. In 2015, the top marginal income tax for working pay is 39.6%, but the top tax rate on corporate dividends and capital gains is only 23.9%. To lessen this disparity, the tax rates on capital gains and dividends should be raised so they coordinate with the tax rates on pay rates and wages. These loopholes lead to avoiding paying $1.3 trillion more in taxes in 10 years, according to http://www.americansfortaxfairness.org/files/Tax-Fairness-Briefing-Materials-Full-Packet-3-18-2015.pdf">Fair Taxation.org. The preferential tax treatment of capital gains is perhaps the single largest driver of the creation of personal wealth.

  • 21. Social Security tax cap

    Eliminate the Cap on Taxable Income, which is $106,800, thereby imposing a flat tax of 12.4 percent on all earnings, that goes into the http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/what-impact-would-eliminating/"> Social Security Trust Fund.

    Social Security (SSA) taxes are imposed on earned income to a greatest level set every year. In 2015, this most extreme--or what is alluded to as the assessable income base--is $106,800. The assessable income base serves as both a top on employers' commitments and a top on SSA obligations. As a commitment base, it builds up the greatest measure of every workers incomes that is liable to the payroll charge. As an advantage base, it sets up the greatest measure of incomes used to figure benefits.

    According to one https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32896.pdf">analysis, raising or taking out the top on wages that are liable to assessments could lessen the long-go shortfall in the Social Security Trust Funds. Case in point, if the most extreme assessable income sum had been brought up in 2005 from $90,000 to $150,000--generally the amounts expected to cover 90% of all income--it would have dispensed with approximately 40% of the long-extended deficiency in Social Security. On the off chance that all incomes were liable to the taxes, yet the base was held for advantage counts, the Social Security Trust Funds would stay intact for the following 75 years. On the other hand, having diverse bases for commitments and advantages would debilitate the conventional connection between the assessments workers pay into the system and the benefits that they would derive from it.

  • 22. Tax shelters

    Major companies like Apple, Nike, Citigroup and another 362 companies were reported to have set up 1,357 auxiliaries and 7,827 offshore shell companies to stash almost $2 trillion in spots like Cayman Island and Bermuda with a specific goal to avoid paying U.S. taxes, costing the U.S. Treasury an expected $90 billion in lost income for each year, as per a study by the http://www.uspirg.org/reports/usp/offshore-shell-games-2014">U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

    Some huge companies -- like Boeing, General Electric and Verizon -- have paid NO government taxes in some recent years. For example, http://www.taxjustice.net/2015/06/17/12466/">Walmart has built a secret network of 78 subsidiaries and branches in 15 overseas tax havens, now holding at least $76 billion, which are used to minimize foreign taxes where it has retail operations and to avoid U.S. tax on those earnings. The wealthiest Americans are evading to pay their share, as well, with numerous paying a lower effective rate than many middle-class families.

    Repeal the http://www.thenation.com/article/how-to-repeal-the-tax-loophole-that-allows-companies-to-hide-their-profits-in-offshore-accounts/">Tax Loophole that businesses and the wealthy utilize in sheltering their profits, even entire incomes, in foreign countries, to avoid paying taxes.

    Numerous U.S. corporations utilize offshore tax havens and other bookkeeping tricks to avoid paying as much as $90 billion a year in income taxes. A substantial loophole clause at the heart of U.S. tax law permits companies to avoid paying taxes on outside profits until they are brought home. Known as "deferral," it gives a big incentive to keep profits offshore as far as might be feasible. Numerous companies are known to never bring their profits home and never pay U.S. taxes on them.

    Deferral gives companies, through clicking on a box in a tax form, huge incentives to utilize bookkeeping tricks so to make it create the fantasy that profits earned here were produced in a tax haven. Profits are piped through auxiliaries, frequently shell organizations with couple of workers and minimal genuine business movement. Viably, firms wash U.S. profits to avoid paying U.S. taxes. The capacity to put on the back burner these assessments for quite a long time or forever drives their motivation to utilize book-keeping devices to make it show up as if revenues were earned in nations where they won't be taxed -- like Cayman Island.

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I am an accounting instructor in Iowa. As a progressive, my mentor was the late Sen Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. I worked for him in all his campaigns since 1992 until his death in a plane crash in 2002. In all regards, he was a constant (more...)
 

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