Debt & Taxes
Corporations Duke It Out over Tax Reform
Monday, July 22, 2013 - 11:52am
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The latest congressional effort to overhaul the U.S. tax code is pitting major U.S. companies like Microsoft and General Electric against each other. The major line of contention is a proposal to close offshore tax loopholes that benefit companies like Microsoft that pay lower tax burdens by shifting their profits overseas. General Electric said it would support the proposal in exchange for lower corporate tax rates.

The U.S. currently has the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world---35 percent. However, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office, U.S. companies paid an average income tax rate of 12.6 percent in 2010 by utilizing the offshore loophole.  Adding fuel to the debate, global finance ministers from the Group of 20 largest economies endorsed the elimination of offshore tax loopholes at a meeting in Moscow on Saturday.  -  Read more at The Wall Street Journal

OBAMA’S APPROVAL RATING DROPS SECOND STRAIGHT QUARTER President Obama’s approval rating dropped for the second straight quarter amid growing controversy over his health care reform law and immigration reform, according to Gallup’s daily tracking polls. The president’s approval rating dropped two percentage points -- from 49.7 percent to 47.9 percent, in the second quarter of the year. The public’s view of the president has soured considerably since the final quarter of 2012, when he had a 51.9 percent approval rating after his reelection.
 
The president’s declining approval numbers come as his administration prepares for a rollout of the Affordable Care Act Oct.1 and while the White House continues to press lawmakers on the economy and immigration reform.  -  See the poll at Gallup

OBAMA HITS THE ROAD TO TOUT ECONOMIC PLANS     The President will kick off a series of speeches on his plans to rebuild the economy at Knox College in Illinois on Wednesday. Senior presidential adviser Dan Pfeiffer said in an email to supporters, “The president thinks Washington has largely taken its eye off the ball on the most important issue facing the country.” Instead of talking about how to help the middle class, Pfeiffer said, “too many in Congress are trying to score political points, refight old battles and trump up phony scandals.” Obama also plans to push for increased infrastructure spending and universal pre-kindergarten programs in stops including Warrensburg, Mo.  -  Read more at Bloomberg

ECONOMY STUCK IN NEUTRAL    Economists predict that U.S. economic growth will be stuck in neutral the rest of the year after a slew of disappointing economic data and lower-than expected corporate earnings. “Few are predicting the kind of substantial rebound needed to quickly bring down unemployment, raise wages and insulate the U.S. from economic threats abroad,” The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cassleman writes.

“There also are signs that consumers—whose spending has helped prop up the economy for much of the past year—are beginning to tighten their belts. Retail sales grew a paltry 0.4 percent in June, Commerce Department figures showed, and they would have been even worse if higher gasoline prices hadn't forced drivers to spend more at the pump.” -  Read more at The Wall Street Journal

MOST DOCTORS AREN’T READY FOR OBAMACARE     Just 11 percent of doctors say their state’s new health exchanges will meet the Oct 1 deadline to begin enrolling the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act, a new survey by LocumTenens, a physician recruitment website, shows. The poll also found that very few respondents (about 3 percent) were familiar with how the state exchanges would affect their business and patients. Meanwhile, about 56 percent were not at all familiar with how their patients and businesses would be impacted by the new exchanges. -  Read more at CNBC

Washington Correspondent Brianna Ehley, based in D.C., covers Congress, government agencies and spending issues, health care, and tax and economic policy for The Fiscal Times.