Someone will pay for tax code tweaks

Mark Twain famously said, “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” Every time I see or read or hear somebody discussing whatever it is that Congress is doing with the tax code, I think of Mark Twain.

It is common for people, especially businessmen, to say that the corporate income tax rates in America are the highest in the world.

It may be true that the NOMINAL rates are the highest in the world but what are the ACTUAL rates that are really paid by American corporations. Let us remember that the tax code is 7,000 pages long. The code has 15 or 20 pages to set a tax burden and then 6,980 pages of exceptions, exemptions, and other breaks that exist with the purpose of letting the “friends of the politicians” escape their rightful obligation.

Our leaders, who supposedly serve all the people, say we should cut the top corporate rate to 20 percent.

I say that is a great idea if everybody has to pay it. How does it happen that corporations send out annual reports to the shareholders bragging about record profits and then file income tax reports with the IRS that show zero corporate income tax obligation?

I have questions. Of all the companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is there a single company that pays an honest 35 percent income tax on its profits? Is there even a listed company that pays as much as 20 percent?

In all this discussion, we need to remind ourselves of an ugly, awkward fact about debt. DEBTS HAVE TO BE PAID. If the people who incur the debt do not pay it, then the people who come after them must pay it. If what I read is correct, the Congress is proposing to borrow $1,000,000,000,000 or $2,000,000,000,000 to give the current generation a tax break. This debt must then be paid back by our children and grandchildren who will suffer a diminished standard of living because of the increased tax burden they will be saddled with.

Whatever happened to the old belief that the country that we leave to our children and grandchildren should be greater than the country we inherited? Looking at the country that my generation inherited compared to what our parents and grandparents had, this used to be true.

Looking at the additional $2,000,000,000,000 we are proposing to hang around our children’s necks, it seems this idea doesn’t matter anymore.

Larry Zollinger is a South Dayton resident.

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