Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SOTU: Focus on the External Sector

Trying to look past the continuously frustrating President's and GOP's typical  out of paradigm rhetoric, there were some significant statements related to the external sector. Here is an excerpt from that part of the speech (at Politico):
What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh. We can’t bring back every job that’s left our shores. But right now, it's getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, America is more productive [Ed: "let's get in the Race to the Bottom"].  A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home. Today, for the first time in fifteen years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.
So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back. But we have to seize it. Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed. We should start with our tax code.
Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it. So let’s change it. First, if you're a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn't get a tax deduction for doing it. That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home [Ed: "taxpayer on the hook"].
Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax [Ed: How do you do that when the foreign subsidiaries don't even earn USDs?]. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here. Third, if you're an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you're a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making products here. [Ed: What is "high tech" and who gets to decide?]  And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers. My message is simple. It’s time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I’ll sign them right away.
These "reforms" seem very convoluted and more or less look to provide a subsidy to certain firms and industries who will have to obtain some sort of favored status in order to qualify. Some form of a broad import duty (or the oft mentioned by Beowulf import certificate system) would be a lot simpler and probably more effective.  Nevertheless, if any of these proposals go through the external balance may be significantly effected.


Anonymous said...

His speech is consistent with the current theme: Only the private sector can create jobs

Tom Hickey said...

Laura: His speech is consistent with the current theme: Only the private sector can create jobs

Should read "real jobs." "Everyone know" that police officers, firefighters, teachers, tax collectors, postmen, etc. and and politicians that are currently office holders, don't have "real" jobs. These are just make-work for those who could not make it in the private sector and are living off the taxpayers.

beowulf said...

Doubling exports but tripling imports won't help. The govt should focus on aggregrates instead of playing favorites, but "net exports" can't write campaign checks.

Anonymous said...

Well, not all the politicians, many of them make it big time in the private sector after their stint in government.