Inversions have been in the news consistently this summer as multiple companies have looked for legal paths away from the U.S. corporate tax system. Burger King became the latest corporation to add to the list after they...
- The Tax Policy Blog
- Tax Reform’s Honorable, Yet Vague, Mention in the Inaug...
Tax Reform’s Honorable, Yet Vague, Mention in the Inaugural Address
Inaugural addresses are not known for their in-depth policy discussions and Monday afternoon’s was no different. However, Obama did mention—without going into any detail—the need to “revamp our tax code.” It left a lot to be desired for those looking for a few specifics from the president dealing with tax reform.
To be fair, tax policy is not a very popular subject at an inauguration. For a little historical perspective, according to transcripts of presidential inaugural addresses, the word “tax,” or any variation of the word, has only been mentioned around fifty times since George Washington. The president that mentioned the word the most—ten times, or 20% of all inaugural mentions—was Ronald Reagan. The last time the word "tax" was explicitly mentioned in an inaugural address was in 2001 by George W. Bush as he was outlining his plan to cut taxes. It is not out of the ordinary to gloss over details of tax reform, or not mention it at all, during an inauguration speech. So it is interesting that he took the time to mention it at all.
Today it still remains to be seen what President Obama envisions as a revamped tax code. One hopes he takes into consideration his own words from 2011: “We have a burdensome corporate tax code with one of the highest tax rates in the world.” He was absolutely correct then, but the situation is actually even worse today. Now that Japan has lowered their corporate rate from 40.69% to 38.01%, America has the highest statutory tax rate in the world, falling even further behind. America’s high corporate tax rate costs the U.S. economy greatly. Countless studies have shown that higher corporate tax rates reduce economic growth, lower wages, increase prices for consumers, and harm U.S. competitiveness. The U.S. government needs to get serious about its high corporate tax rate if it wants to see sustained economic growth and a simpler tax system.
There are many beneficial ways to reform the tax code to be simpler and more conducive to economic growth, but cutting the corporate income tax seems like the best place to start.
Subscribe to the Tax Foundation Newsletter
Join the Tax Foundation's fight for sound tax policy Go
About the Tax Policy Blog
The Tax Policy Blog is the official weblog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.