Nearly three decades after the last major tax overhaul, both Democratic and Republican parties and President Barack Obama agree that cutting the corporate tax rate and taxing foreign profits differently would move the tax system in the right direction. The outdated corporate tax system does not raise as much revenue as the systems of most other rich countries, even as U.S. corporate profits have reached record highs, according to a new progress report and scorecard from the Council on Foreign Relations' Renewing America initiative.
The U.S. system for taxing corporate profits is outdated, ineffective at raising revenue, and creates perverse incentives for companies to shelter profits overseas. It is also, for most U.S. companies most of the time, a pretty good deal, which is one of the big reasons why any serious overhaul will be so difficult to achieve.
Peter Orszag and Cass Sunstein write that governments should use "nudges"—policies that harness economics and psychology to encourage certain behaviors—to deliver major benefits without imposing big costs on the public or private sector.
Taxes on oil consumption have long been a legislative third rail, yet concerns about the national debt may soon change that political calculus. Daniel Ahn and Michael Levi demonstrate that energy taxes can reduce the national debt and improve economic performance, all while reducing U.S. oil consumption.
The most recent PricewaterhouseCoopers tax rate study shows that we have undergone a period of significant growth, followed by a sudden economic downturn, and currently, a slow but inconsistent recovery.
Authors: Grover Norquist and Andrea Louise Campbell
Andrea Campbell tips her hand partway through her essay "America the Undertaxed" (September/October 2012) when she writes that "the central debate in U.S. politics is whether to keep taxes, particularly federal taxes, at their current levels in the long term or emulate other advanced nations and raise them."
Peter Orszag proposes a placeholder deal to get around Congressional gridlock over the expiring Bush tax cuts by establishing a temporary tax refund that would last until either a permanent deal was reached or the unemployment rate dropped.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.