Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Obama Needs To Whip Dems Into Line Over Tax Havens

President Barack Obama has taken a bold stance on the issue of corporate tax havens and what to do about them. For far too long companies have gotten away with the ability to do business in the United States but avoid paying taxes by utilizing off-shore bank accounts. They've been robbing America for years and years. Now is the time to put that shameful, greedy practice to an end. Yet back in the 1980s and 1990s, much of the Democratic party became the "party of business" just as the Republicans already were. Loving corporate donations became a bipartisan affair and both parties are going to fight the reform and possibly the elimination of these tax havens.

Already, we see the opposition forming:

May 5 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama’s plan to end tax breaks for U.S.-based multinational companies drew a skeptical response from fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill, indicating that his plan may face obstacles on its path through Congress.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, called for “further study” of Obama’s proposals within minutes of the president’s announcement yesterday. Representative Joseph Crowley, a Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said he’s wary because the tax changes would hurt Citigroup Inc., his New York district’s largest private-sector employer.

Natalie Ravitz, a spokeswoman for Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, said that any tax overhaul should not lead to “unintended consequences.”

The vagueness from Boxer's office is given a little more clarity by Crowley's worry for Citigroup. What this group of Democrats are worried about is the amount of contributions from multi-national corporate donors.

God forbid we subject these bloated companies to the tax laws that apply to everyone else, from the individual taxpayer to the struggling small business owner. Would an "unintended consequence" be the leveling of the playing field in American business Senator Boxer? "Further study" is acceptable, Senator Baucus, only if it means Congress gets the ball rolling on smart, diligent and timely reform for corporations that take advantage of loopholes in our tax code. However, if "further study" is merely a way of scuttling the legislation, then that is unacceptable and the President should make sure Baucus, Boxer and the rest of them understand that.