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  • Morning Bell: The Highest Taxes in the World

    There aren’t many American-owned companies more iconic than Anheuser-Busch, the famous producer of Budweiser beer based in St. Louis, Missouri. That was true up until 2008, when the Brazilian-Belgian company InBev executed a hostile takeover of the historic brewer, leading to layoffs of more than 1,800 workers. Unfortunately, conditions in the United States are growing ripe for even more takeovers like these to occur, especially now that the nation’s corporate tax rate is officially the highest in the world.

    As of yesterday, the U.S. corporate tax rate of 39.2 percent claimed the world’s top spot, edging out Japan which recently lowered its rate from 39.5 percent to 36.8 percent. (The U.S. rate includes the 35 percent federal rate plus the average rate the states add on.) That’s well above the 25 percent average of other developed nations. Heritage’s Curtis Dubay explains the impact on companies based in the United States:

    This gaping disparity means every other country that we compete with for new investment is better situated to land that new investment and the jobs that come with it, because the after-tax return from that investment promises to be higher in those lower-taxed nations.

    Our high rate also makes our businesses prime targets for takeovers by businesses headquartered in foreign countries, because their worldwide profits are no longer subject to the highest-in-the-world U.S. corporate tax rate. Until Congress cuts the rate, more and more iconic U.S. businesses such as Anheuser-Busch will be bought by their foreign competitors.

    Unfortunately, in the face of this tax rate, the Obama Administration is proposing measures that will make matters even worse for U.S. companies. Last week, Vice President Joe Biden proposed a “global minimum tax” in a wrongheaded effort to encourage companies to invest in the United States instead of overseas. Just like the rest of President Obama’s corporate tax policy, it will just make matters worse — punishing firms that seek new opportunities in growing markets by taxing their earnings in those developing markets even more heavily than they’re already taxed. The net result will be to make it even more likely that the companies’ assets would go up for sale to overseas firms in order to escape the Obama tax penalty. Unfortunately, America’s workers pay the price for this destructive tax policy. Heritage’s J.D. Foster explains why:

    Economists and policymakers increasingly understand that while the tax is paid almost exclusively out of profits that would otherwise go to the shareholders, the true economic burden falls primarily on workers.

    The reason is simply that the higher the effective corporate tax burden, the higher the hurdle rate on corporate investment. (The hurdle rate is the minimum rate a business must earn on investment to make the investment.) The higher the hurdle rate, the less investment takes place. The less investment takes place, the slower labor productivity grows, and the slower labor productivity grows, the slower wages grow.

    Congress should act now to help make America more competitive on the global stage, and it can do so by reducing the corporate tax rate to match or preferably fall below the international average. The U.S. economy is struggling to recover from the global recession, and by lifting the burden of record-high corporate tax rates, Congress can give American companies incentive to grow and expand here at home. If not, the American people can expect to see more companies like Anheuser-Busch bought up by international competitors — and the jobs will go right along with them.


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    61 Responses to Morning Bell: The Highest Taxes in the World

    1. Ken Jarvis says:

      Tax the Rich,
      They have the $$$.

      • Ben C. says:

        Ken, glad to see your OK. However, define "rich", the tax rate, and the amount of revenue this will generate. While it is popular to have the "Robinhood" approach, this will not make a dent in the problem. The "one percent" are about 1.4 million tax payers. Tax them at 50% of their income and it generates 700 billion dollars (total, not in addition to what they already pay). This doesn't even pay one fifth of this years budget let alone reduction of the 16 trillion nations debt. By the way, your share is 137,000. Please forward your check to Obama – he likes to spend yopur money. Now just imagine how this will affect capital investment in companies. Opps, can't do it – the money has gone to Obama.
        Ken, the answer never has been increasing taxes, it is reduce spending. Somethings never change.

      • Bob Ward says:

        I really wish you would go away and go pollute one of the liberal websites! You need a new writer, Ken!

      • Clearhead says:

        Ken, you and your fellow stooges, (obama et al) need to go back and finish 2nd grade. That's where they really get into the complicated mathematics necessary to understand the American economy. Let's see, I believe they call it ADDITION AND SUBTRACTION.

      • Wayne Peterkin says:

        I am not going to get into a discussion on this point. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who argues that someone else's taxes should be raised but not their own is morally bankrupt. They do not have an ethical bone in their body. I am sick and tired of fools who think it's okay to steal someone else's property as long as no one steals their property. They are beneath contempt.

      • Stirling says:

        Spoken like a true socialist./comunist. Unfortunately Ken, you must not understand that the ideology also targets people like you as well, any assets are seen as fair game to take, as well as your 401K (if you have one.) Heritage has shown the facts that the "Rich" don't have enough to make a dent in this governments spending/debt.. Thus you are also a target for taxes.. Thus "Tax Ken", he has the $$$..

    2. toledofan says:

      Isn't it just an amazing thing that the Congress hasn't developed a budget for well over 1000 days, the price of gas is skyrocketing, the defeceit is out of control, we have troops in harms way, taxes going through the roof, Obamacare on the horizion and these guys think they need or deserve a vacation. If these guys and gals were running a business in the real world they all would be fired, manuy several months ago. The arrogance of the ruling class is beyond words and listeneing to Bidens remarks last week makes it clear these guys really think they are on the right track. What time does the revolution start?

    3. Bill Jensen says:

      A lot of the seemingly high corporate tax burden is greatly mitigated by the nyriads of deductions and exemptions obtained by high-priced and influential lobbyists. So big oil, healthcare, big pharma, etc., etc. – and a huge list of other wealthy corporations – pay little – or as in the case of GE for example – or no U.S. taxes. Your article should have pointed that out.

      • Drifter says:

        It should also point out that the entire concept of corporate taxation is a fraud on the public. Corporations do not pay a single dime in taxes–ever! Every penny of corporate taxes is passed to the consumer as higher prices for goods and services or to the stockholders as lower dividends.

        The corporation only acts as a stealth tax collector for the government and individuals end up paying all taxes.

      • O2BMe says:

        That is true, huge corporations have the money to pay lobbyists and lawyers to find all the loop holes and have moved jobs overseas. But, most of the jobs in this country are smaller businesses who cannot afford all of this and are saddled with all the taxes and regulations (some of which are useless,stupid and expensive). If lobbyists were fired and loop holes closed (fire the lawyers) we probably could have lower taxes.

      • Stirling says:

        The tax code is what it is, both democrat leaning and republicans leaning companies over the years have each gotten their breaks.. What many against "Big" this or that don't get is that anyone who might have a retirement account (401K, Roth, etc) , and yes even union pensions, have investments in these companies. To bash companies that pay, and grow your money is counter productive.. Only those that live off the government (and have no independence from the government) would purposely want the government to take more of their money thru higher taxes. Mitigated or not, keeping more of what you earn should be seen as a good thing.

    4. Paul says:

      What, or how can we citizens do something against this higher tax rate?

    5. Mike says:

      In addition to taxes, regulation, quality of life and competent workforce are factors in a businesses decision to locate in a country. The regulatory burden in the US is nearly 14% of earnings; America's education system is failing to effectively educate our children. As a result of its gargantuan entitlement burden, America's infrastructure is collapsing. It will not be enough to simply change the business tax rates. America must dismantle the Regulatory Branch of government; it must blow up the education establishment; and it must tackle the growth in entitlement spending.
      Otherwise, America better start studying the Greek Handbook for Managing Civil unrest.

    6. clarenceswinney says:




      INCLUDE INCOMES IN MILLIONS-4000-3000-2000-1000-500-100-50-10-1




      clarenceswinney old87uglymeanhonest political historian lifeaholics of america
      burlington nc Go Heels wait till Next Year

      • glynnda says:

        Ummmm…….can you learn decent written grammar?

      • Jim says:

        As for "Bush's" tax cuts, did the Dems vote for it the first time and,what last year, Dems voted for them again with Prezbo signing the bill? As for overseas wars,didn't Prezbo say he would get us out? Iraq yes he did, 3 years late and we are still in Afganistan. Oh well, such niceties go overlooked.

      • Stirling says:

        Thanks for the Global Socialist/Marxist talking points against Capitalism and America.. Unfortunately those that understand people like George Soros, and his many minions see right thru this kind of propaganda. When the "World View" is comprized of Dictator, Socialist, and Marxist Regeims which opress their people socially and financially it is not a side most people would be willing to stand with. Please try to understand what good is in this country, and not to want to throw the "baby out with the bathwater" mentality.

    7. Mustang says:

      The deconstructing of America continues….
      It's very sad to me….
      How much longer can it go on seemingly unapposed?

    8. Mary......WI says:

      Until the Senate majority is replaced with more Republicans and, of course, Obama is NOT re-elected, nothing will be done to curtail the corporate tax rate. Democrats "LOVE" high taxes and they "LOVE" to spend other peoples money.

      • Greg Beckham says:

        Factoid: Federal individual tax rates are at a 50 year low. Two Bush cuts, one Obama cut, all of which added to the deficit while fighting wars- the American people got what they asked for and now are not happy and still complaining. Then you hear "Taxed Enough Already!" Well, I don't care to waste my tax dollars but I'm smart enough to realizing I am getting $2,000 and that I did indeed get more than one tax break. It's amazing the people crying for tax cuts that got them and refuse to acknowledge them because of partisan politics. When your'e in a recession, revenues are down already. Starving out the states leads to shorfalls in state budgets requiring draconing austerity measures and or raises in state and local taxes and fees to keep things from imploding. Sometimes I wish it would go ahead and implode so some idiots would get exactly what they asked for and what they deserve.

        • MJG says:

          Factoid: When people earn less money, due to horrible government policies, they pay less as a percentage of income. Tax brackets; look it up.

    9. Bobbie says:

      well, whose job is it to protect America from this? oh, America's government leadership! why is this happening? oh, because not enough are decent enough in American leadership to discipline self control or take accountability or do what's expected but instead use government abuse on the people taking our control, constraining our freedom, liberties and individual pursuits of happiness! Government is another word for controlled corruption that America's leadership has taken as priority. we need leadership with integrity and dignity that respects freedom and peoples ability to be free as America once stood, without government invasion telling us what our minds have already learned or can learn on our own! This use of governmental abuse and insubordination forcing unfair, limitless costs and take overs on America's people at the will of the government.

      The government is protecting those Americans (and of course abroad) that support socialism, marxism, fascism, communism, dictatorship and even though they are a minority that the government only speaks for doesn't stop the president punishments and constraints on the majority of people selected discriminatingly by the ill will of government fulfillment of their fascination to overpower people with endless taxation! There's no reason of significance for America to be taxed this way accept a disrespecting, undisciplined reasons not within our control!

      This lowly standard of American leadership is no longer American! We need America and her proper leadership back!

    10. Victor Barney says:

      Hello! According to the manin stream media, it was our more verbally assute women who voted overwelmingly for this promised "fundamental transformation of government" into marxism, thinking that it's "ONLY" the men who get holocausted, not they, but they are WRONG! WATCH!

    11. Frank says:

      America, once the land of small government, low taxes, few regulations & individual responsibility has now become one more of the many lands of big government, high taxes & socialism. We are now full of big government, Progressive Statists who prefer central planning to free markets & individual responsibility. Big government is inefficient & will fail sooner or later. It makes no sense to me that America should turn its back on a system that made it the world's greatest nation into something that wants to try & imitate failed socialist nations.

    12. Jason says:

      Taxes are about the ability to control, everything else is secondary.

    13. Jim says:

      I'm doing my best to move as much of my business as possible out of the U.S. as soon as possible. That's my plan.

      • glynnda says:

        don't blame you, if things keep getting worse, guess where I'll be retiring?

      • Frank says:

        Smart move. If I had no grown up kids in the USA & if I was starting out in life, I'd probably move out of the USA also. Disaster is awaiting us sooner rather than later.

        Where to go? Some of my financial advisors have gone to Asia (Singapore for one). Wherever taxes and regulations are lower and nobody will threaten to confiscate your gold/silver. I no longer trust the US government in anything it does, especially the Federal Reserve & the influence of European Central Bankers on the USA.

      • Bobbie says:

        Good luck!

    14. Kathy says:

      Obama needs to be voted out, but a large percentage of US population does not bother to vote. We, as informed citizens need to encourage everyone you know to vote Republican and begin to repair our country.

    15. Gill O’Teen says:

      Unfortunately, the presumed RINOkrat nominee recently opined that the minimum wage should be indexed to inflation. Proving beyond all doubt that this alleged free-market capitalist is progressive enough to take a bad idea and make it worse. The Minimum Wage is but a tax which like a lip-sticked pig still reeks to high heaven.

      • Fred Pyro says:

        Gill O', you fail to realize that currently the minimum wage does not keep up with obamaflation that we are starting to see, at least romney realizes this and wants it to at least keep up so you do not continue to loose ground and become another of obama's victims on "social programs"

    16. Elaine says:

      There has been a concerted effort on the part of a lot of people on both the left and right to establish a one world government. The first step is to enact a global tax as Biden suggested which would probably be a huge one for developed nations, particularly the U.S. At the same time, the global warming scam artists are working very hard to enact a "climate change" tax on, again, the developed nations, particularly the U.S. Obama, as a committed Socialist with leanings towards Communism, is working his criminality throughout the U.S. government, thwarting the Constitution, the rule of law, and using executive orders to ignore the authority of Congress. Clearly, he and his Socialist party intend to diminish the U.S.'s economic and military power in order to usher in their utopian fantasy world where everyone is equally poor except the ruling class dictators as is always the case with Socialism and Communism. In their minds, the state has complete authority over the people and the people serve the state. The only way they can succeed is by confiscating as much wealth and property from individuals as possible and by making laws and regulations so draconian, that it is impossible to survive without the benevolent hand of the government. Obama said he wanted to transform America. Transformation means destruction first to rebuild. He is trying to transform our country into a third-world socialist-welfare state but first redistributing our wealth to current third-world dictators and African mass-murderers.

    17. Morgan says:

      According to wikipedia "Federal tax rates on corporate taxable income vary from 15% to 35%"

      I think you've simplified the tax code quite a bit here. Most large corporations can afford high priced attorneys that get them much lower tax rates than what you've stated in this article.

    18. Drifter says:

      It should also point out that the entire concept of corporate taxation is a fraud on the public. Corporations do not pay a single dime in taxes–ever! Every penny of corporate taxes is passed to the consumer as higher prices for goods and services or to the stockholders as lower dividends.__The corporation only acts as a stealth tax collector for the government and individuals end up paying all taxes.

    19. I never believed in the "hostile takeover" laws or taking our privately held property under imminent domain. These laws have generated nothing but hostel, damaging results. The Anheuser-Busch situation is one that I was not aware of. I'm a beer drinker but I will take anything produced by Anheuser-Busch off my shopping list and buy beer made in America and from a company that pays their taxes in America. I'm tired of seeing our jobs taken away, company profits and unfair tax deals going overseas to support people in other countries.

    20. John says:

      Corporations do not pay taxes…any taxes they pay are actually paid by their customers. Minimum wage is a joke…it only helps keep prices up and unskilled people unemployed…if I have a choice of paying someone with some skill $7.25 or someone with no skill $7.25, who am I going to hire? However, if I can pay lower wages to someone until they learn the job and make themselves more valuable to me, I may hire the unskilled person.

    21. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Cut the corporate tax rate NOW!

    22. auhunter says:

      I was always told, when I was in business, that my debt ceiling in business as well as family life should never exceed 40% and better if I could keep it at around 35%, that is if I wanted to stay in business and make a success of it. It seems the current administration didn't go to the same schools I did or listen to the same financial planners. To tax the business community into oblivion or into foreign company control is one of the biggest mistakes we could make, next to voting Obama into office in 2008.

    23. Greg Beckham says:

      The EFFECTIVE tax rate after all the write-offs is far from the 35-39%. Let's have at least some level of honesty.

    24. glynnda says:

      Come on now guys, we know where this is going by now don't we? This taxation, revenue collection, bail outs, etc are all going to their friends. We are living the definition of a highly corrupt government. We are living Tammany Hall on a national scale. The problem: not just voting them out but convincing the Republican establishment that this is not a game Americans are willing to play anymore….the solution, begin voting out those who play along as well as Democrats…

    25. carl says:

      well, I've lived too long, gas is $4.00 on its way to whatever, my house went from a value of 120k to 62k
      and the taxes only went down $200.00 There are no jobs as we have over 820 electricians unemployeed
      in Mpls, not counting all the other cities in MN. Unemployment in the trades is about 23%+. If we give
      the idiot in the white house another 4 years we will all be on the street. I haven't had a job since he
      took office, and am only able to use this computer at a library since I can't afford the internet. All of them
      need to be thrown out, all of them and all their staffs as well, and a law that no one can go from senator
      or congressman to lobbyist ever. Had enough hope and change yet? Gag me!

    26. Al Cavasin says:

      Before I make my point I'd like to respond to "Bobbie's" first question in his (her?) comment above: well, whose job is it to protect America from this? Unfortunately, Bobbie old buddy, it's our job; yours and mine, kiddo. And at last check – we seem to be sucking at that big time. It's you and me, kid, who are failing to hold our elected leaders accountable and that's why we have the crap we have. More on that when I've located my patience.

    27. clarenceswinney says:

      cut 39% to ?__Go Flat Tax__39% get us 780B of Revenue but kills many businesses and is impractical__39% Tax Rate creates many jobs on Tax Evasion like GE with 900 in Tax Dept____Flat Tax of 15% –no exemptions— gives 300B in Revenue or 100B increase over 2011__Flat Tax of 10% gives usual 200B in Revenue. stop game playing–stop choosing winners and losers____Burn Tax Book start anew–stop whining "highest rate in world" which is not meaningful since corp pays nothing like it____We need 3800B to balance our budget–How do we get that number?__(Individual Income)–10,000-12,000__(Corp Income)-2,000__(Consumer spending) 10,000__(22,000 takes 17% Flat Tax of each to cover 3800 budget)____Use your own numbers what would you do?__Individual and corp income(12000)? Takes 31% of those to cover 3800______________

    28. PGresh says:

      I can't take seriously any blogger who links almost exclusively to their own blog as "evidence", not to mention the whole article hinges on the weight of Anheuser-Busch's lost 1800 jobs, evidenced by an WSJ article accessible only to subscribers. Those jobs "lost" should be celebrated as a main tenet of capitalism: Squeeze every bit of utility out of profits. From what I can gather from the WSJ article (those 4 sentences I can read), it went on to talk about how else InBev slashed costs left and right, probably including production inefficiencies in the form of those 1800 jobs. Would you rather have a company with a positive cash flow, or one with executive dining rooms and ineffective employees?

      What's that? Oh, the article was about taxes? I'm sorry, I was distracted by the inane writing and self-congratulation.

    29. Juan Martinez says:

      Mr. Brownfield — your article is so poorly informed, over-simplified, and one-sided, it insults your informed readers. Because of the enormous complexity of the US tax code, including the vast number of tax breaks and subsidies, direct and indirect, offered to US corporations, the U.S. corporate tax rate of 39.2 percent discussed in your article is a fiction. Reality is described by U.S. corporate taxes that are actually paid (the effective rate). As it happens, the effective rate fell to a 40 year low of 12.1 percent in fiscal year 2011. Your article is lost in fantasy land. I know you can do much better addressing this important issue. Try again?

    30. Ken Starr says:

      Where does this "35%" max corporate tax rate come from? The marginal rate for a corporation with taxable income between $100,000 and $335,000 is 39%. That's just federal – before adding in the state tax.

    31. Larry W says:

      Why are we (especially The Heritage Foundation) still accepting the False Premise that Corporations Pay Taxes? Corporations COLLECT TAXES!
      1. Share Holders Pay Taxes.
      2. Customers / People Pay Taxes

      How in the Devil can We let The Socialists continue to define our language? CORPORATIONS ARE PIECES OF PAPER that simply allow business to out live it's founder (slightly simplified); how can pieces of paper be EVIL or GREEDY?

    32. Bobbie says:

      does government controlling minimum wages influence or manipulate inflation?

      Get the government out! Private profit and everything government is doing unconstitutionally, is none of Obama's governments' business! Obma and all, needs self discipline and control with less monetary funding and no spending with many entitlement cuts, less their irrational expenses!

    33. chris says:

      It also wouldn't hurt to have forign companys pay the U.S.taxes on buisness they have here just like the rest do here in the U.S.

    34. Janice says:

      This is April. Obama only has 7 more months until election, then he will be voted out. We can only hope that the new president will change things soon!

    35. Wayne Peterkin says:

      Why should companies pay ANY income taxes?

      Rather than discussing a lower corporate income tax rate, we should be asking why we tax company income at all!

      First, companies locate and operate where they can make the most money. Taxes, regulations, and labor rates are primary drains on their income, so minimizing one or more of these things can help keep companies and jobs in this country. That’s a good thing!

      Then look at what companies do with the money they earn. Much of it is reinvested in company expansion, which means more jobs and better paying jobs; another good thing. Those personal incomes from jobs are then taxed; even the big payoffs to executives (which are sometimes obscene). Some of the money is often paid to stockholders as dividends; which are then taxed. Corporations doing well see stock prices increase generating more tax revenue from stock trades.

      The bottom line is that the government still gets its pound of flesh after the money is spent by the company instead of before it’s spent. Why is this bad?

      So why should the government siphon off corporate profits before that money can be put to good use? So some politician can waste it buying votes with it? So some politician can demagogue issues like forcing companies to pay their “fair share”?

      I think a very strong argument can be made for reducing corporate income tax rates to ZERO simply because they are counter-productive. Make America the best place in the world to do business and the economy will thrive. Government is not the solution, it’s the problem.

    36. John White says:

      Who is the ultimate controller and holds the ultimate responsibility for the depth of the doo doo we're in ?
      "We, the People…." who do not share the moral disclipine, honor and sense of duty of the founders.
      Until that changes, nothing changes.

    37. Every Obama policy is designed to grow govt. The opposite of what the founding fathers intended, and now we see why. Obama's economic fairness is class warfare to gin up hatred via class envy. Corporations, rich, and profit are all evil. America can never prosper under the rule of a despotic regime. Instead of equal fairness which is fairy tale, return to equal opportunity releasing tens of millions of individuals to pursue their own happiness and see what happens to the economy. Nov 6 presents 2 choices, or the American people as the solution, or Government as the solution. Liberty or Tyranny.

    38. Mike says:

      So Corporate America wants Second and Third World tax rates? Do they also want a Third Word standard of living — poor educational system, poor police system, poor infrastructure, corruption, unskilled workers, government instability, riots, terrorism. Our great American way of life isn't free — don't take it for granted corporate America.

      • Bobbie says:

        Mike, everything you mention in "poor" status is, has been government controlled paid by tax payers forced at government unlimited expense, not corporate America. Corporations don't pay taxes, people do. All working people who aren't TAX EXEMPT!

    39. Mike in NC says:

      And some people either wonder why or refuse to believe that "(founded, named, and) made in U.S.A." is disappearing and becomming extinct, and the U.S. is being dragged down in "managed decline".
      Well we can all stop wondering why or refusing to believe those increasingly painfully evident and obvious things as some people, including Obama, evidently want it that way. "Impeach Obama"? And then what? The Senate won't vote to remove, and the entire "Presidential line of succession" is filled with his Comrades and one Republican "caver" anyway.
      But that doesn't mean we, the people of the United States, have to stop trying to remedy the situation, including by voting Obama, his comrades, and "cavers" out of power through elections in November of this year (2012) to start with, and thereafter.

    40. Dave says:

      Well.. What about the citizens of the U.S. We pay taxes on Gas, Non food items, phone land line, water, electric, etc.etc Not just on income but everything. their is a number floating out their of how many items we actually pay on. 500+ or more. So how about giving us a break. I live in a state When they gave business a tax break, guess who had to make up the difference. Including those on fixed incomes, instead of balancing the Budget.

    41. Bob says:

      Maybe so but the rich get all the tax breaks.Let's not get greedy now or in this country is greed good,hmmm?

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