Voters Get to Choose Envy or Growth

By Betsy McCaughey

August 10, 2016 5 min read

On Monday, Donald Trump stopped the wisecracks and laid out a serious plan to jumpstart the nation's limping economy. He proposed tax cuts, regulatory relief, unfettered development of coal, oil and natural gas and fairer trade pacts. One item in his plan will do more than all the others to get the nation working again: cutting corporate taxes. Trump pledged, "Under my plan, no American company will pay more than 15 percent of their business income in taxes."

Immediately, Hillary Clinton pounced on Trump's "tax breaks (for) large corporations." Her classic warfare rhetoric reminds us that in this election voters have to decide between Clinton's politics of envy or Trump's agenda of economic growth for all.

First, the facts: The U.S. corporate tax rate is 35 percent — the highest in the developed world. Even with deductions, companies here pay on average 27 percent, which is more than in most other countries. Since 2000, nearly every industrialized country has cut corporate taxes to compete for business — except the U.S.

Consider Ireland. It's not just shamrocks making that country green. Money's been pouring in from around the globe, since Ireland slashed its corporate tax rate to 12.5 percent, one of the lowest in Europe. In 2015, the country's economy grew three times as fast as the United States. Companies from the U.S. and across Europe hurried to set up operations there.

Closer to home, Canadians of all political stripes — liberals, conservatives and progressives — put their ideological differences aside and agreed to lower the country's corporate tax rate from 42 percent to 26 percent. They decided that fighting over a bigger economic pie beat arguing over how to divvy up a smaller one.

Now the Brits, rocked by Brexit, are preparing to lower corporate taxes, knowing it's the fastest, most effective way to compete with the European Union.

But Clinton is stuck in the past. American corporate tax rates haven't changed since her husband was president. Her business plan, which she will unveil in Detroit on Thursday, actually hikes business taxes. She's obsessed with making corporations pay "their fair share."

As Trump pointed out Monday, "the one common feature of every Hillary Clinton idea is that it punishes you for working and doing business in the United States."

Clinton advisor Neera Tanden says it's unnecessary to reduce corporate taxes because "the U.S. has been doing pretty well when it comes to competitiveness." Huh? Indonesia, Spain, Poland, India and China, to name a few, are growing several times as fast as America's anemic 1.2 percent growth.

Slashing the corporate tax rate is the fastest way to increase American competitiveness. Corporate taxes produce about 10 percent of federal revenue but have an oversized impact on business investment.

And the sooner the better. The U.S. could well be slipping into a recession, warns economist Larry Kudlow. Business investment has dropped during each of the last three quarters, a dangerous sign. Businesses that don't invest in more trucks and computers can't hire more drivers and office personnel. Though the jobs report announced last Friday was hailed as a positive, declining investment makes future job growth shaky.

In the "Fair Growth" plan Clinton is set to unveil, there is no private sector growth. Nothing in her plan will promote business investment, according to Moody's.

Her plan amounts to a $275 billion public works program — a throwback to the 1930s — paid for by more business taxes. As we learned then, and endured again with Obama's failed "shovel-ready" boondoggles, government can't spend its way to prosperity.

Nothing demonstrates Clinton's incapacity to produce economic growth more vividly than her sorry record as New York's Senator. Running in 2000 for that job, she boasted that she would bring 200,000 jobs to the economically destitute upstate region. In fact, during her tenure, upstate job growth stagnated and manufacturing jobs plummeted 24 percent. A grim warning of what the nation can expect from a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Betsy McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and author of "Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution." To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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