So, if President Barack Obama gets his way, fat-cat corporations will pay higher taxes, right?
Wrong. Many of the biggest companies in the United States would pay lower taxes if Obama's plan is rammed through Congress, according to several published reports.
Meanwhile, your friend down the street who happens to own a mom and pop home remodeling business will pay more. Money he otherwise would have used to grow his business, perhaps giving his handful of employees pay raises or even hiring more, will go to Washington, instead.
Some of the dishonesty included in the White House tax plan is explained in the editorial at left. But the plot is much, much thicker.
Many small business owners file taxes under an Internal Revenue Service classification called "S-corporations." Bigger companies are "C-corporations."
If Congress caves in to the White House, taxes on individuals, families and, in effect, S-corporations would go up if they earn more than $250,000 a year ($200,000 for a business owner who's not married). Now, if you're an S-corporation owner, part of the profit you make this year may be plowed right back into your business next year. In fact, as many small business owners will tell you, that's exactly what happens to substantial portions of any profit they make.
Again, however, Obama wants to take a larger share of your profit in federal income taxes.
What about the fat cats? Tax rates would go down for many large corporations if Obama's plan is enacted.
It's not as if taxes are much of a problem for the really big players. Consider General Electric: For at least two recent years, the firm didn't pay a dime in U.S. income taxes. Given the various incentives available from Washington, some analysts believe the company actually had a net gain from its dealings with the federal government.
Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, happens to be chairman of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. He has supported many of Obama's initiatives. Wonder why?
Several corporate big-wigs have said they like Obama's plan. Of course they do: It puts them at a competitive advantage against many small businesses. And if company officers' personal income taxes go up, well, their boards can always grant them salary and benefits boosts to more than make up for the difference.
Let's move on to another aspect of the president's tax policy, involving the companies we all love to hate: "big oil." Insisting large oil companies receive $4 billion a year in tax breaks, Obama says he wants to eliminate them. But he is well aware that nearly all the tax incentives for oil and gas companies go to small, independent firms, not the big corporations. So, if you own a little drilling or exploration company, you'll be burned doubly by the president's plan. So will other Americans, who won't benefit from the oil and gas discoveries and production your enterprise might otherwise have generated.
But if you're "green," that's another story entirely. Obama and liberals in Congress want to extend taxpayer subsidies for companies in the wind and solar energy businesses, among others.
Federal subsidies for wind power alone amount to about $1 billion a year. Many of those windmills you see these days would not have been built had the government payments of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity they produce not been in effect.
Speaking of taxes, what about one that isn't being mentioned much - on health care? Beginning in 2014, "Obamacare" kicks in full blast, and it will mean tens of millions of Americans will pay more for health care. Just one example: "Obamacare" requires establishment of "insurance exchanges" in every state. It has been revealed companies participating in them will have to pay 3.5 percent surcharges on policies, if the exchanges are run by the federal government.
But that won't increase the cost of health insurance, federal officials insist.
How stupid do they believe we are?
Myer can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.