Working people are tired of hearing how tax giveaways for Wall Street billionaires and corporations will supposedly trickle down to the rest of us. Too many politicians and pundits want us to believe our country is broke, and we have no choice but to demand sacrifices from working people, yet they have no trouble finding trillions of dollars to waste on tax giveaways for people who do not need them. They want to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education and infrastructure to pay for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
Here is what a plan that actually works for working people looks like:
Wall Street, big corporations and the wealthy must pay their fair share of taxes: Our rigged and broken tax system lets Wall Street, big corporations and the wealthy avoid paying their fair share of taxes, sticking the rest of us with the tab. Our society is more unequal than ever, yet the wealthy are paying less and less. Despite corporate profits being the highest since the 1950s, corporate tax revenues are at record low levels. Tax reform must not cut taxes for big corporations or the wealthy. These folks must pay more in taxes than they do now, so we can build an economy that works for all of us.
Tax reform must raise significantly more revenue: To meet the needs of a growing population and pave the way for long-term prosperity, we need more tax revenue, not less. Tax reform must raise enough additional revenue now and in the future to create good jobs and make the public investment we need in infrastructure, education and to meet the needs of children, families, seniors and our communities. Under no circumstances should tax reform lose money, nor should we disguise the true long-term cost of tax cuts with budget gimmicks.
Tax reform must eliminate all tax incentives for corporations to shift jobs and profits offshore: Existing tax loopholes allow multinational corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes if they move their profits offshore or send jobs overseas. Tax reform must eliminate all these incentives and encourage investment in domestic manufacturing, production and employment to ensure a robust manufacturing sector. Tax reform must not include any proposal to reduce or eliminate U.S. taxes on offshore profits – called a “territorial tax system” – which would be a huge new tax break for sending jobs overseas and a giant loophole for corporations to avoid taxes by moving their profits to offshore tax havens.
We stand for budget and tax policies that serve the needs of working people and against proposals to make working people pay the price for tax giveaways to big corporations and the wealthy. We will:
- Advocate for a better approach to budget and taxes that focuses on the needs of working families — by raising significantly more revenues over the long term from Wall Street, big corporations and the wealthy so we can make the investments we need in infrastructure, education and good paying jobs for working people.
- Oppose budget deals that cut Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, education, federal employee pay and benefits or other programs that help working people to pay for tax giveaways for the wealthy, big corporations and Wall Street.
- Support eliminating all tax incentives for corporations to send jobs overseas or move their profits offshore.
- Oppose proposals for a “territorial tax system” that subsidizes offshoring by eliminating or reduces U.S. taxes on offshore profits.
- Support parity for increases in non-defense and defense spending.
- Support proposals that encourage investment in domestic manufacturing, production and employment to ensure a robust manufacturing sector.
- Support a “Wall Street Speculation Tax” to discourage harmful trading that shortchanges investment in the real economy.
- Support restoration of an effective corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) to keep corporations from exploiting tax loopholes to avoid paying taxes.
- Support dedicating revenue from a “transition tax” on the $2.6 trillion that corporations are currently holding offshore primarily to infrastructure, with labor protections.
- Support taxing the income of investors as much as working people.
- Support ending the CEO bonus loophole that encourages short-termism in corporate management and leads to downsizing, outsourcing, offshoring and insecure work.
- Support legislation to restore taxes on the wealthiest estates.
- Oppose legislation to reduce or eliminate the tax deduction for state and local taxes, which would punish states that make the kind of investments that boost economic growth for the whole country.
- Oppose proposals to slash tax rates for pass-through businesses, which would primarily benefit the top 1 percent of taxpayers, such as Wall Street hedge fund managers, corporate lawyers and corporate consultants.
- Oppose proposals to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for individuals, which helps keep the wealthy from exploiting loopholes to avoid paying taxes.
- Oppose proposals to eliminate the estate tax, which only applies to the wealthiest 0.2 percent of estates worth more than $5.5 million.
- Oppose legislation that promotes the privatization of K-12 schools, such as incentives to create tax shelters for K-12 private school vouchers.
Trumka is the president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest federation of unions in the U.S.