Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr steve mnuchin...
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr

The Washington Post has been knocking it out of the park lately.  Today alone there there have been several awesome pieces, each worthy of mention — but this one has very real tax and economic policy implications so I thought I’d highlight it, the better to fight Alternative Facts when they try to put us even deeper into the poor house with their plan to save the billionaires.

This has to do with corporate taxes.  Steve Mnuchin is trying to claim that workers bear almost the full cost of paying corporate taxes, hoping to make us poor schlubs enjoy the thought of cutting corporate taxes, so that it looks like we’re giving ourselves a tax cut, when in fact this is apparently not the case.

Well, he’s lying.  I know you are shocked!  But they’re trying to disappear the real news that only about 18% of corporate taxes are borne by workers — the majority are paid for by the people who benefit from corporate riches — ie — stockholders and bosses.  Therefore the corporate tax cut would save guess who a fortune.


Also, many of these extremely wealthy outfits pay next to no tax anyway so now they’re trying to pay less?  Wow.  Just wow.  The coffers are full of cash, the upper 5% are rolling in it, especially the very wealthiest; and yet they want more cash which supposedly will trickle down on our little heads like golden showers in a Moscow hotel.

Uh huh.

From the article, which explains that it had been assumed that most corporate taxes were borne by stockholders, etc, 

… toward the end of the George W. Bush administration, the non-political career people in Treasury’s Office of Tax Analysis, a sort of internal think tank, began developing a new model taking into account newer research.

In 2012, they released a paper explaining their latest findings: that 82 percent of corporate taxes were borne by capital owners, and 18 percent were borne by labor. Workers don’t literally write the check, of course, but corporate taxes may discourage investment, and therefore lead to lower wages.

Figuring out who actually bears the burden of taxes, and who therefore benefits from corporate tax cuts, is thorny. We have limited data available, after all, and no true controlled experiments for changes in federal tax policy. But the answers these Treasury staffers produced are not so far from those of most other major nonpartisan tax crunchers, including the Congressional Budget Office, the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Tax Policy Center.

Now this would just be boring wonky stuff EXCEPT that the Trump Administration in the person of Mnuchin has been on FOX and so forth claiming the opposite!  Yes.  Imagine that — they’re lying!  

That’s because Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been lately claiming that nearly all of the corporate tax burden is passed on to workers. It’s an argument that he has to make if he hopes to sell the administration’s tax cuts — which even a large share of Republicans opposes — as a helping hand for the Forgotten Man.

On Fox News, Mnuchin claimed that “most economists believe that over 70 percent of corporate taxes are paid for by the workers.” At an event in Kentucky, he declared that “over 80 percent of business taxes is borne by the worker.”

Guys, there is a lot going on right now (understatement) but this is significant.  The Trump Administration is, shocking I know, lying about corporate taxes and claiming that workers will benefit from corporate tax cuts, that workers will be, in fact, the biggest beneficiary of corporate tax cuts BY FAR.  And it simply is not true.

Don’t let them get away with this!…

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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