View Full Version : President Kennedy opposed outsourcing in 1961, Progressive much?

Myra Bronstein
12-18-2008, 05:15 PM
[This is copied from my post in another forum.]

As someone who is outraged by tax incentives going to companies who send jobs offshore, I was happy to come across this, in USA Today of all places. I'm surprised at how long the tax incentive has been around. And, as is so often the case, I'm pleasantly surprised by President Kennedy's stance on the issue. The man was a progressive and a populist.

Guess the 1960's were not all that long ago, and today's issues are yesterday's issues deferred.

"By David J. Lynch, USA TODAY
Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have cast it as an outrage that should be a key target for the next president: a tax break they say encourages employers to ship American jobs abroad.

The charge could be dismissed as typical campaign-trail exaggeration during a Democratic primary season marked by populism, except for one thing. Many analysts say it's true. "The U.S. tax system does provide an incentive to locate production offshore," says Martin Sullivan, a contributing editor to Tax Notes, a non-profit publication that tracks tax issues.

At issue is the U.S. tax code's treatment of profits earned by foreign subsidiaries of American corporations. Profits earned in the United States are subject to the 35% corporate tax. But multinational corporations can defer paying U.S. taxes on their overseas profits until they return them to the USA transfers that often don't happen for years. General Electric, for example, has $62 billion in "undistributed earnings" parked offshore, according to recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Drug giant Pfizer boasts $60 billion. ExxonMobil has $56 billion.

"If you had two companies in Pittsburgh that both were going to expand capacity and create 100 jobs, our tax code puts the company who chooses to put the plant in Pittsburgh at a competitive disadvantage over the company that chooses to move to a tax haven," says former White House economist Gene Sperling, a Clinton adviser.
The deferral clause has been in the tax code for more than half a century and has outlasted numerous reform efforts. In April 1961, even as U.S.-backed rebels were dying at Cuba's Bay of Pigs, President Kennedy asked Congress to rewrite tax provisions that "consistently favor United States private investment abroad compared with investment in our own economy...."