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The simple truth about America’s awful tax code I learned as a Fortune 500 CEO
Sen. David Perdue
NBC News
November 20, 2017

I led two Fortune 500 companies. One of them, Dollar General, today pays an effective tax rate of 37 percent. The other, Reebok, pays an effective rate of 19 percent. This is not because of loopholes exploited by these businesses. It is an amalgamation of 100 years of Washington toying with the tax code to incentivize certain industries without ever revisiting whether these incentives actually accomplished their intended goal, or were still relevant.

At the same time, our international tax structure is jeopardizing domestic growth and crushing corporations’ ability to be globally competitive. We have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world and we still have a tax on repatriated earnings. Essentially, that is a double tax that has locked more than $2.6 trillion in U.S. profits overseas.

Since 2004, American companies lost more than $500 billion combined on the global acquisitions market. In fact, according to the Business Roundtable, American companies were the target for mergers and acquisitions 31 percent of the time, while they were the acquirer 16 percent of the time. If our corporate tax rate had been 20 percent, it is estimated that 3,200 companies would have stayed in America during that time.

Our workforce is unique, innovative, self-starting and — regardless of obstacles — it gets the job done. However, today’s corporate tax structure is penalizing our workers. We have to reduce the tax burden before it cripples our workforce even further.

If we change the business tax code by lowering the corporate tax rate and eliminating the repatriation tax, there will be renewed investment in our economy. This change will create jobs, increase wages, boost workforce development and grow the economy.

The United States is on the cusp of an economic turnaround. Consumer confidence is at a 16-year high and manufacturer optimism is at a 20-year high. There is an expectation being priced into the bond and stock markets that something will happen on tax this year, and it’s imperative that Congress act accordingly. Changing the tax code by Christmas is the single greatest thing we can do to ignite economic growth next year.

We need to change the tax code to grow the economy, put people back to work, increase wages, and over the long-term, help reduce the national debt. Otherwise we will continue to be outpaced by our competitors and American workers will pay the ultimate price.

Read the full op-ed here.