Hey, Barack Obama, businesses are moving overseas because of a terrible tax climate made worse by you

There’s been a lot of talk lately from President Barack Obama and administration officials about “economic patriotism.” They say that corporations shouldn’t be allowed to move overseas to escape paying the corporate income tax.

“Even as corporate profits are higher than ever, there’s a small but growing group of big corporations that are fleeing the country to get out of paying taxes,” President Obama said at a stop in Los Angeles on Thursday. “They’re keeping, usually, their headquarters here in the U.S. They don’t want to give up the best universities and the best military and all the advantages of operating in the United States. They just don’t want to pay for it. So they’re technically renouncing their U.S. citizenship.”

Earlier this month, President Obama suggested that Congress (read: Republicans) lack “economic patriotism” to work with his administration on issues the country faces. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew dropped the same term in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) as he urged Congress to pass legislation to end corporate inversions.

“What we need as a nation is a new sense of economic patriotism, where we all rise or fall together. We know that the American economy grows best when the middle class participates fully and when the economy grows from the middle out,” Lew wrote in the letter to Wyden. “We should not be providing support for corporations that seek to shift their profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”

Corporate inversions “hollow out the U.S. corporate income tax base,” Lew says, which is another reason why the Obama administration is trying to get Congress to act. Because, you know, tax and spend.

But the problem isn’t corporations. Yeah, they’re a convenient punching bag in an election year, especially one that doesn’t look that great for Democrats and, by extension, the remaining two years of Obama’s presidency.

That’s not to say, however, that corporations aren’t deserving of criticism. Big Business’ thirst for bailouts and subsidies is a real issue, and one that Congress should address. But that’s largely, though not exclusively, on the spending side of the equation.

At 35.3 percent, the United States has, according to the Tax Foundation, the highest marginal effect corporate income tax rate of any of the 33 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The average corporate tax rate of OCED is 19.6 percent.

Simply put, this is the real reason why corporations are moving overseas. The United States has become too unfriendly to business, and corporations are, basically, “voting with their feet.”

This isn’t a new problem. The tax climate in the United States has gotten progressively worse over the years. But it’s a problem that has been exacerbated by President Obama and his administration. Mark Levin touched on this yesterday afternoon during an appearance on Your World w/ Neil Cavuto.

President Obama “is the problem,” said Levin. “He’s creating the economic conditions in this country where some of these [companies] are moving overseas. Why doesn’t he create the economic conditions where foreign companies move into the United States as they did 30, 40 years ago?”

“So, he’s the reason companies leave. He’s the reason why wealth is escaping the country,” he added.

Levin is right. And in addition to his comments, it’s worth pointing out that United States’ $1.8 trillion regulatory burden, the costs of which are passed onto consumers and leave them with less purchasing power. Making matters worse, in the first six months of 2014 alone, the administration rolled out $104 billion in new rules and regulations.

Businesses act in their own self-interest, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They shouldn’t be compelled to stay in the U.S. by some Orwellian sense of “economic patriotism” when the problem here is a broken tax code that discourages investment and growth.

Rather than giving speeches to rally his capitalism-hating base, President Obama should be urging Congress to reduce corporate income taxes to spur economic growth and job creation. Unfortunately, he’s just not that interested in what’s truly best for the United States. He only cares about using business as a populist tool to try to win elections.


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