WSJ: What about the role of taxation? ... For the most part, the way I look at your tax policy, seems to me that you look at it and say, tax policy over the past decade, and maybe even before that, has produced an outcome that has benefited people mostly at the top, and your goal is to try to redistribute it in a different fashion.
Sen. Obama: Here's what I would say: I do believe the tax policies over the last eight years have been badly skewed towards the winners of the global economy. And I do think there is a function for tax policy in making sure that everybody benefits from globalization or at least the benefits and burdens are shared a little more easily. If, as some talk about, we've got a winner-take-all economy where the highly skilled, highly educated are reaping huge rewards and the unskilled or even semi-skilled are getting a much smaller share of the economy, then our tax policies can help cushion some of the blow through providing health care. So if people lose their jobs they're not losing their health care as well. That actually makes a more flexible work force that makes workers more mobile and less resistant to change.
If we've got investments in education, that will make us more competitive in the long run. We've got to pay for that like anything else. But it would be a mistake to say I view our tax code only as a distribution question. I also think that our tax code has come to distort a lot of economic decision making so I'd like to see simplification as part of an overall tax agenda. On the corporate side, for example, one of the things I've asked my folks to look at is: Are there ways we can close existing loopholes in tax havens at the same time as we're lowering overall rates? We've got this new problem: The biggest problem with our tax code when it comes to the business side is that we have one of the highest tax rates -- corporate tax rates -- on paper but our effective tax rate is one of the lowest … You know, how much you pay in taxes as a corporation a lot of times is going to depend on how good your lobbyist is, as opposed to any sound economic theories. So those distorting effects I'd like to actually remove and eliminate from our tax system, but obviously that's a complicated and difficult task. The last time we did it was in 1986. We're going to have to, I think, revisit that.
So, what incentive would I have under the presidency of Barack Obama to grow my corporation? What incentive would I have to distruibute profit to my shareholders . . . or will I even have that profit once I am forced to contribute to health care and education costs?
Does Obama have any clue as to the effort it takes to be a "winner of the global economy," as it seems he thinks it just sort of happens, or only at the expense of the working class?
I read this and think that in Obama's mind, paying taxes is the new morality and since corporations are just soulless engines of profit, any harm to them is moot. But fear not, since Obama will not make any rash decisions because . . .
"I'm a big believer in evidence. I'm a big believer in fact."
Oxymoronic? The problem with believing in fact lies with never checking to verify the veracity of the fact presented. Because, after all, you believe.