By LESLIE WAYNE
n recent weeks, a steady parade of executives from industries like airlines
and insurance companies, hotels and pharmaceutical companies, has trooped to
Washington for handouts. Some have walked away with billions in aid. But
those pleas pale when compared with the all-out lobbying push now under
way - a fight for broad and deep corporate tax cuts that are being measured
in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Lining up in the corridors of the Capitol and the White House are the chief
executives of some of the biggest corporations: Philip M. Condit of Boeing
(news/quote), Rick Wagoner of General Motors (news/quote), Charles O.
Holliday Jr. of DuPont, Glen A. Barton of Caterpillar, William T. Esrey of
Sprint and John T. Dillon of International Paper (news/quote), among others.
Their message is simple: We need tax cuts. They are intent on securing as
much as $200 billion in tax relief over three years as part of a package to
help the economy recover from recession and terrorism. As Congress tries to
fashion an economic stimulus package, corporate lobbyists are swinging into
"It's sort of a free-for-all," said James Albertine, president of the
American League of Lobbyists. "It could be a long dry spell before anything
like this comes around again. What is in play is a $100 billion tax bill,
and the last time I looked, that was real money. Given the budget situation,
when are you going to see another major tax bill go through Congress? It's
like squirrels running around finding acorns and putting them in the ground
Robert McIntyre, director of Citizens for Tax Justice, an advocacy group
that is critical of tax breaks, said he had not seen anything like it since
1981, when Ronald Reagan became president. "Basically they want to take us
back to the 1980's, when half of the companies in the country were not
paying any taxes," he said.
While many of the tax cuts in question are similar to ones that big business
has long sought in Washington, the terrorist attacks have given the
proposals new life. Many of these proposals were set aside after the passage
last spring of President Bush's $1.35 trillion, 10- year tax cut, which was
geared toward individuals.
At that time, Mr. Bush told corporate lobbyists to wait their turn. Now, the
lobbyists say, their time has come and they are not being shy. While they
may not get all of what they are asking for, it is one of the most
aggressive efforts in over a decade and one with the highest chances of
One proposal could provide instant tax-rebate checks to some of the biggest
companies: $1.4 billion to I.B.M. (news/quote), $1 billion to Ford Motor
(news/quote), $833 million to General Motors and $671 million to General
Electric (news/quote). Another proposal would immediately cut by $1 billion
the taxes of Wall Street firms with foreign operations. Still others would
cut corporate taxes through faster depreciation schedules and more liberal
rules on the use of tax losses.
A Business lobbying group, the Business Roundtable, has helped to arrange
White House meetings for chief executives. Other executives have met with
leading members of Congress from both parties. To their delight, business
leaders say, they have been given red-carpet treatment by both the
administration and Congressional Republicans. Even Democratic leaders, while
less enthusiastic, have responded to some of their pleas.
"We've met with the White House, the secretaries of Treasury and Commerce
and the House and Senate tax-writing leadership," said John J. Castellani,
head of the Business Roundtable, which is promoting a reduction in overall
corporate tax rates and in the payroll tax. "We describe to them our outlook
on the economy and what is happening in our individual businesses."
At the same time, a coalition of big financial services companies is
lobbying for industry-specific breaks. The chief executives and former chief
executives of some of these companies - including Sanford I. Weill of
Citigroup (news/quote), Philip J. Purcell of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
(news/quote), John F. Welch Jr. of General Electric, David H. Komansky of
Merrill Lynch (news/quote), Hugh L. McColl of Bank of America (news/quote)
and Kenneth I. Chenault of American Express (news/quote) - jointly signed a
letter to Paul H. O'Neill, the Treasury secretary, seeking support for a
proposal to make permanent a temporary tax break on foreign profits for
financial services companies.
The United States Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, has lined up 1,100
partners, most of them other business trade groups and local chambers of
commerce, to write to Congress and meet influential representatives and
Corporate lobbyists argue that many of these tax cuts are needed to help
improve their cash flow during an economic downturn and enable them to
invest in their businesses and save jobs. It is unclear just how much of
what they are seeking will ultimately be enacted into law. But the current
betting is that much of it will be. The provisions likely to be successful
include faster write-offs on new capital investments, more liberal use of
tax losses and some changes in the alternative minimum tax, which requires
that all corporations pay at least some taxes to the government each year.
Of course, not everyone is applauding these lobbying efforts. Critics,
including Robert E. Rubin, the former Treasury secretary who is now an
executive at Citigroup, contend that the sweeping tax cuts sought by
business would not provide an immediate economic kick and could wipe away
any fiscal discipline in Washington. Even Mr. O'Neill first derided them as
Critics generally say that business tax cuts will do little to spur consumer
demand and that there is no assurance that companies will use this fresh
money in economically productive ways. Moreover, they say additional capital
investment could only add more drag to an economy suffering from
Still, the success of the business lobby has been remarkable so far. After
the terrorist attacks, the president and Congressional leaders quickly
agreed to the broad outlines of a one-year economic stimulus plan of $50
billion to $75 billion to help those hurt most by the attacks and the
economic downturn. In principle, it was to be a stimulus package with heavy
emphasis on economic recovery and on increasing consumer confidence.
Since then, the plan has turned into a tax-cutting vehicle. The stimulus
package passed by the House consists largely of tax cuts, with more than 70
percent of them going to corporations.
Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking last week at a United States Chamber of
Commerce event in Washington, articulated business's message. "Tax relief is
the way to go," Mr. Cheney said to an enthusiastic audience. It is
"absolutely essential," he added, that tax cuts become part of the economic
stimulus package as soon as possible.
Specifically, the House's version, which was passed on Oct. 24, contains the
core of what business wants: elimination of the alternative minimum tax; the
ability to offset current taxable income with losses going back five years,
instead of the current two; faster depreciation schedules; and a
continuation of the tax break on foreign profits of financial services
The one-year cost of this package is estimated at $100 billion, and some
Washington research groups put the bill at $212 billion over three years.
For individuals, the House's version provides for a reduction in capital
gains tax rates and an acceleration of the income-tax reductions enacted in
June for middle-income people.
By contrast, Senate Democrats have geared their $73 billion stimulus package
more heavily toward expanding unemployment and health insurance benefits and
providing tax rebates for moderate- and low-income people.
But that version, too, contains about $20 billion in business tax cuts,
mainly for faster depreciation schedules and some tax breaks for financial
Since Senate Democrats lacked enough votes for their bill, negotiations are
under way to blend the House's version with some of what the Senate
Democrats have proposed. Business lobbyists are working to make sure that
much of the House version prevails.
"We are not engaging in special- favor lobbying," said Bruce Josten, an
executive vice president at the United States Chamber of Commerce, which has
spent $6.8 million on lobbying from January to June of this year, on top of
$17 million last year.
"There's a huge difference between the two bills," he added. "The Democratic
version is more the tail wagging the dog. It's clearly to soften the blow of
unemployment. There's nothing wrong with that. But it seems the economy is
sagging fast, and my point is that we remain in a negative corporate
To promote its view, the chamber is joining with a tax-relief coalition that
was formed last year to support the Bush administration's earlier tax cuts
and is now promoting the House bill. Mr. Josten says his group is receiving
strategic help from Kenneth J. Kies, Washington's pre-eminent tax lobbyist,
who is also representing General Motors, General Electric, I.B.M.,
Schering-Plough (news/quote) and the American Council of Life Insurers in
Mr. Kies is one of the heads of the 650-person Washington tax office of
PriceWaterhouse Coopers, a former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on
Taxation and a Republican fund- raiser. He declined to be interviewed for
this article, citing a critical editorial about his lobbying activities
published on Nov. 13 by The Washington Post (news/quote) as the reason.
But some of his clients are talking. William H. Noack, a director in the
Washington lobbying office of General Motors, said his company was backing
the elimination of the corporate alternative minimum tax and is seeking a
rebate of alternative minimum taxes already paid. That could provide an
immediate check of around $800 million for G.M., which last year paid taxes
at a 1.5 percent rate.
Mr. Noack said his company supported the measure because "it would return
money to companies, to G.M., which we would then use to invest in the
business." Specifically, he said the money would be directed to the
automaker's $6.6 billion research and development budget. "It's a way to get
money into plants and products," he said. In the first six months of this
year, General Motors spent $2 million on Washington lobbying.
Many corporate lobbyists say that this unexpected second chance at tax cuts
may be the last one for a while. For that reason, they are adopting a
What is particularly striking to some is that tax cuts on this scale are
even being contemplated.
"If we go back to before Sept. 11, you had the Democrats talking about
wanting to reverse some of the Bush tax cuts," said Jeffery Eisenach,
president of the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a Washington research
group. "What you are seeing is a complete about-face on all fronts in terms
of what is good economic policy. Now the Democrats are talking about some
tax cuts, and the Bush administration is arguing for even bigger ones."
I.B.M. is one of the biggest potential beneficiaries; it is lobbying hard
for the elimination of the alternative minimum tax. Last year, I.B.M. paid
taxes at a rate of 10.8 percent of its $2.9 billion in pretax earnings in
the United States. Had the alternative minimum tax not been in effect,
I.B.M.'s tax rate would have been 7.6 percent, according to Citizens for Tax
Justice, the tax policy advocacy and research group. If the alternative
minimum tax is repealed, I.B.M. could get a $1.4 billion tax rebate check.
"When people start looking at economic stimulus, they look at the
alternative minimum tax," said Timothy Sheehy, a spokesman for I.B.M. "It
was a natural thing to look at." Of the rebate, he added: "It's a good way
to stimulate the economy."
ENERAL ELECTRIC, which paid taxes last year at a rate of 8 percent of its
pretax American profits of $9.7 billion, is not lobbying for the repeal of
the alternative minimum tax. Instead, it is focusing on provisions that
would allow financial services companies, like its GE Capital subsidiary, to
retain tax breaks on money earned from offshore operations.
When Gary Sheffer, a General Electric spokesman, was asked why the company
was not lobbying for the repeal of the alternative minimum tax, which could
give the company an immediate $671 million, Mr. Sheffer said, "On a net
basis, it's not a significant issue for our company."
Still, car makers and other capital- intensive companies are pursuing the
elimination of the alternative minimum tax because it requires such highly
cyclical companies to pay taxes even in years of losses or poor earnings.
Stuart Schorr, public affairs manager for DaimlerChrysler (news/quote), said
its top lobbying goal was the repeal of the alternative minimum tax, a move
that could give the company an immediate $600 million rebate. "That's money
that will go to our bottom line and will help us invest in new products,"
Mr. Schorr said. "It will keep companies healthy and investing; it will keep
employees working. That's part of the economic challenge of today."
At Ford, which could get a $1 billion rebate if the alternative minimum tax
is repealed, Ellen Dickson, a spokeswoman, said: "We believe the country
needs an economic stimulus package, and the package should do things that
could increase consumer confidence. We want people to buy cars." '
"Uncartie" <nom...@nomail.com> wrote in message
Much more objective than Faux Spews!
>Bwahahahaha. How "objective"...
Just like your "principles", eh PineNut?
>Nonrevisionist analysis is demanded before too much
>hagiographic history of Ronald Reagan is engraved in
>granite and the 40th president is canonized beyond
>truth and endurance in airports, public buildings
>and Mount Rushmore.
>Now that he is 87 and mentally enfeebled, the
>encomiums are coming faster from editorialist
>who once excoriated him, their prose revised
>to reflect an insufferably sanitized version
>of his presidency. Against his relentless tide
>of tribute, truth must stand firm.
>The truth includes Reagan's anti-communist
>zealotry that compelled him to lie in writing
>every six months that he certified "progress" in
>human rights in El Salvador. That was the absurd,
>unilateral "condition" Congress required for
>continued US support of fascist terrorism by
>the death squads of that tormented country.
>Reagan's monomaniacal determination to overthrow
>Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua led to subsidizing of
>proxy mass murder of thousands of innocents there
>by Contra terrorists. Later came the Iran-Contra
>scandal, the usurpations of presidential powers
>>by Oliver North and the selling of armaments for
> American hostages in Lebanon, impeachable offenses
>in a non-teflon presidency.
>A similar moral famine affected Reagan when he
>declared that the only alternative in the Philippines to
>Ferdinand Marcos' reign of terror and murder
> (he did not characterize it as such) was a communist
>dictatorship. The peaceful revolution led by the admirable
>Benigno Aquino's widow Corazon - whose husband
>was murdered in a public spectacle by Marcos's
>henchmen - belied Reagan's denial of a democratic movement.
> Reagan was perfectly willing to keep anti-communist
>murderers like Marcos in Power.
>Although Elie Wiesel importuned him to shun a Nazi cemetery
>at Bitburg at the request of Michael Deaver and Helmut
> Kohl, President Reagan went and gave a ludicrous speech.
> He exculpated the entire German nation for its barbarity,
>persecution, genocide and war save "one man" he held
>responsible. Certainly there was a better way to honor
>Germany's decades of dedication to Democracy in the
>wake of World War II.
>The Reagan Administration supported Saddam Hussein
>when Iraq invaded America's nemesis Iran, in his eight year war. It
>led to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Persian Gulf War and the
>present threat of chemical and biological warfare.
>Also deleted from Reagan's revisionism is his sending of 230
>Marines to their easily avoidable death in what then Senator
>Sam Nunn, D-Ga. called "Mission Impossible" in Lebanon.
>The same security measures employed by embassies and
>banks throughout the world would have prevented the
> bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.
>Reagan's me culpa after the bombing was bought by
>an American electorate that could never impute anything
>but the noblest motives to the "Gipper" and could forgive
>him almost everything.
>As George Clemenceau might conclude, history is
> too serious a matter to be left to editorial writers and
>columnists. Give Ronald Reagan his due, his leadership
>of the "revolution" that bears his name. It culminated in
> Republican control of Congress for the first time in
> 40 years in 1994. And give him credit for the energy
> that contributed to - but was far from solely responsible
>fro - the dissolution of the Soviet Union's hegemony.
>Extol his B-movie actor's ability to memorize his lines
>and deliver them with presidential credibility.
>Like him for his affability and personal charm.
>But remember and recognize that he was a shallow
>and shameless president who exploited a nation's
>need for shallow answers to profound and protracted
>History must not permit him to "go gently into that good
>night" unscathed by scandal, imperverious to imperfections
>, oblivious to the tragedies he wrou
>So, Friend, It's Time for That Tax Cut
>By LESLIE WAYNE
>n recent weeks, a steady parade of executives from industries like airlines
>and insurance companies, hotels and pharmaceutical companies, has trooped to
>Washington for handouts. Some have walked away with billions in aid. But
>those pleas pale when compared with the all-out lobbying push now under
>way - a fight for broad and deep corporate tax cuts that are being measured
>in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Why are liberals so dense? Let me
say this very clearly. Corporations do
not pay taxes. Corporations simply
act on behalf of the FedGuv to collect
taxes from the consumer (i.e., their
God Bless America
Non illegitimi carborundum est
Reagan: "The march of freedom and democracy ... will leave Marxism-Leninism on
the ash heap of history."
>How do they think consumers are going to buy their products if the consumers
>have to make up for all those taxes?
I hate to break this to you but we consumers
already pay all those taxes.
This is why you should never bother proving anything to a republican.
If it doesn't come right out of Limpballs mouth they will never
believe it anyway.
"Do it in the name of heaven you can justify it in the end"
One Tin Soldier, Theme from "Billy Jack"
1. they don't think
2. they don't care
It's feeding time and the pigs have their snouts in the public trough up
to their shoulders. There'll be *huge* executive bonuses if they can
manage to recoup the AMT bucks.
You can make an argument against the tax cuts, if you want; but not the one
you are making. Bush threatened the Republican house members with a veto if
they had added more money for NY disaster relief or if the Senate had passed
their pork ridden version. No, let's negotiate and everyone gets to add one
pet project. He states, and is governing, that he plans to control spending
at all costs. Now by giving the tax breaks to small, medium and yes even
large corporations and keeping the cap on total net deficit; he needs to cut
increases to other programs and even make actual cuts in other programs ( I
recently read that the cdc might need to cut almost 75% of spending on AIDS
and related research; spending to be redirected to study of bioterrorism and
related diseases as well as cancer and other disease processes that can give
a greater bang for their spent dollar.)
Don't you mean save the right people!
Yeah you dope there's exactly what she means. There's a big list in
Washington with the names of everyone their going to save and guess
what you're not on it. So kiss your fat welfare sucking ass Bah Bye!
And another shape shifts and spews!
You mean that only wealthy Republican oil barons get
cancer? I had no idea!
In terms of 'bang for the buck' research, cancer is a
no-brainer. How could an otherwise intelligent person
possibly disagree with that?