Elizabeth Warren: Unfair Taxes Let Corporate Giants Grow, Kill Small Business Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., arrives for a procedural vote on the nomination of Polly Ellen Trottenberg to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation at the U.S. Capitol April 12, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Tuesday, 27 April 2021 12:30 PM
Corporate giants FedEx, Nike, and Amazon "pay zero" taxes through loopholes that allow them to grow and prosper while small businesses that must shoulder the full tax bill suffer, and that must change, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Tuesday.
"What’s happening right now in America, is these small businesses pay their taxes at the full rate. They got to pay the whole thing,” the progressive Warren said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
"You look at businesses like FedEx and Nike, businesses like Amazon, and they pay zero. Right now there’s a thumb on the scale in the tax part of this, and that is a thumb to help the giants."
Warren, who is on the Senate Finance and Banking committees, has proposed a "millionaires tax,' and has been battling with billionaire Leon Cooperman. She asked him to attend a subcommittee being held Tuesday to discuss her wealth tax plans, but he declined the invitation.
She told CNBC that her call for a more fair tax structure is important because the nation needs the money to make an investment in America going forward in infrastructure, child care, and more, and outlined a three-part tax plan she is pushing.
"Let's start with the fact that the 99% in America pay about 7.2% of their total wealth in taxes every year," she said. "But that top one-tenth of 1%, they're paying about 3.2%. We put a 2 cent wealth tax, 3 cents for people [worth] over 1 billion and they're still paying less than the 99%. But that's part one. And we can raise about $3 trillion from that."
The second part of the plan aims at large corporations like Amazon that report more than $100 million in book profits, said Warren, who favors charging such companies a 7% across-the-board tax and says that could bring in "about $1.4 trillion."
The third part of the equation is for more fair tax enforcement, which includes "hiring enough people at the IRS that we concentrate on the folks who are cheating at the top."
"The IRS commissioner says that we have a tax gap right now of about $1 trillion a year," she said. "Altogether, it's about $6 trillion that we could get just from those three changes in our tax laws. That would more than pay for the infrastructure and have a couple of trillion left over."
Many large corporations have come under attack by Warren, but she said Tuesday that in reality, "we want to celebrate your success."
At the same time, "everyone who built a successful business here in America did it using a workforce that all of us paid to educate," the senator said. "They did it getting their goods to market on roads and bridges that all of us help to pay to build, did it protected by police and firefighters that all of us helped pay their salaries. And all we're saying is that when you make it big, and I mean really big, I mean the top 1/10 of 1%, pitch in a little more so everybody else gets a chance to make it in this country. That is all this is about."
She added that the wealth tax must be made federal so people can't leave for other states where they won't face a financial hit.
"This is part of the reason we need a federal wealth tax in America, so it doesn't make any difference whether you live in Massachusetts or you live in Montana or you live in Mississippi; you have to pay the wealth tax," she said. "That way it is there for all of us and that way we can make those investments collectively where they are needed the most educate our children and we can build our infrastructure."
She also defended her call for higher taxes because "somebody has to pay for our infrastructure, somebody has to pay for educating our children, someone has to pay for our military. Giant corporations say let's shove that off to the middle class."