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Politics & Power

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Real Reforms to Benefit Real Americans

In recent years the oil companies and traders have become some of the wealthiest people in America with record profits and previously unseen bonuses and incentives for executives coming year after year. Gas prices soar and the executives claim all the while that they are merely pricing based on the cost of oil. Surely nobody with any sense is buying that they must charge the prices they are charging in order to stay in business. It seems that if left unchecked they would happily milk the American citizens dry while living high on the hog.

Other companies have abandoned the American worker and make immense profits by importing cheap goods and services and charging a premium for them to the American consumer comparatively speaking.

In this political season of plans and rhetoric from the politicians about how to best address the issue, I would like to offer my idea for a plan to lighten the burden on American taxpayers and reign in the insane profiteering of the oil industry and other companies:

Section I: Redefine profit for tax purposes

In redefining profits through legislation, lawmakers have the ability to rewrite the tax code to redefine and tax corporate profits to only allow for a certain percentage of a company's payroll to be devoted to executive salaries before those salaries are considered excess profit and tightly define what can be considered overhead expenditures. I would set the following guidelines:

  • A profit tax rate of thirty percent shall be collected on all corporate entities with annual income of $100,000,000 or more. This rate to include the profits of the parent company and all subsidiaries as an aggregate amount.
  • A profit tax rate of twenty percent shall be collected on all corporate entities with income of $10,000,000 to $99,999,999 annually. This rate to include the profits of the parent company and all subsidiaries as an aggregate amount.
  • Profits are defined as the gross annual income of the company minus payroll and overhead expenditures where no more than five percent of payroll expenditures are allocated for executive level staff salaries.
  • Non-American workers and workers employed outside of the United States must be paid from post-tax profits and will not be counted as payroll or overhead expenditures for tax purposes.
  • Stock dividend payouts must be paid from post-tax profits and cannot be defined as overhead.
  • All bonuses for performance paid to executive level staff must be paid from post-tax profits and cannot be counted as salary or overhead.
  • All stock incentives given to executives will be taxed at current face value per share at time of transfer to said executive at the corporate profit tax rate as previously defined. (Executive would also be responsible for any capitol gains taxes on said stock at time of sale.)
  • Research and development expenditures must have documentation to show the nature of the research, expected duration, intended goal and evidence of cost management policies to qualify as overhead expenditures not taxable as profits.
By setting these strict standards for defining profit, you address profiteering without penalizing smaller companies for growth. Note that the smallest companies addressed in this plan would be those making over ten million dollars per year. The plan also in defining payroll expenditures in very specific ways deincentivizes companies to outsource or use exorbitant executive salaries as justification for avoiding taxes.

As a companion to redefining profits and taxing them accordingly there must be a reallocation of those dollars to benefit the consumers. In Section II the funds are reallocated to benefit the consumers most impacted by the high prices being charged.

Section II: Allocation of increased tax revenues

In allocating the revenues from increased taxes on corporate entities it is imperative to insure that those revenues are not being redirected to the corporations paying the increased profit taxes in the form of tax credits or incentives. High priority must be given to working Americans and families in the allocation of dollars and that a secondary goal of increased American employment is a focus of spending. The following spending guidelines would assure modest tax relief for working Americans and increased employment for workers displaced by outsourcing and downsizing:
  • All Americans earning less than $100,000 per year and couples earning less than $150,000 per year shall receive an annual $2,000-3,000 tax credit for transportation costs.
  • For families, an additional annual $500 per child tax credit shall be added to the tax code on a permanent basis.
  • Capitol gains taxes for annual gross capitol gains under $50,000 shall be eliminated.
  • Inheritance taxes for cash inheritances totaling less than $50,000 and property inheritances totaling less than $500,000 shall be eliminated.
  • A federal infrastructure program will be created to rebuild the national infrastructure and maintain it in perpetuity in order to avoid future injuries and deaths from failed structures beyond their expected lifespan.
  • The government contract bidding process and guidelines will be amended to assure that workers who are American citizens will be given hiring preference on all taxpayer funded projects. (Resident aliens will be only considered after American candidates have been hired or disqualified. Hiring processes will be subject to a government audit to assure compliance.)
  • Foreign worker visas will not be issued to companies seeking government contracts unless they can prove that no qualified Americans can be found to fill the positions. (Ongoing audit of employers will be in place to assure that visas are not extended if qualified Americans become available to perform duties of visa holders.)
  • Any contractor found to be using undocumented workers will be shut down, their contract nullified, the owners criminally prosecuted and prohibited from bidding on any contract where federal dollars will be used for no less than twenty years. (If the company is sold the case can be reviewed for possible restored contract eligibility.)
  • A jobs training and placement program for all Americans unemployed due to outsourcing, downsizing or poor access to quality education will be put in place to ensure low unemployment on a national level. (Job training program to include federal assistance in the form of grants and loans for education at two and four year colleges and universities.)
  • Remainder of funds from increased corporate profit tax revenues will be allocated to address education funding deficiencies (facilities maintenance, materials acquisition and teacher salaries) and placed in an isolated trust fund for education that is off limits for general spending to ensure the future workers of America are well prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
This like all plans has areas in which it can be improved but it is a start. If we begin having the discussions and taking a hard look at the issues we can begin to find solutions. Our system has become too lopsided and favors the rich to the extreme detriment of the middle and lower middle classes. It is time for the people who make up the majority of the population to have a say in policies. We have been the victims of our legislators for too long and need to make our needs the priority in Washington.

This plan is doable if the leaders we elect have the courage to do it. The only question now is who do they really serve? Will they side with corporate fat-cats or with the working men and women of America whose work made those people so ungodly rich?


Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article.

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