One of the most disheartening aspects of the post-election period is the way that corporate executives, many of them in highly regulated industries or ones that depend on government subsidies and contracts, are rushing to embrace President Obama's call for higher tax rates. Via Politico Playbook comes a link to a Reuters article reporting on a meeting between President Obama and "AT&T Inc CEO Randall Stephenson, Archer Daniels Midland Co chief Patricia Woertz, Coca-Cola Co chief Muhtar Kent, Caterpillar Inc's Doug Oberhelman, Pfizer Inc's Ian Read," and Marriott Chief Executive Arne Sorenson, Deloitte LLP Chief Executive Joe Echevarria, and Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein.
After the meeting, Mr. Blankfein told CNN, "I think it's better to have as low a marginal rate as possible because the incentive is the marginal rate, but if we had to lift up the marginal rate I would do that."
Mr. Echevarria reportedly said, "There needs to be some revenue element to this, and (Obama) started with rates. And he started with rates on what we would define (as) the upper two percent. ... That we have to pay our fair share. And I think everybody was in agreement with that notion."
"Everybody was in agreement." How Orwellian.
Of course, the higher the rates and the more complex the code, the more companies and individuals have incentives to pay high fees to Deloitte, which is an accounting firm, to figure out how to minimize and plan their taxes.
In the same vein, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman urged his tens of thousands of employees to email Congress, backing President Obama's "balanced" approach of a deficit deal that includes increased tax revenues. Maybe next time he'll be invited to the meeting with Mr. Obama as a reward.
Somehow all the left wingers who were so up in arms about how the Citizens United decision opened the door to corporate involvement in politics are silent when the big businesses all of a sudden use their political voices to support higher taxes on some individuals. By this double standard, when the Koch brothers or Koch Industries calls for lower taxes and less regulation, it's a threat to democracy, but when Lloyd Blankfein and James Gorman call for higher taxes, it's...what, exactly? Progress?