The Treasury Department has taken down from its website a 2012 analysis that found that business owners and shareholders — not workers — bear most of the burden of corporate taxes. The findings of the report run counter to the argument Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been making in selling the benefits of a reduction in the corporate tax rate. The Trump administration’s tax reform framework calls for dropping the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.
The 2012 report from the Office of Tax Analysis found that “workers pay 18 percent of the corporate tax while owners of capital pay 82 percent” — figures that are “in line with many economists’ views and close to estimates from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation and Congressional Budget Office,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
A Treasury spokeswoman told the Journal: “The paper was a dated staff analysis from the previous administration. It does not represent our current thinking and analysis.”
Jason Furman, who was chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, tweeted that the goal of the technical paper series that included the removed study “was to be more transparent about the methodology Treasury used for its modeling and analysis.”
President Trump announced on Thursday the creation of a National Council for the American Worker, charged with developing “a national strategy for training and retraining workers for high-demand industries,” his daughter Ivanka wrote in The Wall Street Journal. A report from the president’s National Council on Economic Advisers earlier this week made it clear that the U.S. currently spends less public money on job programs than many other developed countries.
Most business economists in the U.S. expect the economy to keep chugging along over the next three months, with rising corporate sales driving additional hiring and wage increases for workers.
The tax cuts, however, don’t seem to be playing a role in hiring and investment plans. And the trade conflicts stirred up by the Trump administration are having a negative influence, with the majority of economists at goods-producing firms who replied to the most recent survey by the National Association for Business Economics saying that their companies were putting investments on hold as they wait to see how things play out.
The Republican tax bill signed into law late last year imposed a 21 percent tax on employees at non-profits who earn more than $1 million a year. According to data from the Chronicle of Higher Education cited by Bloomberg, there were 12 presidents of public universities who received compensation of at least $1 million in 2017, with James Ramsey of the University of Louisville topping the list at $4.3 million. Endowment managers could also get hit with the tax, as could football coaches, some of whom earn substantially more than the presidents of their institutions.
The federal budget deficit rose by 16 percent in the first nine months of the 2018 fiscal year, which began last October. The shortfall came to $607 billion, compared to $523 billion in the same period the year before, according to a U.S. Treasury report released Thursday and reported by Bloomberg. Both revenue and spending rose, but spending rose faster. Revenues came to $2.54 trillion, up 1.3 percent from the same nine-month period in 2017, while spending came to $3.15 trillion, up 3.9 percent.