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  • How High US Corporate Tax Rates Hurt the Economy

    The US corporate tax rate is the highest among developed nations at 35% at the federal level. Tack on state and local taxes, which can add 5-7%, and US corporations are looking at a 40%-42% income tax burden. But the US takes it even another step further, unlike any other country in the developed world.

    Uncle Sam demands that American companies with offshore operations pay US taxes on all income earned abroad – if those profits are repatriated to the US – even though taxes have already been paid to the countries where the income was actually generated. Think of it as double taxation on profits.

    No wonder then that more and more US corporations with offshore operations are keeping those profits outside the US in order to avoid this double taxation. It is estimated that up to $2 trillion of those foreign profits are parked outside the US. That is a ton of money which, if brought home, could result in lots of new projects that could create many new jobs.

    With an obligation to their shareholders to maximize profits, large US corporations are increasingly taking additional steps to minimize taxes owed to the Treasury in a process that has been coined “tax inversion” as I will explain below. This involves US firms moving their corporate headquarters overseas to countries where the tax burden is lower.

    Today, we’ll explore how the extraordinarily high US corporate tax rate hurts the economy and why more and more large American corporations are moving their headquarters offshore. And we’ll look at why the Obama administration is trying to stop it – when all it would take to fix it is the US lowering its tax burden to a more reasonable level. But no, Obama wants to raise corporate taxes even more. This should make for an interesting E-letter.

    But before we get into that discussion, let’s take a quick look at last Friday’s third and final report on 2Q Gross Domestic Product.

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  • Fed Extends Operation Twist – Europe at the Brink

    For the last several months I have argued that the most likely time for the Fed to enact another round of stimulus would be at the June 19-20 FOMC meeting. I first suggested this in my March 13 E-Letter. My main reasoning was that Bernanke would not want to do it after June 19-20 for fear that it would be seen as a political move ahead of the November elections.

    As I’m sure you know by now, the Fed elected to extend “Operation Twist” last Wednesday, June 20. Operation Twist is the action whereby the Fed uses cash from the sale or maturity of short-dated Treasuries to buy longer-dated securities, in an effort to bring down long-term rates. The Fed says it will make $267 billion in such purchases and the Twist will continue until the end of this year.

    The Fed also revised its economic forecasts downward, suggesting even slower GDP growth in 2012 and 2013 than they predicted back in April. They estimate that the unemployment rate will remain at or above 8% all this year, and then be 7.8% - 8% in 2013. Not a very rosy outlook.

    The financial crisis in Europe is back on the front pages. Moody's downgraded 28 Spanish banks on Monday, and stocks cratered around the world. There is a major European summit this Thursday and Friday in Brussels, and this may be the last chance for a solution to the crisis before the Eurozone begins to break apart.

    Finally, I end with some thoughts regarding the Thursday's Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare. If the healthcare law is struck down by the High Court, I expect all hell to break loose! The mainstream media and those on the left will have a conniption. No doubt the Obama administration will weigh in on the bashing of the Supreme Court. If the healthcare law or the individual mandate are struck down, it will get very ugly!