Biden overreaching with infrastructure and corporate tax plans

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS — U.S. President Joe Biden has announced something called the American Jobs Plan. Amid a pandemic in which some companies struggled under government-imposed lockdowns, perhaps the best way to increase job opportunities would be to remove the barrier that caused the problems in the first place: government interference. But in Biden’s world, more government is the solution rather than the problem.

“Under the American Jobs Plan, 100 percent of our nation’s lead pipes and service lines will be replaced — so every child in America can turn on the faucet or fountain and drink clean water,” Biden tweeted on March 31.

So basically, Biden’s jobs plan is to create an army of plumbers and pipefitters to replace pipes. If Biden wants to create jobs, why did he block the creation of thousands of jobs with an executive order revoking the construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have helped secure North American energy independence via the transport of fuel from Canada to the U.S.?

The Biden administration has argued that Keystone XL is redundant — that existing pipelines can do the job — but one could also say that existing water filters can mitigate whatever risk Biden is using to justify his massive pipe-replacement plan. Wouldn’t it be far cheaper to just give out water filters to every American? At least that’s something well within the federal government’s control, unlike infrastructure. Biden says he’s concerned that “up to 10 million homes in America and more than 400,000 schools and child care centers have pipes — where they get their water from — that are lead-based pipes, including pipes for drinking water.”

Unlike Europe, not much of the U.S. infrastructure is under federal control. As D.J. Gribbin noted in a 2019 article for the Brookings Institution, most of the country’s infrastructure is owned at the state and local level. In light of that obstacle, it’s hard to imagine how Biden would be able to dictate massive infrastructure renewal. Not that road and bridge repair isn’t needed. It’s just that citizens probably shouldn’t count on the federal government to handle all of it.

Confusion over jurisdictional control is something Biden could conveniently use as a ploy on people who don’t know any better. How could anyone with a heart possibly oppose Biden’s jobs plan when the beneficiaries are “the kids”? And by extension, how could anyone possibly oppose bleeding American corporations with tax increases if it’s to help grow the American economy by creating government jobs — jobs that help spare kids from drinking water that came from lead pipes?

Not only does Biden want American corporations to pay for his new federal slush fund, but he wants the rest of the world to give him a hand in perpetuating the charade. Biden’s treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, called for nations worldwide to adopt a minimum global corporate income tax.

“It is important to work with other countries to end the pressures of tax competition and corporate tax base erosion,” Yellen said on Monday.

In late 2017, then-President Donald Trump and the Republican-majority Congress cut corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent. Biden wants to bump them back up to 28 percent. All of these figures are far too high. Canada has a corporate tax rate of 15 percent, with a mere 9 percent rate for small businesses. Russia’s corporate tax rate is 20 percent, Ireland’s 12.5 percent, and China’s 25 percent. Somehow these countries are able to fund infrastructure and other ambitions at a lower corporate tax rate. Or maybe their systems are set up differently. In any case, Biden and Yellen shouldn’t be comparing apples to oranges.

It’s delusional for this administration to think that these countries are going to play along with corporate tax increases simply to help out with Biden’s domestic agenda. The age of unipolarity and America’s global fiscal dominance is already unraveling as a result of overreach — both militarily with failed foreign interventions and economically with punitive sanctions that have caused much of the world to reorient and diversify economic partnerships.

Politicians like Biden have spent years fostering globalization, inserting and asserting themselves all over the world, to the ultimate benefit of America’s biggest corporate behemoths and political supporters. Now these politicians are upset that the monster they helped create has chewed through its harness. No one with any sense is buying the sob story about pipes and kids. Good selling that, Joe. But please leave the rest of the world out of it.