THE ISSUE OF CORPORATE TAXES
by Bruce Piasecki, author of New World Companies: The Future of Capitalism
I did some homework to prepare for my leadership workshops coming up this Weds and Thurs. These are my 38th year of running these workshops of corporate, capital markets, and innovation leaders.
With over a dozen CEOs enrolled for Weds, four founders of organizations, and several Board members, the issue of corporate taxes may prove more central a battle than first expected. This emerging central debate will further sideline Green Energy campaigns while it focused political will on the issues directly now focused on the size and earmarks of the infrastructure stimulus draft bills in committee and subcommittee — all of these fundamental issues of our days are more inherently passable than in recent years.
As of this moment, you can see a settling in at 2 Trillion on infrastructure, and isolating of the progressive extremes on energy.
That is my reading at the moment, looking over all the variables impacting corporate strategy and tax law/positions.
My take away: the issue of corporate taxes will shape the near term destiny of our clients and Corporate Affiliates more than usual in the next five years.
This Weds and Thursday, I’d like some commentary on the issue of Corporate Taxes.
Here is my best reading, based on interviews with several of my Federal lobbyist friends (those running the firms that are bi-partisan and impactful):
- They think the new MICROSOFT stock disclosure on anticipated probabilities on the tax increase informative. Of course, we must track another one hundred informed firms to inform our own positions, which is AHC Group practice.
- MICROSOFT reports, and Morningstar echoes, the essence of what is at stake:
“We expect a U. S. Corporate tax hike to be passed this year. Our probability weighted fore case is an increase in the statutory tax rate to 26 percent from 21 percent currently.” While Amazon, Google, Intel will not disclose their similar positions, it is noteworthy.
What does that mean to your global firm; and to those competing on social needs and market access? Microsoft tax attorney’s go on, noting:
“President Joe Biden has unveiled a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that he plans to pay for largely with increases in corporate taxes. While there are other plausible sources of revenue, these will likely be needed for other spending priorities, so we believe there is a high probability that Congress will pass an increase in corporate taxes this year, effective in 2022.”
I dug deeper this last week for clients and Corporate Affiliates. The best numbers reveal:
- All probability weighted lobbying estimates out three share a view that this 26 percent increase has a 80 percent probability, both for Microsoft, most new world companies (see Piasecki, 2015 on New World Companies: The Future of Capitalism).
- Most positions now in DC and the state capitals feel massive amounts of money will flow, but that Biden’s proposal for 28 percent, based on past political positioning trends since World War II, has only a 20 percent probability that it will pass.
This is considerable. In contrast, if you look at the stock market trends in the same post World War II period the numbers the AHC Group track are:
- Jumps in the U.S. Stock markets are defined as a daily move of at least 2.5 percent upward or downward. Overall these large movements are infrequent — as all long term stockholders know — accounting for only 3.5 percent of all trading days over the last 20 years, and even less since World War II overall. This 3.5 percent volatility measures over the entire 20th century and the first two decades of the 21st century reveals that this kinds of 2.5 percent JUMPS in value account for less than 20 percent of all total daily variation. In short, there is far more “jumping” in political settings than in our rather stable global stock and US stock market settings.
We live in a political economy, not an economy in any classical sense of the term economy. I have always believe this. It is more true than ever when you develop corporate strategy. I find these numbers very telling for the fate of clean energy decisions across the world.