Robert McIntyre

Robert S. McIntyre is director of Citizens for Tax Justice and a contributing editor for The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

A History of Corporate Looting

If you want to understand what corporate lobbyists in Washington, D.C., are trying to foist on us with the pending "stimulus" bill, look back to the first half of the 1980s. In 1981, Ronald Reagan pushed a huge tax-cut bill through Congress. For corporations, it offered an array of new loopholes, centered on super-accelerated "depreciation" write-offs for equipment and buildings. The results were staggering, as widespread corporate tax avoidance quickly became routine. Studies by Citizens for Tax Justice found that half of America's largest and most profitable corporations were able to avoid paying any income tax at all in at least one year between 1981 and 1984, with many enjoying multiple zero-tax years. The list of corporate tax freeloaders was a rogues' gallery of famous names. General Electric, Texaco, Dow Chemical, PepsiCo, Boeing, and ITT were among the long list of companies that paid nothing at all in taxes from 1981 to 1984. In fact, these and other companies were actually...

The Taxonomist

Antitax Mania. GOP presidential hopeful John McCain has recently let it be known where he stands on taxes. He's against them. All of them. According to McCain, "We should all be ashamed of a system that taxes your salary, your investments, your property, your expenses, your marriage and your death." Well, let's see, no income taxes, no payroll taxes, no property taxes, no sales taxes, no inheritance taxes—that about covers it. To be sure, McCain goes on in his statement (you can watch him deliver it at ) to detail a more modest list of specific upper-income tax breaks that he'd push for as president. But obviously these are only the first baby steps in his master plan. McCain's ultra-antitax stance must have Steve Forbes (R-$$$) gnashing his teeth. Forbes had good reason to believe he had sewn up the antitax vote with his 17-percent flat-rate wage tax proposal, which in its latest incarnation would cut federal revenues by $300 billion a year or more. Meanwhile,...

The Taxonomist

Those Progressive '90s The 1990s saw lots of federal tax legislation enacted. The biggest changes included the modestly progressive tax increases that President George H.W. Bush reluctantly signed in 1990, Bill Clinton's 1993 tax hikes on the rich, and the generally regressive 1997 tax cut deal worked out between Clinton and the Republican Congress. So what did all these tax changes accomplish? The answer may surprise you. Compared to what would have happened if the 1990 income tax code had simply been adjusted for inflation, federal income taxes are actually lower today for every income group except the top 1 percent. If we add the payroll tax changes in 1990 and 1993, which lifted the wage cap on Medicare taxes, we find that, on average, combined income and payroll taxes are down for every group except the best-off 5 percent. In other words, despite the lamentable upper-income loopholes adopted in 1997 (in particular...