NEWS & ANALYSIS

Yellen Calls for Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate 


Ahead of meetings with global counterparts this week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called for a global minimum corporate tax rate as she defended Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal. 

“Competitiveness is about more than how U.S.-headquartered companies fare against other companies in global merger and acquisition bids,” she said Monday to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “It is about making sure that governments have stable tax systems that raise sufficient revenue to invest in essential public goods and respond to crises, and that all citizens fairly share the burden of financing government.” 

Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan would generate around $2 trillion over 15 years for bridges, roads, etc. It would also raise the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28 percent, increase minimum taxes on U.S. companies’ foreign income and make it more difficult for foreign-owned companies with U.S. operations to benefit from shifting profits to low-tax countries, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

“We are working with G-20 nations to agree to a global minimum corporate tax rate that can stop the race to the bottom,” she said. 

Biden also wants to raise the minimum tax on U.S. companies’ foreign earnings to 21 percent, which would create a significant disadvantage for U.S. companies operating in foreign countries because they would face taxes that their non-U.S. competitors don’t. 

Hence Yellen’s idea of a global minimum tax. 

She also promised to restore America’s global economic leadership role, while blasting Trump over his handling of the economy before and during the pandemic. 

“Over the last four years, we have seen firsthand what happens when America steps back from the global stage,” she said. “America first must never mean America alone.”

Now, it isn’t America first, though. It’s America last. 

The speech comes as world leaders begin virtual meetings for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, during which they are expected to focus on emerging variants of the virus and the potential for new economic shutdowns. 

Yellen added that advanced economies should help low-income countries have access to vaccines, testing and therapeutics, as well as help lessen their economic traumas. 

But, we have a lot on our plate already. Perhaps Joe Biden should figure out the crisis at the border, as well as getting every American access to vaccines and testing first, then help others.