GE has probably avoided paying its fair share of taxes in a "legal" way -- if the word "legal" can be used to describe a system where corporations pay for the privilege of influencing politicians to bend the law in their favor.
We have a debate between the right -- Republicans like Mitt Romney who would cut corporate taxes and ask them to pay less -- and a business-friendly, centrist president who won't call on corporations to pay more. "Fair share?" -- not so much.
Pretty much every discussion of tax reform these days ends with an agreement that we need to broaden the base and lower the rates. Well, the White House today will release the broad outlines of a plan to do just that on the corporate side of the federal tax code.
If properly designed, the president's minimum tax could substantially improve the current system of taxing foreign profits of U.S. multinational corporations -- by both raising revenues and encouraging domestic investments.
A seemingly immutable law of today's politics is that Republicans in Congress have shifted so far right that they oppose all revenue increases -- no matter how urgent America's fiscal needs may be. But perhaps this is no longer the case.