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A Tax Cut That 'Pays For' Unemployment Insurance and Infrastructure

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It is bad economic policy. But, all economic policy that could pass a Republican-controlled House of Representatives is bad. All they care about, really, is tax cuts for the wealthy. But those tax cuts do not create jobs or "pay for themselves." Nor do regulations on balance cost jobs.

There is, however, one tax cut that will raise immediate revenues to pay for extended unemployment insurance with the balance for infrastructure, i.e., jobs.

Allow corporations with overseas profits (estimated at $1.5 trillion) a three-month window to "repatriate" those profits by paying a 10 percent (compared to the corporate rate of 35 percent) tax.

If the past is any guide, it is bad economic policy because, despite Republican claims, it is unlikely companies will do anything to create jobs in the US with that windfall.

But, hey, we are dealing with a Republican House of Representatives.

Rather than bemoaning $1.35 trillion corporate gains for no commensurate benefit to society for the generosity, however, we ought to focus on the value of the $150 billion in revenues to the American people. It pays for the unemployment extension and the remainder can be used for some infrastructure projects, rebuilding the country and providing jobs. In a previous suggestion along these lines, I divvied the pot into more pieces. At this point, just these two would do.

Let us see who would support this: the Chamber of Commerce would be ga-ga, trade unions would like both the jobs and the unemployment insurance, Grover Norquist would be in tax-cut heaven, Wall Street would rise as companies would (likely) engage in buying back their own shares, some workers could find work, long-term unemployed would not become further destitute, some bridges might not collapse, some schools can be modernized, and so forth...

Politically, Republicans would have difficulty opposing it because their paymasters would love it so much. Some would clearly object to "all that new spending" and vote against it, with winks-and-nods to those paymasters that they are doing that only for show.

Moreover, the jobs would more than counteract any purported (albeit unlikely) negative job impact from raising the minimum wage that itself would give a raise to 16.5 million Americans without spending a dime of government money.

Everyone gets what they hold most dear.

Which is probably why it will not pass.