Right-leaning group: Warren's corporate tax proposal would raise revenue, hurt the economy

Right-leaning group: Warren's corporate tax proposal would raise revenue, hurt the economy
© Greg Nash

A proposal from Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden pick for Pentagon cruises through confirmation hearing Senate Democrats call on Biden to immediately invoke Defense Production Act Biden consumer bureau pick could take over agency on Inauguration Day MORE to impose a surtax on large corporations' profits would raise hundreds of billions of dollars but would also lead to a smaller economy, according to an analysis released Thursday by the right-leaning Tax Foundation.

"We estimate that this tax would reduce the incentive to invest in the United States," the group said in its analysis.

Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, last week proposed a 7-percent surtax on corporations' worldwide profits above $100 million. The tax would be based on the profits corporations report on their financial statements, rather than the profits corporations report for tax purposes, which can be lower. Warren designed her proposal to prevent profitable corporations from paying zero taxes.


In the rollout of her proposal, Warren cited an estimate from University of California, Berkeley professors Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman that the proposed tax would raise a little over $1 trillion from 2019 to 2028.

The Tax Foundation, whose economic analyses have frequently been criticized by Democrats, wrote that the proposal will raise federal revenue, but claimed that its estimated revenue increase is smaller.

The group estimated that the surtax would raise $872 billion from 2020 to 2029 using conventional scoring and $476 billion using "dynamic" scoring that takes into account the economic effects.

The group estimated that the proposal would reduce long-run gross domestic product by 1.9 percent, wages by 1.5 percent, and full-time equivalent jobs by 454,000.

The surtax "would reduce output primarily through an increase in the service price of capital, or the required return necessary for investment to break even, after tax and depreciation, in the United States," the Tax Foundation wrote.

"A higher service price means that capital investment would become less attractive, leading to reduced investment and, eventually, a smaller capital stock," the group added. "The smaller capital stock would lead to lower output, lower worker productivity, and lower wages."

The Tax Foundation also said in its report that Warren's proposed tax would "fall on U.S. workers in the form of lower wages."

The group estimated that the proposal would make the tax code progressive, but that all income groups would see a reduction in their after-tax incomes. Those in the top 1 percent of income were estimated to see the greatest percent decrease in their after-tax incomes.