Hillary Clinton has unveiled a "profit sharing" tax plan. The details of the plan have been published on her website.
"Clinton’s Plan for a Profit Sharing Tax Credit," the headline of the item on Clinton's website reads.
Hillary Clinton believes the central economic challenge in America today is achieving stronger and steadier income growth. While corporate profits are near record highs, everyday Americans' paychecks have barely budged in real terms. Clinton's vision for the country’s economic future prioritizes a rise in incomes for hard-working Americans so they can afford a middle-class life.
Today in New Hampshire, Clinton outlined one idea to address this key challenge: encouraging companies to share their profits with American workers. She outlined a key proposal to give workers the chance to share in the profits they help produce.
A Win-Win: Profit Sharing Is Good for Workers and Good for Business
Under profit-sharing arrangements, companies agree to distribute to workers a specified share of business profits. There is strong evidence that profit sharing is a win-win for both workers and business:
Profit sharing gives workers a stake in the company. Under profit-sharing arrangements, when a company does well, the workers share in the gains they helped produce. So when corporations see the type of near-record profits they have recently, not only would the executives and shareholders do well – the workers would too.
Profit sharing increases worker pay. Evidence shows that profit-sharing arrangements are linked with higher pay. If a worker is enrolled in a good profit-sharing plan, that could mean a raise of thousands of dollars.1
For example, Professors Richard Freeman, Joseph Blasi, and Douglas Kruse of Harvard and Rutgers find "strong evidence" that profit sharing has "meaningful impacts on workers' wealth" because "[w]orkers with profit sharing or employee stock ownership are higher paid and have more benefits than other workers."2
Profit sharing makes businesses more productive and innovative. Studies find that profit-sharing plans on the whole result in increased business productivity and innovation.3 This makes sense: when employees share in profits, they have a stronger stake in the company's success.
Profit sharing improves the workplace. Profit sharing has also been associated with other improvements in the workplace – including better employee training, lower employee turnover, and increased employee participation in decision-making.4 In fact, evidence suggests that profit-sharing leads workers to be more satisfied with their jobs overall.
Today, Clinton Outlined Her "Rising Incomes, Sharing Profits" Tax Credit
Expanding profit-sharing – by offering incentives to help businesses cover the initial costs of setting up a plan and overcome the inertia of a "business as usual" mentality – would be a win-win for America's workers and businesses. Clinton would encourage companies to share profits by offering them a tax credit for sharing profits with employees.
Award a two-year tax credit to companies that share profits with their employees. Under Clinton's plan, companies that share profits with their employees would receive a two-year tax credit equal to 15 percent of the profits they share – with a higher credit for small businesses. Shared profits eligible for the credit would be capped at 10 percent on top of employees' current wages. This would help companies overcome any initial costs of setting up a profit sharing plan. After two years, companies that have established profit sharing plans and enjoyed the benefits of them would no longer need the credit to sustain the plans.
Target the workers and businesses that need profit sharing the most. The tax credit would phase out for higher-income workers, and it would only be available to firms that share profits widely among employees. Moreover, the benefit for any single company in a given year would be capped to prevent an excessive credit for very large corporations.
Work with business, labor and other stakeholders to tailor the specific dimensions of the credit. Clinton believes broad engagement should help shape the precise elements of the credit. That's why, as president, she would direct her Treasury Secretary to convene small businesses and corporate leaders, labor leaders and other stakeholders to determine, among other things, the characteristics of qualifying profit-sharing arrangements and to develop protections against abuses – such as stopping companies from limiting or gaming wages and benefits to get the tax credit.
Be fiscally responsible. The overall cost of the tax credit is expected to be roughly 20 billion over the ten-year budget window and will be fully paid for through the closure of tax loopholes that she will identify as part of the comprehensive agenda that Clinton will introduce in the weeks and months ahead. This investment will create a significant boost to the economy by putting more money in the pockets of millions of working Americans.
Clinton's "Rising Incomes, Sharing Profits" Tax Credit represents exactly the kind of common-sense solutions that she will offer as President. And Clinton will continue to consult with private sector leaders, labor leaders, experts, and other stakeholders, and propose additional ideas on profit-sharing over the course of the campaign.
The discussion over economic inequality in the United States seems to have captured the public imagination, at least on the political left. President Obama has called it “the defining challenge of our time,” and Secretary Clinton has deemed it “a cancer.” Given the shorthand manner in which politicians sometimes refer to policy matters it is not always clear if Obama and Clinton are referring specifically to inequality, the ratio or distribution of wealth in society, or to raw poverty—the fact that millions of Americans live in impoverished circumstances. There is a keen difference in which of these two approaches one takes to the challenge of alleviating misery. Here, I’ve devised a simple test to understand the issue:
Former President Bill Clinton insists he and his wife, Hillary Clinton, are not out of touch. The examples he cites? They talk to people at their "local grocery store on the weekend" and, he adds, they "talk to people in [their] town."
Hillary Clinton will be getting $225,000 to speak at a university fundraiser later this year. Students at the same school, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, have recently been outraged that the institution is raising tuition by a staggering 17 percent.
At a Beverly Hills estate last night, President Obama heard a complaint from a major donor: There's no valet parking at the White House. The complaint was made by Haim Saban, who hosted a fundraiser with the president last night.
It is no secret that Washington generally prospers even as the rest of the country struggles. In a rough fashion, prosperity in the capital and economic hardship in the rest of the country are inversely related. An economic crisis means lots of new government pump priming--remember the stimulus?--which means new departments and programs in Washington. More opportunities for the tribe of lawyers and lobbyists.
The Wall Street Journal editors are unhappy about the present correlation of political forces. Who isn't? They're also, I gather, unhappy about "Beltway sages" who, facing the fact that the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year, have suggested Republicans accept a modest increase in tax rates for the wealthy while leading the charge to keep taxes from rising for 98 percent of the American people.
Warren Buffett is by now no stranger to the national debate over federal tax policy. In 2009, he penned a New York Timesop-ed calling for "truly major changes in both taxes and outlays." Two years later, he returned to the Times with a widely publicized call for large tax increases on the "super-rich," noting that his own effective federal tax rate (17 percent) was far less than his employees' rates (ranging from 33 to 41 percent). President Obama liked the idea so much, he called for Congress to pass "the Buffett Rule" in his 2012 state of the union address.