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    President Biden Unveils Plan to Raise Corporate Taxes

    #styln-signup .styln-signup-wrapper { max-width: calc(100% – 40px); width: 600px; margin: 20px auto; padding-bottom: 20px; border-bottom: 1px solid #e2e2e2; } The Biden administration unveiled its plan to overhaul the corporate tax code on Wednesday, offering an array of proposals that would require large companies to pay higher taxes to help fund the White House’s economic agenda. […] More

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    Biden’s Tax Plan Aims to Raise $2.5 Trillion and End Profit-Shifting

    The plan detailed by the Treasury Department would make it harder for companies to avoid paying taxes on both U.S. income and profits stashed abroad.WASHINGTON — Large companies like Apple and Bristol Myers Squibb have long employed complicated maneuvers to reduce or eliminate their tax bills by shifting income on paper between countries. The strategy has enriched accountants and shareholders, while driving down corporate tax receipts for the federal government.President Biden sees ending that practice as central to his $2 trillion infrastructure package, pushing changes to the tax code that his administration says will ensure American companies are contributing tax dollars to help invest in the country’s roads, bridges, water pipes and in other parts of his economic agenda.On Wednesday, the Treasury Department released the details of Mr. Biden’s tax plan, which aims to raise as much as $2.5 trillion over 15 years to help finance the infrastructure proposal. That includes bumping the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, imposing a strict new minimum tax on global profits and cracking down on companies that try to move profits offshore.The plan also aims to stop big companies that are profitable but have no federal income tax liability from paying no taxes to the Treasury Department by imposing a 15 percent tax on the profits they report to investors. Such a change would affect about 45 corporations, according to the Biden administration’s estimates, because it would be limited to companies earning $2 billion or more per year.“Companies aren’t going to be able to hide their income in places like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda in tax havens,” Mr. Biden said on Wednesday during remarks at the White House. He defended the tax increases as necessary to pay for infrastructure investments that America needs and to help reduce the federal deficit over the long term.Still, his 15 percent tax is a narrower version of the one he proposed in the 2020 campaign that would have applied to companies with $100 million or more in profits per year.Mr. Biden’s proposals are a repudiation of Washington’s last big tax overhaul — President Donald J. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts. Biden administration officials say that law increased the incentives for companies to shift profits to lower-tax countries, while reducing corporate tax receipts in the United States to match their lowest levels as a share of the economy since World War II.Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, in rolling out the plan, said it would end a global “race to the bottom” of corporate taxation that has been destructive for the American economy and its workers.“Our tax revenues are already at their lowest level in generations,” Ms. Yellen said. “If they continue to drop lower, we will have less money to invest in roads, bridges, broadband and R&D.”The plan, while ambitious, will not be easy to enact.Some of the proposals, like certain changes to how a global minimum tax is applied to corporate income, could possibly be put in place by the Treasury Department via regulation. But most will need the approval of Congress, including increasing the corporate tax rate. Given Democrats’ narrow majorities in the Senate and the House, that proposed rate could drop. Already, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a crucial swing vote, has said he would prefer a 25 percent corporate rate.Mr. Biden indicated he was willing to negotiate, saying: “Debate is welcome. Compromise is inevitable. Changes are certain.” But he added that “inaction is not an option.”At the core of the tax proposal is an attempt to rewrite decades of tax-code provisions that have encouraged and rewarded companies who stash profits overseas.It would increase the rate of what is essentially a minimum tax on money American companies earn abroad, and it would apply that tax to a much broader selection of income. It would also eliminate lucrative tax deductions for foreign-owned companies that are based in low-tax countries — like Bermuda or Ireland — but have operations in the United States.“We are being quite explicit: We don’t think profit-shifting is advantageous from a U.S. perspective,” David Kamin, the deputy director of the National Economic Council, said in an interview. “It is a major problem,” he said, adding that with the proposed changes, “We have the opportunity to lead the world.”Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said that the plan would end a global “race to the bottom” of corporate taxation that has been destructive for the American economy and its workers.Al Drago for The New York TimesThe corporate income tax rate in the United States is currently 21 percent, but many large American companies pay effective tax rates that are much lower than that. Corporations that have operations in multiple countries often shift assets or income — sometimes in physical form, but other times, simply in their accountants’ books — between countries in search of the lowest possible tax bill.Companies also shift jobs and investments between countries, but often for different reasons. In many cases, they are following lower labor costs or seeking customers in new markets to expand their businesses. The Biden plan would create tax incentives for companies to invest in production and research in the United States.Previous administrations have tried to curb the offshoring of jobs and profits. Mr. Trump’s tax cuts reduced the corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent in the hopes of encouraging more domestic investment. It established a global minimum tax for corporations based in the United States and a related effort meant to reduce profit-shifting by foreign companies with operations in the country, though both provisions were weakened by subsequent regulations issued by Mr. Trump’s Treasury Department.Conservative tax experts, including several involved in writing the 2017 law, say they have seen no evidence of the law enticing companies to move jobs overseas. Mr. Biden has assembled a team of tax officials who contend the provisions have given companies new incentives to move investment and profits offshore.Mr. Biden’s plan would raise the rate of Mr. Trump’s minimum tax and apply it more broadly to income that American companies earn overseas. Those efforts would try to make it less appealing for companies to book profits in lower-tax companies.That includes discouraging American companies from moving their headquarters abroad for tax purposes, particularly through the practice known as “inversions,” where companies from different countries merge, creating a new foreign-located firm.Under current law, companies with headquarters in low-tax countries can move some of their profits earned by subsidiaries in the United States and send them back to headquarters as payments for things like the use of intellectual property, then deduct those payments from their American income taxes. The Biden plan would disallow those deductions for companies based in low-tax countries.Treasury Department officials estimate the proposed changes to offshore taxation would raise about $700 billion over 10 years.Companies defend their decisions to locate profits and operations offshore, saying they do so for a variety of reasons, including so that they can compete globally.Business groups blasted the proposal on Wednesday, saying that while they agreed that the United States needed to invest in infrastructure, the tax plan would put American firms at a significant competitive disadvantage.Neil Bradley, an executive vice president and the chief policy officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement on Wednesday that the proposal would “hurt American businesses and cost American jobs” and that it would hinder their ability to compete in a global economy.And members of the Business Roundtable, which represents corporate chief executives in Washington, said this week that Mr. Biden’s plan for a global minimum tax “threatens to subject the U.S. to a major competitive disadvantage.”Republican lawmakers also denounced the plan as bad for business, with some on the House Ways and Means Committee saying that “their massive tax hikes will be shouldered by American workers and small businesses.”Still, some companies expressed an openness to certain tax hikes.John Zimmer, the president and a founder of Lyft, told CNN on Wednesday that he supported Mr. Biden’s proposed 28 percent corporate tax rate.“I think it’s important to make investments again in the country and the economy,” Mr. Zimmer said. “And as the economy grows, so too does jobs and so too does people’s needs to get around.”Mr. Biden’s team hopes the proposals will ultimately spur a worldwide change in how and where companies are taxed, which could resolve some of the global competitiveness concerns.The administration is supporting an effort through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to broker an agreement on developing a new global minimum tax. Ms. Yellen threw her support behind that effort on Monday, and the Biden plan includes measures meant to force other countries to go along with that new tax. Global negotiators are aiming to come to an agreement by July. More

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    Biden Plan Spurs Fight Over What ‘Infrastructure’ Really Means

    Republicans say the White House is tucking liberal social programs into legislation that should be focused on roads and bridges. Administration officials say their approach invests in the future.WASHINGTON — The early political and economic debate over President Biden’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan is being dominated by a philosophical question: What does infrastructure really mean?Does it encompass the traditional idea of fixing roads, building bridges and financing other tangible projects? Or, in an evolving economy, does it expand to include initiatives like investing in broadband, electric car charging stations and care for older and disabled Americans?That is the debate shaping up as Republicans attack Mr. Biden’s plan with pie charts and scathing quotes, saying that it allocates only a small fraction of money on “real” infrastructure and that spending to address issues like home care, electric vehicles and even water pipes should not count.“Even if you stretch the definition of infrastructure some, it’s about 30 percent of the $2.25 trillion they’re talking about spending,” Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, said on “Fox News Sunday.”“When people think about infrastructure, they’re thinking about roads, bridges, ports and airports,” he added on ABC’s “This Week.”Mr. Biden pushed back on Monday, saying that after years of calling for infrastructure spending that included power lines, internet cables and other programs beyond transportation, Republicans had narrowed their definition to exclude key components of his plan.“It’s kind of interesting that when the Republicans put forward an infrastructure plan, they thought everything from broadband to dealing with other things” qualified, the president told reporters on Monday. “Their definition of infrastructure has changed.”Mr. Biden defended his proposed $2 trillion package, saying it broadly qualified as infrastructure and included goals such as making sure schoolchildren are drinking clean water, building high-speed rail lines and making federal buildings more energy efficient.Behind the political fight is a deep, nuanced and evolving economic literature on the subject. It boils down to this: The economy has changed, and so has the definition of infrastructure.Economists largely agree that infrastructure now means more than just roads and bridges and extends to the building blocks of a modern, high-tech service economy — broadband, for example.But even some economists who have carefully studied that shift say the Biden plan stretches the limits of what counts.Edward Glaeser, an economist at Harvard University, is working on a project on infrastructure for the National Bureau of Economic Research that receives funding from the Transportation Department. He said that several provisions in Mr. Biden’s bill might or might not have merit but did not fall into a conventional definition of infrastructure, such as improving the nation’s affordable housing stock and expanding access to care for older and disabled Americans.“It does a bit of violence to the English language, doesn’t it?” Mr. Glaeser said.“Infrastructure is something the president has decided is a centrist American thing,” he said, so the administration took a range of priorities and grouped them under that “big tent.”Proponents of considering the bulk of Mr. Biden’s proposals — including roads, bridges, broadband access, support for home health aides and even efforts to bolster labor unions — argue that in the 21st century, anything that helps people work and lead productive or fulfilling lives counts as infrastructure. That includes investments in people, like the creation of high-paying union jobs or raising wages for a home health work force that is dominated by women of color.“I couldn’t be going to work if I had to take care of my parents,” said Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. “How is that not infrastructure?”But those who say that definition is too expansive tend to focus on the potential payback of a given project: Is the proposed spending actually headed toward a publicly available and productivity-enabling investment?A child care center in Queens, N.Y., last month. For those who support an expansive definition of infrastructure, anything that helps people work and lead productive lives counts.Kirsten Luce for The New York Times“Much of what it is in the American Jobs Act is really social spending, not productivity-enhancing infrastructure of any kind,” R. Glenn Hubbard, an economics professor at Columbia Business School and a longtime Republican adviser, said in an email.Specifically, he pointed to spending on home care workers and provisions that help unions as policies that were not focused on bolstering the economy’s potential.Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, has called the Biden plan a “Trojan horse. It’s called infrastructure. But inside the Trojan horse is going to be more borrowed money and massive tax increases.”Republicans have slammed the provisions related to the care economy and electric vehicle charging options, and they have blasted policies that they have at times classified themselves as infrastructure.Take broadband, something that conservative lawmakers have in the past clearly counted as infrastructure. Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, has said that the White House’s broadband proposal could lead to duplication and overbuilding. While Mr. Blunt has allowed it to count as infrastructure in a case where you “stretch the definition,” top Republicans mostly leave it out when describing how much of Mr. Biden’s proposal would go to infrastructure investment, focusing instead on roads and bridges.Likewise, Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said the proposal “redefines infrastructure” to include things like work force development. But one of Mr. Portman’s own proposals said that skills training was essential to successful infrastructure investment.“Many people in the states would be surprised to hear that broadband for rural areas no longer counts,” said Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to Mr. Biden in the White House. “We think that the people in Jackson, Miss., might be surprised to hear that fixing that water system doesn’t count as infrastructure. We think the people of Texas might disagree with the idea that the electric grid isn’t infrastructure that needs to be built with resilience for the 21st century.”White House officials said that much of Mr. Biden’s plan reflected the reality that infrastructure had taken on a broader meaning as the nature of work changes, focusing less on factories and shipping goods and more on creating and selling services.Other economists back the idea that the definition has changed.Dan Sichel, an economics professor at Wellesley College and a former Federal Reserve research official, said it could be helpful to think of what comprises infrastructure as a series of concentric circles: a basic inner band made up of roads and bridges, a larger social ring of schools and hospitals, then a digital layer including things like cloud computing. There could also be an intangible layer, like open-source software or weather data.“It is definitely an amorphous concept,” he said, but basically “we mean key economic assets that support and enable economic activity.”The economy has evolved since the 1950s: Manufacturers used to employ about a third of the work force but now count for just 8.5 percent of jobs in the United States. Because the economy has changed, it is important that our definitions are updated, Mr. Sichel said.The debate over the meaning of infrastructure is not new. In the days of the New Deal-era Tennessee Valley Authority, academics and policymakers sparred over whether universal access to electricity was necessary public infrastructure, said Shane M. Greenstein, an economist at Harvard Business School whose recent research focuses on broadband.“Washington has an attention span of several weeks, and this debate is a century old,” he said. These days, he added, it is about digital access instead of clean water and power.Some progressive economists are pressing the administration to widen the definition even further — and to spend more to rebuild it.“The conversation has moved a lot in recent years. We’re now talking about issues like a care infrastructure. That’s huge,” said Rakeen Mabud, the managing director of policy and research at the Groundwork Collaborative, a progressive advocacy group in Washington. But “there’s room to do more,” she said. “We should take that opportunity to really show the value of big investments.”Some economists who define infrastructure more narrowly said that just because policies were not considered infrastructure did not mean they were not worth pursuing. Still, Mr. Glaeser of Harvard cautioned that the bill’s many proposals should be evaluated on their merits.“It’s very hard to do this much infrastructure spending at this scale quickly and wisely,” he said. “If anything, I wish it were more closely tied to cost-benefit analysis.” More

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    Jobs Report March 2021: Gain of 916,000 as Recovery Sped Up

    The gain of 916,000 was the biggest since August, and unemployment fell to 6 percent. Barring a setback in fighting the virus, the outlook is bullish.The American job market roared back to life in March — and with vaccinations accelerating, businesses reopening and federal aid flowing, the rebound should only get stronger from here.U.S. employers added 916,000 jobs last month, twice as many as in February and the most since August, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 6 percent, its lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic began, and nearly 350,000 people rejoined the labor force.The data was collected early in the month, before most states broadened vaccine access and before most Americans began receiving $1,400 checks as part of the latest federal relief package. It was also before the recent rise in virus cases, which economists warned could slow the recovery if it worsened. But on balance, forecasters are optimistic that hiring will remain strong in coming months.“March’s jobs report is the most optimistic report since the pandemic began,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist for the career site Glassdoor. “It’s not the largest gain in payrolls since the pandemic began, but it’s the first where it seems like the finish line is in sight.”Job growth picked up last monthCumulative change in all jobs since before the pandemic More

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    To Build Support for Infrastructure Plan, Biden Offers His Own Take on ‘Bipartisan’

    President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal is a test of his belief that he can generate popular backing across the country as Republicans seek to block him on Capitol Hill.WASHINGTON — President Biden’s attempt to muscle through a $2 trillion plan to rebuild the country’s infrastructure — along with the tax increases to pay for it — will be a defining test of his belief that bipartisan support for his proposals can overwhelm traditional Republican objections in Congress.Instead of paring back his ambitions in an effort to limit opposition from Republicans in the Senate or appease moderate Democrats in the House, Mr. Biden and his allies on Capitol Hill are barreling ahead with unapologetically bold, expensive measures, betting that they can build bipartisanship from voters nationwide rather than from elected officials in Washington.Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, and other members of his party are working to brand the bill as a liberal wish list of wasteful spending and a money grab from a Democratic administration that will drag down the economy with tax hikes.But Mr. Biden is predicting that the broad appeal of wider roads, faster internet, high-speed trains, ubiquitous charging stations for electric cars, shiny new airport terminals and upgraded water pipes will undercut the expected barrage of ideological attacks that are already coming from Republican lawmakers, business groups, anti-tax activists and President Donald J. Trump.In his first cabinet meeting at the White House on Thursday, Mr. Biden directed several of his top officials to travel the country during the next several weeks to sell the benefits of the infrastructure spending. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, also told reporters that the president would host Democrats and Republicans in the Oval Office to discuss the plan and their ideas.“I hope and believe the American people will join this effort — Democrats, Republicans and independents,” Mr. Biden said in Pittsburgh on Wednesday as he formally announced his plan. He compared it to the popularity of the nearly $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that passed last month, saying, “If you live in a town with a Republican mayor, a Republican county executive or a Republican governor, ask them how many would rather get rid of the plan.”But generating sustained support for the proposal is shaping up to be a major challenge for the White House. The business lobby is preparing to wage a full-scale campaign against the tax increases in the president’s plan, with influential groups like the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warning lawmakers against raising taxes as the United States emerges from a deep economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.But across the country, some local Republican officials are already embracing the prospect of millions of dollars in new infrastructure spending flowing into their communities, even as they are careful to express concern about new taxes.The president is betting that the broad appeal of wider roads, faster internet, high-speed trains, charging stations for electric cars, new airport terminals and upgraded water pipes will undercut the expected ideological attacks from Republicans.Todd Heisler/The New York TimesIn Fresno, Calif., Mayor Jerry Dyer said the president’s proposals, if passed into law, would allow the city to accelerate plans for a high-speed rail station linking it to job centers in the Bay Area. He said the city had struggled to electrify its fleet of buses and provide robust internet, especially to poorer communities.“These dollars are going to be welcomed in terms of repairing a lot of our infrastructure,” said Mr. Dyer, a Republican. He said he was concerned about the effects of higher taxes on businesses but added that he hoped the issue would be worked out in Washington.“There’s no question the need is there,” he said.Mayor John Giles of Mesa, Ariz., called the president’s proposal “a very good thing” for his city. With the money, Mesa could upgrade a 1970s-era airport tower, widen roads, extend broadband and expand a regional light rail network. He said he was disappointed by the Republican opposition in Congress.“It was only a few months ago that we all agreed that infrastructure was a bipartisan issue,” Mr. Giles said. “That attitude shouldn’t shift just because there’s a new administration in the White House.”But Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, another Republican who has called for a vast infusion of spending on infrastructure, accused Mr. Biden of using the legislation to advance $1.4 trillion in liberal programs.“It still has a lot of good things, but it also has a lot of things that have absolutely nothing to do with infrastructure,” Mr. Hogan said. “They’re like, ‘No, we just want to jam through all of our priorities.’”Mr. Biden and those closest to him understand that passage of the legislation will take place in Washington, not in Fresno or Mesa or Maryland. In announcing his plan, the president sought to cast congressional Republicans as longtime champions of infrastructure, both inviting them to negotiate and daring them to oppose his proposal.“We’ll have a good-faith negotiation with any Republican who wants to help get this done,” Mr. Biden said. “But we have to get it done.”That last line was a not-so-subtle hint about his legislative strategy. If the president cannot win backing from Republican lawmakers, Democrats appeared poised to once again use a parliamentary budget tool known as reconciliation to push through the tax and spending plan with a simple majority vote and most likely only Democratic support.At an event in his home state on Thursday, Mr. McConnell called Mr. Biden “a first-rate person” whom he liked personally. But he argued that the president was running a “bold, left-wing administration” and warned “that package that they’re putting together now, as much as we would like to address infrastructure, is not going to get support from our side.”For Mr. Biden, who spent more than three decades in the Senate, the political calculations are far different than they were 12 years ago, when a similar measure was under consideration.Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, warned that his conference would not support Mr. Biden’s proposal.Anna Moneymaker for The New York TimesPresident Barack Obama took office in 2009, in the middle of an economic crisis with a Senate firmly in Democratic control. Only weeks into his term, he pushed through an $825 billion stimulus bill devised to jump-start the economy — legislation that is now seen by many progressives as far too timid.Mr. Obama and his aides spent weeks feverishly negotiating with conservative Democrats and a handful of Republicans in Congress, who pressed the president to limit the size of the spending plan. Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff at the time, said conservative Democrats like Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska insisted that the president win Republican support.Mr. Biden appears to have taken from that experience the lesson that there are limited benefits from seeking to woo a small number of Republicans — and that the key is to sell the benefits of the plan to Americans and not get hung up on the process to pass it.“The politics was different, the policy was different, the public was different,” Mr. Emanuel said, praising Mr. Biden’s approach. Even before the president unveiled his plan, Republicans argued that Democrats were not genuinely interested in bipartisan negotiations, particularly after they pushed the pandemic relief package into law without any Republican votes.Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, has asked the Senate parliamentarian to offer guidance on how many times senators can pursue reconciliation this fiscal year, which several Republicans took as a sign that they were preparing to bypass the 60-vote filibuster threshold.“It is disingenuous for the president to invite Republicans to the White House and the Oval Office to discuss this when he’s made it very clear — and Democrats in Congress have made it very clear — they have no intention of working with Republicans on this package,” said Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee.In an interview, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said she appreciated the outreach from the administration leading up to Mr. Biden’s announcement, including multiple bipartisan briefings for lawmakers and individual conversations with cabinet officials.But Ms. Collins, a member of a bipartisan Senate group that is eager to strike compromises on a number of issues, said bipartisan negotiations would most likely falter if the administration refused to budge on the overall price tag or composition of the package.Senator Susan Collins said she appreciated the outreach from the administration leading up to Mr. Biden’s announcement.Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times“Everyone knows what bipartisanship means: It means that you get members of Congress from both parties working on and voting for important legislation,” she said, adding: “It’s not like it’s some relic of ancient times. We acted in a bipartisan manner on the most important issue last year: the pandemic.”If Democrats are already considering using reconciliation, Ms. Collins said, “that raises questions about whether there is a sincere interest in crafting a bipartisan infrastructure package.”Some Democrats have said that the proposal is not enough to address both infrastructure needs and inequities across the country, and they have counseled the White House against winnowing down a legislative package to win a handful of Republican votes.“I’m not particularly hopeful that we’re going to see a giant awakening from Republicans who decide that they want to pass an infrastructure package that actually addresses climate,” Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters before Mr. Biden’s speech. More

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    Biden Tax Plan Charts New Path to Economic Growth

    The president sees public spending, rather than relying on businesses to turn tax cuts into investment, as the key to competitiveness.President Biden’s ambitious plan to increase corporate taxes does more than just reverse much of the overhaul pushed through by his predecessor. It also offers a profoundly different vision of how to make the United States more competitive and how to foot the bill.When President Donald J. Trump and a Republican Congress rewrote the tax code in 2017, most of the benefits went to the wealthiest Americans, with lower rates on businesses and on profits from investments. The guiding principle, proponents argued, was that cutting taxes on corporations and investors would encourage businesses to expand, creating more jobs and generating more wealth for everyone.By contrast, the animating idea behind the tax plan put forward by the Biden administration on Wednesday is that the best way to increase America’s competitiveness and foster economic growth is to raise corporate taxes to finance huge investments in transportation, broadband, utilities and more.The Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers all welcomed the idea of pumping money into repairing and building the nation’s infrastructure, but recoiled at raising corporate taxes to do so.“We strongly oppose the general tax increases proposed by the administration, which will slow the economic recovery and make the U.S. less competitive globally — the exact opposite of the goals of the infrastructure plan,” the chamber’s chief policy officer, Neil Bradley, said in a statement.The biggest and most eye-catching proposal is to trim the sizable reduction in the corporate tax rate enacted under Mr. Trump. In 2017, Republicans shrank the rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. Mr. Biden wants to nudge the rate part of the way back — to 28 percent.The increase will “ensure that corporations pay their fair share of taxes,” and fund critical investments “to maintain the competitiveness of the United States and grow the economy,” the White House stated in outlining the plan.The other provisions are primarily intended to ensure that multinational corporations cannot avoid taxes on profits generated overseas. The hope is that this will reduce the temptation to set up operations or offices in foreign tax havens.The plan, which still lacks detailed provisions, is “both an undoing and a pushing in new directions,” said Mihir A. Desai, an economist at Harvard Business School. “The more novel aspects relate to how it changes the way we think about foreign operations and global income.”Through a series of complex and arcane provisions, the Biden administration would essentially treat profits earned abroad more like those earned at home — raising rates and requiring that taxes be paid on time rather than pushed far into the future. It would also establish what would in effect be a minimum tax on foreign income.The proposals hew closely to what Mr. Biden promised on the campaign trail, and the immediate reactions mostly fell along predictable lines. Republicans, business groups and conservative economists said they worried that the rate increases would discourage investment. Progressive groups and liberal economists hailed the announcement, saying it would fix some glaring loopholes.Wall Street has been wary of possible tax increases since the presidential election and has hoped that gridlock in Washington would moderate Mr. Biden’s agenda. On Wednesday, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase said the bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, believed that “the corporate tax rate for companies in the U.S. has to be competitive globally, which it is now.”Supporters countered that the changes would do much more to promote growth and go a long way in curbing excesses of the 2017 tax legislation. Democrats have argued that the low-tax approach has failed to deliver broad economic gains, with only those at the very top benefiting. Targeted government spending on workers, students and infrastructure, they argue, would offer much more bang for the buck. What’s more, businesses base their decisions on a range of factors besides tax rates.Even economists favoring low rates on business acknowledge that the 2017 tax cuts did not produce much of an increase in investment. Gross domestic product grew at a rate of 2.4 percent in the two years leading up to the law and 2.4 percent in the two years after it passed.“There’s essentially no evidence that the tax change boosted investment,” said William Gale, co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. He argued that investment went up in 2018 only because oil prices rose. And while the tax law favored investments in equipment and structures, it turned out that the biggest investments were not in those areas but in intellectual capital.Supporters also argue that the proposed changes are much fairer.“The cut in the rate was overdue but may well have been overdone,” Mr. Gale said of the Trump tax cuts. “It gave massive windfall gains to corporations,” rewarding them for investment decisions made in the past instead of providing new incentives to plow money back into their businesses, he said.Debates about the tax code are really debates about who should bear the burden of paying for what society deems important — highways and bridges, clean water and high-speed broadband, basic research and development.By shifting the tax burden, the Biden administration is saying corporations — among the biggest winners the last time around — should pick up more of the tab this time.“We have pressing infrastructure needs, and the fairest way to fund those is to claw back some of the giveaways” to corporations and shareholders contained in the 2017 law, said Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.Mr. Rosenthal also pointed out that a large chunk of the increased tax payments would fall on foreigners, who own 40 percent of stocks.The advertised tax rate — whether on corporations or individuals — is often much higher than what many actually pay.The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which has long criticized American businesses for managing to avoid paying what they owe, conducted a study of Fortune 500 companies that were profitable and that provided enough information to calculate effective tax rates. The institute found that those companies on average paid 11.3 percent on their 2018 income.And 91 of those companies, including Amazon, Chevron, Halliburton and IBM, paid no federal income tax that year.Existing exemptions and deductions are not evenly distributed. Industrial machinery, gas, oil, electric and chemical companies tend to have the lowest effective rates, often less than 5 percent.Economists have debated who actually bears the cost of higher corporate taxes — shareholders and owners or workers. Research by the Congressional Budget Office, the Treasury Department and the Brookings Institution has concluded that those who own the business generally pay about three-quarters of a tax increase, with workers picking up the rest.Mr. Desai at Harvard applauded the infrastructure investment but was put off by the impact of the tax increase on workers. “In a populist moment, it’s good politics but bad economics,” he said. He would prefer taxing individuals’ capital income. He also pointed out that the laserlike focus on corporations — as opposed to other businesses that may be organized differently — tended to penalize large successful companies.It is still unclear how much would be paid by other groups favored by the current tax code, including the richest Americans and businesses that pass through income to their owners or shareholders. (They pay taxes at the ordinary rate on their individual returns.)The Biden administration has indicated that tax increases for the wealthy will help fund the second phase of the infrastructure plan, which is expected to be announced next month and will focus on priorities like education, health care and paid leave.Gillian Friedman More

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    Biden's Plan for Electric Vehicles: What You Need to Know

    The president is hoping to make electric vehicles more affordable to turn a niche product into one with mass appeal.President Biden is a muscle-car guy — one of his most prized possessions is a 1967 Corvette that he got from his father. But he’s trying to make this an electric vehicle world.The $2 trillion infrastructure plan that he unveiled on Wednesday is aimed at tackling climate change in part by spending up to $174 billion to encourage Americans to switch to cars and trucks that run on electricity, not gasoline or diesel. That is a large investment but it might not be enough to push most Americans toward E.V.s.Despite rapid growth in recent years, electric vehicles remain a niche product, making up just 2 percent of the new car market and 1 percent of all cars, sport-utility vehicles, vans and pickup trucks on the road. They have been slow to take off in large part because they can cost up to $10,000 more than similar conventional cars and trucks. Charging E.V.s is also more difficult and slower than simply refilling the tank at far more prevalent gas stations.Mr. Biden hopes to address many of those challenges through federal largess. He aims to lower the cost of electric vehicles by offering individuals, businesses and governments tax credits, rebates and other incentives. To address the chicken-and-egg problem of getting people to try a new technology before it is widely accepted, he hopes to build half a million chargers by 2030 so people will feel confident that they won’t be stranded when they run out of juice. And he is offering help to automakers to get them to build electric vehicles and batteries in the United States.“We find ourselves at a unique moment here where most American businesses and many states are looking toward a decarbonized future, but recognize there’s a big lift on the infrastructure side,” said Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, an environmental research group. “This investment alone obviously won’t solve the climate problem or fix all of the infrastructure in the United States but it will be a huge boost.”Automakers see the writing on the wall and many, including General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford Motor, have made big E.V. promises. But even they acknowledge that they will need federal help.A charging station at a housing complex in Utah.Lindsay D’Addato for The New York Times“This transformation is greater than any one policy, branch or level of government, or industry sector,” a group representing manufacturers, suppliers and automotive workers said in a letter to Mr. Biden on Monday. “It will require a sustained holistic approach with a broad range of legislative and regulatory policies rooted in economic, social, environmental and cultural realities.”The letter called for grants, loans, tax credits and tax deductions to promote research and manufacturing. The authors of the letter, which included industry groups and the United Auto Workers union, called for investment in job training programs and federal help in promoting development of minerals and other raw materials in the United States.But production is only one piece of the puzzle. The transition away from gas-powered vehicles rests on convincing consumers of the benefits of electric vehicles. That hasn’t been easy because the cars have higher sticker prices even though researchers say that they cost less to own. Electricity is cheaper on a per mile basis than gasoline, and E.V.s require less routine maintenance — there is no oil to change — than combustion-engine cars.The single biggest cost of an electric car comes from the battery, which can run about $15,000 for a midsize sedan. That cost has been dropping and is widely expected to keep falling thanks to manufacturing improvements and technical advancements. But some scholars believe that a major technological breakthrough will be required to make electric cars much, much cheaper.“There’s a good sense that at least for the next maybe five years or so they’re going to keep declining, but then are they going to level off or are they going to keep declining?” Joshua Linn, a professor at the University of Maryland and a senior fellow with Resources for the Future, an environmental nonprofit, said about battery costs. “That won’t be enough, so then that’s given rise to a lot of attention to infrastructure.”The federal government and some states already offer tax credits and other incentives for the purchase of electric cars. But the main such federal incentive — a $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of new electric cars — begins to phase out for cars once an automaker has sold 200,000 E.V.s. Buyers of Tesla and G.M. electric cars, for example, no longer qualify for that tax credit but buyers of Ford and Volkswagen electric cars do.Mr. Biden described his incentives for electric car purchases as rebates available at the “point of sale,” presumably meaning at dealerships or while ordering cars online. But the administration has not released details about how big those rebates will be and which vehicles they would apply to.Another big concern is charging. People with dedicated parking spots typically charge their E.V.s overnight at home, but many people who live in apartments or have to drive longer distances need to use public charging stations, which are still greatly outnumbered by gas stations.“The top three reasons consumers give for not buying E.V.s are lack of charging stations, time to charge, and the cost of E.V.s,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights. “They seem to be really emphasizing all three. So, over all, it looks very promising.”There are well over 100,000 gas stations in the United States, most with multiple pumps. Mr. Biden’s plan calls for a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers within the decade, up from about 41,000 charging stations with more than 100,000 outlets today, according to the Energy Department.“One of the things that needs to be addressed is getting chargers into places where people only have on-street parking, like in cities and urban areas where you don’t have a driveway or garage,” Mr. Abuelsamid said. “If they can address that, it will make E.V.s available to a lot more people.”The government in China, which leads the world in the use of electric cars, has done much more than the United States to speed up the installation of chargers.“It is, famously, one of the ways that China has become the No. 1 country in E.V.s on most dimensions,” John Paul MacDuffie, a professor of management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, said in an email.Even with incentives for manufacturers, a robust charging network and a willing public, the transition to electric cars may take a few decades. Carmakers have improved vehicle reliability in recent years, so many cars stay on the road a long time. The average age of cars and light trucks in the United States is approaching 12 years, up from 9.6 years in 2002, according to IHS Markit, an economic forecasting firm.Neal E. Boudette More

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    Biden Details $2 Trillion Plan to Rebuild Infrastructure and Reshape the Economy

    The president will begin selling his proposal on Wednesday, saying it would fix 20,000 miles of roads and 10,000 bridges, while also addressing climate change and racial inequities and raising corporate taxes.WASHINGTON — President Biden will unveil an infrastructure plan on Wednesday whose $2 trillion price tag would translate into 20,000 miles of rebuilt roads, repairs to the 10 most economically important bridges in the country, the elimination of lead pipes and service lines from the nation’s water supplies and a long list of other projects intended to create millions of jobs in the short run and strengthen American competitiveness in the long run.Biden administration officials said the proposal, which they detailed in a 25-page briefing paper and which Mr. Biden will discuss in an afternoon speech in Pittsburgh, would also accelerate the fight against climate change by hastening the shift to new, cleaner energy sources, and would help promote racial equity in the economy.The spending in the plan would take place over eight years, officials said. Unlike the economic stimulus passed under President Barack Obama in 2009, when Mr. Biden was vice president, officials will not in every case prioritize so-called shovel ready projects that could quickly bolster growth.But even spread over years, the scale of the proposal underscores how fully Mr. Biden has embraced the opportunity to use federal spending to address longstanding social and economic challenges in a way not seen in half a century. Officials said that, if approved, the spending in the plan would end decades of stagnation in federal investment in research and infrastructure — and would return government investment in those areas, as a share of the economy, to its highest levels since the 1960s.The proposal is the first half of what will be a two-step release of the president’s ambitious agenda to overhaul the economy and remake American capitalism, which could carry a total cost of as much as $4 trillion over the course of a decade. Mr. Biden’s administration has named it the “American Jobs Plan,” echoing the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that Mr. Biden signed into law this month, the “American Rescue Plan.”“The American Jobs Plan,” White House officials wrote in the document detailing it, “will invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways and won the Space Race.”While spending on roads, bridges and other physical improvements to the nation’s economic foundations has always had bipartisan appeal, Mr. Biden’s plan is sure to draw intense Republican opposition, both for its sheer size and for its reliance on corporate tax increases to pay for it.Administration officials said the tax increases in the plan — including an increase in the corporate tax rate and a variety of measures to tax multinationals on money they earn and book overseas — would take 15 years to fully offset the cost of the spending programs.The spending in the plan covers a wide range of physical infrastructure projects, including transportation, broadband, the electric grid and housing; efforts to jump-start advanced manufacturing; and other industries officials see as key to the United States’ growing economic competition with China. It also includes money to train millions of workers, as well as money for initiatives to support labor unions and providers of in-home care for older and disabled Americans, while also increasing the pay of the workers who provide that care.The Biden administration’s infrastructure plan proposes $80 billion for Amtrak and freight rail.Alyssa Schukar for The New York TimesMany of the items in the plan carry price tags that would have filled entire, ambitious bills in past administrations.Among them: a total of $180 billion for research and development, $115 billion for roads and bridges, $85 billion for public transit, and $80 billion for Amtrak and freight rail. There is $42 billion for ports and airports, $100 billion for broadband and $111 billion for water infrastructure — including $45 billion to ensure no child ever is forced to drink water from a lead pipe, which can slow children’s development and lead to behavioral and other problems.The plan seeks to repair 10,000 smaller bridges across the country, along with the 10 most economically significant ones in need of a fix. It would electrify 20 percent of the nation’s fleet of yellow school buses. It would spend $300 billion to promote advanced manufacturing, including a four-year plan to restock the country’s Strategic National Stockpile of pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, in preparation for future pandemics.In many cases, officials cast those goals in the language of closing racial gaps in the economy, sometimes the result of previous federal spending efforts, like interstate highway developments that split communities of color or air pollution that affects Black and Hispanic communities near ports or power plants.Officials cast the $400 billion spending on in-home care in part as a salve to “underpaid and undervalued” workers in that industry, who are disproportionately women of color.Mr. Biden’s pledge to tackle climate change is embedded throughout the plan. Roads, bridges and airports would be made more resilient to the effects of more extreme storms, floods and fires wrought by a warming planet. Spending on research and development could help spur breakthroughs in cutting-edge clean technology, while plans to retrofit and weatherize millions of buildings would make them more energy efficient.The president’s focus on climate change is centered, however, on modernizing and transforming the United States’ two largest sources of planet-warming greenhouse gas pollution: cars and electric power plants.A decade ago, Mr. Obama’s economic stimulus plan spent about $90 billion on clean energy programs intended to jump-start the nation’s nascent renewable power and electric vehicle industries. Mr. Biden’s plan now proposes spending magnitudes more on similar programs that he hopes will take those technologies fully into the mainstream.It bets heavily on spending meant to increase the use of electric cars, which today make up just 2 percent of the vehicles on America’s highways.The plan proposes spending $174 billion to encourage the manufacture and purchase of electric vehicles by granting tax credits and other incentives to companies that make electric vehicle batteries in the United States instead of China. The goal is to reduce vehicle price tags.The money would also fund the construction of about a half-million electric vehicle charging stations — although experts say that number is but a tiny fraction of what is needed to make electric vehicles a mainstream option.Mr. Biden’s plan proposes $100 billion in programs to update and modernize the electric grid to make it more reliable and less susceptible to blackouts, like those that recently devastated Texas, while also building more transmission lines from wind and solar plants to large cities.It proposes the creation of a “Clean Electricity Standard” — essentially, a federal mandate requiring that a certain percentage of electricity in the United States be generated by zero-carbon energy sources like wind, solar and possibly nuclear power. But that mandate would have to be enacted by Congress, where prospects for its success remain murky. Similar efforts to pass such a mandate have failed multiple times over the past 20 years.Bayfront homes in Mastic Beach, N.Y. The infrastructure plan has provisions intended to help communities deal with the effects of climate change.Johnny Milano for The New York TimesThe plan proposes an additional $46 billion in federal procurement programs for government agencies to buy fleets of electric vehicles, and $35 billion in research and development programs for cutting-edge, new technologies.It also calls for making infrastructure and communities more prepared for the worsening effects of climate change, though the administration has so far provided few details on how it would accomplish that goal.But according to the document released by the White House, the plan includes $50 billion “in dedicated investments to improve infrastructure resilience.” The efforts would defend against wildfires, rising seas and hurricanes, and there would be a focus on investments that protect low-income residents and people of color.The plan also includes a $16 billion program intended to help fossil fuel workers transition to new work — like capping leaks on defunct oil wells and shutting down retired coal mines — and $10 billion for a new “Civilian Climate Corps.”Mr. Biden would fund his spending in part by eliminating tax preferences for fossil fuel producers. But the bulk of his tax increases would come from corporations generally.He would raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, partly reversing a cut signed into law by President Donald J. Trump. Mr. Biden would also take a variety of steps to raise taxes on multinational corporations, many of them working within an overhaul of the taxation of profits earned overseas that was included in Mr. Trump’s tax law in 2017.Those measures would include raising the rate of a minimum tax on global profits and eliminating several provisions that allow companies to reduce their American tax liability on profits they earn and book abroad.Mr. Biden would also add a new minimum tax on the global income of the largest multinationals, and he would ramp up enforcement efforts by the Internal Revenue Service against large companies that evade taxes.Administration officials expressed hope this week that the plan could attract bipartisan support in Congress. But Republicans and business groups have already attacked Mr. Biden’s plans to fund the spending with corporate tax increases, which they say will hurt the competitiveness of American companies. Administration officials say the moves will push companies to keep profits and jobs in the United States.Joshua Bolten, the president and chief executive of the Business Roundtable, a powerful group representing top business executives in Washington, said on Tuesday that his group “strongly opposes corporate tax increases as a pay-for for infrastructure investment.”“Policymakers should avoid creating new barriers to job creation and economic growth,” Mr. Bolten said, “particularly during the recovery.”Coral Davenport More