In one of his first interviews for this legislative session, veteran lawmaker Charles Rangel (D-NY) spoke to Politc365 about ways to reduce the country’s $14 trillion dollar debt, starting with a bill to lower the corporate tax rate and close out tax code loop holes. He’s introduced similar efforts in previous sessions, and this may be the year that Congress finally moves on it, he hopes.
According to Rangel, “there are hundreds and thousands of millions of dollars in taxes that are not collected from corporate [America] called credits, incentives by those who enjoy them. But by those who oppose them, they are called loopholes.” “These provisions,” he said, “provide preferential treatment to individuals, corporations and institutions to not to pay their fair tax.”
Rangel’s newest version of the measure would increase the corporate tax liability threshold, which he says is the highest in the world, from 25% to 28%. “In my mind, that alone will raise the revenue, make the United States more competitive with other initiatives and hopefully will eliminate those incentives that enable corporations to make profits by creating jobs overseas,” he said.
In looking at top priorities in the new year, Rangel says there needs to be a reexamination of war time spending. “We are actually borrowing from China. It is a cruel commentary on the weakness of our economy and the need to borrow money,” he added.
Rangel’s solution: America needs to increase production. “America has to learn once again how to make things, how to say ‘Made in the USA.’ And when you say that, you are talking about jobs,” he said. “In order to do that we need an educated workforce, and you don’t have to be an accountant or economist to realize that at the rate that India and China are moving as relates to education, expanding their workforce and having lesser cost per capita, America has to review its workforce and to expedite the ability of its young people to be an asset and producers of resources.”
According to Rangel, one key to making progress is for Congress to reevaluate its defense spending and invest the same amount of interest into domestic efforts to revitalize the economy.
“Coming from an urban community and seeing the costs that are invested in police, courts and jails and penitentiaries, which far exceeds the investment that is being [made] in prevention, and education and sports and in training, we have to pool together in Congress and the Executive branch, and make the same type of commitment to save our country” he said.
At a time where the unemployment rate is 9.4%, and nearly double that in minority communities, Rangel noted that some are “unemployable because of lack of education and training. And if you include the number of people that are underemployed, then it is easy to say that one-fifth of our working population is really suffering as a result of this long term recession.
“To save our country economically, [investments need to be made in] education, fair trade, a better tax system, a better education system, a better way to encourage people to take risks and develop small businesses and develop research and come up with better ideas so America can compete.”
As Rangel prepares to introduce his corporate tax restructuring legislation, he has no plans of slowing down. Nor does he seem to be worried about there being any taint on his record.
“Those who know me, and especially as well as I know myself, know that a record is ‘what did you do in that time that has God has given you,’” Rangel concluded. “I am convinced that being overly enthusiastic in trying to help kids get an education, or not paying enough attention that a lawyer, lawmaker and chairman should to the financial administration of my personal business, that is a setback and a disappointment and something that shouldn’t have happened, but I have no problem in being judged on what I have done. And fortunately for me, most of the people I have talked to share that sentiment.”
Rangel also dismissed rumors that this may be his last term in office, sating, “there is no reason at this point of time to see why I shouldn’t run.”