Senator Elizabeth Warren targeted FedEx, Nike and Amazon on Tuesday as she advocated the need to levy taxes on corporations and the richest Americans.
In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” the progressive Senator from Massachusetts deliberately blew up the three corporate giants while also describing why companies with a higher tax rate should suffer.
“What’s going on in America right now is these small businesses … are paying their taxes at full rate. They have to pay for it all,” Warren said. “You look at companies like FedEx and Nike, companies like Amazon, and they pay zero. Right now there’s a thumb on the scale in the control section, and that’s a thumb to help the giants.”
The lower tax burdens of big companies have actually hurt small businesses by putting them out of the competition, argued Warren.
Warren’s recent criticism of corporate giants comes from President Joe Biden and the Democrats trying to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to help fund a $ 2 trillion infrastructure package.
Warren, a member of the Senate Finance and Banking Committees, has urged the rich and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.
One of Warren’s recent battles was with billionaire Leon Cooperman, whom she asked to attend a Senate Finance Committee hearing to focus on the proposed millionaire tax. He declined to attend Tuesday’s hearing.
Warren again targeted Cooperman, who appears frequently on CNBC, and prepared it for her hearing on Tuesday.
“I am disappointed that Mr. Cooperman has decided that it is more convenient for him to answer softball questions on cable news than to debate his views in the US Senate,” read the prepared remarks. “Mr. Cooperman may have been too scared to come here today, but others weren’t.”
FedEx and Nike were mentioned in an April report by the Institute for Taxes and Economic Policy as companies that recently paid little or no federal corporate income taxes.
“Delivery giant FedEx zeroed its federal income tax on $ 1.2 billion in pre-tax income in 2020 and received a $ 230 million discount,” the report said. “Shoe maker Nike didn’t pay a cent of federal income tax on nearly $ 2.9 billion in pre-tax income last year, but instead received a tax rebate of $ 109 million.”
The progressive group Tax March has targeted the two companies in television and newspaper ads. Fred Smith, FedEx CEO, said in a letter to members of the company that they “pay all US federal, state and local taxes that FedEx owes, which have been nearly $ 9 billion over the past five fiscal years. Dollars amounted to “. Smith also advised against raising the corporate tax rate to pay for the infrastructure.
As for Amazon, the Institute for Taxes and Economic Policy estimated that the e-commerce giant’s federal tax rate was only 9.4% in 2020. That is quite low, the “statutory” tax rate of 21%.
The report also found that “Amazon paid an effective federal income tax rate of just 4.3 percent on US income for the first three years of the Trump GOP Tax Act, which lowered the statutory corporate tax rate to 21 percent.”
Amazon has pushed the criticism back by holding Congress responsible for the state of tax legislation. CEO Jeff Bezos has since said he supports a corporate tax rate hike.
Warren held corporate lobbyists like those who work for Amazon responsible for the current tax laws.
“How do you think the tax code came to end up like it did? It ended up like that because companies like Amazon dispatched armies of lawyers and lobbyists to fill any possible loophole they could use to avoid paying taxes.” so Warren said Tuesday.
According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, Amazon invested a record more than $ 18 million in lobbying in 2020. One of the company’s youngest employees was Jeff Ricchetti, the brother of White House Advisor Steve Ricchetti.
Amazon’s lobbying has focused on a variety of topics, including tax policy.