Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Holds a press conference in the Capitol building on the introduction of the Ultra Millionaire Tax Act to tax high net worth households on Monday, March 1, 2021.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Senator Elizabeth Warren targeted FedEx, Nike, and Amazon as she advocated the need to levy taxes on businesses and the richest Americans.
In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Progressive blew up the three corporate giants while also describing why companies with a higher tax rate should be affected.
“What is happening in America right now are these small businesses that pay 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 pay zero. Right now there’s a thumb on the scale in the tax area, 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 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, who serves on both the Senate Finance Committee and the Banking Committee, has urged the rich and corporations to pay their share of the taxes.
One of Warren’s recent battles was with billionaire Leon Cooperman, whom she called for a Senate Finance Committee hearing to focus on the taxation of their proposed millionaires. He declined to attend Tuesday’s hearing.
FedEx and Nike were mentioned in an April report by the Institute for Taxes and Economic Policy as companies that recently paid little to 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 external group Tax March has targeted the two companies in television and newspaper ads. Fred Smith, FedEx CEO, said in a letter to the company’s team members 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.
For Amazon, the Institute for Taxes and Economic Policy estimated that the e-commerce giant had a “federal tax rate of only 9.4 percent, less than half the statutory corporate income tax of 21 percent” in 2020.
The report also notes 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 bill, 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 announced that he supports an increase in the corporate tax rate.
Warren held corporate lobbyists like those who work for Amazon responsible for current tax laws.
“How did you think the tax code ended up like this? It ended up like this because companies like Amazon dispatched armies of lawyers and lobbyists to fill any possible loophole they could use to avoid paying taxes,” she said Warren said on Tuesday.
According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, Amazon invested a record $ 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.