There has been much attention to how changes in antitrust policy decades ago led to the corporate concentration we are seeing today. But there has been less analysis of how other neoliberal policy moves fueled our monopoly problem.
This is especially true of our tax system. In this issue brief, Tax Dodging is a Monopoly Tactic: How Our Tax Code Undermines Small Business and Fuels Corporate Concentration, Stacy Mitchell and Susan Holmberg argue that local and federal policymakers have systematically structured tax policy in a way that deepens the concentration of corporate power. Tax rules at all levels of government give giant corporations many ways to skirt paying taxes. Meanwhile, their smaller competitors shoulder a larger share of the burden, which puts them at a disadvantage. Making our tax system fairer would help small businesses—which are essential for robust economies, community well-being, and healthy democracies—compete on a more level playing field.
The brief opens by examining the significance of corporate tax advantages in the emergence of one of the country’s most powerful monopolies: Amazon. “Amazon has proven to be one of the defter exploiters of our tax code, and Jeff Bezos is, arguably, the first CEO to devise a market domination strategy built explicitly on tax dodging,” Mitchell and Holmberg write. “Tracing its path to dominance through the tax system offers a road map for understanding how harmful tax policies have fueled our monopoly problem.”
The second section delves into examples of our biased tax code, which was created as part of the larger sweep of neoliberal, pro-corporate policies that began in the late 1970s. The third section details what we lose when small businesses are crushed by policies that favor monopoly dominance. The final section explores small business politics in the US and lays out examples of an antimonopoly tax agenda that is fair to small businesses and helps build broad prosperity.
The brief expands on an article Holmberg and Mitchell published in a special Tax and Monopoly edition of the UK publication Tax Justice Focus.
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