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Taxing Tirades

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) delivered a speech in the Senate today that flamed Facebook for complying with the tax code, and suggested that if only tax laws were changed then the government would have the money to “pay for programs to protect our seniors and veterans, put cops on the beat, or teachers in classrooms.”

Talk about raining on the parade!

We get that Senator Levin has a thing against corporations getting favorable treatment under the tax laws. Unless of course the tax benefits specifically help his state’s ailing auto industry.

In that case, Senator Levin says special tax treatment isjustfine.

Today’s speech was a platform for the Senator’s legislation that would forbid companies from booking the cost of employee stock grants differently than the cost they deduct for income tax purposes following an IPO.

It’s sad to see our Senate making it a priority to maximize the government’s take from one of the only functioning economic engines left in the country.  Never mind that Facebook owner-employees – and the myriad spin-off ventures spawned by this 8 year old enterprise – are set to drop billions of dollars into federal and state tax coffers.

There is no doubt that our tax system is confusing and contorted, but this practice of picking winners in one industry and choosing losers in another is exactly what got us into this mess.  Instead of piecemeal changes that target the golden goose, Senator Levin should focus on fundamental tax reform that will benefit all businesses.