Larry Kudlow

Michigan Republican Dave Camp, the chairman of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, gave Treasury man Timothy Geithner a tough spanking yesterday.

In a hearing on the president’s budget, Camp stated that nearly $2 trillion in tax increases will take more money away from employers, investors, and savers, and would push the top rates close to 45 percent. Camp noted that the bottom half of earners pay no federal income taxes, and that 70 percent of income taxes are paid by the top 10 percent, a group which includes the small businesses that are so important to job creation.

Why should Uncle Sam take nearly half of their income? 

Camp then honed in on the Obama proposal to triple the tax on dividends from 15 percent to nearly 45 percent. The chairman went on the say, “Because dividends are paid out of income that has already been taxed at the corporate level and then are taxed again in the shareholder’s hands, this proposal would push the total federal tax rate on dividends to 64 percent.” (Italics mine.)

Camp next hammered Geithner on corporate tax reform. As in, “Where is your plan?” As in, “The U.S. will have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrial world.”

Camp asked Geithner why the U.S. is at a competitive disadvantage in the world marketplace. (I would note that while the U.S. corporate rate is 39 percent, Canada’s combined federal-provincial corporate tax is 25 percent.)

Camp could have added that Team Obama is going to have a corporate tax plan, and that it will raise $350 billion, including $150 billion for something called a “global minimum tax,” a new tax that has nothing to do with tax reform.

Finally, Camp hit Geithner on the debt problem, stating that our total debt load is now 102 percent of GDP -- certainly a warning point for future economic growth.

I’m glad Dave Camp is on the warpath.

One thought: He should report his bold corporate-tax-reform plan out of committee and onto the floor, where the GOP House can then pass an exemplary pro-growth, corporate-tax reform to turn up the heat on the White House and the Democratic Senate.


Larry Kudlow

Lawrence Kudlow is host of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” which airs nightly from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.