In my perfect world, we’d take the 35% corporate tax rate down to nine so that we’re the most competitive in the industrialized world. Zero out capital gains. Zero out the alternative minimum tax. Zero out the death tax.

Michele Bachmann to the Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2011

I totally get the way international competitiveness works around the margins, but rhetoric of this sort about the corporate tax rate always seems pretty ridiculous to me. I daresay most people who read my blog don’t like Michele Bachmann and are very eager to ridicule what she’s saying as absurd, but that’s not what I’m looking for. This message isn’t hers alone. I’m interested in this American idea that theirs is a country that’s not, you know, fucking America. Can you really imagine a big corporation saying “No, we don’t want to do business in America because we have to pay a couple extra percentage points in tax”? Do folks sit around corporate boardrooms saying, “I think we’ll limit our operations to Portugal and Slovenia. We’re just not going to open up a New York office because, even though America is the biggest fucking game in the world by a long way, we might have to pay some tax there”?

What is this thing where America forgets that it’s huge and prosperous and a massive draw merely by virtue of being America? Look at this on an intra-national level; South Dakota can fiddle with taxes and regulations to get more businesses to invest in the state, but it’s still not going to put itself on New York status by doing so. And if you’ve got the Empire State Building, why would you try to be South Dakota? Why would you think you even could? If you’re America, why would you start playing the game like New Zealand?

Also, for a more specific, immediate critique: How’s Ireland’s tax-cut driven prosperity looking now?