College Could Be Free In America If Corporations Paid Reagan-Era Taxes

By:  Shahien Nasiripour

If corporations paid the same tax rate as they did under Ronald Reagan, governments in the U.S. would have enough money to fund prekindergarten for every 4-year-old in America and higher education for every American attending public colleges and universities, according to a Huffington Post review of government data.

Corporations paid an effective tax rate of 31.7 percent on average during Reagan’s eight years in the White House, according to Commerce Department figures that measure corporate profits and taxes paid to local, state, federal and foreign governments.

But in the seven full years President Barack Obama has occupied the post, corporations have enjoyed a 22.8 percent effective tax rate on their profits, Commerce Department data show.

The average annual difference, if applying Reagan-era tax rates to Obama-era profits, comes out to $166.7 billion.

That’s enough to cover the estimated $25 billion in annual costs to allow every 4-year-old in the nation to attend public pre-K programs and the close to $65 billion that students spend on tuition to attend public colleges and universities, leaving close to $78 billion — roughly the amount that the federal government spent on food stamps during the most recent fiscal year — left over to fund other public policy priorities in the U.S. and abroad.

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