Profitable Giants Like Amazon Pay $0 in Corporate Taxes. Some Voters Are Sick of It.


Under Ms. Warren’s plan, Amazon would have paid $698 million instead of $0 in federal taxes for 2018. In a statement, the company said it “pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate.” (In a separate statement, Netflix said that it did, indeed, pay federal taxes in 2018.)

Mr. Sanders, in his 2016 presidential campaign and in this one, has routinely talked about closing loopholes and capturing some of the billions in profits that multinationals have kept overseas in tax havens.

Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota senator who is also running, has taken a different approach. She has tied a proposed increase in the corporate tax rate, to 25 percent from the current 21 percent, to plans to rebuild bridges, roads and airports. About $400 billion of her trillion-dollar infrastructure plan would be financed by the tax increase.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who officially entered the race on Thursday, has not issued a formal proposal on corporate taxes. In remarks last May, however, he blamed a “yawning” income gap for tearing the country apart. “We have to deal with this tax code,” he said. “It’s wildly skewed toward taking care of those at the very top.”

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In surveys, more Americans support raising the corporate tax rate than lowering it or leaving it unchanged. And several Democratic candidates, like the former housing secretary Julián Castro, invoke “fair share” rhetoric in speeches or vow to undo the recent Republican tax law. Others, like Senator Kamala Harris of California, have focused more on the individual income tax and reducing the burden on working families.

But raising the headline tax rate on corporations won’t eliminate the corporate zero-rate club, which also results from companies taking advantage of loopholes and the way global profits are taxed.

Two years ago, Mr. Trump appeared at a rally in working-class Youngstown, the seat of Mahoning County, and delivered a message full of economic reassurance.



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