BURLINGTON, Vt. (CN) – Outlining his “plan to end corporate greed and corruption,” Senator Bernie Sanders promised Monday that as president he would increase corporate tax rates, ban large-scale stock buybacks and give workers a stronger say in how their company operates.
“For more than 40 years, the largest and most profitable corporations in America have rigged the tax code and our economy to redistribute wealth and income to the richest and most powerful people in this country,” the new policy proposal by Sanders states.
With Sanders set to appear on the debate stage Tuesday night with his Democratic rivals, Monday’s is the second plan that the Vermont senator has released since a heart attack led him to scale back his campaign schedule.
Sanders says he would require companies to give workers at least a 20% share of their stock and 45% of seats on their boards. Workers would also get the first right to purchase any facilities that the company has plans to close.
Sanders would establish a U.S. Employee Ownership Bank that would provide financing to employees that wish to start their own business.
The plan would act as a referendum on President Donald Trump, by reversing the 2017 tax cut and by ordering a review of all corporate mergers that the federal government approved under the Trump administration.
The Trump administration predicted that the 2017 tax bill would allow companies to invest more money into growing the company. Instead, many resorted to stock buybacks — improving stock values by reducing the amount of shares on the open market, without increasing employment.
In a Sanders administration, these large-scale stock buybacks would be treated as stock manipulation and banned outright.
According to a 2018 release from S&P Dow Jones announced that there had been record-setting $583 billion stock buybacks in the first three quarters of 2018, marking a 52.6% jump from the previous year’s first three quarters.
Sanders would also ban mandatory arbitration and noncompete clauses in corporate contracts, while raising the 21% corporate tax rate back up to 35%. To ensure compliance, Sanders would also eliminate most corporate tax loop holes and would require financial disclosures for companies that receive at least $25 million in annual revenue.
According to his campaign, if Sanders’ corporate tax plan had been in effect in 2018, then Amazon would have paid $3.8 billion in taxes, Delta would have paid $1.8 billion, Chevron would have paid $1.6 billion and GM would have paid $1.5 billion.
“The American people are saying enough is enough,” Sanders said in a statement. “They are sick and tired of companies like Amazon, General Motors and Chevron making billions in profits, but paying nothing in federal income taxes.”