Financier, NYT contributor and former 'Car Tzar' Steven Rattner proposes an idea that has attracted me for years: "scrap our unworkable corporate tax system altogether." That is, simply abolish the corporate tax. Tax shareholders instead--"eliminating low tax rates on capital gains and dividends"; however the government's major offsets in lost corporate taxes would come in taxing both earned and unearned incomes of corporate executives and other wealthy Americans at far higher marginal rates.
As it is, American corporations are already playing the international, race-to-the-bottom tax game by moving, at least nominally, their operations somewhere overseas. Other American corporations are shrewd enough to hire equally shrewd tax attorneys who can screw their client's taxable income down to virtually nothing. As for the less shrewd, we, the consumer, pay their taxes for them in the form of higher prices--business costs passed on. In brief, one way or the other, corporations don't pay taxes anyway.
I realize the idea fails to fly with progressives. The idea of abolishing corporate taxes is absolute heresy to the left, nurtured as it has been on angry Naderian shibboleths of sticking it to the corporate bastards (even though we're actually sticking it to ourselves). But I'm uninterested in "making a point" or proving my social-democratic bona fides. I'm only interested in justly boosting government's revenue. And all the progressive energy devoted to hiking corporate tax rates or making corporations pay their "fair share" is only energy lost in the nobler fight for a fairer, truly progressive tax structure. (And I do mean fairer, as in marginal rates returned to postwar levels, minus the loopholes.)
Thomas Piketty concedes that his proposed global tax on capital is a "utopian" idea, but is "nevertheless useful" as a "reference point"--and ultimately doable if approached incrementally. That's how I see the abolition of corporate taxes and the alternative inauguration of authentic progressive taxation of both earned and unearned income: a bit utopian, but incrementally doable. I would think the "utopian" thing would lure more progressives to the idea, but so far, it falls flat.