Apologies to Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.), who today, along with the senior senator from Arizona, co-sponsored the Foreign Earnings Reinvestment Act, a Senate vehicle for repatriation of overseas earnings. But this is a John McCain moment.
(Bias alert: I have recently come down in favor of a repatriation policy in a report commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce. And I long ago decided in favor of John McCain.)
Repatriation is not perfect tax policy. Perfect tax policy would be a nanosecond-fast switch to a permanent, pro-growth territorial tax system with a low rate that unleashed growth potential and leveled the playing field for the workers in America’s most successful global countries. Repatriation is a step in the right direction that is smaller and less permanent than the ideal. It takes a certain practicality to champion the sure loser in the policy beauty pageant.
Repatriation legislation is not a plank in anyone’s ideology. It is supported by some conservatives and some progressives. It is supported by some Republicans and some Democrats. The only unvarnished opposition is found in the last bastion of ideology-over-results: the Obama administration. One must relish making common cause with strange bedfellows to lead this effort.