||In the months leading up to the November 2008 election the adoption of major energy
legislation in the U.S. seemed a foregone conclusion. Both major candidates for President
campaigned on a platform including Cap and Trade Legislation as a key solution to
the major challenge of both Global Warming and Jobs. Coalitions from the private
sector that included utilities, manufacturers and a broad array of others came together
to try and influence what the pending legislation would entail, but also took it to
be a foregone conclusion.
However, three years after a historic election that promised to usher in a new energy
economy built on innovative legislation, the pendulum of change seems to have swung
in a different direction. Following the mid-term elections of 2010 that saw a political
upheaval, there are greater questions than ever as to what US energy legislation in
the future will look like. The general public seems to have lost its interest in
major energy legislation that is sometimes deemed as “job killers” by skeptics, as
Americans struggle with unemployment, foreclosures, and financial difficulties unprecedented
since the Great Depression. In the meantime, U.S. based corporations are experiencing
unprecedented profit growth overseas and in 2011 have more than $1.2 trillion in cash
and short-term investments on their foreign balance sheets.
Everyone agrees having trillions of dollars abroad, sitting idle is not good for anyone;
however, few can agree on the best route for bringing those dollars back to the U.S.
American corporations argue that the current repatriation tax rate of 35% is too high
and insist that a tax holiday similar to the one given in 2004, which allowed them
to return capital at just over 5%, is more appropriate. The federal government and
many objective studies have argued that the 2004 tax holiday was a disastrous failure,
and though $312 billion was repatriated as a means to create jobs, that few jobs actually
This Master’s Project seeks to offer a well-thought-out policy proposal that would
allow American corporations and the U.S. Government to meet halfway and achieve an
agreement on repatriation for energy investment.