June 16, 2021 | President Biden’s Corporate Tax Proposals: Political Prospects and Economic Impacts

We will examine President Biden’s proposed tax changes for businesses, which include increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, creating a minimum 15% tax rate, and raising the rate on GILTI to 21%.  The president has also proposed new tax credits for companies that invest in jobs within the U.S. His goal is to make the tax code more progressive and raise revenue to pay for investments in infrastructure. How will the proposed changes affect the economy and U.S. competitiveness?  Will they raise as much revenue that the administration projects?

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Cara Griffith
President and CEO, Tax Analysts

As the moderator for our Taxing Issues webinars, Cara objectively analyzes issues and asks probing questions that challenge panelists to explain and defend their positions.

When she’s not moderating Taxing Issues webinars, Cara provides strategic oversight for Tax Analysts. She has led efforts to improve the Tax Notes suite of products and to aggressively pursue transparency in the administration of tax systems. Previously, Cara managed the editorial department, including the flagship daily news publications and weekly magazines. She has written for a broad range of tax policy publications, including Tax Notes State, The Tax Adviser, The Hedge Fund Law Report, and The Hill. She regularly speaks at tax conferences and other events, discussing a variety of technical tax issues as well as the need for transparency in tax administration.

Cara has a BA in political science and a BA in international studies from the University of Evansville and a JD from the George Washington University Law School.

Benjamin M. Willis
Contributing Editor for Tax Notes International

Benjamin M. Willis is a contributing editor for Tax Notes Federal and Tax Notes International. He has worked in PwC’s national mergers and acquisitions and international tax services groups, designing and implementing inbound and outbound cross-border transactions for multinational firms, and as an attorney-adviser in the Treasury Office of Tax Policy. He also worked as a senior technical adviser in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, as a senior corporate tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, and as leader of the corporate tax group in BDO’s national office. He writes the column Willis Weighs In. He received his JD from New England Law Boston and his LLM from Boston University School of Law and specializes in corporate taxation.

Aruna Kalyanam

Aruna Kalyanam is a veteran of Capitol Hill, bringing over 21 years of experience in the tax policy legislative process with her to the Treasury Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs.  Kalyanam most recently served on the Ways and Means Committee as Deputy Chief Tax Counsel and Staff Director of the Select Revenue Measures (the dedicated tax policy Subcommittee) under Chairman Richard E. Neal and Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson. She has been involved in every major tax legislative package on Capitol Hill since 2001, and led the Ways and Means Committee’s policy development on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and infrastructure.  A native of Maryland, Kalyanam is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and the Washington College of Law at American University.

Michael Desmond

Michael Desmond is a partner in the Los Angeles and Washington, DC offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and a member of the Firm’s Tax Practice Group. In private practice, Mr. Desmond has been counsel of record in numerous docketed tax matters, litigating many of them to published decision. 

Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. Desmond served as chief counsel of the IRS, He was the principal legal officer for the IRS, overseeing a staff of nearly 1,500 lawyers responsible for interpreting and providing advice on all aspects of the federal tax law.  During his tenure as Chief Counsel, the Office issued more than 100 sets of proposed and final regulations implementing the landmark Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and published dozens of guidance items implementing legislation enacted in response to, and providing other relief relating to, the COVID-19 pandemic.  Mr. Desmond previously served as Tax Legislative Counsel at the U.S. Department of Treasury from 2005 through 2008, where he was the principal legal advisor to the Treasury Secretary and Assistant Secretary (Tax Policy) on all domestic aspects of the federal tax law other than employee benefits.

Felicia Wong
President and CEO, Roosevelt Institute

Felicia Wong is the President and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, a New York-based think tank and campus network that promotes a bold economic and political vision capable of bringing the ideals of Franklin and Eleanor into the 21st century. She helps lead the Roosevelt Institute’s work on a rewriting the rules agenda, a comprehensive economic program and narrative that has become increasingly influential. She is the co-author of The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, and the Boston Review. Felicia came to the Institute from the Democracy Alliance, and previously ran operations and product development at a venture-funded education services company. Her public service includes a White House Fellowship in the Office of the Attorney General and a political appointment in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy. 

Bob Stack
Managing Director, Washington National Tax

Bob Stack is a managing director in Deloitte’s Washington National Tax practice. He advises U.S. companies on a full range of international tax issues and collaborates with Deloitte’s global member firms on international tax developments and initiatives, including those from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).

Bob joined Deloitte Tax from the U.S. Treasury Department, where he was the deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs in the Office of Tax Policy from 2013 until 2017. He also was the official representative of the Obama administration for international tax policy and represented the US government at the OECD where he was involved in all aspects of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting initiative. Prior to joining Treasury, Bob had more than 25 years of experience in international tax matters, representing both corporations and individuals.

Watson M. McLeish
Tax Counsel, Tax Executives Institute

Watson McLeish serves as tax counsel for Tax Executives Institute (TEI) in Washington, D.C., where he supports the advocacy and educational activities of TEI’s Tax Reform Task Force, Federal Tax Committee, and Canadian Income Tax Committee.  In this role, Watson develops, coordinates, and executes many of TEI’s U.S. advocacy initiatives on Capitol Hill and with the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy and IRS Office of Chief Counsel.  Watson performs the same role in Canada before Parliament and with the Department of Finance’s Tax Policy Branch and Canada Revenue Agency.  This work includes the preparation of written advocacy submissions (e.g., comment letters, position statements) in support of TEI’s income tax-related public policy and advocacy priorities.  It also includes the planning and facilitation of liaison meetings between TEI members and senior U.S. and Canadian federal government officials.  Watson also coordinates TEI’s participation in stakeholder working groups, listening sessions, and various other informal interchanges with government representatives.

Outside of TEI, Watson is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches a graduate-level seminar on Tax Research and Writing (LAW 809 v02).  Watson lives in Northwest Washington, D.C., with his wife, Elizabeth, and precocious two-year-old daughter, Blythe.

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