20110126  obama delivers state of the union address 35
U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), addresses a Joint Session of Congress while delivering his State of the Union speech. - 


STACEY VANEK SMITH:: The President gave his State of the Union Address last night. Among the major talking points: More money going to education, a pay freeze for federal employees and ways the U.S. can stay globally competitive. One of the ways Obama plans to do that is overhauling corporate taxes, lowering them actually. Here's the President

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Get rid of the loop holes, level the playing field, and use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years without adding to our deficit. It can be done.

Alisa Roth joins me live here in New York to talk corporate taxes. Good morning, Alisa.

ALISA ROTH: Good morning.

SMITH: So Alisa, why is president proposing to cut corporate taxes right now?

ROTH: Well, it's -- theoretically, anyway -- a way to help the economy grow, and as Obama said, not make the deficit worse. The government could cut the tax rate -- which would give companies more money to spend in the economy. But it would also get rid of all the crazy deductions that let companies avoid taxes. It's a way for the administration to seem -- or even really be -- more business-friendly. And it would be a way to make the U.S. more competitive. Because our corporate tax code is absurdly complicated. It's full of these loopholes. And at its top rate, which is 35 percent, it's one of the highest in the world.

SMITH: Wow. That all sounds good. But is there any chance this'll really happen?

ROTH: Anything seems possible at this point. Clearly, there are some companies who would suffer a lot from a big tax overhaul and it's safe to assume we'll hear from them. The Democrats, certainly, would like to see companies pay more taxes, not less. But it's also something that's been under discussion for a while. The Administration has been meeting with all kinds of big companies, presumably in part to lay the groundwork for this.

SMITH: Our own Alisa Roth here with me in New York, thank you, Alisa.

ROTH: You're welcome.