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The United States pays higher corporate taxes than most other G20 countries, but it's not as high as it looks at first glance. Companies often pay much lower than the rate that is written into law after taking into account deductions, credits and other provisions of the tax code.

Why this matters: One of the GOP's biggest arguments for lowering the corporate tax rate — now likely to go down from 35 to 21 percent in the final tax bill that's being written now — is that it will make the U.S. more competitive internationally. While economists disagree on whether the bill would effectively do this, it is true that rates in the U.S. are comparatively higher than in other countries.

Expand chart
Data: CBO via Tax Foundation. Note: Italy (-23%) is not included in the Marginal effective rate. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

What the different rates measure, per the Congressional Budget Office:

  • Statutory rate: The legal tax rate. Federally, the top corporate rate is 35 percent, but with state taxes factored in, the total average rate was 39.1 percent in 2012.
  • Average corporate rate: The total amount of corporate taxes a company pays as a share of its income.
  • Effective marginal rate: A corporation's tax burden on returns from a marginal investment.

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Cuomo advisers reportedly altered July COVID-19 nursing homes report

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Seth Wenig/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's advisers successfully pushed state health officials to exclude certain data on the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths from a July report, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

Why it matters: The changes resulted in a "significant undercount of the death toll attributed to the state’s most vulnerable population," the WSJ wrote.

Ro Khanna wary of Biden approach on Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

Democrats eye reconciliation for immigration

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.