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Re the news story "Lee bill would slice tax on overseas profits " (Tribune, Oct. 6):

Sen. Mike Lee has called for a permanent reduction of the tax rate on repatriated foreign profits to 5 percent from the existing 35 percent rate.

Defending this change, Lee suggests that the $1 trillion that could be repatriated would be an engine for investment and U.S. jobs growth.

It is unfortunate that Lee turns to unsubstantiated jobs rhetoric to justify this proposal rather than to legitimate economic and policy debate about a truly interesting issue.

It's worth asking Lee why this $1 trillion of repatriated profits will lead to the creation of jobs by corporate America when the $2 trillion of existing corporate cash balances has not.

The last tax holiday for repatriated foreign profits was the 2004 American Jobs Creation Act, which similarly required repatriated funds be invested for job-creating purposes. Recent studies coming out of University of Maryland and Northwestern University found that the ACJA repatriation of nearly $300 billion of foreign profits led to "little increase in investment."

Lee should do more to explain his support for near tax-free foreign profits generated by jobs American companies have already shipped offshore.

Josh Kanter