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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First GE, now Apple Computer: Big profits, zero income tax paid

First it was GE, General Electric Company, famously not paying any US taxes:

General Electric Avoids Taxes 

It's insane, it's unfair, it's irresponsible on their part and it's even downright, truly immoral, even if it is legal, since they buy this kind of legislation from our government representatives with their "campaign contributions", which also need to be outlawed but that's a story for another day.

How do you take profits from and access the markets of a nation and then not pay anything back into it, so, well, let's see, that same nation can have good to great infrastructure like roads and schools and highways and sewage treatment, etc., etc. SO YOU CAN KEEP MAKING A PROFIT? 

Forget about patriotism for a minute, how about paying some taxes so the whole thing functions and continues to function and it stays afloat?

Now, today, Apple, Inc., is shown to be doing the same thing:

Corporations Are Stealing Billions in Tax Breaks ...

Apple CEO Tim Cook appears today before a U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that's charging Apple with using had a web of offshore entities to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes. Apple has $102 billion in offshore accounts and shifted billions of dollars in profits out of the U.S. into affiliates based in Ireland where it negotiated a tax rate of less than 2 percent, according to the panel’s report. But Cook won't apologize today. Quite the contrary. In prepared remarks already distributed to the media, he and Apple have the chutzpah to recommend lower corporate tax rates on foreign earnings, in order to encourage companies to bring cash back to the U.S. and not “undermine U.S. competitiveness.” 

This is exactly the same argument being used by Google, Amazon, GE, and every other major corporation that's hiding its income abroad. It's the same argument they're using here in the UK. They couldn't care less about U.S. competitiveness, or British competitiveness, or the competitiveness of any other nation. Their only interest is shrinking their corporate taxes, reducing their costs, and making the most money they possibly can. I don't blame them: That's what corporations are supposed to do. But to dress this up as anything else is a sham."

--Robert Reich, Economist, Columnist for the NY Times, Professor, Writer, etc.

Don't get me wrong, here, either. I don't for a moment think these are the only two firms doing this, far from it. I just think these are two of the worst, most egregious examples of this national theft and greed.

What I think we need to do, as a nation, and I've said this before, is to, first, make offshoring profits illegal because as crazy and destructive as all this is, it's quite legal in our country to do this, to offshore profits, however unpatriotic and even, possibly, I think it can be argued, treasonous. Then, second,  put into place a minimum, say, 10% base tax all companies and corporations and even the wealthy must pay for both having access to our markets but also so we can help pay for the infrastructure that makes their company's profits possible in the first place.

This whole magical, wonderful thing we call the United States of America can't operate, obviously, without good roads and highways and sewage treatment plants and airports and schools, etc., as we all know.

It's not much to ask and it's the only way we can keep this whole thing running.

Oh, and again, it should and would also be patriotic.

At least, with all this sudden pressure on Apple lately, it apparently brought out the following result, just announced within the last few hours:

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the only way, the only way companies and executives of them are going to be brought around to any good change for this country. That is, we have to keep the pressure on them to do the right thing, the moral thing and not just what is legal.

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