Sunday, April 29, 2012

Apple and tax avoidance

The Home Team
Ever wonder why local, state and the federal government are so much in debt?

Well, take a look at the this story from the New York Times.

It details how Apple avoids paying billions in taxes, just like most multinational corporations based in the U.S.

Apple currently has an estimated $74 billion in offshore accounts that it wants to bring back to America, but it has joined with other tech companies in hiring lobbyists to allow these companies to repatriate billions without paying anything in taxes.

Woohoo, another holiday!

What's the upshot for all these corporate tax holidays?

"When America’s most profitable companies pay less, the general public has to pay more,” according to a former Treasury Dept. economist in the Times' story.

Consumers of Apple products already pay a premium over similar products from other companies.

Now, those consumers get the "double Apple," when they have to pay more in taxes because Apple pays less.

There is enough money made by corporations and the wealthy in this country to keep the U.S. from sliding downward in education, health care and overall quality of life.

Apparently, these companies and economic elites would rather see the U.S. decline than pay another dime in taxes.

Corporations believe they shouldn't have to pay any taxes because their employees pay income taxes. However, since the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people (my friend), it follows that corporations should pay taxes like people.

The other big problem with the tax avoidance schemes practiced by the riches companies in the world is that it sets a bad example to its employees and everyone else.

Employees get their cue from their overlords and then view local and state governments as not worthy of their hard-earned tax dollars and avoid paying them at all costs.

When that happens we have a fundamental breakdown in how a society functions.

Not that anyone cares. 

The Apple honchos, though, may care someday when they can't use our court system to enforce their patents or a military to keep the oceans and skies free for their commerce. 

That won't happen for a long time, but a corporation forfeits protection from our courts and our military when it chooses not to support those institutions through taxes. 

As Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society."

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