The Apple Of His Eye

All the congressional hearings of late, it’s difficult to keep track of events without a scorecard. I have long held the belief that bureaucrats in general (and legislators specifically) hold public hearings to throw the folks back home a bone, to show them that their expensive/bloated/dysfunctional government, and the functionaries that they the voters put in place, are on the job and doing the people’s business, yea for the democratic process. Too bad these weasels (Jefferson’s idea of the citizen representative, that accomplished businessman who would devote a few years to serve out of a patriotic duty, then remove himself voluntarily and go back to being a productive citizen and allow another to take his place, that idea is so dead and buried) all subscribe to the Jess Unruh school of politics. To the uninitiated, Unruh is a particular hero of mine {tongue firmly planted against cheek}, an old school politician from California that famously said ,”If you can’t take their money, drink their liquor, screw their women, and still vote against them, then you got no business here in Washington”.

Yesterday Tim Cook got hauled up in front of the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (What, nothing of late in the news on steroid use in Baseball you guys can exploit?) to explain why Apple is so good at tax accounting, specifically why Apple doesn’t pay taxes. In keelhauling CEO Cook on national television, for all 11 CSPAN viewers, they again called attention to the abortion that which is our tax code.

Senator Rand Paul, wasted no time in making some hay on the issue.

Paul mentions our corporate tax rate is double that of Canada, how about TRIPLE that of most successful European nations. Repatriating tax money at a 35% corporate rate? no wonder Cook has over $100 billion parked in overseas accounts.

Ireland has a corporate tax rate of 12.5%, conversely the world’s largest technology companies have decided to build factories there. Ireland negotiates that rate to further sweeten the pot, making foreign capital welcome thus bringing growth, jobs and prosperity.

Paul mentioned a bill that would repatriate this foreign money back to America at a 5% rate and use it to bolster infrastructure, there was an article in the WSJ last week floating the idea of bringing all foreign money owned by American corporations (well over $1 trillion)bak here tax free, then loaning this money to Uncle Sam interest free for a period of time, corporations keep more of their profits and the government gets interest free loans, (isn’t the US government too big to fail?) a win/win all the way around.

One consistent complaint from large U.S. companies is that our government taxes multinational companies on their global earnings, while other nations tax only profits earned within a country’s borders. That gives U.S. companies reason to park foreign earnings overseas, they are taxed only when brought back to the U.S.. The fix is obvious, tax U.S. companies only on profits realized here in America (allowing profits earned overseas to be taxed at that country’s tax rate), and lower the over all statutory corporate rate, making it more competitive with the global economy. But as these and other hearings have revealed, calling for a far simpler tax code is easier then producing one. And yes, criticizing our cumbersome tax code is the epitome of grabbing low hanging fruit.

But back to Paul, he is clearly taking a page out of the Obama bible for presidential campaigning, use both hands to finger point and highlight the current guy’s shortcomings, then run on being ”
Not That Guy”. His 13 hour filibuster was more show then substance (Ted Cruz already got Holder to admit, through a continuous application of head locks and full nelsons, that targeting an American citizen on American soil for assassination was clearly unconstitutional) but I liked his principled stance. As with most Libertarians, they lose sight of the fact that people cannot be counted on to do the right thing consistently and sometimes we do need the rule of law to smack them back into compliance, but as a starting point I like the “keep your nose out of my business” philosophy. Rand Paul is doing everything he can to be the Ungovernment government official, a smart move given what we have now.

Yes, it is early, and Rubio seems to be losing steam. Politics abhors a vacuum so Paul will accommodate. And with Christie and his stomach staple surgery, the horses are jockeying for position.

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  1. Hal_10000

    I was working on a post on the Apple thing. It’s ridiculous that these guys are hauling Tim Cook out to yell at him for taking advantage of a legal issues they created with their unquenchable lust for other people’s money.

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  2. richtaylor365 *

    Along the same lines, don’t you find it amusing to witness all the backslapping and high fives going on in this administration because the deficit is getting smaller due to this new windfall in tax receipts? Too bad this is a one shot boost, a rush at the end of 2012 to secure capital gains at a lower rate before the new rates kick in. But no, they look at it as some sort of validation that they are on the right path and doing something right.

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