So this is happening:
Burger King may be the home of the Whopper, but Canada may be the new home of Burger King.
The restaurant operator said on Sunday that it was in talks to buy Tim Hortons, the Canadian doughnut-and-coffee chain, in a potential deal that would create one of the world’s biggest fast-food businesses.
If completed, the deal would mean Burger King’s corporate headquarters would move to Canada, raising the specter of yet another American company switching its national citizenship to lower its tax bill.
As you can image, the Left Wing is going apeshit, accusing Burger King of being unpatriotic and putting shareholders in front of communities, people, employees, the environment, the cosmos, God, king and country.
But Burger King is hardly the only company contemplating this kind of tax inversion. Numerous companies have over $2 trillion overseas that they won’t repatriate because our government, rather uniquely, double taxes overseas earnings. We also have an unholy mess of a corporate tax system which has a nominally high rate but many loopholes. The system is so bad that Canada — with all its maple syrup, hockey and French — is now considered a tax haven.
(Also note that this move would just change Burger King’s tax burden. It won’t change anything else like how many people they employ or what they pay them. So the supposed “betrayal” is simply a lowering of their tax burden. To BK’s critics, a company’s primary patriotic duty is apparently to pay as much in taxes as possible.)
But it’s much more fun to gnash your teeth about the evil machinations of a big corporation that to, you know, work the problem that Republicans have been talking about for years.
Here’s Paul Ryan’s third video, this time on our tax code:
Needless to say, I love the idea of overhauling the tax code. And given that everyone involved is giving vocal support to the idea, I’m not sure why it isn’t happening. Well, other than the huge carve-outs every politician wants to leave for his favored industry.
When I showed this to my wife, her reaction was, “Why isn’t he running for President?” I actually kind of prefer having Ryan in the House, where his intelligence isn’t a liability. But I’d like to expand on the larger point. I think the primary system has been a bit detrimental to our Republic. It has encouraged long campaigns full of populist appeals to the party base. The rivals spend as much time slagging each other as they do attacking the other party. The idea of the party getting together, hammering out a platform and choosing the best leader is dead.
Now maybe that’s a good thing; smoke-filled rooms aren’t ideal for picking the leader of the free world either. But think of the candidates who have bowed out or refused to run simply because they can’t deal with the horse race: Colin Powell, Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan. When I lived in Georgia, many Democrats thought Sam Nunn would have run had it not been for the primary system.
The solution, I think, is to shift more power away from the position that has effectively become the Demagogue in Chief and back to Congress. To put more power into the hands of legislators like Paul Ryan and John Boehner. The best thing about Newt Gingrich and the 1994 revolution was that the managed to nationalize Congressional elections, to break the idea that Congressional elections are local (an idea that press recycles any time a Democrat loses a special election).
In any case, let’s hope we can get some pressure on Congress for a tax overhaul. We are desperately in need of it.