Sunday, June 22, 2014

On 'tax inversion', Apple, and what makes a 'U.S.' company

Continuing on a pet theme of mine, I want my readers to consider just what is a "U.S. company" (for tax purposes). What comes to your mind?  Do you even know what the formal definition is? Does that definition meet your moral-reasonable expectations of an American company?

Pearlstein objects to those American companies that want to have their cake and eat it to, that want...

...all the rights and privileges of being an American company without the full complement of responsibilities that go along with it.

You want the peace and security guaranteed by a muscular military and intelligence apparatus that make it possible for you to operate and market in all the advanced economies of the world. You want the world’s most sophisticated and enforceable patent system to protect your intellectual property. You want a fair and efficient judicial system to enforce contracts.

You want a well-educated workforce to design and make your products, based on basic research done through an extensive network of government-funded institutes and laboratories. You want modern ports and highways and airports to ship your products to market, and an efficient border operation to speed them through customs.

You want an honest, efficient financial system that can provide you with cheap and plentiful capital. You demand a professional, credible regulatory agency that can expeditiously evaluate your products and ensure customers that they are safe and effective. And you insist on government-funded health care for the poor, the elderly and the disabled that will pay you more for your devices than any other country in the world.

In related news that my fellow Americans are probably not paying attention, the European Commission is investigating Ireland, and other known EU tax havens for their soft treatment of Apple, Google and other well-known US companies. 

Now, the EU isn't trying to help the USA collect more tax from these "American" companies, no sir.  They are threatening potential punishments for handing out what amount to subsidies to home businesses -- an unfair trade practice that decreases the competitiveness of other EU states. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out!....

By Steven Pearlstein
June 20, 2014 | Washington Post

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