Joe Rosenberg, Loews Corp Chief Investment Strategist, has suggested that large, rich corporations should bailout a spendthrift, debt-ridden Federal government. After all, he says, since the Federal government had bailed out some big businesses in the Panic of 2008, it’s only proper to return the favor. As if two wrongs would make a right.
Rosenberg’s proposal is this in its essence:
Companies like Apple, J&J, Microsoft, and other US multinationals are major vendors to the federal government. Instead of the deficit-ridden government borrowing money to buy their products, let the companies offer the government long-term, no-interest financing in lieu of cash.
In return for this no-interest loan, the companies—which would be required to source the government-purchased products in the US—would be allowed to repatriate 75 cents of every dollar they lend without incurring income tax. The repatriated cash would pay US workers and US suppliers, increasing employment in this country.
Sadly, no. The present problem is government spending too much, not being short of money to spend. Moreover, the demanded vig—paying a 25% tax on the repatriated funds instead of the current 35%, and that only if the money is turned over to the government, anyway—is a money loser for the companies. On top of which, requiring the government to buy only from American sources means denying the government the lowest prices available for the goods and services it thinks it needs—more wasteful government spending.
Here’s my proposal: companies like Apple, J&J, Microsoft, and other US multinationals should stop being major vendors to the federal government. Since the government is so addicted to spending it can’t control itself, it’s time for an intervention: stop selling to the government and thereby force it to reduce spending. These companies will take a hit to their bottom lines from the loss of revenue, but a) the government is paying them with soon to be depreciated—heavily—dollars (that Bernanke Inflation that’s just around the corner from all of his money printing), and b) the hit will be temporary as the companies find other buyers with which to replace the government.