Yet Another Thought on Taxes

The Wall Street Journal has reported that

Apple, Inc paid no corporate income tax to any national government on tens of billions of dollars in overseas income over the past four years, Senate investigators found, a revelation that fuels the debate over whether the US tax code needs an overhaul.

The Senate thinks this is a bad thing, even as they acknowledge that Apple actually paid all the taxes it legally owed.  Senator John McCain (R, AZ), ranking Republican on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that hectored Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, on that dastardly legal behavior earlier this week, gripes that

What they often leave out is the second part of the story, that Apple is one of the largest tax avoiders…Apple [is] the most egregious offender [among US corporations trying to avoid tax bills].

This despite the Subcommittee’s already completed investigations finding that Apple has, indeed, behaved entirely legally.  (Which makes me wonder, as an aside, whether McCain has outlived his usefulness and become just another RINO who needs to be terminated in his next primary.)  Regardless of any findings, though, in the finest Federal government tradition (can you say, “IRS,” boys and girls?), we’re going to hector and harass, anyway.  That was the point of haling Cook before the subcommittee to answer their inquisition.

This comes as part of a debate that the

US is undergoing…about the earnings that US companies are keeping overseas.  The profit at foreign subsidiaries are out of the reach of the IRS, and largely unusable to their US operations.

The sums amount to an estimated $1.9 trillion, according to an analysis by Audit Analytics….

However, instead of thinking about how to get their grubby mitts on all that money—which they then can dole out to select groups in return for votes and political power—these politicians should think about how much good that money would do in terms of jobs and innovation (and so more jobs) and lower product costs (and so more demand and so more jobs) were that money allowed to come home by an intelligent tax régime that would contain rates that encouraged rather than prevented repatriation of the money.

But thinking about that would require these politicians to “ask not what they can do for themselves, ask what they can do for their country.”

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