Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew originally (originally: three weeks ago, in mid-July) acknowledged he had no authority to alter the tax implications of US businesses reincorporating overseas in order to reduce their US tax burden.
Now he’s looking at (not for) ways to “meaningfully reduce the tax benefits after inversions take place” because reducing a company’s cost structure, the legally and fiscally required behavior of any company’s managers, by making use of this “unpatriotic tax loophole” is unpatriotic. I’ll ignore the fact that what’s unpatriotic here is the usurious tax rates charged American companies and the zeal with which this administration attacks American companies for worrying about their bottom line more than they worry about government imperatives in order to get to a different point. As The Wall Street Journal put it,
So now we have a President in an election year looking for a way to raise taxes on corporations after he couldn’t get Congress to agree. Has anyone asked Treasury’s career lawyers or the Office of Legal Counsel? Someone should. And when the next President arrives in 2017, one of his first acts should be to release publicly all of the OLC memos making the legal case for Mr Obama’s many illegal acts, assuming there are any.
And if there are not, the next President should release far and wide the empty file folder that would be this administration’s lack of consultation with the law or with any government lawyers.