If Apple paid more tax, we might pay less or something

“Opinion seems to be divided as to whether Apple’s tax avoidance schemes are a good thing or a bad thing,” Roger Kay writes for Forbes. “Free-marketers assert that Apple is doing everything it should, and exploiting our Byzantine tax laws is what it’s all about.”

MacDailyNews Take: Are you sure about those two statements, Roger? Divided how, exactly? 50-50, or 70-30, or 90-10? What about those “free-marketers” who’d like to, you know, clean up the Byzantine tax laws so that they make economic sense for a change? You know, like Tim Cook advocates?

“Certainly the shareholders (when they’re not being consumers of public services) would agree. Cook argued for a friendlier tax regime and said he’d repatriate his profits if the tax rate on foreign earnings were a ‘single-digit number,’ instead of 35%, and suggested, rather boldly in my view, that a tax rate on U.S. domestic earnings would be easier to bear if it were in the ‘mid 20s,'” Kay writes. “But here’s the thing: our government needs money to run its operations. The recent sequester has taken a bite out of vital services across the board.”

MacDailyNews Take: Really, Roger? Does “our government” really need more money to run its operations or does “our government” maybe, just maybe, need to rein in some of “its operations,” in order to live within some remote semblance of realistic means?

Here, maybe some hard numbers will cut through Roger’s simpering sludge: Apple paid $6 billion last year in taxes to the U.S. federal government. U.S. Federal spending in FY 2012, from CBO data, was $3.539 trillion. That’s $9.836 billion in U.S. Federal spending per day.

In other words, Apple, the world’s most valuable company and the U.S.A.’s #1 corporate taxpayer, funded “our government” for 14.64 hours last year.

Can you say “out-of-control monster,” Roger?

Kay plows on, “Let me make a suggestion. Apple could repatriate this year, say, $2 billion of its $100 billion in overseas retained earnings and pay $700 million in tax on it. The firm would get $1.3 billion in after-tax money, which could be used for investment or dividend payout, and the government would get some much-needed tax receipts to run for the benefit of everyone. And most of Apple’s overseas powder would still be dry.”

MacDailyNews Take: We congratulate Roger for miraculously having achieved gray hair without the benefit of accumulating even a shred of noticeable wisdom. Any random six-year-old is less naive.

Since you haven’t noticed the obvious: The U.S. federal government is a bottomless pit. It always wants more. It can never be sated. Like those morbidly obese 1,000+ pound people Jerry Springer used to cut out of their houses, the government needs to hear the word “no,” for a change.

“No, poor soul, just look at yourself, you’ve had more than enough. You make Mr. Creosote look anorexic.”

If Apple paid even more tax, we’d quite likely have to pay even more, too.

Bottom line: The extra $700 million in Apple-contributed tax receipts as per your painfully facile suggestion, Roger, would power the U.S. federal government for an additional 1 hour, 42 minutes, and 29 seconds.

Kay continues, “I think our government should be financed. By people who make a lot of money. Like Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hoo Boy. This has to be satire, right?

Related articles:
Apple CEO Tim Cook pounds another nail into the Keynesian coffin – May 22, 2013
Apple CEO Cook makes no apology for company’s tax strategy – May 22, 2013
Apple CEO Tim Cook charms Capitol Hill – May 22, 2013
Rush Limbaugh: ‘High-tech lynching: Senate attempts to crucify Apple’ – May 21, 2013
Nobody on U.S. Senate committee laid a glove on Apple CEO Tim Cook – May 21, 2013
Senator Rand Paul: Senate committee ‘should apologize to Apple for bullying one of America’s greatest success stories’ (with video) – May 21, 2013
Ireland: We have no special tax rate deal with Apple – May 21, 2013
Apple prepares for Washington onslaught: CEO Tim Cook isn’t taking any chances with senators looking to grandstand – May 21, 2013
Watch Apple CEO Tim Cook’s live testimony before U.S. Senate, starting at 9:30am EDT – May 21, 2013
U.S. Senate investigation found no evidence that Apple did anything illegal in avoiding taxes – May 20, 2013


    1. Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves. – Ronald Reagan

          1. If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy. – Thomas Jefferson

            1. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future. – John F. Kennedy

            2. Generally not wise to say we need to only look forward by using a quote that is 40 some years removed from the current ills of our broken society.

            3. And the US Federal budget in 1963, Kennedy’s last, was roughly $111 Billion, about $5 Billion of which was deficit. Even accounting for inflation, government spending has exploded since.

    2. The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests. – Patrick Henry

      1. Patrick Henry was against the US Constitution for he believed it restricted the rights of the states. To this end, he refused all political positions offered to him in our new republic.

        Oh yea, and he purchased about 70 slaves. It’s always those that cry the loudest for freedom and the US Constitution that support and honor historical figures that actually stood against these very rights.

        MDN – restricts free speech.

  1. I don’t see why everyone is making a big deal out of this. Did Apple murder anyone? Did Apple try to steal more information by making spy goggles? No! They simply wanted to take care of their money. It is very understandable.

      1. Kay has bought in to Obama’s “soak the rich” class warfare garbage. He wants Apple to pay more so that he can pay less. He thinks this way because he’s a pitiful fool. Gov’t financing is not a zero sum game.

  2. Apple does what it can to avoid paying any more taxes than is required by law. So does everyone else in the United States. Some, including many companies, go just a bit beyond legal. Apparently Apple does everything legally. It would be nice to get the money repatriated so Apple, and other United States corporations, could pay taxes on it and we can all enjoy that money to support our government. So congress needs to change the taxes on foreign revenue. Something tells me that it actually could happen after yesterday. And I seldom think that anything can be done by Congress. Anything intelligently at least. And not self serving. So I believe that we could see some of this money coming back to the United States. Then the federal government will waste it in about 10 minutes. But hey, it’s the federal government it’s their job.

    1. The only spending was for:

      The Iraq war for oil that is now over two trillion dollars.

      The $700 billion dollars to bail out the banks.

      The approximately $100 billion dollars used to bailout the US auto industry.

      The $800 billion dollars to bail out the US economy.

      The billions used for welfare and unemployment benefits as the economy went from 5% to almost 8% unemployment and climbing in one year.

      The real problem was the US’s reduced income, another word for taxes. The Bush admin cut taxes and created deficits, rose the national debt and gold and oil all followed. The republicans had no problems with any of this until the black guy was elected. Then they were just outraged about the whole thing.

      MSN – deletes comments.

      1. “The real problem was the US’s reduced income, another word for taxes.”

        Buzz. That answer was already given, and ruled “asinine” by the judges, not to mention the members of the audience with a positive IQ. But we’ve got this lovely Obama bumper sticker (says “I’m an IDIOT” with the Obama “O” logo) as a parting gift for you.

      2. If the Iraq war was over oil, where is that oil? We don’t import oil from Iraq. You seem to forget that over thirty nations were involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom and that a DEMOCRATIC CONTROLLED SENATE AND HOUSE overwhelmingly voted authorization to use military force (read declaration of war) which I posted on MDN last week in its entirety. Among those who were calling for the Iraqi war were Hillary Clinton, Harry Reed, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, John (I fought in Vietnam) Kerry, and almost every other Democrat leader. Obama wasn’t present.

        The auto bailout cost far more than $100 billion. Obama gave Fiat $80 Billion alone to take Chrysler! All of what he did was illegal under our laws. I love the way you under state the unemployment figures. . . Any economist worth his salt will tell you the unemployment figures are down because people have run out of benefits and have dropped off the rolls!

        And race has NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, POLICIES HAVE EVERYTHING TO DO WITH conservative opposition to Obama. Check your history! The first Black Man ever elected to the US Senate was a Republican… Look it up. Check the party registration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You are in for a shock. Republicans passed the civil rights bill in the ’60s. What party were all the segregationists of the 50s, 60, and 70s? Not republican? Republicans were formed to oppose Slavery you idiot!

  3. If Apple pays a tax in another country, It doesn’t matter if they pay $1, or a million dollars, they paid it & they shouldn’t have to pay a tax on it again. It’s the other countries fault, that its so low, but they’ve been playing by the rules & shouldn’t be double dipped.

  4. “You make Mr. Creosote look anorexic.” – MacDailyNews

    I’m going to use this. God knows, as an American, I’ll have plenty of opportunities throughout the day.

  5. What would MDN like to see the government cut in an effort to reduce spending? I would like to know. This nebulous idea that spending has to end doesn’t tell us anything about what SPECIFICALLY needs to be cut.

    I’m going to presuppose that the so-called wasteful programs are the ones meant to benefit the poor. Just a guess, but until MDN tells us explicitly what he wants to see cut we’ll never know.

    1. Our government has expanded the number of “services” exponentially in the past 30 years or so. There is duplication and triplication all over the place. Here’s a thought:

      Federal Law Enforcement:
      Homeland Security
      Border Patrol
      Secret Service
      (not including CIA b/c it is supposed to operate overseas only)

      Gee, do we think that perhaps we could combine a few of these, reduce what must be significant redundancies, and yet obtain better law enforcement, less hoarding (or lack of sharing) of information across agencies, etc.?

      Now look at Education, the EPA, the GSA, the numbers of staff that Congress and the White House has expanded to in just the past 3-4 administrations, and the cuts become very clear.

      That doesn’t even take into account all of the money the government throws at stupid research programs, propping up ruthless dictators or our enemies, maintaining empty buildings, and otherwise driving down the highway tossing $100 bills out the window.

      1. The Dept of Homeland Security has the following agencies under it to name a few.

        US Customs
        Fed Law Enforcement
        US Coast Guard
        US Secret Service

        Please educate yourself more then what the right-wing propaganda including MDN tells you. If you believe the Secret Service does the same function as the Border Patrol or the NSA does the same function as ATF you really know next to nothing.

        By the way, these departments were created under the Bush administration:

        Homeland Security

        MDN – discriminates against opposing points of view.

        1. “The Dept of Homeland Security has the following agencies under it to name a few.

          US Customs
          Fed Law Enforcement
          US Coast Guard
          US Secret Service

          Your point? Overwhelming majority of the above agencies have been around for decades under previous administrations.

          “By the way, these departments were created under the Bush administration:

          Homeland Security

          So? Again, what is your point?

          If MDN discriminated against your point of view, I would not be reading and responding to it. Duh.

        2. BBBBZZZTT. WRONG. FEMA — Federal Emergency Management Administration has been in existence in the US in one form or another for over 200 years. It has been under the FEMA designation since Jimmy Carter consolidated several departments with two executive orders in 1978 and 1979.

          ICE — Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while technically “created” in 2002 at the formation of the Department of Homeland Security was merely the combination of two already existing agencies, United States Customs Service, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, combining two administrations into one to address issues of communications that had lead to 911.

          It looks like YOU should take a dose of your own advice. Get an education before you criticize. The US government is poking its nose into much more than the Constitution has permitted in law enforcement, Federalizing many crimes that should be State issues. These are costly and wasteful uses of Federal resources, and by law and right are matters the Feds have no business being involved in.

      2. Well said, point spot on.

        Government certainly wastes money without repercussion. Just another inconvenient nanosecond update on the deficit clock no one pays attention to.

        In stark contrast, for the most part, business does not waste money — they earn it. If the government operated more like business they would be forced to think and operate differently, well … I have a dream. 🙂

        Recently visited the local office (open house) of a U.S. Congressman, in his first term, to voice concerns on a regional issue. After the issue was discussed, one thing he made clear about Washington is you would not believe the duplication at the federal level.

        The number of agencies and programs, in some cases literally dozens, annually funded to address the same issue. Yet after decades of spending, et al the problems persist.

        Representative could not believe the sheer volume of taxpayer dollar waste and lack of common sense inside the beltway.

        “A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget…. As the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues. Prosperity is the real way to balance our budget. By lowering tax rates, by increasing jobs and income, we can expand tax revenues and finally bring our budget into balance.”

        — John F. Kennedy

        IMHO — the last Democrat U.S. president that understood the big picture tax issue for ALL citizens, in ALL parties and at ALL income levels.

    2. Stop the wars, including the one on drugs. Stop financing countries that go against us, maybe even stop financing the whole United Nations institution. Shorten and simplify laws so legalese doesn’t obscure legislation that favors big money over the people. Speaking of which, redo the Healthcare without Big Pharma & Insurance companies calling the shots. Take lobbying out of the capital and money out of elections. Make corporations not be people under the law. Dismantle the federal reserve, and no more bailouts. Put teeth in the FDA, SEC, the EPA and other police agencies over the industries, with no conflicts of interest allowed anywhere. That could be a start.

  6. This author is delusional. “If Apple paid more, we would pay less”?!? Seriously????!!!!

    If Apple paid more, then all that would happen is the government would have a few billion more to waste and Apple would have less money to conduct its business, R&D, acquisitions, etc. By no means would the government come out and say, “Gee, thanks to companies like Apple, we met our goal of $11.9 trillion this year, and so we don’t need to collect from you little public people this year. Enjoy!”

    Some people are just too stupid or too naive to be given a column.

  7. The arrogance and ridiculousness of this entire affair rests in the fact that, no matter what hair-brain arguments the loon-level socialist spew at us incessantly:

    This money was made, and sales taxed, OUTSIDE of the USA. Every international company can find a way to keep it out of the USA and away from ‘repatriation’ (whatever that really means) taxation. Apple has been doing it one way since 1980. Other companies have their own methods.

    – Get rid of the ‘you owe it to us’ BS from the US government. No they do not. This isn’t US earned profit. Deal with it.
    – Instead of GOUGING companies for kindly bringing in their profits from foreign sources, why not REWARD companies for kindly bringing in their profits from foreign sources? That would be the logical, sane thing to do.
    – Kill off the GOUGING 35% tax rate for ‘repatriating’ money that wasn’t made in the USA.
    – Legislate in AT LEAST a ‘repatriation’ tax rate LOWER than the corporate tax rate within the USA. Therefore, if Apple is paying a 32.5% tax rate in the USA (as I believe they are), then aim for a ‘repatriation’ rate that is LOWER than that.

    Question to our US government: Do you want that foreign money brought into the USA or NOT?!

    –If not, then do nothing. You’re successfully stopping ‘repatriation’. Congratulations.

    –If so, then knock illogical oafs like Senator Carl Levin out of the way and LOWER THE ‘repatriation’ TAX RATE!

    I don’t know if a ‘single-digit number’ is the answer. But anything higher than the tax rate for profits made inside the USA is just plain insane.

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