Obama, world leaders push big companies like Apple, Google to pay more taxes

“It’s time to make Google, Apple and other multinational companies pay more taxes,” Angela Charlton reports for The Associated Press. “That’s the message from President Barack Obama and the leaders of the world’s leading economies at a summit ending Friday.”

“The head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development told The Associated Press that the leaders have signed up to an ambitious new tax plan at the Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia,” Charlton reports. “The new rules, unveiled by the OECD and debated by G-20 finance ministers in July, would make it harder for companies to hide profits in tax havens and force them to pay tax in the countries where they make money. The leaders also agreed to an unprecedented deal to share information on individual taxpayers, despite earlier resistance by China.”

Charlton reports, “Low tax payments by major global companies — including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Starbucks — have sparked public anger in Europe recently, as governments there are struggling with high debts, low growth and austerity measures.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, by all means, make Apple and other successful companies pay for politicians’ failed policies and wasteful social experiments. Don’t make the politicians and those who voted for them accountable for wasting trillions of taxpayer monies with little or no discernible benefits. No, instead force Apple and others to pay for the politicians’ pork and mistakes instead. That way the misguided politicians can continue and maybe even ratchet up their failed boondoggles. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Makes perfect sense. Pure logic.

Charlton reports, “‘You’ve got to get the big guys to make a contribution,’ OECD chief Angel Gurria said… He said Apple borrowed billions of dollars to pay dividends instead of bringing their profits back to the United States, because they would have had to pay a third of the profits in corporate taxes.”

MacDailyNews Take: Because the U.S. corporate tax rate is way too high. Obviously.

Under the current U.S. corporate tax system, it would be very expensive to repatriate that cash. Unfortunately, the tax code has not kept up with the digital age. The tax system handicaps American corporations in relation to our foreign competitors who don’t have such constraints on the free flow of capital… Apple has always believed in the simple, not the complex. You can see it in our products and the way we conduct ourselves. It is in this spirit that we recommend a dramatic simplification of the corporate tax code. This reform should be revenue neutral, eliminate all corporate tax expenditures, lower corporate income tax rates and implement a reasonable tax on foreign earnings that allows the free flow of capital back to the U.S. We make this recommendation with our eyes wide open, realizing this would likely increase Apple’s U.S. taxes. But we strongly believe such comprehensive reform would be fair to all taxpayers, would keep America globally competitive and would promote U.S. economic growth.Apple CEO Tim Cook, May 21, 2013

Charlton reports, “‘Tax laws … seem to favor this exodus and therefore we really have to take a look at the general principles,’ and bring down the overall burden, [Gurria] said.”

MacDailyNews Take: Exactly.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We specifically chose to excerpt this widely-carried AP article from The Detroit News for the sake of ironic amusement.

Last autumn, Tim Worstall wrote an interesting article for The Register. In case you missed it: Google, Apple, eBay shouldn’t pay taxes – people should pay taxes.

Related articles:
G20 think tank OECD proposes blueprint for global crackdown on tax avoidance – July 19, 2013
Apple again faces scrutiny after paying no UK corporate taxes for 2012 – July 1, 2013
Bloomberg News’ awful reporting on Apple’s U.S. corporate taxes – May 30, 2013
Thomas Sowell on Apple, corporate taxes, and ‘the road to serfdom’ – May 28, 2013
Former Senator Sununu: Congress wrote the tax laws, so why blame Apple for obeying them? – May 28, 2013
Taxing Apple just taxes you – May 24, 2013
Don’t tax Apple, tax its shareholders – May 24, 2013
If Apple paid more tax, we might pay less or something – May 22, 2013
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
Apple pays under 2% on overseas profits and it’s entirely legal – November 5, 2012
Google, Apple, eBay shouldn’t pay taxes – people should pay taxes – November 25, 2012
So how much did Apple really pay in taxes? – November 1, 2012
Apple’s showdown with the U.S. government over taxes on offshore cash – July 13, 2012
Apple‘s $74 billion tops list of U.S. tech companies’ overseas cash – July 9, 2012
Apple’s dividend move puts spotlight on foreign cash holdings, repatriation tax reform – March 20, 2012
Apple: Good start; and what about the overseas cash? – March 19, 2012
Apple’s foreign cash hoard piles up: $54 billion and rapidly growing – January 11, 2012
Senator John McCain eyes Apple’s $54 billion overseas cash pile – November 3, 2011
Google joins Apple in push for U.S. repatriation tax holiday – October 3, 2011
Apple lobbies Obama for tax holiday, wants to bring overseas bounty home – August 24, 2011
U.S Senate Democrat Schumer allies with Apple, other multinationals on repatriation tax talks – June 21, 2011
U.S. companies push for tax break on foreign cash – June 20, 2011
Apple, Oracle, Duke Energy, others organize lobbying blitz for tax holiday – February 17, 2011

87 Comments

  1. How about if just every banker or investor that was bailed out a few years, pay double what they pay now in taxes and we call it even? No, wouldn’t want to upset the thieves that have us over a barrel and fund campaigning.

        1. Here’s the problem:

          Obama is a fucking retard.

          And so are all of you who bought into his bullshit. The rest of us saw thorough him on day one. Thanks for 8 wasted years, cretins.

          1. The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.

            The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.

            The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.

            First 2010, Then 2012 – April 4, 2010

    1. How about everybody that wants taxes raised, has their taxes tripled? Then we’ll see how vocally vociferous they are regarding their philosophical viewpoint of supporting BIG GOV… If this gov’t. has enough money to fly in Obama’s dog to meet up with the vacationing family, then the gov’t is collecting more than enough in taxes!

      1. Well, there’s pragmatic solutions and then there’s your ridiculous proposal DOA. Nobody is saying they want to raise taxes. Sensible people want to PAY OFF ACCUMULATED DEBT. That starts by cutting spending first, closing tax loopholes, stopping the warmongering, and THEN, AFTER budgets have been balanced sustainably and debt servicing is under control, THEN we can talk about reducing taxes.

        What you fail to understand, my friend, is that almost all citizens’ actual tax burden as a percentage of your income is the lowest it’s been in two generations. Meanwhile infrastructure around us is long overdue for investment. The right answer is to fix the system, not evade your personal responsibilities.

        1. Stop lending credence to the term “Low Information Voter”, my friend.

          Speaking of ridiculous, you talk about ‘cutting spending’, when Sequester just cut the rate of increase, look at how big gov and the Left reacted! You talk about ‘budgets having been balanced’. How about we just start with PASSING a budget for the Federal gov’t. That would be a first for the last five years.

          What you fail to understand my friend, is that government is like a growing cancer and it has the ability to always feed itself with regards to taxation! You’re living in la-la land dreamworld if you think gov’t will pay off accumulated debt., balance budgets, close loopholes put in to cater to lobbyists.

          And what’s with this “infrastructure” garbage? We already spent nearly a trillion dollars on “shovel ready jobs” to take care of that, or did we – think crony capitalism politician style! It was called Obama’s Stimulus Plan. Have you already forgotten that my friend? Or did you sleep right through Obama’s first term? There is a project from Obama’s stimulus plan still going on in my hometown. Talk about job security. I should call City Hall and ask if this garbage is now over budget and past its due date. Being that the gov’t. had its hand in it, it would not surprise me!

          The right answer is that the whole system is broke beyond repair and needs badly to be gutted and reexamined.

          Like Benjamin Franklin said when asked what form of gov’t. did America have, to which he responded, “A Republic, IF you can keep it!”? Well I guess we now know the time frame of when America lost being a Republic!

          1. It is extremists like you who allow bad management in government, because rather than reform bureaucracy that always builds up in all large organizations, you claim that government itself is evil. It isn’t. It is the one and only way that citizens provide direction to their republic. You’d understand that if you actually read your cherished Constitution. I’d like to cut waste and invest in the future, and you’d like to carpet-bomb the very institutions that separate the USA from libertarian paradises like Somalia.

            1. Sorry, Mike. Your response is flawed and vapid.

              Look at how YOU react. There was no reference to the gov’t being evil. But yes, it is too big, serves itself more than the public (just look at public sector pay vs private sector pay for similar jobs), is ridiculously irresponsible with spending OUR money, and feeds itself to an ever-larger cancer on its own people.

              I’m sure if Bush was still in office, or Romney were elected, that you would be all for the stupid sequester games, the increased spending without accountability, the IRS targeting political enemies, the Benghazi nonsense…….yeah right.

              The gov’t (especially the federal gov’t) is NOT supposed to be this far reaching. Sounds like YOU are the one who hasn’t read our Constitution (I noticed you referred to it as “your cherished Constitution – speaks volumes about you)

            2. What are your trying to say? That you agree with TEA that we should triple taxes on those of us who are successful and understand that we each have the responsibility to maintain our republic?

              Hey, I’m all for improving efficiency and reducing waste, but one fails to see how you or TEA would help anything by getting all spun around the axle on partisan politics. I dont support either party: Harper’s an idiot and the opposition is clueless, just as in YOUR partisanly-gridlocked nation.

        2. Mike, that is an incredibly sensible response to T.E.A.’s ridiculous post.

          The fundamental step is to address the imbalance between government spending and government revenue. How much are we willing to spend should be limited by how much we are willing to be taxed. In addition, as a result of our accumulated debt, we also need to consider going beyond the balance point and collect some additional revenue to begin to pay down the debt.

          The next steps involve decisions on how to tax and how to spend. I am not going to attempt to debate the various approaches on taxation and spending. I do strongly advocate the simplification of the tax strategy – make it easy to calculate and easy to collect and limit the number of different avenues for collecting taxes, fees, etc. In terms of spending, the process needs to become more transparent and the pork process needs to end. In addition, Congress needs to stop micromanaging spending across the various agencies and allow them more leeway to seek efficiencies in the execution of their tasks and responsibilities. One more step that would be of great benefit is to allocate multi-year funding for selected agencies or, at least, specific projects. It is very inefficient to adjust to varying budgets and budget threats year after year on large and complex projects. Congress should decide at a high level what needs to be done, authorize the necessary funding (with reserves), and stay out of the way as much as possible, maintaining only a reasonable level of insight/oversight.

    2. My understanding is that the money used to bail everyone out has been paid back to the govt plus some. I was never in favor of any bailouts and I was surprised to hear the govt got the money back.

      If this is true then the bankers and investors dont owe the govt anything. Personally, I think the govt should get lost. BTW, who are you calling thieves?

    1. “Man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.” — Ronald Reagan

        1. No, not sarcastic. I was trying to give a name to the evil I see being foisted upon the world paper cut by ever-so-reasonable paper cut.

          The representative form of government succeeds only so long as those being represented take it upon themselves to be educated about the issues they face, and requiring of their elected officials integrity within principal in conducting the affairs of state.

          My hope in posting that quote in comments on an article such as this is that readers could benefit from being given a simple summary of what these world leaders are attempting, such that, armed with a simple sound-bite, they might be emboldened to speak out against these ever-so-well-meaning policies before our society becomes indistinguishable from that envisioned by Marx, and proven over the subsequent century to be a manifestly bad form for humans to live in.

    2. I need a mansion and a yacht, but I’d rather not do anything to earn them. You do it for me, okay?

      Great philosophy. Really logical.

      To quote MacDailyNews from long ago (they were talking about music):

      “Business models that fly in the face of human nature are doomed to fail.” – MacDailyNews

      So, too, with economic systems.

    1. Re First 2016, Then 2018, et al.

      The Government prints the money and you accept it as currency. The government can is creating money and debt obligations like mad- and most has been done by the Federal Reserve (QE and the discount window come to mind). What Congress and the President have spent is chump change compared to the obligations Bernanke and Company have hooked us with.

      The money system was set up by government, is ruled by government, enforced by government and adjudicated by government. There is no private or free market and taxation is nothing more than one means of collecting a fee to fund the government’s operations. There is nothing stopping them from simply printing the money they need, which would be like a tax that they would not have to collect.

      It is a heads I win, tales you lose kind of thing.

    1. The U.S. government has a spending problem as it continues to turn the country’s citizens into a nation of serfs who pay NOW about 50% of all earnings in taxes, fees, fines, levies, and licenses.

      It is not a problem of corporations paying to little. If corporations suddenly paid more taxes, Congress would find reasons to add even more programs & people to run them and we would have a need for even higher taxes.

  2. “‘You’ve got to get the big guys to make a contribution,’ OECD chief Angel Gurria said… He said Apple borrowed billions of dollars to pay dividends instead of bringing their profits back to the United States, because they would have had to pay a third of the profits in corporate taxes.”

    Wow, just wow.

    The OECD chief uses an example that totally doesn’t apply. Any changes to eliminate tax havens, would not change Apple’s decision to keep foreign profits overseas, vs repatriation.

    How stupid do you have to be, to be chosen as OECD chief? It must pay well into 6-figures. What an utter waste!

    1. I listened to this guy on the radio the other day. He and many like him truly see Apple’s profit as the property of the Federal Government. I.e. that’s our money, you have enough profit, hand it over.

      I’d much rather see what Apple and other companies do with their profits than what the Federal Government does with them. Even freaking Samsung.

  3. Seriously?

    I would say take a look at Sweden, who has managed to bring her corporate income tax down to 22%, and stimulate her economy not by confiscating and redistributing the wealth of others but by allowing capitalism to work.

    Companies should be doing their best to choke governments at this point because the behavior of governments is at best despicable. Yes, some companies have some atrocious behavior to answer for of their own, but all in all, it is governments who are causing the deaths of millions. Why should Apple give the U.S. Government more money? To make lobbing cruise missiles at people all that much more affordable?

    The more money governments are given, the more they will exceed their authority and not only interfere with but destroy the lives and livelihoods of those they supposedly exist to protect.

    Should companies give governments billions more so they can play crony capitalism, dishing out monies to fly by night “green” energy companies that fold in a few months with no trace of the money?

    Should companies give governments billions more to pay for massive infrastructures to spy on their own citizens, store their conversations, and email, and social media posts.

    Should companies give governments billions more so “internal security” organizations like Homeland Security can buy, literally, billions of bullets without having to explain why?

    Should companies give government billions more to create incomprehensibly stupid health care bureaucracies which the authors admit they have no idea what’s in the legislation? That everyone runs away from the closer it gets to implementation?

    Should companies give billions more to governments so the government representatives can act like royalty, as if they are above everyone else, treating themselves and cronies to expensive international vacations?

    Should companies give billions more to governments headed up by Presidents who prefer to stir up racial hatred rather than speak rationally to the people they supposedly represent?

    Should companies give government billions more so they use the capital to go deeper in debt, when if they bothered to be a bit more frugal the daily interest they save alone would dwarf the largest of companies?

    No. No. No. A thousand times no. Governments have taken enough of the productive output of human beings, especially our own.

    Don’t give those idiots one more dollar to buy one more bullet with. Make them come for it. Make them show their true faces.

    1. Although I held public office for a total of sixteen years, I also thought of myself as a citizen-politician, not a career one.

      Every now and then when I was in government, I would remind my associates that “When we start thinking of government as ‘us’ instead of ‘them,’ we’ve been here too long.”

      By that I mean that elected officeholders need to retain a certain skepticism about the perfectibility of government. – Ronald Reagan

      1. Totally agree with the sentiment. Now fix the system. I always see these Ronald Reagan quotes and while the sentiment is correct, in truth Reagan created a larger government and created large government deficits (working with the Dems in congress of course). So while I appreciate the words, let’s see some action. When we (the US) start slashing governmental social programs, start slashing the Defense budget and social security as well and check back with us how that went. The bitter truth is the ‘us’ want defense spending and social security and ‘us’ would like ‘them’ to pay for it. Once we come to grips with these truths, maybe we can do something about the why ‘us’ wants those things and then fix the why. Until then the public wants government services but does not want to pay for them.

    2. Well said. Your comments are evident of a person who deeply cares. Somewhere in the 60’s and 70’s a rationalization permeated the population that it is OK to lie, cheat and steal from government for whatever help the government offered. Now there’s a lot of good the government does, I’ve seen it. Support for hospice care, medicare, etc. But at the same time, healthy smart child producing people walking around taking food stamps, cell phones, welfare, etc and now health care from the government and smirking. I have to get “pre approval” from my health insurance to go to a hospital emergency room, yet, the intentionally unemployed routinely walk in to get cuts and scrapes cared for.

      150 years ago, this wasn’t an issue because you had to develop skills to provide food and shelter for yourself, or else you would become a meal somewhere along the food chain.

    3. you can’t like be sweden until you can get the US population to 93% european white and a reproduction rate of under 0.5%. they can afford all this because the burden of government spending is practically immeasurable. 85% of the population lives outside the cities. they have no detroits.

      the wealth gap increases for one simple reason…poor people have more babies. no voodoo economics, just biology and arithmetic. we are paying for all this with monopoly $. when they fold the board up things are going to be tough.

  4. It’s strange how Amazon is missing from Obama’s list and yet they’re one of the most notorious tax evaders in the world. Could their absence from that list be in any way connected with their lobbying activities ?

      1. Hey, nice game last night. No, seriously. Pfft!

        Go Sox! World Series Champs in lucky 2013!

        We want the part of your check that shows federal withholding to have fewer digits on it. And we want the part that shows your salary to have more digits on it. We’re trying to take less money from you and less from your parents. Whatever you do with it, you’ll be the one who’s doing the doing. You’ll make the decisions. You’ll have the autonomy. And that’s what freedom is.

        This is a tax plan for a growing, dynamic America. Lower, flatter tax rates will give Americans more confidence in the future. It’ll mean if you work overtime or get a raise or a promotion or if you have a small business and are able to turn a profit, more of that extra income will end up where it belongs—in your wallets, not in Uncle Sam’s pockets. With lower personal and corporate rates and another capital gains tax cut, small and entrepreneurial businesses will take off. Americans will have an open field to test their dreams and challenge their imaginations, and the next decade will become known as the age of opportunity.

        Our tax proposal is the opposite of trickle down; it’s bubble up. – Ronald Reagan

          1. Didn’t the Red Sox just take two of three while in L.A.? Extrapolated, the Sox win the WS in 6 games. I don’t think it would take that long. The AL East is a different league from all the rest and the Sox are dominant in it.

            This, even before Buchholtz returns, he of the 1.71 ERA.

            Also, the Sox have an un-hittable closer, unlike the Yankees, whose over-hyped closer the Sox have usually owned even when he wasn’t 15 years past his prime.

            1. Hey, nice game last night. Again.

              Joba rules! Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!

              Go Sox! World Series Champs in lucky 2013!

              So, what part of the Stankees buying championships and cheating via steroids don’t you understand?

              Clemens, A-hole-Roid, Pettite, Shefield, Giambi, Matt Lawton, Sergio Mitre, Fernando Martinez…

              List of MLB players suspended for Performance Enhancing Drugs – Note: There’s not a Red Sox player among them:

              http://www.baseball-almanac.com/legendary/steroids_baseball.shtml

              Stankees buying championships (although not very efficiently, perhaps because at least half the team is constantly breaking down from steroid abuse):
              http://www.graphoftheweek.org/2012/02/new-york-yankees-payroll-vs-everyone.html

              Rooting for The Stankees is like rooting for Microsoft.

              Rooting for the Red Sox is like rooting for Apple.

  5. Apple, Google, et al will be passing the tax to consumers by way of increased costs of products and services, and/or reduced services. Don’t think for a second that you, citizen, will not feel the brunt of corporate taxation. You will feel it and it will hurt.

      1. Which is why it makes more place excise, pollution, and resource use taxes on corporations and let the populace — the free market — decide which organization operates the most efficiently, delivering the best value to them. As it is now, the wealthy elite pay several percent more in taxes but shovel significantly more into their own private accounts. Meanwhile, as real corporate tax rate has significantly DECLINED in the past 50 years, the small business employee has suffered under dramatically INCREASING payroll taxes. That is the problem. Corporate entities and their multi-millionaire officers should shoulder the same tax rate as the small entrepreneur. Until that happens, the corporate tax rate should remain where it is and the loopholes be closed as soon as possible.

  6. Perhaps governments need money to keep funding bloody wars on nouns like drugs and terror? Meanwhile some kid that needs a marijuana derivative in New Jersey is forced to do without it because the jack ass governor won’t sign a bill allowing it.

Add Your Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.