Economy & Budget

Government Bullies vs. Apple

Government Bullies vs. Apple

For some inexplicable reason, Senators John McCain and Carl Levin decided that today would be a good day to berate and bully Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook regarding a Senate panel report that claims Apple had “avoided billions in taxes in the United States and around the world through a web of subsidiaries.”

Remember. These are the people we’ve put in charge of “fixing” the economy. People who believe it’s a good idea, in the midst of a stagnant economy, to demand that a huge tech company stick consumers with billions in pass-through corporate taxes.

This isn’t one of those dreaded investment banks that populists love to hate. The company has not been accused of breaking any laws. Actually, Apple, as Cook pointed out, is the largest corporate income tax payer in America, paying nearly $6 billion in cash to the U.S. Treasury; $16 million per day. And Apple not only pays pays plenty of corporate taxes, but employs plenty of Americans and provides plenty of products that fuel job creation.

One wishes that McCain and Levin were as concerned about the tax rate that incentivizes corporations not to bring capital back to the United States. It’s now at 35 percent. What rational corporation wouldn’t do everything it could to avoid that sort of burden?

Cook made a point to say that Apple was “deeply committed to our country’s welfare,” because implicit in all the criticism is the  accusation of unpatriotic behavior. That’s nothing new. But the best thing for the welfare of the country is for Apple to maximize profits and grow.

It was especially refreshing to see Senator Rand Paul accuse his colleagues of “bullying” one of the nation’s top companies.

“Frankly, I’m offended by the tone and tenor of this hearing. I’m offended by a $4 trillion government bullying, berating, and badgering one of America’s greatest success stories … If anyone should be on trial here, it should be Congress. I frankly think the committee should apologize to Apple. I think Congress should be on trial here for creating a bizarre and byzantine tax code that runs into the tens of thousands of pages, for creating a tax code that simply doesn’t compete with the rest of the world.”

Good for him.

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Follow David Harsanyi on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

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