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You may have heard of Apple: It's one of the richest corporations on Earth, whose profits extend from here to the Moon, and is also allegedly an American company.  But you wouldn't know that from the recent testimony of Apple CEO Tim Cook before the Senate, who demanded corporate tax cuts as a condition of returning a hundred billion dollars in untaxed wealth from off-shore havens to the United States.  Tim Cook, who is himself allegedly an American citizen, made these comments at a time when federal and state governments are eviscerating spending on critical public functions due to lack of tax revenue, while Apple is building a giant new spaceship-like corporate headquarters almost half the size of the Pentagon.

There are so many objections to Cook's statements that it's difficult to know where to begin.  First of all...

1.  Why do only corporate CEOs get to go before Congress to demand more money?  How many ordinary people get to testify and talk about how the government coddling of arrogant corporations and ultra-rich people like Tim Cook is destroying their lives?  

2.  Apple claims to be an American company and Tim Cook claims to be an American, but neither seem to have the slightest concern for this country.  When you are super-duper-profitable like Apple, you don't need tax cuts to build factories in this country and hire Americans, so obviously it's just a case of their not giving the slightest shit.  They simply see this country as their food trough.  Well, I'd rather not have such a company here at all, or allow their products to be sold here.

3.  Everything Apple makes is built on a foundation of decades of taxpayer-funded and -subsidized research, public services at every level, public investments amounting to more money than even a Croesus-rich scumbag like Cook could count, so forget about mere patriotism: These bastards owe this country a lot more than they're paying, especially now that the company is just run by generic corporate vultures rather than someone on a mission, and yet they demand to pay even less.  In fact, they don't even ask permission to pay less - they just up and hide the money.  Whether it's strictly legal or not, these people are crooks.

This country has subsidized the everloving shit out of Apple and every other major corporation laughably purporting to be American, so don't pick my pocket and then tell me I'm robbing you because I still have some change in the other one.  Maybe they should name their new campus "The Asshole":

apple_campus_2_rendering

2:07 PM PT: A fact about $100 billion: It's more than the budget of the Department of Education and NASA combined.


3:08 PM PT: Let me make this clear: This is not some abstract moral issue.  At this level of tax avoidance, significant numbers of Americans have demonstrably DIED as a direct or indirect consequence of this money not being available to the public sector.  It borders on treason.

Originally posted to Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 01:51 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You say "unmitigated gall"; (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pinto Pony, eXtina

    I say "rare moment of honesty."

    We'll see how quickly Congress and the White House grant him his wish.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:07:11 PM PDT

  •  In The 1-2 Punch This Is Like The Second (15+ / 0-)

    for Apple. As a tech geek I follow blogs most folks here might not. The first punch was the work conditions that Wired brought to light years ago, and finally hit the MSM last year.

    Foxconn, the China firm that makes the iPad and iPhone, has terrible working conditions to say the least. In fact, so many employees are killing themseleves, there are nets around the taller buildings so their employees can't jump off said buildings to their deaths.

    Then factor in Apple has like $137,000,000,000 in the bank, but isn't spending it in the US makes a lot of folks mad. Heck just Google plans for their new headquarters you mentioned. It is excess at a level that is hard to wrap your mind around. The last estimate I saw was coming up on $5B. That is $4B more than where the Dallas Cowboys play.

    Now to know they are not paying any taxes in the US, and again the tech/geek community has been talking about this for years, is just the second punch.

    •  I'm never buying their stuff again. (7+ / 0-)

      They're dead to me.

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:11:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  First of all, Apple paid $6 billion in taxes last (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cfm, raines, mrmango, VClib

      year to the US Treasury so your statement "Now to know they are not paying any taxes in the US" is incorrect.

      The problem IMO is not with Apple; it is with Congress which is the entity that writes the tax laws. Apple does not break any laws so far as I have heard so it seems silly to me to blame them for adhering to the law. The law needs to be changed.

      I heard a bit of the hearing and I did not hear Tim Cook "demanding" anything. He stated his opinion that the rate for re-patriated money should be less than 35%. He specifically said that it should not be 0%; that there should be some tax on the money.

      Apple's huge new headquarters is in Cupertino, CA, which is in the US, so they are spending a huge amount of money in the US (to say nothing of their 50,000 US employees). For some reason you don't like that they are spending $5 billion on it but that is money that is re-circulating right here in the US. So in one paragraph, you condemn them for not spending money in the US and condemn them for spending an "excess" of money in the US.

      As to Foxconn, I certainly do not condone the working conditions there but Apple has done more to address this problem than any other company I am aware of. Conditions at Chinese plants that make Samsung, HP, Dell, and about 99% of all computers are all bad but it is only Apple that gets blamed here.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:37:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You Don't Really Want My Comment Here (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, Mannie, Penny GC, melfunction
        The Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is expected to release findings Tuesday claiming Apple didn't pay taxes on at least $74 billion in overseas income. In response, Apple has released a statement explaining that the U.S. tax system "has not kept pace with the advent of the digital age and rapidly changing global economy" and that the company has paid "an extraordinary amount in U.S. taxes."
        The headquarters is just a sign of the problem. It is for executives and marketing folks. How about building a factory to make their product here? Those billions is a one time expense. A drop in the bucket of our economy. But something more than just a one-time expense, where hundreds of billions more could be made, I don't know if we made things here.
        •  Until repugs do away with minimum wage (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Troubadour, Penny GC

          its cheaper to make crApple products in places whose workers rights makes a repug cream his jeans!

          Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

          by Mannie on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:59:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Apple is bringing one Mac line back to the US (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sewaneepat, doc2

          although it will be outsourced. Apple made the decision many years ago that it had no special skills in manufacturing and didn't want to be in that business.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:10:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Your previous statement was (4+ / 0-)
          Now to know they are not paying any taxes in the US
          That is still incorrect.

          You will note that in your bolded statement above you note that "Apple didn't pay taxes on at least $74 billion in overseas income." The operative words are overseas income. No company pays taxes on overseas income to the best of my knowledge; they pay taxes in the country where the income is generated. Apple paid $6 billion in US taxes last year and about another $8 billion in taxes to other countries.

          The headquarters is also for the people that design the computers, etc. Not just executives and marketing folks. And again, it is Americans who are making the money building the headquarters.

          You are aware that Apple is going to make MACs here next year, aren't you? You are also aware that while iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc are assembled in China, many of the components are  made in the US including the chips (TX) and glass (KY). And the biggest expense in making a computer, the design and software, is all US.

          You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

          by sewaneepat on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:17:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Your comment is delusional. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mannie, melfunction
        Apple does not break any laws
        Hiding $100 billion from your country in a time of economic hardship breaks all laws.  It borders on treason.
        He stated his opinion that the rate for re-patriated money should be less than 35%.
        And if the rate were 5%, he would state his opinion that it should be less than 5% - but not 0, because that would make him sound like a dick!  LOL!

        Process defines product.

        by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:57:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Apple is not "hiding" any of its cash (7+ / 0-)

          The location of all of its cash is in its reports to the IRS because that is required by law. Having cash, earned outside the US, in OUS deposits not only isn't breaking "all" laws, it isn't breaking any laws. It is not illegal for any US tax payer to hold financial deposits outside the US, you just have to report them to the IRS.

          The IRS has historically had significant participation in repatriating programs at the 5% level. I think you would see Apple participate at that level as well.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:16:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In other words, playing Keep Away (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mannie

            with money that rightfully belongs to the people of this country and then demanding a tax cut to give it back.  Yeah, that's not crooked at all.

            Process defines product.

            by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:26:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The money doesn't "belong" to the (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johnny wurster, VClib, Neuroptimalian

              people of the United States.  Apple is a global company. It has operations, and sells products, in countries all over the world.  What makes you think that the profits that are generated and kept in other countries "belongs" to people in this country?  Why doesn't it "belong" to the people of the country where the profits were generated?  

              In my view, as long as a company complies with tax laws the rest of the money belongs to the owners of that company -- the shareholders.  

              And, he was not "demanding" a tax cut.  He was stating a truth -- if bringing money into the United States means you have to pay 35% of it in taxes, no sane company is voluntarily going to do that.  The reality is that the United States is not going to get 35% of that money that's overseas. They are either going to get a lesser amount in taxes (i.e., lower the tax rate so that it's more attractive to bring money to the U.S.) or they are not going to get ANY of it.  

            •  Their money doesn't rightfully belong to people (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              coffeetalk, VClib, sewaneepat

              of this country. Apple paid all the taxes it owed. Blaming it for using various tricks to minimize their tax liability is about as useful as blaming people for claiming all deductions they are eligible for on their tax forms.

            •  The money belongs to Apple and its shareholders (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sewaneepat, nathanfl, Neuroptimalian

              there is no legal basis for a claim that it belongs to the "people of this country". This cash if from earnings outside the US.

              The officers and directors of all public companies, headquartered in the US, have a fiduciary to their shareholders to minimize their worldwide tax payments. They have no legal, moral, ethical, or patriotic duty to pay more tax to the IRS than the law requires. No one has ever said it better than Judge Learned Hand, one of the great progressives and most famous appellate judges in US legal history.

              "Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands."

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Tue May 21, 2013 at 05:08:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps you would care to tell us which laws (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster, Neuroptimalian, VClib

          Apple is breaking. Oh, I see - "all laws."

          That, my dear singer of songs, is delusional.

          You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

          by sewaneepat on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:20:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The law that says you don't play Keep Away (0+ / 0-)

            with $100 billion you made due to the diligent support of a nation when people of that nation are fucking dying because governments don't have money to conduct ordinary safety inspections and maintenance operations.  I don't give a fuck if it was legal to invest in Nazi Germany - it's treason if anything is treason.

            Process defines product.

            by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:25:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  what code section is that again? (4+ / 0-)

              I must've missed that day in law school.

              •  Then you missed the orientation where they (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mannie, nextstep

                handed out ethics.

                Process defines product.

                by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:40:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Seriously? It's not "ethical" (5+ / 0-)

                  to pay the taxes you are obligated by law to pay and no more?  It's not "ethical' to take advantage of deductions and exemptions that the law allows in order to reduce the amount of taxes you pay?  

                  Wow, then every homeowner in this country that takes the mortgage interest deduction must be unethical.  In fact, any person who takes the standard deduction must be unethical.  They are doing exactly the same kind of thing as Apple -- taking advantage of what the tax law allows them to do legally to lower the amount of taxes they pay to the United States treasury.  

                  •  Not when you're fucking rich. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mannie

                    And certainly not when you're so rich, other rich people look like Tanzanian villagers.  Please, try not to confirm every negative stereotype of lawyers as sociopaths.

                    Process defines product.

                    by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 04:01:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That is just absurd. (4+ / 0-)

                      It's ethical to comply with the tax laws.  No person, and no entity, has any moral, legal, or ethical obligation to pay more in taxes than is required by law.  

                      And anyone who argues that someone has any kind of obligation to pay MORE in taxes than the law requires that they pay is just being ridiculous.  

                      Here's the bottom line.  The tax code is used (1) to provide revenue to the federal government; and (2) to influence behavior.  Tax breaks, exemptions, deductions, whatever, are put in the law, in large part, to encourage taxpayers to do the things that get them a tax break.  That's the point of things like the mortgage interest deduction or the charitable deduction.  That's also the point of deductions/exemptions, etc., allowed to businesses.  It's ridiculous to argue that a taxpayer -- even a corporation - should not take actions so as to take advantage of tax laws, when those tax laws are written at least in part so as to influence corporate taxpayers to take the actions that give rise to the breaks.  

                      President Obama made over $600,000 and only paid an effective federal income tax rate of 18%.  Lots of people who made far, far less paid a higher effective tax rate (for example, if they were subject to the AMT, they probably paid an effective tax rate of 25% or more).  Was President Obama not ethical for paying what he was required to pay and no more?  

                    •  We don't have two tax codes (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      nextstep, coffeetalk

                      one for rich people and one for poor people. There is one code and there are sections that only impact individuals and corporations at higher income levels, but there is only one tax code that we all must follow.

                      "let's talk about that"

                      by VClib on Tue May 21, 2013 at 07:58:20 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  I think the issue is the creation of these SPE.... (0+ / 0-)

                    they have a very suspect history in terms of ethics.....Google Enron.

                •  Obviously, you never took a B. Law class (0+ / 0-)

                  There are no ethics, no "right" or "wrong" in business transactions.

                  You learn that in the very first class.

                  Doesn't mean it's right, but that is how the law is structured.

                  Businesses are sociopathic in nature.

                  Which is why we need more, and better regulation.

    •  Apple pays plenty of taxes in the US (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sewaneepat, VClib, Odysseus

      and spends plenty of $ in the US. Like building a new, state-of-the-art headquarters,  like spending $3.3B last year on R&D, $6B of employee compensation, $15B of plant and equipment.

      Apple makes money, pays their taxes, and leaves overseas aftertax profits overseas rather than pay an additional 35% to the Treasury to bring it back. Its all legal, and just the way that Congress set it up.

      As Tim Cook said today, if Congress changed the tax landscape, they'd change too, his "desire" was for a single digit tax rate on "re-patriated" income. I bet that 10-12% would still be fine. Remove all the various tax expenditures, and lower the US rate too.

      It all sounds good, but I don't think we'll see it in our lifetime, too many companies exist solely to exploit the tax-code they wouldn't let Congress fix these problems. And, despite today's kabuki theater, Apple is NOT the most egregious example of a "tax cheat."

      If you want a posterboy for tax abuse, go look at the "financial sector" like GE, billions of dollars in profits and they don't pay any taxes.

  •  Why do a great many of us liberals/progressives (6+ / 0-)

    just LOVE Apple products and are willing to spend muchco dinero to get them?  Just wondering.

    •  Intellectualism and aestheticism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dburn

      go hand in hand.  Apple makes beautiful products.  Unfortunately, the apple is poisoned, so to speak.

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:16:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because they're not Microsoft (5+ / 0-)

      and because Steve Jobs was soooo kewl.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:16:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Without going all Apple "rox/sux" ... (6+ / 0-)

      I had a colleague who showed up at a meeting with her new iPhone and you would have thought she was holding the cure for cancer [this was an iPhone 4, her first]. When I asked her to tell me specifically what features she bought the phone for, she couldn't name any. She just didn't want to be the last person on earth without an iPhone.

      Liberals/progressives can be just as consumerist-hipster-doofus as anybody.

    •  I Was A Former "Apple Fan Boy" (6+ / 0-)

      Got my first Apple in 1987. Had them until like 2006.

      I like to joke I did the "reverse switch."

      Now I always had a PC/Windows machine at work, so it was easy for me. I knew the OS of each.

      I'd like to say it was cause of social issues, but it wasn't. It was flat out the cost of their products. I do web development for a living. I need a workhorse of a computer.

      In 2006 before I started to work for myself I looked at a similar PC to Mac. Mac was more than $4,500. A Dell, $2,300.

      I make a good living. I am not "cheap." I could afford either. But there is noway I will pay twice amount of the money for an Apple. I just won't do it.

      Now with my Andriod tablet and smartphone, I might have saved $500 to $600 in hardware and I get about another $200 in apps.

      Do I like the interface/GUI of a Mac more then Windows? Sure. But when you start to talk about money at these levels I'll spend 12-15 hours (which I did) to tweak the interface on my other machines to be more Mac OS like.

      •  Me three. I had a $2800 Mac Plus in 1988. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mannie, Troubadour, webranding, Dburn

        I went PC when Windows XP came along, because all of my professional software was only PC. Still is, and everyone I know that tries to use it now on Apples regrets it.

        "Came for the software, stayed for the price." I don't "like" PCs, but they are workhorses and they get my stuff done.

      •  Not all of us know how to tweak an (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster, Odysseus

        interface. I migrated all of our computers at home from PC to Mac over the past 5 years and I'll never look back. No more PC's slowing down little by little every month until they're useless and filled with viruses. My family loves Apple stuff, from the phones to the computers to the pads to the tunes. It's all more expensive than the droids or PCs but as long as we can afford it we're all the happier for it. Apple may be greedy and all that, but their products are insanely great. Why exactly should I care if they are not paying taxes in France?

        •  You might care about worker suicides. nt (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mannie, Troubadour
          •  I would if it weren't for the fact that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sewaneepat, Odysseus

            workers who work for all sorts of consumer products companies commit suicide. If you refused to buy products based on that, you'd have to forgo virtually all technology. Apple is not alone in using Third World contractors. They are just so big that it gets more attention.

        •  I Am Going To Sound Like A Dick Here (3+ / 0-)

          but I don't mean to.

          First off the GUI and usability of a machine IMHO is the most important thing. If you don't use the computer, phone, tablet you buy to its full extent because it isn't intuitive, clearly that is a problem.

          Now I run Windows 7. I have no desire to upgrade to 8, cause well what I have works well. I don't always need "new."

          I just don't buy for a second that Apple in 2013 has an OS that is so far superior you are willing to pay what they ask for their product. I just don't.

          Think of all the software you could buy.

          And I have little patience for folks that tell me they don't have the time nor desire of how their computer works.

          Heck right now Apple is now running in an Intel processor. Has a UNIX core. You know how that works, cause you are paying for it.

          •  I have the time to fiddle with my (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus

            computers (obviously, since I spend/waste so much of it here) but I just don't want to. Apple makes products for people who don't want to think about anything. I remember how to deal with MSDOS prompts, I even knew how to program in FORTRAN at one point. But I just want to point and click at this stage of my life. And you are not being a dick (or maybe you are but I just am too stupid to realize it).

        •  If THAT is why you went apple ... :( (0+ / 0-)

          You should have went PC and Linux.  Much faster than a PC burdened by the cumbersome MicroCRAP WinBLOWS.

          Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

          by Mannie on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:36:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, also because all their products (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            webranding

            are designed to sync with each other (phone, pad, laptop, mac, etc.). Their product line is built to entice the consumer to buy all their shit from them, and we fell for it 100% (though in my defense I do not have AppleTV, at least not yet). You guys may think I'm an idiot, but I'm certainly not alone. Every time I pass an Apple store you'd think Springsteen was playing live in there, there's such a crowd. And again, we're all happy with the decision, so who is to say we're wrong?

            •  Just To Be Clear. All The Non-Apple Stuff (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mannie, Troubadour

              I have syncs with no effort on my part.

              Now I will say as a marketing guy that was an Apple Fan Boy for years I know what you talked about was coming. I was the only person in my company of 40 people that had a Mac when the iPod came out.

              Everybody bought one. They'd walk into my office and say it was the "coolest" thing they ever bought, they now got why I "loved" my PowerBook. When they'd looked for a new laptop, they'd consider a Mac. Now with the iPad and iPhone they have closed their "circle" in making folks think this way.

        •  Doc2, I guess one would have to ask (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mannie, Troubadour, Penny GC, melfunction

          if you care about corporations paying their fair share of taxes period or is just the company that make products that you and your family can afford and fuck everyone else?

          As a geek, I look at Apple's products now and think nothing lends themselves more to automated manufacturing then what they have today. That would mean less manufacturing labor here but it would also mean the potential for high paying tech jobs to program the robots and keep them running.  That is opposed to no manufacturing labor here now.

           But here you have a company that all other corporations look to as an example who uses slave labor to make their products, then uses slave American labor with College degrees to sell the products while the executive suite gets 100s of millions a year.

          They tranship from China to other territories and never bring the money back home or pay taxes on it anywhere except for some minor fees. They have developed strategies that saved them 13.5 billion in taxes last year alone.

          But you couldn't give a shit as long as you get your aesthetically pleasing Apple products . So does that attitude carry for all American corporations or just the ones who have products you favor? Because corporations use to pay 33% of the tax bill each year. It's gone down to below 9%. How much is that? About 500 Billion a year these days .

          Even if their taxes were lowered or there was no taxes on products sold outside the borders they will never invest money here except for a large obscene looking corporate headquarters, stock buybacks and dividends.

          I would much rather see corporations pay higher taxes than individuals who not only have to pay the federal taxes but all the states and local taxes too which many corporations make a habit of getting abatements on those taxes also for the promise of jobs that sometimes materialize but mostly don't.

          Corporations are also the heaviest users of govt services too. Apple expects the US to protect it's intellectual property here and abroad with US trade representatives. ICE has to be on the lookout for Apple products that have been copied and shipped here. Also products that have been grey marketed. They depend on our patent office and they depend on a fully functioning court system since they are being sued or suing 24x7 .

          They depend on the roads , the airports and traffic controllers. They depend on all of it, expect it to work and are heavy users. They just don't want to pay for it.

          Your down with that eh?

          “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

          by Dburn on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:48:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Their corporate practices are the same (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coffeetalk, sewaneepat

            as every other computer company. That is just the way the world works. The choice then for us is to live in 2013, with 2013 technology, or not. I choose to be a consumer, but I also support Barack Obama and lots of worthwhile causes to help make the world a better place. I don't believe that whether or not my family buys Apple stuff will make a difference in terms of justice in this world (and I also don't believe that Apple is materially worse, if worse at all, than its competitors).

            •  "That is just the way the world works." (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mannie, Penny GC, melfunction

              Oh, so now corporate sociopathy is a fundamental law of physics rather than a choice by arrogant rich people who should be held accountable.

              Process defines product.

              by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:17:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So which computer do you buy, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FG

                So you know its components were not built by contractors? Look around your house, do you really know who made all your stuff and how many hours they work? Cone on, this is just silly. Who here boycotts all electronics?

                •  Show me just one - JUST ONE other (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mannie

                  US electronics company that has $100 billion or more in off-shored, tax-free wealth.  

                  Process defines product.

                  by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:30:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Given that Apple is the largest company (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    coffeetalk, Odysseus

                    right now, that is a trick question. Why don't you show me one consumer electronics company that qualifies for a tax break but refuses to take it on ethical grounds? You know, progressives own Apple stock too, and benefit from their aggressives financial policies.

                    •  So as progressives (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Penny GC, johnny wurster

                      Because some progressive's stock portfolio goes up (remember we are not the party of the 1%, many progressives can NOT afford a stock portfolio) we should bow before our corporate overlords and let them continue to shirk their responsibilities, while the least amongst us must suffer worse as we can not afford to help them?

                      WTF?!

                      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

                      by Mannie on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:38:46 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  These aren't tax breaks. It's tax avoidance. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Mannie, Penny GC

                      They are refusing to even bring their money within the purview of US taxation.  Money they made largely thanks to a vast network of subsidies and incentives they get from US taxpayers.

                      Process defines product.

                      by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:39:34 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Who would repatriate money for no (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        coffeetalk

                        reason? Eventually theyll repatriate it, but of they don't need the money, why would they bring it back? Let me guess. To be nice.

                        •  Is the only reason you don't murder people (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Mannie

                          because you're afraid of jail?  I mean, that's what it sounds like you're saying here - Apple would only not be a treasonous leech on society if legally compelled to stop, and you see nothing morally objectionable in that.

                          Process defines product.

                          by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 04:29:17 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Take a stab at the question. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            coffeetalk

                            Who would repatriate money for no reason?

                          •  Why Would anybody sit (0+ / 0-)

                            On a mountain of money and do nothing with it if their goal is to maximize profits. Why not invest in their employees instead of paying fictitious  transfer fees to take the money out of the country tax free?

                            Why be an example to all other corporations on how to treat new college graduates with expensive degrees and the loans to boot and pay them less less that I made as a Petroleum Transfer engineer (Gas Station Jockey) in high school in adjusted dollars of course.

                            If they trained their retail people and gave them promotional track to say enterprise salespeople and sales engineers with all the incumbent management jobs that would be a straight ahead investment that is tax deductible.

                            Instead they give them two soggy tacos for their bonuses, hire managers that don't have a clue about the product and give them no promotion track. They take the best 3-5 years out of their lives and send them packing with a bunch more debt that has been piled on to existing debt when doubling their wages just on general principle would cost
                             2% of pre tax profits with the govt picking up 700 Million of the bill.

                            That's why you don't transfer money out of country using loophole to loophole tax evasion methods. Those are the new consumers that are actually enthusiastic about the company. Why turn them into cynics before age 30? There is plenty of time for that later.

                            It used to be part and parcel of a corporations fiduciary duty to invest unused capital in the company in the states. Besides, why would shareholders want the company to borrow money to pay them dividends when it's sitting outside the country earning nothing? There is a middle ground here and Apple has taken the extreme end of setting a very bad  example for all US Corporations.  

                            “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

                            by Dburn on Wed May 22, 2013 at 08:02:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  The answer in short (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mannie

              is you don't give a shit.

              But not only that, you will contribute to the problem by buying their products, buying their stock because (shrug shoulder) "what's a person to do?"

              But you are for other causes and you support Barack Obama  so that kinda balances it it out right?

              There surely must be a consumer site where people brag about the beauty of their gadgets and stuff. There you won't have to pretend you are a progressive and have progressive values- with a slight twist.

              “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

              by Dburn on Tue May 21, 2013 at 07:34:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I see. The tens of millions (0+ / 0-)

                of people who own Apple products around the world just don't care. But you do! This philosophy must make you feel so good about yourself. You care, because you don't buy Apple. Got it.

                •  Honestly, what do you stand for , if anything? (0+ / 0-)

                  Are you like a shark that consumes and consumes  and throws  up BS about supporting A president that has never been kinder to corporate interests?

                  I own Apple products, but they are old.

                  “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

                  by Dburn on Wed May 22, 2013 at 08:05:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I adored the Apples I'd used as a kid at school. (0+ / 0-)

        They were the only machines available to me that played SimCity 2000 and Warcraft (this was before it was an MMO - just a plain old software game).  

        It won't be long before the rot at the core of Apple starts showing up in decayed aesthetics now that Jobs is gone.

        Process defines product.

        by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:31:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They are better.Wish there were alternatives. nt (0+ / 0-)
    •  I agree, and I despise crApple! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      Never understood that.  At least with the Android line the OS is open source, and to me that alone makes it more progressive!

      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

      by Mannie on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:34:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

        You do realize that android itself was born under massive controversy where. Google just basically copied java without properly licensing it?  And not to mention how google basically ripped off iPhone design aesthetics?  

  •  And their workers continue to commit suicide (0+ / 0-)

    why can't they use their useless billions just lying around to make a nice life for the factory workers?

    as soon as there are good devices from other providers, I will stop buying Apple

  •  Apple is not the problem -- corruption is. (2+ / 0-)

    First, I have no qualms about businesses paying taxes.  None at all.  My thoughts on taxes (and an open invitation for others' thoughts) will be the subject of a diary in the future.

    That said, there is nothing wrong with minimizing one's tax burden -- even if one happens to be a corporation.

    Before you excoriate me for this, you must know that I believe huge corporations -- like Apple -- have simply merged with the government to become an unstoppable Frankenstein monster -- with a frightening and destructive synergy.  Each feeds the other power and money, so they grow faster and bind tighter.  The process is accelerating and becoming more obscene by the day.

    I believe big business and big government have become one and the same -- with a revolving door of the same people marching back and forth between them.

    The tax code is the tax code.  If it is legal to shelter incredible piles of money elsewhere, then it is entirely appropriate for Apple to do that very thing.  In fact, Apple owes that duty to its shareholders.

    We've never met, but I'll bet you (or a friend or family member) has hired an accountant before.  At the risk of playing the part of "Master of the Obvious," I must point out that the primary purpose of an accountant is, in fact, to minimize one's tax liability -- within the bounds of the law.

    That's certainly why I hire my accountant each year.  I'd be willing to bet that you do, too.

    For those who would rather not minimize their tax payments each year, they can write the IRS a check as big as they please.  The IRS will cash it.

    Apple's decision to minimize its tax liability is not the problem.  It was legal.  So, they're in a position to demand a tax break in exchange for bringing a huge pile of money into the sights of the IRS.  The government cannot force them to do so.  The government wrote the tax code.  Apple is simply using that code to the advantage of its shareholders.

    Again, Apple is not the problem.

    The problem is (and I bet we agree on this) that Apple, Monsanto, hospital groups, Goldman Sachs, and all the rest of the multinational, multi-billion-dollar conglomerates actually get to WRITE the tax code.  They just buy the provisions they want with campaign contributions and other perks for lawmakers, their friends, and their families.

    This is known as corruption, and it is rampant.  It knows no party lines; Democrats and Republicans alike muck about with the tax code to reward friends and punish enemies.

    THAT is why regular folks like you and me can't go before Congress and say what needs to be said.  They don't give a shit about us because we don't pay them campaign funds -- or line the pockets of their friends, and their relatives.

    Our country does not belong to the people anymore, and it hasn't in some time.

    My two cents.

    •  Just because (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, melfunction

      something is legal does NOT make it moral.

      So sorry, I reject your stance on crApple paying next to nothing in taxes while hard working normal people try to scrape and get by!

      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

      by Mannie on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:42:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Despite Mitt Romney's statement to the contrary, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nathanfl, coffeetalk, FG

        corporations are not people. And since people are the only entities that can be moral or immoral, I challenge the notion that corporations can make immoral decisions. Apple is a corporation that is maximizing its cash while hewing to the law (as far as we know). Morality does not enter into the equation. Corporations are not immoral, they are amoral.

        •  Morality ALWAYS enters the equation (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Troubadour, melfunction

          lest we become a soulless person in the mold OF Mitt rMoney!

          Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

          by Mannie on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:48:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, you keep talking about persons, (0+ / 0-)

            but corporations are NOT persons. If France allows Apple to avoid taxes there by setting up a certain shell company, they are going to take advantage of that law and do so. These loopholes are not generally mistakes made by legislators; they are intentional and are designed to attract foreign companies. So it's a stretch to call those who follow such rules immoral, whether people or corporations. Anyhow, why should I, an American consumer, care if Apple is paying their fair share to Ireland?

            •  You know what (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Troubadour, melfunction

              you are correct, why SHOULD you care.

              Anyhow, why should I, an American consumer, care if Apple is paying their fair share to Ireland?
              I know of a whole party of people who only care about themselves.....

              Care to guess who they are?

              Seriously I can NOT believe I am arguing this on a PROGRESSIVE SITE!  This point should not even be debatable!

              Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

              by Mannie on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:06:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So I am supposed to be so mad (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                that Ireland allows for shell companies to avoid taxes that I am going to not buy Apple computers (even though they are not the only company to use such structures and even though as an American I benefit from them paying less tax in Ireland)? That sounds just crazy to me. If you want the laws in those countries to change (for some reason), and for them to collect more in taxes, then write to Irish and French and Belgian legislators and demand that they change their tax code. Don't tell American consumers to stop buying Apple though, especially since for all you know all of Apple's competitors take advantage of the exact same structures.

      •  hard to take you seriously (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        when you keep referring to apple as crapple.  apple employs approximately 50,000 us workers in high paying professions.  they treat their workers like gold.  additionally, apple has announced that they are bringing assemble of some of their products back to the us - these won't be the same kind of assembly jobs in china, they will be highly automated and sophisticated manufacturing jobs, the kind that the us is good at.

        they aren't perfect, they need to be pushed to do more.  after all, with the amount of profit the company makes, they do have a moral obligation to benefit society.  but by continuously using an antagonistic tone in your comments, you are not making your opinions heard, rather you are causing people to ignore what you have to say.

    •  First of all, you're misusing the term "one." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Penny GC

      And the term "burden."  When you say "one's tax burden" and "one is a corporation," you're buying into the batshit ideology of corporate personhood.  A corporation is just a fig leaf for incredibly rich, greedy individuals to exempt themselves from legal accountability for being crooked.  

      And when you describe paying NOTHING on $100 billion as a "burden," you're a tool.  Case in point:

      I believe big business and big government have become one and the same
      Except so-called "big" government is shrinking while Apple and other large corporations get bigger and bigger.  The relationship you see is only between parasitic individuals within government who leave the public sector for cushy private jobs as rewards for being corrupt - not between the institutions of government and those of business.  Speaking of being a tool...
      In fact, Apple owes that duty to its shareholders.
      And apparently no duty whatsoever to the United States of America.  Brilliant observations.

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:49:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Make Your PC Into A Mac (GUI) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Troubadour, Penny GC

    as a former Apple Fan Boy that is now a Windows user, just a few FREE programs that will make your PC GUI Mac like (if you want that).

    Rocket Dock: Add a dock to your desktop.

    Rainmeter: Make your desktop totally interactive. Here is what mine looks like.

    My Windows 7 Desktop

    It can be done and save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

  •  The point is not just a tax cut (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, melfunction

    Apple currently uses existing US and international law to avoid taxes on many of its profits. Other corporations also do this. The problem is that this is legal, not that Apple (or any other corporation) is doing it. Cook was asking for tax reform of the laws that let Apple keep its money overseas, and yes, he was also saying that he wants changes that reduce Apple's tax rate if they also require Apple to repatriate money. This sounds like a "stop me before I kill again" argument, but the truth is that our oligarch-supporting congress has made it essentially legal for international corporations to act this way. Personally, I would love to see a corporate tax reform that resulted in enforceable payment of a corporate tax rate similar to what is paid in Europe. While they're at it, I'd love congress to give me some single-payer universal health care too.

    The very right to vote imposes on me the duty to instruct myself in public affairs, however little influence my voice may have in them - Jean Jacques Rousseau

    by Dr Envirocrat on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:40:47 PM PDT

    •  It IS a "stop me before I kill again" statement. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, melfunction

      Apple has such overwhelming resources just sitting there that they could easily afford to single-handedly stimulate the US economy and remain massively profitable even at much higher tax rates.  There is no excuse for this behavior.

      Process defines product.

      by Troubadour on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:04:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Had I been on the Finance Committee, I would have (6+ / 0-)

    said the following:

    "You are asking for 100 billion in tax breaks to repatriate money that should be in this country anyway? I don't think you realize who exactly you are talking to.  What's to prevent us from simply taking it?  Why don't you look into the eyes of the American people and tell them what you want to use THEIR tax dollars for.  That's right, it's THEIR money, not yours. Remember, we can legislate you into bankruptcy."

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:13:37 PM PDT

  •  If you think that's bad, Calif. tax law (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Troubadour, Penny GC

    (apportionment issue) was changed a couple years ago in a behind closed doors session to specifically "help" Apple and a few other key CA based companies reduce their CA tax "burden."

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Tue May 21, 2013 at 03:31:04 PM PDT

    •  FoundingF - Prop 39 may have changed it back (0+ / 0-)

      I am not certain what you are referring to but take a look at CA Prop 39.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Tue May 21, 2013 at 08:11:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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