Apple, demonized for taxes, participates in the Beltway’s revolving door

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Last week, Apple was hauled in for an inquisition in front of a Senate subcommittee for not paying what the subcommittee thought was enough taxes – even though the company pays all it is legally required to. Tea Party Patriots offered a scathing assessment shortly afterwards:

So let’s get this straight:

  1. Congress has provided U.S. corporations the highest corporate tax in the industrialized world.
  2. In order to please various constituencies, Congress then enacted loophole after loophole to bring the net corporate tax rate down for favored companies.
  3. Apple took advantage of the loopholes Congress passed.
  4. Apple did not break any laws, yet Congress targeted them.
  5. Based on statements made by members of Congress, Apple was likely targeted because of their size and success.

The implications here are absolutely chilling. If you’re successful, you’ll get punished. If you successfully navigate the laws Congress put into place, you’ll get punished.

Earlier this week, the company was demonized by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who wants the company to step up and pay its fair share of taxes. Again, Tea Party Patriots corrected the record:

In short, Rep. Ellison is relying on demonization to manipulate the facts surrounding Apple’s tax code. If he really wanted a tax system that is fair and economically sound, as well as bring in more federal revenue, he would push for the elimination of loopholes and the lowering of rates. And while that might have some wealthier people and corporations paying more in taxes, it would be the result of a far more efficient tax code, not the one currently riddled with special interest loopholes across the board.

When it comes to taxes, Apple is merely following the law to its letter. Should they pay more taxes? The better question is, shouldn’t their 2% tax rate indicate the desperate need for tax reform?

Taxes aside, though, Apple is not entirely innocent when it comes to enabling the Big Business/Big Government collusion in Washington. From Timothy Carney of The Washington Examiner:

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced at a tech conference [on Tuesday] that it was hiring President Obama’s EPA director, Lisa Jackson, as a VP for environmental initiatives. This isn’t very surprising on one level — people with top government positions in renewable energy tend to cash out to industry.

Will Jackson’s job be about chasing subsidies for the renewable investments Apple is already making?

Carney cites Apple’s increased green energy efforts in the last couple of years as a potential reason for its hiring of Jackson:

Apple’s chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, informed Reuters this week that all of its data centers — including the gargantuan facility in Maiden, North Carolina — are now fully powered by renewable energy from onsite and local sources, while three-fourths of the energy used by the whole company is pulled from green sources. For those wondering, that includes solar, wind, hydro and geothermal, and the 75 percent mark is a stark 40 percent uptick from just two years ago. As for what the future holds? According to Apple: “We won’t stop working until we achieve 100 percent throughout Apple.” Alrighty then.

It’s fishy that in the middle of an unprecedented number of congressional investigations towards the White House, a CEO is summoned to testify about not breaking any laws. Then, mere days after the “inquiry,” the head of the EPA is hired by the same company.

At the very least, it’s indicative of one of the major problems in Washington: Big Government goes to Big Business, providing an advantage over competitors who may not have those connections. Big Business then uses the connections to gain policy advantages. Company gains, politicians gain, the people lose, and the morass of Washington gets a little deeper.