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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Senate Does the Bullying for the IRS

John Ransom

Senator John McCain and Senator Carl Levin have now presided over what Senator Rand Paul rightly called a “show trial.”
The Senate Mensheviks have raked Apple Computer over the coals on its practice of keeping tons and tons of money offshore.
This is money that the Mensheviks sorely need, so they can squander it on things that won’t make life better for anyone outside of K Street.  
During the hearing McCain competes with former Senator Obama in teaching us legal theories that are both radical and non-existent when he contends: “Apple has violated the spirit of the law if not the letter of the law.”
Uh, Senator, there is no such thing as the spirit of the law. And BTW- you guys wrote the darn tax code, so if you are offended by it, fix it.    
“I am offended by a $4 trillion government bullying,” said Senator Paul via Twitter, “berating and badgering one of America's greatest success stories.” And: “To US Senate: I say, instead of Apple executives, you should have brought in a giant mirror if you want to see who is responsible.”
And Paul is right.
What Apple does is follow a wholly legal process whereby it keeps its duty to its constituency- employees, shareholders and customers- to keep as much money for the company as possible.
That’s what businesses do. They do what’s best for their constituency. And the practice in this case is called tax avoidance, which is the same thing individuals do when you write off your mortgage expense on your tax return. 
The practice however is not to be confused with tax evasion, which is what happens when someone lies about income on a tax return.
And all the parties in the Senate are familiar with difference. Sens. Levin, McCain, Paul and even Al Franken practice tax avoidance. 
Tax avoidance is something that government- as represented by guys like McCain and Levin- builds into the system when they want reward some group.   
Tax evasion is something they use to punish enemies.
Corporations are getting used to the shakedown that in the old days, as practiced by the mafia, used to be called the “protection racket.”
It doesn’t matter to me that Apple keeps it’s money in an overseas account. What matters to me is that they have the right to defend their property from a grasping government that acts more like the mob than the mafia does.

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