FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Burger King In Exile
Benedict Arnold Had A Point
The revenue from a 100% Tax Rate against a revenue base of zero equals zero. The revenue of a smaller and more reasonable rate of taxation against a significantly large base of revenue is still a pretty big number. This fundamental truism eludes the statist drones and Keynesian knuckleheads that designed our current system of taxation. President Barack Obama, when taking a break from golfing during the funeral of the highest ranking American military service member to be killed in combat since Vietnam, calls corporations who practice tax avoidance behavior “unpatriotic.” He refers to them as “corporate deserters who renounce their citizenship to shield profits.”
Daniel Gross, who always sends the IRS lots of extra money rather than buying nice things, demonstrates how much he detests the right of a business entity to shop for tax rates and make intelligent decisions in his anti-inversion hit piece entitled “Burger King Invades Canada to Save His Faltering Kingdom.” He begins with the liberal hard-blowing one could expect from an individual trained in Yellow Journalism at Slate.com.
Patriotism may be the last refuge of a scoundrel, as Samuel Johnson put it, but a lack of it may be the last refuge of corporate executives who have run out of ideas on how to improve their business.
Yep, that’s it! It’s those disgusting people who won’t wear flag pins on their lapels. Oh, wait! Only morons complain about guys like that. No, no, no! It’s not that type of anti-patriotism. These Keynesians are more about patriotism on the bottom line. Are they getting their rake? Is Uncle Sugar-Pimp getting the big, fat envelope?
In recent months, we’ve seen a rash of “inversions” where an American company buys a company based in another jurisdiction with a lower corporate tax rate and swaps its American passport for a foreign one for tax purposes. Voila, higher profits! Now Burger King, the iconic fast-food chain long based in Miami, is joining the rush. The company Tuesday said it had agreed to buy Tim Horton’s, Canada’s ubiquitous coffee-and-donuts chain, for $10.8 billion. “If completed,” the New York Times reports, “the deal would mean Burger King’s corporate headquarters would move to Canada, raising the specter of yet another American company switching its national citizenship to lower its tax bill.” (The statutory tax rate in the U.S. is 35 percent compared to 15 percent for Canada.) In an ironic twist, billionaire Warren Buffett, who has often complained about loophole that lets private-equity and hedge-fund managers pay a lower tax rate than typical workers, is helping to finance the deal.
Now on a personal and emotional level I love the US. I was born here, grew up here, and could just link to a YouTube of “Small Town” by John Cougar Mellencamp and get all misty over it. But that’s not what happens at corporate boardrooms. These people are paid to turn off their emotions and look at cash flow diagrams based on rational expectations of present conditions and future trends. Burger King, Allergan, and many of the high-power clients of M&A Law Firms such as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP are taking one look at these factors regarding America and deciding to punt on 3rd Down before they butt-fumble like Mark Sanchez. According to Shayndi Rice of The Wall Street Journal, the people who have inside data on the American Economy all are increasingly agreeing that Benedict Arnold had a point.
so-called “tax inversions” have been a major driver in cross-border deal making, accounting for 66% of announced deals this year, according to Thomson Reuters. That is up from just 1% in 2011. Skadden is at the front of the pack, involved in a whopping 78% of inversions by deal value since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data.
So faced with this adverse data, our government could do one of two things. They could, if they were really smart, figure out just how much of a tax premium continued access to the advantages of being headquartered in the US was worth and lower the corporate rates until going abroad was no longer a smart idea. That, or they could buuurnnn these heretics. They could !PUNISH! Them as vile scoundrels and parasites. President Barack Obama could give back ALL of the filthy, tainted lucre he has raised in contributions from these Corporate Edward Snowdens and steadfastly refuse to EVER take another disingenuous dime. OK, this is Barack Obama, who the bleep am I kidding?
So those are the options – tax at a rate that corporate entities would shop for and watch corporate headquarters flood over here and flood our treasury with revenue, or burn the heretics and wonder why they stop coming to church. Yet if I were a foreigner, or had no attachment to America whatsoever, I’d do what Obama’s rich donors do. I’d both invert and buy the scumbag’s silence, or I’d go to him and bribe the crap out of him for lot’s of H1B visas so that I had no exposure to America’s workforce that I could possibly avoid. I mean, if Barack Obama is the typical product of a Harvard University education in Constitutional Law, you should take an American’s money, but you never want to actually hire the morons. At least that’s the thinking that probably goes on in the boardroom of a Benedict Arnold Corporation.