Thursday, May 30, 2013

What's Apple's Fair Share?

Congressman Keith Ellison was complaining recently to Ed Schultz of MSNBC that corporations like Apple don't pay their fair share of taxes.
Neither Mr. Ellison nor Mr. Schultz seemed to recognize the fatuousness of their remarks. Here are a few questions we might ask these gentlemen:
  • Whenever someone complains, as do Messers. Schultz and Ellison, that it's somehow immoral for a corporation or wealthy individual to take deductions to which they're legally entitled the first question we should ask them is whether they themselves shelter income or claim any deductions on their own tax return. If they do then isn't there something hypocritical about complaining that others do the same thing?
  • What exactly is the fair share that corporations should pay and how is that figure arrived at? Unless they can tell us this how does anyone know whether corporations are paying their "fair share" or not?
  • Have not these corporations, particularly Apple, blessed this country and the world with their i-phones, i-pods, i-pads, and macs? Why does Mr. Ellison seem to think that somehow Apple has gotten rich without making any contribution to the society in which it has prospered and that they haven't done enough good until they've also paid more taxes than the law requires of them?
These men are shortsighted, to be sure, but they're typical of the thinking commonly found on the left. Perhaps the most ironic thing about it is that Apple and other corporations simply follow the tax laws that Democratic congressman have devised and then these Democratic congressmen criticize them for following their laws.

Parenthetically, I wonder if Rep. Ellison and Mr. Schultz were as outraged that Democrat Charlie Rangel, who used to chair the Ways and Means Committee in Congress, the committee which writes tax law, was himself discovered to be not paying his taxes. I wonder, too, if these gentlemen were as outraged that Mr. Obama's choice for his first Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, was found to be in arrears in his tax payments. I doubt it.