Sunday, March 25, 2012

Apple is rich, yeah so...

America's most valuable company in a mid-March statement underscored a truth that is lost on so many Americans. Our corporate tax code (in fact our entire tax code) is insane. The inability of American corporations to repatriate offshore profits has become a major impediment for doing business job creation  here at home. Apple Computer is going to keep $65 billion out of the U.S. to avoid surrendering a ridiculous amount of it in taxes.

Today corporate cash held in foreign accounts would be subject to the 35% corporate tax rate if it was transferred into U.S. accounts. These days it's not unusual for American corporations to make 50% or more of their revenue outside of the U.S. This is a good thing. Companies that haven't expanded outside the U.S. are eventually going to be overrun by their competition.

Apple had accumulated over $90 billion in cash. Good corporate governance compelled the company to disburse some of this money to share holders, reinvest in it's own stock or invest the money in growing the company. Whatever... Clearly current law stopped the majority of this cash from being put in play here in the U.S.

Apple along with Cisco, Microsoft and Oracle and others have been pushing for this overseas cash to come home with a tax holiday  The fact that the Obama Administration and many members of Congress are opposed to a "tax holiday" is beside the point. The current law is bad and needs to be changed. It simply makes no sense keeping this money from coming into the U.S. economy. There's no rational reason hold this money at bay. The liberals and their "rich get richer while the poor get poorer" argument are being anything but rational. The poor are not poor because the rich are rich - they're poor because they haven't got a job. This is not a tax break for the wealthy, it's an impediment for our homegrown corporations from doing more business here. No other country does anything this counter-productive, none.

If you asked the average person on the street about this they would either be ignorant of it or believe that the government ought to stick it to these rich corporations. People getting their beliefs fed to them by media sound bites and Occupy Wall Street protest signs won't be persuaded that taxing corporations like this is a real problem. But the rest of us need to open our eyes. We can't let masked envy or the false rhetoric of fairness sway us into accepting something that is clearly wrong.

When you hear this being defended as a way to keep companies from using loopholes and special breaks to pay little or no taxes then it's time to call them on it. Year after year legislation is introduced to kill all tax loopholes, special incentives and breaks while significantly reducing corporate tax rates as a way to broaden the base, and year after year these bills go nowhere. It's not that they're bad bills or that it isn't the wise and prudent thing to do. It's that some large companies and self interested politicians like things the way they are. It's that simple.

Too often this is the case. The right thing is shoved aside because a few well connected have powerful friends in the right places. Take health care reform for example. Everyone knows that one simple change in the law would bring down the cost of health insurance overnight - and I mean everyone knows this. If the government would allow health insurance companies to sell policies across state lines the new competition would begin to drive costs down immediately. Health systems, hospitals and doctors would quickly get their cost structures in line with the new reality. We know healthy competition is good for costs and for quality. The car insurance business have never been as competitive and as affordable as it is now that these companies can sell insurance to any American, anywhere - and it is still a highly regulated business.

Yet, what we got was a top down solution that removes competition and introduces the specter of total government dictation over health care policy across the board. Yes, in theory it is still a private health care system, but without competition and diversity it might as well be a government entity once everything is a government decree.

As with the tax system, there are players in the health care business and their cronies in elective office that like things the way they are (or where they are headed) so the right thing is once again shoved aside.

I'm not saying it's like snapping your fingers and the structural problems are fixed, but a few rational and relatively simple changes would go a long way to getting things upright. It is cronyism and the special interests of the few that skew righteousness and feed the cynicism that engulfs Americans today. It doesn't have to be this way.

In a weird cosmic twist this is exactly what the Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party protesters have been saying. One says it's the corporations and their filthy rich political cronies that are the problem and the other says it the government and their unscrupulous corporate cronies that are the problem. They're both right!!!


Monday, March 19, 2012


Well, what can I say. My interest level - energy level - for blogging, rendering opinions, analysis and cantankerous witticisms is waning. I do intend to keep this page going, but I find there's nothing new to be said that someone else hasn't already said. I understand why so many journalists and special assignment writers get into writing novels. The daily news grinds you down. You have no control, and your opinion means little in the grand scheme of things. Opinions that are formed on incomplete knowledge are less than worthless, and we on this side of the levers of power will never get the whole story.

Honestly, I see the grand scam we are all living under in this once great country and I have become sickened. I want to believe that someone in politics and business is righteous and honest (and I know there are some, somewhere), but the evidence is so overwhelming that Mr. and Mrs. Middle America are being royally screwed that I am losing faith... (I know, wrong place entirely to put any faith in).

Please check back now and again, and I apologize in advance for wasting your time. 

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Tolerant of Intolerance, or Not

Watching the celebrities (clips) on E! last night as they regaled in the splendor of the theatrical reading of "8" was just precious. Indeed, "8" is the play that uses the actual transcript of the hearing on California's Prop 8.  These A-List celebrities are all so enlightened and tolerant - and beautiful. Martin Sheen declares "this is such an important issue, it was thrilling to be a part of it". The issue is of course gay marriage and the constitutional clause Californian's inserted as a way of getting around the state legislature by constitutionally declaring marriage is between one man and one woman. California allows for civil unions, but that, of course, is not good enough. Whatever.

The thing that struck me was some actress declaring that Kirk Cameron, also and actor, has no right having a differing opinion. She has no tolerance for intolerance. Yes, of course it's a circular argument. No matter, you just can't have a different opinion when it comes to gay issues. It will, in one way or the other, destroy you. Gay issues are the absolute pinnacle of PC which places tolerance above all else. Hollywood if nothing else is PC - when it suits them.

Personally, I don't give a damn about gay this or homosexual that. Live and let live. I doubt gay individuals choose their proclivities. If and when the gay marriage issue appears on a ballot before me I will not cast a vote one way or the other. They are what they are. I've got nothing to say about it.

I don't like the ultra pushy types (on any issue really) and the insistence that you can't say one thing about any of "their" issues that is one iota out of line with their agenda or you are an intolerant homophobe that must be destroyed. I find that rather intolerant and frankly a load of crap.

Their is evil intent on both sides of gay issues, and I am choosing not to aid evil. You can't live in this modern world without facing evil situations and even participating however peripherally in evil machinations, but you can choose to not be the devil's helpmate. Steering clear of these debates is best way to thwart the enemy.