Burger King, Corporate Tax Inversions, And Political Theater.

 

Just an 80's era Burger King

The recent bashing of Burger King about their merger with Tim Hortons is nothing more than political theater being staged for the upcoming November elections. The political strategy of: divide us into as many groups as possible, pit us against each other using propaganda, and set up the false narrative that Government is the only solution to the made up problem is in full swing. In this case it’s the usual tried and true tactic of the haves vs. the have-nots.

POLITICAL PROPAGANDA / HOME OF THE WHOPPER

A corporate tax inversions is simply a corporation merging with an overseas company from a country that has a lower tax rate. The President has been propagandizing inversions lately for political reasons. If you don’t believe me watch this short video ( if you can get through the first minute). The words used, the tone of his voice, and the misinformation in this video would make Joseph Goebbels envious.

Tactics like this aren’t new. In May of 2013 Apple was brought in front of a Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing to be lambasted about their tax practices. These hearings are always political theater. But in this case something different happened. Senator Rand Paul took the unpopular stance of defending Apple.

Which video do you believe is factually true of just a piece of propaganda. We have to be able to sift through the propaganda and rhetoric of both sides in order to get to the truth.

TAX INVERSION MATHMATICS

The Federal Government will collect $20 billion less in tax revenue over a decade if tax inversions aren’t halted (read here). That’s only $2 billion a year out of a $3.7 trillion yearly Federal budget, or .001 percent of the budget. If you add the fact that the Fed is still printing $25 billion a month, you see the insignificant amount of money involved. Politicians will propagandize inversions by saying, “this will ‘cost tax payers’ blah blah blah”, or something about corporations, “trying to avoid paying their fair share”. This is purely political posturing through propaganda.

PERVERSE BED FELLOWS

Here is an article titled, Buffett Burger King Funds Flip Obama’s Inversion Calculus. It is interesting to see all the corners these crony capitalists and politicians get paint into because of their incestuous relationship with each other. Here are some excerpts.

“Billionaire Warren Buffett was an ally of President Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and the force behind Obama’s “Buffett Rule,” designed to increase tax bills for the wealthiest Americans. Now, the second-richest man in the U.S. has dented Obama’s effort to stamp out corporate inversions.”

“The danger for Democrats is that Buffett’s investment in the burger-fries-and-a-Coke company’s inversion might flip that calculation and make it politically easier for other corporations to follow suit without suffering repudiation from the public or the White House.”

“That’s because Buffett in the past has served as a sort of unofficial adviser to Obama on business and financial matters, someone whose stamp of approval has offered political cover when the president has been accused of being anti-business or of unfairly targeting the wealthy….If Obama were to question the Burger King deal publicly now, it would mean putting himself at odds with Buffett.”

“I proposed closing this unpatriotic tax loophole for good,” Obama said in his weekly address on July 26. “Rather than double-down on the top-down economics that let a fortunate few play by their own rules, let’s embrace an economic patriotism..”

“…Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew called on Congress to pass a law requiring that foreign shareholders account for 50 percent of the ownership of a new merger between a U.S. company and a foreign one … The administration wants that change made retroactive to May…. legislation taking effect after the president signs it into law — could have the perverse effect of encouraging corporations to act more quickly, negotiate new deals and rush to close those transactions before the bill is enacted,” Lew wrote. “It would be a mistake for Congress to pass anti-inversion legislation that creates a race against the clock and encourages more, not fewer, inversions.”

I want to disinfect myself after reading that.

GEORGE McGOVERN: FREE MARKET CONVERT?

Former Senator and 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee George McGovern talked about his experience dealing with Government regulations and mandates after he retired from politics and became a business owner, in this article titled What I Know Now: Nibbled To Death. Here are a few excerpts from the article.

“The second lesson I learned by owning the Stratford Inn is that legislators and government regulators must more carefully consider the economic and management burdens we have been imposing on U.S. business.”

“….if I were back in the U.S. Senate or in the White House, I would ask a lot of questions before I voted for any more burdens on the thousands of struggling businesses across the nation….. I would ask whether specific legislation exacts a managerial price exceeding any overall benefit it might produce. What are the real economic and social gains of the legislation when compared with the costs and competitive handicaps it imposes on businesspeople?”

“…While running my struggling hotel, I never once missed a payroll. What happens to the people who counted on that, and to their families and community, when an owner goes under? Those questions worry me, and they ought to worry all of us who love this country as a land of promise and opportunity.”

I think this article was written around 1993. If Senator McGovern thought regulations and mandates were bad then, what would he think about them if he were alive today. Senator McGovern was a big Government leftist, but he realized at some point regulations and mandates destroy economic activity. [Or did he just want regulations to be at a level in which his business could survive? Would he have written this this article if regulations weren’t at a level that affected his business? His business just happened to be the submarginal business, what if it had been the supramarginal business?}.

CONCLUSION

“The economy” is what results when each individual is free to make decisions on what to produce, consume, save, or exchange according to what he values at any particular time. Outside of protecting  property rights, contracts, and torts: government interventions hamper the decision-making by individuals, by definition hurting the economy.

Government intervention substitutes the decisions of individual politicians and bureaucrats, for the decisions of free individuals in the market, creating a lower overall standard of living, and individuals who are less satisfied.

Politicians are always performing in the political theater, because they realize that the political process is the only way they can get in positions of power to enforce their superior wisdom on the masses. We have to realize this, and be able to weed out the propaganda from the facts if we are going to be able to turn the big Government ship around.

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