Coffeehouse Thread

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Democrat and Republican lambasted Apple for working the system in a way they said was unfair, if not unpatriotic.

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  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    , dahat wrote

    Ahh liberal double-think.

    When a conservative talking head on TV points out that in the US, ~50% of the population doesn't pay any taxes, they are attacked by liberals who point out that while they don't pay any income taxes... they still pay payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes (either directly or indirectly), fuel taxes, cigarette taxes, etc... and yet here when liberals are up in arms about big evil corporations don't pay 'any taxes'... the even meaner conservative is attacked for pointing out the anger is over specifically income taxes... and that still a huge amount of taxes are still being paid in many jurisdictions... just not as much as the liberals would like.

    Which is it? Does the term 'no taxes' only refer to 'income' taxes... or 'all' or 'any' taxes'?

    I'm sorry for liking specificity and taking things seriously... anytime you care to start it would be a welcome change.

    You can attempt to justify your pedantry by pulling strawmen out of thin air, but you know what you did.

    Starting off with personal attacks and ignoring what was said above... thanks for coming out of the box admitting that you are incapable of having this discussion like an adult. I don't know why I ever think you capable of anything else.

    It's a tough life you lead.  I wish I could give you a hug. 

    Actually, he stated his opinion as fact.. while accusing many of crimes as well. Big difference.

    Actually, he stated his opinion, like everyone else on this board.  Your failure to interpret this is just another example of faux-bergers.

    So Marx is real... but Hayek, de Tocqueville, Locke, Montesquieu, Friedman and others... all fiction.

    I'm sorry that anything above "Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!" is beyond your reading or comprehension ability.

    What the ever-loving f*ck are you talking about.  If you keep this up I'll have to throw a strawman tea party...

    So people spending their own money... caused the collapse? Amazing how this country never collapsed until the passage of the 16th Amendment.

    I could say the same thing about the 13th.  I'd wager we could go investigate how many of those bootstrappy individualistic mega-corps began their lives making profits on the backs of others. 

    But sure, paying taxes ruins everything.

    Aka "You didn't build that, someone else made that happen"... the pronouncement of a lessor upon their betters... claiming an unbreakable right to keeptheir betters in a state of permanent bondage. No work, no level of taxes paid, no deed can ever repay the debt that is owed... as for every bit it is paid... the claimed need for even more money manifests.

    If they want to repay the debt in full, they can sacrifice all ownership and property and walk away.  If they want to exist without the inconvenience of paying taxes back to the society that sustains them, then they can start again somewhere else a little less taxxy.  Somalia is beautiful this time of year.

    Just go back to singing "The wheels on the bus go round and round" as again, this is an adult conversation and you clearly have no ability to participate.

    I'm doing just fine, thank you.

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    , davewill wrote

    @evildictaitor: "AOI was incorporated in Ireland in 1980."

    My original Apple ][+ hard drives had stickers on them that said "made in Ireland".  Now I know why!

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , ScanIAm wrote

    *snip*

    My original Apple ][+ hard drives had stickers on them that said "made in Ireland".  Now I know why!

    No. AOI is not the same as Apple Ireland. Apple Ireland is a legitimate company. AOI is a tax scam.

  • User profile image
    davewill

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    Except that AOI isn't an irish company. It has zero employees; it has no offices; all of it's money is in US banks

    *snip*

    Companies have stockholders. I'm pretty sure companies don't have to have employees, nor offices, nor money to be the entity. If Ireland recognized the incorporation of AOI then AOI is a company of Ireland.  Therefore jurisdiction lies with Ireland.

    The rest of your point is valid and I'd guess that was the purpose for creating AOI from the start. The tone though of the US government brow-beating Apple rather than get competitive is where we part ways.

  • User profile image
    Srikanth_t

    Ha!  I am looking for some examples of so many do gooders who always look towards maximizing their taxes.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , davewill wrote

    The tone though of the US government brow-beating Apple rather than get competitive is where we part ways.

    You can't "get competitive" on corporation tax when the corporation tax Apple are currently paying on 30% of their world wide profit going through this tax scam is paying ZERO PERCENT corporation tax globally.

  • User profile image
    Srikanth_t

    Whoever brings the ridiculous example of Somalia have some serious problems with mental comprehension.

    The most fundamental postulate of Libertarianism is the protection of citizens life, liberty and property. These basic rights are repeatedly affirmed in the fundamental Bill of rights of US constitution. To the extent that these rights of citizens have to be protected, a strong police force and justice system are fully favored by even the most limited government proponents.


    The last I checked, your life, liberty and property are not safe in Somalia.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Srikanth_t wrote

    The most fundamental postulate of Libertarianism is the protection of citizens life, liberty and property. These basic rights are repeatedly affirmed in the fundamental Bill of rights of US constitution. To the extent that these rights of citizens have to be protected, a strong police force and justice system are fully favored by even the most limited government proponents.

    And yet those liberties are not free. If nobody paid any tax at all, America would fall, and your constitutional rights would mean nothing.

    If you want to pay no tax, there are jurisdictions where you can do so - and the cost of doing so is you must pay others to protect your rights directly (e.g. by hiring guards to protect your assets).

    But America is not one of those places. Here, if you earn money in the US, you pay taxes in the US.

    Unless, for some reason, you're Apple and have an elaborate tax scam involving a fake company in Ireland which you push 30 billion dollars of US profits through in order to not pay taxes.

  • User profile image
    cbae

    , Srikanth_t wrote

    Whoever brings the ridiculous example of Somalia have some serious problems with mental comprehension.

    It's not ridiculous, and your "argument" is an example of an ad hominem fallacy. IOW, it's not really an argument at all.

    The most fundamental postulate of Libertarianism is the protection of citizens life, liberty and property. These basic rights are repeatedly affirmed in the fundamental Bill of rights of US constitution.

    People also want world peace, but you have to temper your expectations. In order to generally have all of these things, each of us has to give up some liberty and property, and some individuals even have to give up their lives.

    To the extent that these rights of citizens have to be protected, a strong police force and justice system are fully favored by even the most limited government proponents.

    So you agree that government is a necessity, and it follows that government needs to be funded. You individually don't get to decide what level of funding is necessary. Tough *. End of story.

    The last I checked, your life, liberty and property are not safe in Somalia.

    IOW, you can't have your cake and eat it. Maybe you'll finally figure why Somalia gets brought up every time batshit crazy libertarians rail about taxes.

  • User profile image
    DaveWill2

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    You can't "get competitive" on corporation tax when the corporation tax Apple are currently paying on 30% of their world wide profit going through this tax scam is paying ZERO PERCENT corporation tax globally.

    There is a balance. Your subsequent comment regarding the cost of liberty is a key driver in the balance. The US is one of the most stable economic environments within which a corporation can operate. To go through the trouble of setting up AOI and keeping it legal (loose term) all these years, Apple must feel that the taxation is too high even with the stability. Maybe there was some internal discussion those years ago regarding whether they should relocate Apple entirely outside the US or try this type of hybrid approach. Maybe they opted to try the hybrid approach and then if that doesn't work they could reevaluate.

    There are pluses to staying and like you mentioned, security costs, there are minuses to leaving. It really comes down to how much of a difference in the known pluses and minuses there are and then if that difference is significant enough to offset the unknown risks. All those things weigh in to the competitive analysis.

    The carrot, not stick, approach should be the one followed. The US Senate sounds as if they are wielding sticks.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    Except that AOI isn't an irish company. It has zero employees; it has no offices; all of it's money is in US banks; its accountants are in Texas; all of it's decisions are made by US citizens; its only Irish board member hasn't attended a board meeting in 5 years (and before that she only phoned in to the US where the board meeting was held).

    The sole purpose of the AOI company is to funnel and store US profits in such a way as to avoid paying the US corporation taxes on the profits made by Apple, the US company, when selling US-invented products to US citizens out of US stores in the US.

    When Congress invented Corporation Tax, profits like this were clearly intended to be taxed at the standard rate. By lying to the treasury that Apple is somehow not a US company, or that these profits are somehow not US profits, it is perpetrating a massive fraud that puts small businesses and American citizens out of pocket.

    Again, this doesn't appear to be wholly accurate, by which I mean that it isn't accurate at all. Here's the opinion of Brian White, an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets (pulled from Forbes).

    What really astounded us was the inability of Senators such as John McCain and Carl Levin to grasp the concept that Irish subsidiaries such as AOI are responsible for managing Apple's cash as a holding company but the profits have already been taxed in other countries," White said. "Created over 30 years ago, the subsidiaries in Ireland are responsible for distributing "foreign, post-tax income as dividends within Apple's corporate structure" and "under U.S. tax law, these foreign intercompany payments are not taxable." Tim Cook described AOI as a holding company that is treated as a CFC under U.S. law that "performs centralized cash and investment management of Apple's foreign, post-tax income.

    I've added the emphasis. What this basically means is that the committee got it wrong again: the money being funnelled from Apple's US operations into AOI has already been taxed in the United States. So let's recap:

    Apple doesn't employ anyone in Ireland; untrue.

    Apple funnels untaxed profits out of the US into AOI; also untrue.

    Because when Apple doesn't pay its taxes, the American people are the ones who pick up the shortfall.

    Nice bit of emotional rhetoric there, but do you honestly believe that the US government would reduced the tax bill of American citizens if Apple and all the other corporations started paying more tax than they are legally required to do? Or do you think that they would leave things exactly as they are and just drop the extra money into the pot labelled 'government inefficiencies'?

    The problem comes when you start trying to use moral arguments in place of legal requirement. When you start down this road then it never ends. What if employers decided that their moral standpoints prevents them from giving jobs to black people or homosexuals?

    If they want the corporations to pay more tax then change the law. Senate witch hunts aren't the way to do it, especially when no law has been broken.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Ray7 wrote

    I've added the emphasis. What this basically means is that the committee got it wrong again: the money being funnelled from Apple's US operations into AOI has already been taxed in the United States. 

    It paid sales tax (i.e. VAT) in the United States. It paid no corporation tax on profits in the United States.

    Apple doesn't employ anyone in Ireland; untrue.

    No one said that Apple Inc. has nobody employed in Ireland. Apple Inc is entirely legit. It has US staff, and Irish staff, and does real things.

    The concern is with Apple Operations International - not Apple Inc. AOI employs no staff by its own admission under oath to congress.

    Apple funnels untaxed profits out of the US into AOI; also untrue.

    The profits were not taxed. If you know otherwise, please post their tax return to congress. I'm sure they would be interested to know.

    Nice bit of emotional rhetoric there, but do you honestly believe that the US government would reduced the tax bill of American citizens if Apple and all the other corporations started paying more tax than they are legally required to do? Or do you think that they would leave things exactly as they are and just drop the extra money into the pot labelled 'government inefficiencies'?

    I think you have a serious problem understanding how money works. If government income goes up, then either the government can reduce income from other sources (i.e. give you a tax break), can spend more money elsewhere (i.e. give you more services for the same taxes) or can pay down the deficit (which otherwise you and your children are going to have to pay back).

    The problem comes when you start trying to use moral arguments in place of legal requirement.

    For the record, I've never suggested taxes should be tied to morals. I've suggested taxes should be tied to your company's obligation to pay tax as stated in law.

    The people applying morals to taxation are people like you guys who think that "I shouldn't have to pay taxes" or "taxes are too high".

    Bokum.

    Taxes are taxes are taxes. You don't choose not to pay taxes because you think they are too high. You lobby government to reduce taxes in future. In the meantime, suck it up, because taxes are not optional, or only to be paid when they are low enough that you think they are reasonable.

    The US government requires, by law, that US profits made by US companies when selling US goods to US consumers should pay corporation tax at the standard rate. And Apple has chosen to make a claim to the US government that 30% of the profits it made in the US selling US goods to US consumers from US stores in the US are actually profits made by a company with no employees in Ireland.

    This isn't a moral argument. It's a legal one. Apple is lying to congress and the US government to reduce it's tax bill. If a citizen did that, they would go to jail. Hence I would like to see Apple's CFO in a jumpsuit behind bars, and Apple ordered to repay the taxes that it owes to the American people.

  • User profile image
    Srikanth_t

    Reply to EvilDictator and Cbae :

    Do you people actually ever look at the numbers or you just talk in some abstract vaccum all the time ?.

    When I said Libertarians favor strong police and justice system....how did you reckon the we don't want to pay for it?

    If you look at the itemized yearly expenses of the US federal government, the expenses are in the following order ( generalized approximate numbers)

    1. Military/Defense = $1 Trillion approx

    2. Soc Security = $700 billion

    3. Medicare, medicaid = $600 billion

    4. Interest on debt = $250 billion.

    so on and so forth. Literally Trillions being spent. All of the drunken sailors in erstwhile British Empire couldn't spend like this if they wanted.

    I WANT the government to spend on infrastructure....on the awesome interstate system, on providing a strong justice system. If the government actually sticks to the few and ENUMERATED responsibilities.... they should be cutting taxes as the monies required for them would be a fraction compared to the big ticket items of today.

    In fact, by insisting on running a military empire and ponzi schemes..the government is not actually able to spend on infrastucture as the situation stands today.Clearly, the spending is screwed up.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Srikanth_t wrote

    Do you people actually ever look at the numbers or you just talk in some abstract vaccum all the time ?.

    When I said Libertarians favor strong police and justice system....how did you reckon the we don't want to pay for it?

    The deficit is a function not only of expenditure but also of income. The national debt goes UP whenever income is lower than expenditure.

    The way for government to reduce the deficit (and one day, actually pay down some of the debt) is for them to SPEND LESS on stuff or EARN MORE (mainly via taxes).

    We can argue round the houses what particular projects the government shouldn't be spending on. Perhaps we shouldn't have medicaid. Perhaps we shouldn't have such a big military. Perhaps we don't need children to have free education. Blah blah blah.

    But that only tackles the expenditure side of things. The other half of the equation is INCOME.

    When companies like Apple fail to pay taxes to the US, the deficit increases. Because (assuming expenditure is not a function of Apple's payment or otherwise of taxes), if Apple paid more in taxes, the US government could spend that six billion dollars, instead of borrowing a different six billion dollars to spend.

    It's like saying to someone on a $40k salary that they shouldn't be spending like someone on a $70k salary. Spending less is clearly an important part of that equation.

    But if they actually should be earning $50k, but just losing and failing to cash $10k worth of checks that their boss sends them in the post, they need to do that as well.

    Nobody is saying that Apple's failure to pay taxes is the reason the US' deficit is large. No-one is saying it's the root cause of America's financial problems.

    But it is certainly part of the problem.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    Technology devalues human labor. -> Unemployment increases. -> Tax revenues decline. Government is forced to adopt Keynesian economics to fight unemployment. -> Spending increases. -> Debt grows uncontrollably. -> Default on debt inevitable.

    The continued survival of current economic system in the near future is unlikely, thus entire topic of this thread -> entirely pointless in the grand scheme of things.

    Smiley

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Bass wrote

    The continued survival of current economic system in the near future is unlikely, thus entire topic of this thread -> entirely pointless in the grand scheme of things.

    That's what this guy said:

    Generic Forum Image

    Didn't work out.

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    We need a new term, like godwining, to describe when stalin is brought into a thread Smiley

    The issue, for me, is fairness.  The commie theory was that people would contribute to society through their efforts, based on their skills.  Our tax system expects the same kind of contribution, but it turns the labor into cash (taxes) and then back into labor again when the taxes are used to buy stuff.  Taxing is a better way simply because money is fungible and it's more efficient to move money than labor.

    But the goals are the same.  A society needs to be managed and it has needs that, if not met, will result in its collapse. 

    So when some lazy commie doesn't do his share, others follow and soon you end up with a dysfunctional society that nobody trusts.  People are able to see that it isn't fair for the lazy to receive the same rewards as those who are motivated.

    Capitalism had better take note, because while it may be 'legal' to avoid taxes, they are doing the same thing as their lazy communist comrade.  And it leads to the same distrust, apathy, and eventual disfunctionality.

    What AOI and many other offshore tax avoiders are doing is cheating.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , ScanIAm wrote

    We need a new term, like godwining, to describe when stalin is brought into a thread Smiley

    Well firstly, it's Lenin, not Stalin.

    And secondly, bringing him up was specifically related to the completely unhelpful and ridiculous statement "The continued survival of current economic system in the near future is unlikely", which sounds like something out of a communist propaganda video from the early 20th Century, and which was used as a sort of intellectual "get out clause" to ignore the wider discussion about whether it is acceptable for companies like Apple to push $30bn of their US profits into a company with no employees in order to avoid paying taxes on any of it to any government.

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