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Corporations are funny creatures. For example, they don’t want to pay their share of America’s tax bill, but then they’re first in line demanding subsidies, grants, and other special handouts from America’s government.
That’s hilarious hypocrisy – but it’s no laughing matter, since it means you and I have to pay more to cover their tax avoidance, while also seeing our public money siphoned out of the programs that we need into the pockets of corporate elites, who most often use the funds against the public interest.
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Corporate tax dodging has become both rampant and ridiculous. Take an increasingly popular scam called “inversion,” which is nothing but a perversion of tax law, business ethics, and common decency. It works like this: By merging with a corporation based in a country with lax tax laws, a US corporation can reincorporate as a citizen of that country and shift its tax obligations there, even though all or most of its profits are made from sales in the USofA.
Walgreens, the sprawling US drugstore chain, is presently trying to use this tax-shifting film-flam by merging with a Swiss-based chain. Rather than paying the roughly $800 million a year tax tab it owes to our nation, Walgreens would pay maybe $600 million to Switzerland. Through inversion (a word that means a reversal of the natural order), the giant corporation would continue to enjoy enormous profits and benefits it gets from the United States, but pay Swiss taxes. Ironically, Walgreen’s crass tax ploy would also give it a competitive advantage over other American drug stores that aren’t so greedy as to abandon America and, as Sen. Dick Durbin put it, “move their headquarters for a tax break.”
To help eliminate this deeply unpatriotic inversion gimmick, contact Americans for Tax Fairness: www.americansfortaxfairness.org.
“Renouncing Corporate Citizenship,” The New York Times, July 1, 2014.