Apple — just a bad citizen

The New York Times reports that Apple Inc. is both anti-tax as a matter of principle and pays little to the states and countries which permit it to exist. Steve Jobs — Genius© — made it very clear that government ought to serve the interests of his company and that his company lacks a civic conscience:

In one of his last public appearances before his death, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, addressed Cupertino’s City Council last June, seeking approval to build a new headquarters.

Most of the Council was effusive in its praise of the proposal. But one councilwoman, Kris Wang, had questions.

How will residents benefit? she asked. Perhaps Apple could provide free wireless Internet to Cupertino, she suggested, something Google had done in neighboring Mountain View.

“See, I’m a simpleton; I’ve always had this view that we pay taxes, and the city should do those things,” Mr. Jobs replied, according to a video of the meeting. “That’s why we pay taxes. Now, if we can get out of paying taxes, I’ll be glad to put up Wi-Fi.”

He suggested that, if the City Council were unhappy, perhaps Apple could move. The company is Cupertino’s largest taxpayer, with more than $8 million in property taxes assessed by local officials last year.

Ms. Wang dropped her suggestion.

Think different, indeed….

Suicide nets surround an iPhone factory in China

What ? Paul Ryan is a lying son-of-a-bitch?

First Representative Ryan (R-WI) accuses Obama of prosecuting a class war when focusing on tax loopholes:

“We want to make the tax code more fair, more competitive, simpler — and lower tax rates on families, businesses and entrepreneurs so they can compete and create private sector jobs,” Ryan said yesterday in a phone interview. “The difference is, the president likes to invoke tax loopholes as part of his class warfare mantra usually to try to invoke fear, envy and anxiety as a motivator not as a means to lower tax rates to grow the economy.”

Ryan continues by claiming that:

If you lower tax rates across the board, we always see stronger economic growth result across the board. But more to the point, in the 21st century, we are now in a global tax competition. Capital is so much more mobile than it ever used to be and when we tax our employers, our manufacturers, our exporters, our job creators at rates that are much higher than our foreign competitors tax theirs, that’s when we lose. At this time, our tax rates are among the highest in the industrialized world and that’s putting us at a huge competitive disadvantage. We need to get our tax rates down so we can be more competitive.” [emphasis added]

David Callahan of Policy Shop tartly replies with:

Let’s be clear here: Corprate [sic] tax burdens are not higher in the U.S. than in the rest of the industrialized world. In fact, the opposite is true.

While the official U.S. top corporate income tax bracket is higher than most countries, it is well known that few companies actually pay that rate — and, indeed, many pay nothing at all. The General Accounting Office reported in 2008 that two out of every three United States corporations paid no federal income taxes during a given year from 1998 through 2005.

Paul Ryan is well aware that the corporate income tax code is littered with loopholes. As he said in the same interview: “You have protected industries, businesses that have been singled out for favors in the tax code.”

Yet he doesn’t acknowledge how these loopholes make it absurd and misleading to compare official tax rates across countries. The more accurate comparison is the corporate tax burden as a percentage of GDP. And if you look at these numbers, using the OECD’s data tables, you find that the U.S. burden is lower than many other countries.

In 2008, the average corporate tax burden in OECD countries was 3.5 percent. Japan clocked in at 3.9 percent; Canada at 3.3 percent; the U.K. at 3.6 percent; Australia at 5.9 percent; France at 3.5 percent; Germany at 1.9 percent; and the United States just below Germany at 1.8 percent. Only one country had as low of a corporate tax burden as the U.S. in 2008 and that was Turkey. (The tables allow you to analyze different years if you don’t like 2008.)

In other words, the statutory tax rate very rarely equals the effective tax rate. To assess the tax burden a person or entity must pay, one must identify the effective tax rate. The effective tax rate for corporations is not at all high when compared to other countries. In fact, it is low.

Paul Ryan — Fib teller.