Amnesty is a dirty word only when applied to people


Critics of providing some kind of pathway to legal residence, however minimal, for the undocumented immigrants in the US are quick to scream ‘Amnesty!’ whenever any such proposal is made. But they do not utter a peep when wealthy companies seek amnesty for their offshore assets. Many US companies have shifted their operations to other countries thus enabling them to take advantage of cheap labor and avoid paying US taxes. They also use the tactic of ‘inversion’ where they will buy a small company in a low tax country and make that company their nominal parent company with headquarters in that country, even though nothing actually has changed except for the filing of some paperwork. This too enables them to avoid paying US taxes since they are now a ‘foreign’ company. The only catch for them is that in both cases, if the profits are brought back into the US, taxes will have to be paid.

As a result, as Jon Schwarz writes, they have a staggering $2.4 trillion in profits stashed away overseas. They would like to bring that money back but of course don’t want to pay taxes on it because paying taxes is for losers like us. So they want the US government to grant them – you guessed it – an amnesty that would enable them to bring the money back at a much lower tax rate. They managed to get one amnesty back in 2004 and now are seeking to drink from that same trough again.

Donald Trump, who promised over and over to punish those US companies who exploited loopholes to shift jobs and money overseas, recently met with the heads of companies that have $560 billion of those overseas profits and you can bet that this item was high on the agenda. These companies claim that enabling them to bring the money back will increase jobs in the US and Trump will use that excuse to justify this amnesty but in 2004 those companies actually cut jobs and expenditures on research and development.

So brace yourself for a massive amnesty for rich companies even as poor people are rounded up and deported because amnesty is a dirty word when it comes to them.

That is not the only sweetheart deal that Trump will likely give to the wealthy. David Dayen writes that Wells Fargo, one of the big banks that has been caught in numerous acts of wrongdoing, is also in line to benefit from a Trump administration because he owes them a lot of money.

Yes, Trump is truly an anti-establishment hero, a protector of ordinary people from the rapaciousness of the big banks and corporations.

Comments

  1. Friendly says

    The CEO of Cisco admits (in the interview posted at http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/07/cisco-ceo-if-we-could-repatriate-wed-do-a-combination-of-dividends-buybacks-ma-activity.html) that when Cisco brings their money back, they’re not going to be spending it on R&D, opening new plants, hiring workers, or increasing worker salaries; they’re going to use it for dividends, stock buybacks, and mergers and acquisitions–but, hey, the mutual funds that hold Cisco stock will do well, so that will “make people feel better about their income.” Arrrgh!

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