Being Robbed Less Is Not "Aid"

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

From time to time I have expressed my annoyance with Republican politicians who use "tax holidays" and "tax incentives" to buy votes and disguise themselves as advocates of capitalism. That said, such phrases don't hold a candle to one I just ran across from the European Union, which is displeased with the rogue state of Ireland for failing to tax Apple enough:

The European Commission has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13bn to Apple.


In a statement, the EC said the benefit is "illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid." [my bold]
This reminds me of an apt analogy I made recently regarding the U.S. tax code:
Regarding the legal support for (partial) tax avoidance, that is actually one of the most insulting and despicable aspects of our tax code (withholding and "refunds" is another). Such arguments permit almost everyone to pretend to themselves they are getting some kind of deal when, in fact, they are still being robbed. Perhaps Libin might approve of this example: You get held up in an alley and are made to dump [your] wallet into a sack. Then, before you are released, your robber hands you back a twenty and a credit card or two, saying, "I really could use some more money, but feel free to keep this."
The only changes I'd make to this with regard to the egalitarian kleptocrats of the EU would be that, at the end, the thief says something self-congratulatory about how much he helped you out. But then, his boss might show up and take back the rest of the money to be "fair" to everyone else they'd robbed.

Rather than considering, say, even the economic benefits of a lower corporate tax rate (e.g., higher water lifting all boats -- a sentiment that, while not quite capitalist is at least somewhat benevolent), the EU is nattering about inequality. What a great new example we have of egalitarianism not being about helping anyone, but insuring that all are equally miserable.

-- CAV

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