Apple's tax strategy portrayed by Senate subcommittee as a unique 'absurdity'

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  • Reply 101 of 159
    gregordgregord Posts: 36member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

    Actually that discussion hasn't even been had in its proper entirety. To the extent that the question has been asked, it has been primarily focused on whether what Apple is doing is right or wrong. There is a deeper question here of what the role, rights, responsibilities and legitimate, morally defensible roles of the government are. This is basically being ignored and everyone is begging the question on it.


     


    Great point here MJ1970. The hope I have is the ridiculous grandstanding here and elsewhere by our elected officials will be seen as such by the people. The IRS scandal will do much to create an atmosphere of mistrust among the public. The coming obamacare debacles as the exchanges start to be implemented will hasten this lack of trust. I don't cheer for either team, but team blue has done enough damage I would not mind seeing a chastening at the midterms.

  • Reply 102 of 159
    jrobjrob Posts: 49member
    luykx wrote: »
    There's obviously an argument here which goes beyond a "what you (or I) think is wrong". It's a valid discussion, imo. What I do think is odd, is that the focus of the current discussion in congress is primarily aimed at Apple. Although Apple might have "pioneered" some techniques, that doesn't mean they should be a single target of this discussion. The practice among multinationals is obviously widespread.

    Thanks for posting the documentary, I look forward to watching it. I'm aware of Apple's practices, and while I disapprove of the existence of the loopholes used, I don't think Apple is doing anything illegal. Whether it is ethical is a gray area, but in my opinion the only clear-cut unethical behavior in this sphere is using inappropriate influence (such as lobbying, cronyism, revolving door regulators) to influence the legislative process. I don't believe Apple does anything inappropriate in that regard, and even if so, is certainly not even close to being a particularly bad offender.

    I agree it IS curious that Apple is being singled out. I hope it is for positive reasons, like getting people to pay attention. It is my understanding that they pay a higher percentage in taxes than many other similar companies, so while it may be absurd, I don't think there is anything unique about their behavior.
  • Reply 103 of 159
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    No, the whole point is, that these practices are currently outside the reach of being either legal or illegal.



     


    I don't even know what that means.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    If laws are imperfect, which they trivially are, is it just OK to make use of those imperfections? And does that make that legal?



     


    Well, it's true, laws are imperfect and have "loopholes." I don't see that as being relevant to what's going on here. But to your question, I think it depends on the law as to whether exploiting its holes and imperfections is okay.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    That's a moral argument right there which goes beyond whether this government is morally defensible.



     


    You lost me.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    IMO, the deeper questions actually go beyond the roles of government.



     


    What questions are those?


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Whatever you think though of my arguments though, the documentary makes a better case of what I'm trying to argue. It's obvious I'm unable to convince you in any way (one of the reasons is that english is not my natural language), but I do believe there's a valid argument.



     


    A valid argument for what?!


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    In a context which is as difficult like this, where few people actually have sufficient facts to make any argument (which go beyond: "if it's illegal, let the IRS take care of it!"), so every argument becomes "true"-ish. And the majority decides on what it thinks is right or wrong. In a context where a majority don't have all the information, it becomes a Lord of the Flies situation where wrong can become right and vice versa. 



     


    image Are you suggesting there's no way to determine right and wrong? True and false?

  • Reply 104 of 159
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


     


    I don't even know what that means.


     


     


     


    Well, it's true, laws are imperfect and have "loopholes." I don't see that as being relevant to what's going on here. But to your question, I think it depends on the law as to whether exploiting its holes and imperfections is okay.


     


     


     


    You lost me.


     


     


     


    What questions are those?


     


     


     


    A valid argument for what?!


     


     


     


    image Are you suggesting there's no way to determine right and wrong? True and false?



    Let's stop the breakdown of sentence by sentence... 1 TS is enough.  ;)

  • Reply 105 of 159
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    Senate hearings and committees are all about grandstanding.  What the head guy waffles on about in his opening remarks is essentially meaningless.  
    It is the new McCarthyism. The Russians aren't the favored target of the exploiters anymore, rather it is anybody or any corporation that is a success story. This whole administration is dangerous to our way of life, I hope people realize this come the next election and vote for people willing to block this non sense.
    We won't have an idea even of how it's going for many days yet.  

    It won't be good for Apple, America or most of the peopl on these forums. Sadly we need massive change in Washington, once you have a permanent committee on anything you have problems. But a Subcommittee on Investigations - this is a joke and has no prospect but to do evil. It is the old adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
  • Reply 106 of 159
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

    Let's stop the breakdown of sentence by sentence... 1 TS is enough.  ;)


     


    If it's just that wrong, it's more confusing (they pretend) to reply in a block.

  • Reply 107 of 159
    luykxluykx Posts: 20member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gregord View Post


     


    I fail to see how .14% controlling 95% of the estimated offshore capital has anything to do with this. This is a characteristic of capitalistic firms that are successful. A huge amount of profit is accrued and is being held by Apple in cash and cash equivalents outside of the U.S. The reason they do not repatriate the cash is that it would be subject to U.S. tax. By avoiding this unnecessary expense they are bringing value to their shareholders. It also indicates that Apple does not see voluntarily giving away its profit to an unproductive enterprise such as the U.S. government as good for business. If you are in favor of giving your profits to the government feel free to lead by example.


     


     



     


    Your quote about "outside of the normal world economy" is puzzling. Do you think only money that is subject to taxation is part of the economy? What is the economy as your refer to it? By this logic all the money that is tied up in cash/cash equivalents is not part of the economy. A basic fact of the free economy is people can do what they want with their money, they do not have to subject it to taxation willingly, or be forced to invest it.



     


    at first paragraph:


     


     


    A characteristic of successful firms perhaps, but in an economy which is dwindling. How long do you think this success will be sustainable? Is it sustainable? You do have a bigger scope than just a successful firm and it's shareholders, right?


     


    Also, the cynicism behind a remark like "unproductive enterprise such as the US government" is scary. That government is not much more than the management (government?) of a firm which is called the US, right? Is the US unproductive as well? 


     


    And finally, there is a very thin line between "not voluntarily giving away its profit" and "doing everything to give as little as profit as possible" (despite making direct or indirect use of facilities paid by taxes/taxpayers - which we all are). This is exactly where one of the moral issues is, imo.


     


    at second:


     


    It's about transparency. If it's not transparent, where does it go? At this point firms are making profits, and as long as that keeps on happening, shareholders will be happy, right? But there might come a point where the economy gets worse and worse, and this once successful tax-avoidance might not even help generating more profits. Now what?


     


    That's the point where these shareholders will probably start to demand more transparency. In your view this might be enough to trust this economic system. This is self-correction, right? The actual underlying moral issue here, might be in the department of "but at what cost to the rest of the global economy?". Do shareholders actually have this broader picture? Firms? Is this where governments and regulations come into perspective? And what would that process of governments and regulations adapting to these new circumstances look like? Kinda like what is happening now? Or are you as naive to assume that the government(s) will actually be able to rewrite the laws before the actual damage has been done? I mean, the US government is as unproductive at writing legislations as you probably think at is. To the extent they actually write it themselves (which they don't). And the EU government, or any other for that matter, has its own challenges. Again, this moral discussion goes way beyond just a government, a single firm, or a .14% of population.

  • Reply 108 of 159
    luykxluykx Posts: 20member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


     


    I don't even know what that means.


     


     


     


    Well, it's true, laws are imperfect and have "loopholes." I don't see that as being relevant to what's going on here. But to your question, I think it depends on the law as to whether exploiting its holes and imperfections is okay.


     


     


     


    You lost me.


     


     


     


    What questions are those?


     


     


     


    A valid argument for what?!


     


     


     


    image Are you suggesting there's no way to determine right and wrong? True and false?



     


    Why are loopholes not relevant when a large part of the discussion, or even most of the people discussing here, are arguing this "McCarthyan" process of shooting at Apple is useless, and they should instead work on closing those apparently not-important loopholes? Are there goalposts being arbitrarily put on some invisible field? It's (the discussion in congress) amongst other things about whether or not Apples practices are moral/legal within the current tax-laws, right?


     


    And the argument is, they're legal exactly because these socalled loopholes, right? How come you can argue at this point that these loopholes themselves are unimportant? You may think they are, because it fits in your argument that government is on the wrong side of the fence. Perhaps you should try to do a silly mental exercise and try to take any position regardless of where a fence may be.


     


    Imperfect laws imply situations where law (or in this case, the IRS) are unable to do what some might argue they should be doing.


     


    And the right/wrong discussion. Well, in the real world, where things like ethics exist and problems where right/wrong are not trivial, or even undefined - a different world than the 1's, 0's, AND-gates and XOR-gates world many in IT seem to dwell -, I'd argue it's hard to decide what is right/wrong. My suggestion is, that this process to determine what is right/wrong is imperfect to begin with.

  • Reply 109 of 159
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Also, the cynicism behind a remark like "unproductive enterprise such as the US government" is scary. That government is not much more than the management (government?) of a firm which is called the US, right? Is the US unproductive as well?



     


    Wow. I'm not even sure what to say to this statement. It is so misguided...I'm just...wow.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    And finally, there is a very thin line between "not voluntarily giving away its profit" and "doing everything to give as little as profit as possible" (despite making direct or indirect use of facilities paid by taxes/taxpayers - which we all are). This is exactly where one of the moral issues is, imo.



     


    What are you saying here?! 


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    It's about transparency. If it's not transparent, where does it go? At this point firms are making profits, and as long as that keeps on happening, shareholders will be happy, right? But there might come a point where the economy gets worse and worse, and this once successful tax-avoidance might not even help generating more profits. Now what?



     


    Huh? Transparency of what?


     


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    The actual underlying moral issue here, might be in the department of "but at what cost to the rest of the global economy?".



     


    What does that even mean?


     


    You seem to be saying a lot of things that have the air of sounding meaningful without actually being meaningful.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Do shareholders actually have this broader picture? Firms?



     


    Probably not, but why does this matter?


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Is this where governments and regulations come into perspective?



     


    I don't see how. In fact, I see this being much worse. This is what Hayek called the "knowledge problem."

  • Reply 110 of 159
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Why are loopholes not relevant when a large part of the discussion, or even most of the people discussing here, are arguing this "McCarthyan" process of shooting at Apple is useless, and they should instead work on closing those apparently not-important loopholes? Are there goalposts being arbitrarily put on some invisible field? It's (the discussion in congress) amongst other things about whether or not Apples practices are moral/legal within the current tax-laws, right?


     


    And the argument is, they're legal exactly because these socalled loopholes, right? How come you can argue at this point that these loopholes themselves are unimportant?



     


    Because the discussion is not so much about so-called "loopholes" as it is about the general issue of whether Apple has done something wrong or even illegal here.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    You may think they are, because it fits in your argument that government is on the wrong side of the fence.



     


    That's exactly my argument in fact.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Perhaps you should try to do a silly mental exercise and try to take any position regardless of where a fence may be.



     


    image


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Imperfect laws imply situations where law (or in this case, the IRS) are unable to do what some might argue they should be doing.



     


    Imperfect in relation to what exactly? What is the standard you're using here? What should the laws be doing?


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    And the right/wrong discussion. Well, in the real world, where things like ethics exist and problems where right/wrong are not trivial, or even undefined - a different world than the 1's, 0's, AND-gates and XOR-gates world many in IT seem to dwell -, I'd argue it's hard to decide what is right/wrong. My suggestion is, that this process to determine what is right/wrong is imperfect to begin with.



     


    In the real world? Is the implication here that I'm not in the real world?

  • Reply 111 of 159
    luykxluykx Posts: 20member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by youngexec View Post


    He won't stand a chance because of the entitlement mentality of American citizens and corporations.

     



     


    Well, at least this goes beyond any content of the argument. Thanks for the probably unintended support, I guess. I don't stand a chance because American citizens have a specific view on how the world should function. Relativity is not part of that specific worldview, apparently. Of course, people are entitled to have such a worldview. I'd actually agree on that point. Ironically. Seeing the current economy, it may not be the most profitable worldview, imo. But that's another discussion.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jrob View Post





    Thanks for posting the documentary, I look forward to watching it. I'm aware of Apple's practices, and while I disapprove of the existence of the loopholes used, I don't think Apple is doing anything illegal. Whether it is ethical is a gray area, but in my opinion the only clear-cut unethical behavior in this sphere is using inappropriate influence (such as lobbying, cronyism, revolving door regulators) to influence the legislative process. I don't believe Apple does anything inappropriate in that regard, and even if so, is certainly not even close to being a particularly bad offender.



    I agree it IS curious that Apple is being singled out. I hope it is for positive reasons, like getting people to pay attention. It is my understanding that they pay a higher percentage in taxes than many other similar companies, so while it may be absurd, I don't think there is anything unique about their behavior.


     


    No thanks. Hope you like it. (And I'm pretty sure you will, btw)

  • Reply 112 of 159
    rickybillrickybill Posts: 15member


    I work for a Fortune 20 company with an 'office' in Ireland also.  I know we're not the only ones.


     


    Also, 2 little words:  TERM LIMITS

  • Reply 113 of 159
    luykxluykx Posts: 20member


    @MJ1970: Just give it a rest. I'm just a EU-commy. End of argument.


     


    No need to try to run circles around my misguidedness. Do you actually want to argue with me, or is this just about showing your buddies at AI how smart you are at not having an argument, but instead telling I'm misguided? I guess having lots of post on your name allows for bullish practices around here. Gosh, you're so smart.

  • Reply 114 of 159
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    @MJ1970: Just give it a rest. I'm just a EU-commy. End of argument.



     


    OK. That explains a lot actually. Thanks.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Do you actually want to argue with me, or is this just about showing your buddies at AI how smart you are at not having an argument, but instead telling I'm misguided? I guess having lots of post on your name allows for bullish practices around here. Gosh, you're so smart.



     


    image


     


    Well, if you don't wish to discuss what you post here with the people who are here, then maybe just start a blog where you can post your opinion and ignore any questions and responses to what you post.


     


    I'm sorry for having the temerity to actually try and question you on what you're saying.


     


    image

  • Reply 115 of 159
    skleinivskleiniv Posts: 37member
    I absolutly loved Rand Paul's defense of American corp minimizing taxes. If the CEO of apple didn't minimize apples taxes, but instead, maximized apples tax picture he'd be one if the worse ceo's ever allowed to serve. Fu*^king politicians! It's not the amt of taxes that is a problem, it's how poorly they manage our tax dollars! Levin & McCain need to focus on the laws they helped create rather than on a company that chooses to utilize the laws as they are written.
  • Reply 116 of 159
    gregordgregord Posts: 36member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


     


    A characteristic of successful firms perhaps, but in an economy which is dwindling. How long do you think this success will be sustainable? Is it sustainable? You do have a bigger scope than just a successful firm and it's shareholders, right?


     


    Also, the cynicism behind a remark like "unproductive enterprise such as the US government" is scary. That government is not much more than the management (government?) of a firm which is called the US, right? Is the US unproductive as well? 



     


    I mean that Apple knows how to allocate its capital better than the government. More importantly, they have the right to the fruits (apples, of course) of their labor. Government is by its nature unproductive, it only exists by taking resources from productive members of society. If a company fails to produce goods and find customers it fails the most basic test of productivity (profit) and goes out of business. Government does not produce, and it continues to exist regardless of having customers and making a profit, therefore it is by definition unproductive. That you think government is the management of a firm called the U.S. makes me think you need to read some Hayek.


     


    The rest of your reply is hard to decipher. Since you did not address my questions directly, I will not answer yours. You do appear to come to this discussion from the perspective of a statist. This is understandable, since you presumably reside in Europe. Being American, I approach things from a perspective of liberty.

  • Reply 117 of 159
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,338member


    A Personnel department is also by nature unproductive by your measures, if "productive" is only going to equate to $ output.  Doesn't mean we can or should do without them.

  • Reply 118 of 159
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post


    A Personnel department is also by nature unproductive by your measures, if "productive" is only going to equate to $ output.



     


    You're dangerously close to sounding incredibly foolish.

  • Reply 119 of 159
    gregordgregord Posts: 36member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post


    A Personnel department is also by nature unproductive by your measures, if "productive" is only going to equate to $ output.  Doesn't mean we can or should do without them.



     


    A personnel department is part of a larger firm. If the firm as a whole fails to make profit, it fails. Government is predominantly personnel departments and your comment does not change the fact that it is not subject to market discipline.

  • Reply 120 of 159
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    If it's just that wrong, it's more confusing (they pretend) to reply in a block.



    sarcasm little buddy.... sarcasm (hence the wink)

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