On Fair Shares

A facebook friend of mine who happens to be an academic and a liberal (almost redundant, but not quite) linked to an article bewailing the fact that GE has managed to avoid income tax liabilities for several years. I’m particularly impressed by this part of the screed (in bold, for extra added gravitas):

We shouldn’t be firing teachers and taking health care away from children because GE is shirking on its responsibility to pay income tax.

Now, I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure there’s no responsibility to pay taxes that you don’t legally owe. The screed continues:

Of course the company line is that they’re just following the law. But we cannot treat them as mere bystanders.

Um… unless GE is actually writing the tax code (not the same thing as lobbying about it, by the way), they really are “mere bystanders” — interested bystanders, perhaps, but bystanders nonetheless. But that doesn’t matter! The government wants to spend more money, and I have a responsibility (if I’m a GE stockholder) to give it to them, whether I actually have that responsibility or not. But wait! There’s more:

As the Times article reported, General Electric has 975 employees in its tax department who are charged with spending half their time complying with the law and half their time “looking to exploit opportunities to reduce tax.”

The swine! Not salivating at the chance to pay taxes they don’t legally owe! By the way, “looking to exploit opportunities to reduce tax” might be what we call due diligence and taking care of shareholders. Dammit, don’t they realize that they exist as a means of funding teachers, health care, and the travel budget of the Assistant Undersecretary of Commerce?

So what if there are loopholes in the law that GE can exploit? The government’s intention was to take a big chunk of profit from business, and if GE has managed to thwart that, then by golly, they should just give up the scratch because we wants it, we does… nasty G.E.ses.

A sidebar at the site tells us that some 12,500 people have chosen to support this petulant frenzy. Frankly, it kind of makes me want to invest in GE. At least I know they’re trying to pay their stockholders — you know, the people who fund them. Now that’s fair.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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5 Responses to On Fair Shares

  1. The Progressive perceived a wrong, and with all good intentions conceived of a solution. The solution entailed taking stuff from someone else and doing something ‘kinetic’ with it. The unintended consequences of the solution created five more wrongs for the Progressive to perceive. The Progressive conceived five more solutions entailing taking stuff from someone else and doing something ‘kinetic’ with it. I think you know the rest.

    d(^_^)b
    http://libertyatstake.blogspot.com/
    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  2. What an odd coincidence. I *also* look for any opportunity to avoid paying a penny more in taxes than I legally owe. I also spend time working on that, with the goal of oweing zero and getting a $0.00 refund… because that way, all my money stays in my account, earning interest…and not in the IRS accounts earning interest for them. And I have pretty good accountant…even if he smells like ammonia…who works pretty hard to get me there. I advise the Progressive in question to look into this as well. In fact, I advise all Americans to do the same.

  3. If there was a “Like” button, I’d click on it…

  4. Tim Kowal says:

    I don’t know. Seems to me that if conservatives and libertarians are going to attack public sector unions as having too much control over democratic mechanisms (which they should, because they do), they need to be consistent and also attack companies like GE to the extent they likewise exert too much control over democratic mechanisms. A too-powerful special interest group is a too-powerful special interest group.

    On the other hand, Megan McArdle points out that the reports about how much or little GE paid in taxes or what it had to do to achieve it might be mis- or under-reported.

  5. Pingback: QotD — Kardashian Edition? | Professor Mondo

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