Chances are good that you pay a higher percentage of your income on taxes than Apple Inc., the world’s most profitable company (now sitting on over $110-billion in cash). The latest screed on Apple from my favorite hamster cage liner gives a few details on how Apple sidesteps billions of dollars in taxes (not just in the U.S., either).
Apple pays less taxes than you or me? How can that be?
First, the reason The New York Times singled out Apple is because anything Apple gets greater readership. It’s fun to pick on the rich and famous and Apple is both.
Second, any U.S. based company that makes that much money has teams of tax lawyers trying to find all the legal ways possible to keep more of what they earn (rather than give it to the government to waste). That, my friends, is the American way. We don’t take our taxes to H.R. Block and ask them to find a way for us to pay more taxes.
Third, what Apple does to minimize their tax obligation is perfectly legal under current tax laws. They’re merely taking advantage of tax loopholes that we, Apple’s customers, usually cannot afford (but wish we could).
Apple responded by pointing out that the company has 47,000 employes in all 50 U.S. states, is a major job creator in the U.S., and has generated many, many billions in federal and state income taxes (not to mention on shareholder stock gains).
It’s easy to pick on the rich and famous. They’re rich. They can take care of themselves. It may not seem fair that Apple pays a smaller percentage of their income as taxes than average Apple customers, but that’s the way it is.
It’s not Apple’s fault.
All our favorite Mac maker is doing is taking advantage of a rigged system that’s been in place for a long time. Rigged? Rigged to favor those with wealth over those without wealth. In other words, the way it works in the U.S. right now is that the rich get richer. The rest of us have to buy our Apple products with a credit card because we need cash to pay our taxes.
Don’t blame Apple.
If not Apple, who should be blamed for a situation whereby the rich are rewarded more than everyone else because they’re rich?
Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
~ George Bernard Shaw
We elect the very people who create the laws that favor those who have the most influence over those we elect. Because we, the average people, don’t have much direct influence on laws (but more direct influence on lawmakers), we end up getting what we deserve.
The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.
~ Aaron Chatterjee
In other words, if we continue to vote in those who favor those who influence them the most, right or wrong, we get what we deserve.
The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
~ Sir Winston Churchill
If Steve Jobs were around today he would defend Apple’s position, but be quick about pointing out an obvious solution to the problem.