Who has done more for the world: The men and women at Apple, or Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY? Who would you trust with your money: the CEO of Apple or Chuck Schumer? That's what I thought. And that's why Rand Paul wins kudos for publicly sticking it to a bunch of hypocritical politicians.
Who has done more to raise the standard of living for the world’s population: The men and women at Apple, or Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.? Who would you trust with your money: the CEO of Apple or Carl Levin? That’s what I thought. And that’s why Rand Paul wins kudos for publicly sticking it to a bunch of hypocritical politicians.

Ron Paul may be a crazy enough to think that China and Russia would swear off espionage if only the CIA closed up shop, but at least he was sane enough to raise his son Rand with a proper understanding of free market economics.

During Tuesday’s Senate subcommittee hearing on Apple’s offshore tax practices, he lit into Congress and demonstrated that he might have been the only politician in the room with his head on straight.

Behold, the awesomeness that was Rand Paul, Tuesday, May 21, 2013:

“Frankly, I’m offended by the tone and tenor of this hearing. I’m offended by a $4 trillion government bullying, berating and badgering one of America’s greatest success stories,” Mr. Paul said.

“Tell me one of these politicians up here who doesn’t minimize their taxes. Tell me a chief financial officer that you would hire if he didn’t try to minimize your taxes legally. Tell me what Apple has done that is illegal.

“I’m offended by a government that uses the IRS to bully tea parties, but I’m offended by a government that convenes a hearing to bully one of America’s greatest success stories. I’m offended by the spectacle of dragging in executives from an American company that is not doing anything illegal,” Mr. Paul continued.

“If anyone should be on trial, it should be Congress. I frankly think the committee should apologize to Apple,” the senator said. “I think the Congress should be on trial here for creating a bizarre and Byzantine tax code that runs into the tens of thousands of pages, for creating a tax code that simply doesn’t compete with the rest of the world.

“This committee will admit that Apple hasn’t broken any laws, yet we are forced to sit, Apple is forced to sit, though a show trial. … I say, instead of Apple executives, we should have brought in a giant mirror. OK? So we can look at the reflection of Congress because this problem is solely and completely created by the awful tax code.”

Steve Jobs may have been a hard ass (to put it nicely), but here’s what I wrote about him when he passed away in 2011 (has it really been that long?):

For the sake of argument lets say that Steve Jobs was a greedy guy. Let’s agree with the liberal premise that the majority of businessmen are in it for some weird Machiavellian desire to exploit “the masses.” Even if that was the case, at least guys like Steve Jobs have raised the standard of living for hundreds of millions (perhaps billions?) of people! As ReasonTV notes, “Sultans and students now have iPhone 4′s.” …

Steve Jobs never set out to end poverty, but through his inventions the definition of poverty changed. The federal government set out to END poverty, and has spent trillions of taxpayer dollars to do so. How’s that working out? Instead of throwing trillions of dollars at an impossible task, the world would be much better if we left that money in the hands of men and women with a knack for inventing products we didn’t know we wanted.

Instead of seriously addressing the problems that face the nation, politicians host show trials, where they drag in businessmen and berate them for being successful. Apple invented quality products that changed the world, and instead of saying “thank you,” a bunch of self-righteous losers, whose only goal in life is to sit in the halls of Congress for as long as possible, read its CEO the riot act. It’s despicable, but at least there are men like Sen. Rand Paul who are willing to put it all in perspective.

Allahpundit over at Hotair wraps the story up and puts a bow on it:

Apple saved $44 billion since 2009 from tricks like this, which, averaged over four years, means the lost tax revenue last year could have paid for a single day of federal spending. But again — all perfectly legal. Even if you think it shouldn’t be, you run into Paul’s [second point], namely, why not just have a Senate debate on tax reform rather than try to shame Apple with hearings for doing what literally anyone else in their position would have done (potentially at the risk of being ousted by shareholders if they didn’t)? (emphasis added)

If Congress doesn’t like what Apple is doing, they can change the law. Fine. Do that. And then watch what happens when it takes its bat and ball and goes to Ireland or China for good. But what you don’t do is essentially drag in an American success story and demonize its leadership for legally trying to keep as much of its money as possible.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

34 comments

    1. I’ve also never understood why the Occupy crowd and certain politicians demonize people for wanting to keep more of their own money. The government wastes away so much as it is, I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to keep more of their money.

    2. That’s the funny thing: You’re “greedy” if you want to keep more of YOUR money, and you’re a good guy if you like it when the government forcibly robs Peter to pay Paul.

  1. what does the Costco/Walmart comparison tell us?

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s parsimonious approach to employee compensation has made the world’s largest retailer a frequent target of labor unions and even Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who has accused the Bentonville, Ark., chain of failing to offer its employees affordable health-care coverage.

    In contrast, rival Costco Wholesale Corp. often is held up as a retailer that does it right, paying well and offering generous benefits.

    But Costco’s kind-hearted philosophy toward its 100,000 cashiers, shelf-stockers and other workers is drawing criticism from Wall Street. Some analysts and investors contend that the Issaquah, Wash., warehouse-club operator actually is too good to employees, with Costco shareholders suffering as a result.

    “From the perspective of investors, Costco’s benefits are overly generous,” says Bill Dreher, retailing analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. “Public companies need to care for shareholders first. Costco runs its business like it is a private company.”

    that article is pretty old, but it exemplifies the pressure to maximize profit at all costs. if that means exploiting foreign labor and letting a few buildings collapse and/or burn, killing thousands, at least the shareholders will be happy, and that’s all that matters.

    Costco continues to embarrass its competition by showing how there are alternatives to the greed at all costs model.

    1. John Kerry, eh?

      Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is docking his family’s new $7 million yacht in neighboring Rhode Island, allowing him to avoid paying roughly $500,000 in taxes to the cash-strapped Bay State.

      If the “Isabel” were kept at the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee’s summer vacation home on Nantucket, or in Boston Harbor near his city residence, he would be liable for $437,500 in one-time sales tax. He would also have to pay $70,000 in annual excise taxes.

      Rhode Island repealed those taxes in 1993. That has made the state something of a nautical tax haven.

      Regardless, if you don’t like the laws then work to get them changed. I don’t particularly want to get into a debate about “exploited” foreign workers. And I still don’t get how it’s “greedy” for someone to do whatever the heck they want with their own money.

    2. when Walmart pays their employees shit, it’s your tax money that pays for those employees food stamps.

    3. What does Walmart pay the people who bag your food? I’m guessing that it’s probably a decent wage given the skill set required to put eggs and bread in one bag and canned goods in another.

      Side note: Before someone starts with the ‘Doug is dumping on Walmart employees,’ let it be known that I worked the overnight shift at Target for two years and change. Sometimes they’d have me work the day shift for a few days and then switch me over to the night shift. That was fun…

    4. I see, you must think only stupid people work at Walmart. here’s my hunch: desperate people work at Walmart.

      are the workers at Costco stupid as well? or are they just lucky because their corporate leadership is willing to put more money in the pockets of their labor force instead of sucking food assistance from Uncle Sam?

    5. Please see my “side note.” Sorry that you can’t pull that card. No, unlike most liberals I don’t think people are stupid. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. However, I’m honest and I don’t usually resort to emotional arguments. Was I “stupid” when I was stocking shelves? No. But I’m not going to pretend like I should have been making more money per day than the amount of work I could churn out during my shift.

    6. doing the same work pays better at Costco than it does at Walmart. is Costco wrong to better compensate their labor?

    7. No. Costco can do whatever it wants within the parameters of the law with its own money. Walmart can do whatever it wants within the parameters of the law with its own money. If Costco is so great, get yourself a membership and go there. Tell all your friends about it. Tweet and blog your heart out. If you don’t like Walmart, then don’t give it your money. But don’t drag CEOs in front of a show trial to flog them for not doing what you want them to do — again, with their own money.

    8. This might be a case of exploiting American workers, if I recall, Walmart has been sued/accused of holding employees just under 30 hrs a week, which is their cutoff for insurance benefits, and also they pay low. They cap the store employees pay rate by position, so even long term employees are not payed well. In small towns, especially in the south and plains, Walmart has run other business out of town, so the employees don’t easily have other employment options. I’m not at home, so I don’t have the exact info, but I know in 2007ish two Penn State economists studied walmart’s effect on the economy of these towns, and found it was very detrimental to the economic development of the area. Walmart’s long term effects are bad for all of us. Costco has chosen a different model and I believe by taking care of their employees it will benefit their company in the long run. Tracking stocks over the last five years, Costco has outpaced Walmart in recovering from the economic downturn, showing that you can be generous to workers and still benefit the shareholders. Should Walmart be forced to pay higher? No. But I hope Costco or a company like it, blows Walmart out the water at some point, I can only “vote” with my wallet, and I avoid Walmart as much as possible.

    9. DenverPat lands a devastating blow! Ouch.

      Here’s the key takeaway:

      Should Walmart be forced to pay higher? No. But I hope Costco or a company like it, blows Walmart out the water at some point, I can only “vote” with my wallet, and I avoid Walmart as much as possible.

      What irks me is when people start insinuating that maybe the government should step in and say, “Nice business you have there. It would be a shame if something happened to it.” If Costco is great and Walmart sucks, then people have every right to not shop there or to educate communities as to why its business model isn’t in anyone’s best interest.

  2. the government has already stepped in to provide assistance to subsidize what Walmart’s low wages necessitates for its workers, and DenverPat makes good points about the negative community impact of Walmart moving in to town.

    with regards to Apple, tax shelters, or whatever else they employ to minimize their corporate tax burden, absolutely should be a matter for government to investigate. these corporations get to benefit from what we pay taxes for, like roads and police, but they do everything they can to avoid paying their fair share.

    these corporation also benefit from the role our military plays in opening up new markets for its products.

    1. Do you always take your talking points from Elizabeth Warren? She’s the genius who also wants $20 minimum wage. Economics isn’t her strength.

      It’s interesting that it is now Walmart’s fault if they have an employee on food stamps. I guess that would be easier to argue since it gets more complicated when you start breaking it down. Is it Walmart’s job to pay extra for a 30 year old bagger with two kids? I’d say “no.”

    2. is it my job as a taxpayer to provide for infrastructure like roads and the most costly military on earth so corporations can benefit while “legally” evading taxes?

      and yes, it is Walmart’s fault that they have employees on food stamps. Costco shows there are different, successful models that don’t require using government subsidies to bolster private wealth.

    3. Companies pay for those roads and cops you love so much, too. My guess is that Apple has built a lot more roads with its tax obligations than you will in your next 100 lifetimes.

      That aside, maybe you should thank them for raising the standard of living of hundreds of millions of people around the world with its technology.

      Call me when you pay your taxes and say to yourself, “How can I pay more to the federal government?”

    4. [ICIJ] has exposed the secret files of over 120,000 dummy offshore companies that have been used for years to hide the wealth — much of it ill-gotten, all of it tax-dodged — of the world’s rich and mega-rich.

      Look at them, so obsessed with other people’s money that they spend all their waking time looking to procure it for their own purposes. How much better off would the world be if, instead of railing against rich people all day, you and others like you used all that time to convince people that the don’t need to buy the new iPhone just because it’s new (they just plopped down hundreds of dollars a year ago and the iPhone 4 works perfectly fine). What if, instead of rooting around for other people’s money like ant eaters shuffling around their noses in a termite mound, we spent that time doing something nice for our neighbors?

      If someone wants to make their life about hiding money or hoarding it like Scrooge McDuck, let them. How sad is it that people walk around thinking “the rich” determine their destiny. It’s a self-fulling prophecy, is it not? YOU control your destiny. And if more people understood just how much control they have over the course of their own life, there would be no need for them to pay attention to ICIJ’s anger.

      Are you pissed off yet? I am.

      Indeed. You are are an angry man, Mr. Lindorff. I would be too, if my last name was ‘Lindorff,’ but I digress. He exudes anger and envy, and thus creates that reality around him. Once he lets his hate go, he will begin to construct a better world.

      This guy blames Philadelphia’s budget shortfalls on “the rich” who “squirrel away” money. Excuse me while I shake my head. The desperate search to blame anyone — anyone — but ourselves for our problems is extremely sad. I suggest reading up on the life of Walter E. Williams, who grew up poor in Philadelphia, raised by his single mother. There are many life lessons to be gleaned from his life, and they don’t involve getting “pissed.”

  3. it’s curious you always take such issue with what other people get angry about, telling them not to be angry, while you throw tantrums over comic books and obsess over liberal hollywood. in the title of this angry post you call members of Congress hypocritical losers because you’re so angry about government being mean to rich people.

    poor rich people, it’s really unfair that us lowly taxpayers point out how the greed of minimizing taxes and maximizing profits has real, tangible consequences. 30 trillion dollars is double America’s annual GDP.

    here’s the situation in this country: corporate profits up and wages, not:

    In the third quarter, corporate earnings were $1.75 trillion, up 18.6% from a year ago, according to last week’si gross domestic product report. That took after-tax profits to their greatest percentage of GDP in history.

    But the record profits come at the same time that workers’ wages have fallen to their lowest-ever share of GDP.

    with 70% of our GDP fueled by consumers spending, squeezing profit from stagnating wages will have long-term consequences for our economy.

    also, defending greedy people runs counter to the teachings of the Bible.

    1. I am not angry. I might think Congress is filled with losers, but I am not angry with them. I feel sorry for them. And when I do feel angry, I try my best to channel it into more productive emotions. If you could hear my voice you’d know there is no anger in me.

      defending greedy people runs counter to the teachings of the Bible.

      You have no idea what you’re talking about. I am not “defending” people. I am saying “render unto the Walmart CEO” … Envy is just as toxic as greed, and you have that in spades. Keep pointing to the splinters in the eyes of your neighbor while ignoring the logs in your own.

      You can call my posts “tantrums” all you want — it doesn’t make it so. Again, if you were to ever speak to me you’d realize just how calm I am. “Passion” is not “anger.” If you really don’t get the difference, then I’m telling you there is one.

    2. Instead of seriously addressing the problems that face the nation, politicians host show trials, where they drag in businessmen and berate them for being successful.

      you don’t exhibit any real understanding of what the problems facing this nation are, and instead offer up narrow, partisan criticisms while defending the greed-is-good corporate model of obscene wealth extraction on the backs of working Americans, people you demean as not worthy of higher wages.

    3. Zzzz. Excuse me while I laugh. Have you ever had to dig through dumpsters and separate recyclable from non-recyclable trash? I have. Have you ever had to clean toilets that were covered in feces and urine and dried sperm? I have. Have you ever had to transport endless strings of 50 pound dog food for hours at a time? I have.

      I didn’t always work for a newspaper.

      You can say I don’t “understand” the problems facing the nation all you want. I understand them quite clearly. You just don’t like my interpretation of the data, and you don’t like it when I call you out on the anger, envy and jealousy that oozes off the page almost every time you reply.

    4. sorry Doug, doing a few tough jobs does not qualify you for understanding the big National issues we face. and calling your current employer a “newspaper” is being generous, considering why the propaganda rag was established in the first place:

      In a speech on the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Washington Times, Moon explained his motivation behind establishing the paper. “I founded The Washington Times as an expression of my love for America and to fulfill the Will of God, who seeks to establish America in His Providence,” he said.

      “In the context of God’s Will, there needed to be a newspaper that had the philosophical and ideological foundation to encourage and enlighten the people and leaders of America,” he explained.

      In Moon’s analysis, there was an important role for the paper in bolstering support for the continuance of the cold war against Russia. “The Washington Times’ editorials and columns supported the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) at a time when many were trying to block this critical development,” he said.

      “I do not have the slightest doubt that God used The Washington Times to help bring an end to the most pernicious worldwide dictatorship in history and gave freedom to tens of millions of people!” he said.

      so much for objective news reporting.

    5. You’re right. I base my understanding of the public policy issues that face the nation 100% on jobs I had years ago. Hopefully, one day you’ll grow up.

      Go ahead and attack TWT’s founder (a guy who escaped a North Korean prison camp). Attack my place of employment. It says volumes about who you are and what you stand for, ‘Lizard19.’

  4. And so what if someone’s personal wealth is being stored offshore? What is it to you if people want to keep more of their hard-earned money? They’ve no obligation to share it with you or anyone else, for that matter. It’s not your money, it’s theirs.

    As for Wal-Mart, here’s what I tell people who whine about it: if you don’t like, don’t go to it. It’s really that simple.

    1. Like I said earlier, given how the government wastes so damn much of our tax money, I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to keep more of their own money. If that means moving it offshore, then so be it. It doesn’t make one greedy. It means they’re tired of the government wasting it on things that don’t matter. It’s really no concern of yours how they keep it.

      And as for Doug, throwing “tantrums” about comic books, he isn’t. He doesn’t like the direction the companies have taken their characters in over the past decade and is speaking out about it. I feel the same way about the companies and how they’re mishandling their characters.

      Same with liberal Hollywood. I get sick of celebrities lecturing me on how i should live, who I should vote for, what I should eat, etc. I wish they’d keep their opinions to themselves and do what they’re being paid to do: make movies and entertain people.

    2. He’s obsessed with money, Carl. I guess he didn’t read my previous post. It’s not healthy to be perpetually concerned with money, who has it, who doesn’t, why person ‘x’ has more than you, and how the coercive power of the federal government could be used to redistribute it according to the whims of those in power.

    3. Carl, if you don’t like the direction a private comic book company is taking, then don’t buy their product. it’s really that simple.

      and Carl, I’m glad you are so invested in staying out of other people’s money. I guess that means you won’t begrudge teachers and other workers for using unions to try and maximize their earnings, right?

    4. Carl, can you show me on your blog where you said workers shouldn’t have a right to organize? I must have missed that one over at Carl’s Comics.

      And speaking of comics, isn’t this story in your neck of the woods? Imagine finding a copy of Action Comics #1 in your house insulation … and then ripping it. My goodness. Although, ironically, it was ripped because he was making the case that (ta-da!) his aunt shouldn’t care so much about money.

  5. Not to mention that it happened in Minneapolis, and I live in Minnesota (not Minneapolis or St. Paul, though), and you’d think i’d have heard about it here.

  6. I might add that Walmart pays on average as much as most retailers and sometimes more. I think jealousy might be the true issue.
    Do you enjoy the availability of $4 prescriptions? That was because of Walmart. Walmart also gives a significant amount to charity.
    If you don’t like Walmart don’t shop there.

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