Burger King patriotismBurger King and Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons have officially pulled off the kind of merger that Walgreen couldn’t quite complete with Alliance Boots (i.e., Walgreen’ operations will continue to be based in the U.S.) As a result, the new company is primed to rake in $23 billion annually. Even President Obama’s buddy Warren Buffett is involved, with Berkshire Hathaway handing over $3 billion in preferred equity financing for the deal. The usual suspects are not happy.

Perhaps the funniest quote comes from MSNBC “conservative” Joe Scarborough:

“They’ll keep their money and we all will have to pay their taxes,” an outraged Joe Scarborough said on Monday. “So, you know what I’m going to do so I can afford to pay Burger King’s taxes? I’m just not going to ever go to Burger King again.”

“I think a lot of American should not go to Burger King again if they’re going to cheat,” he added. “It’s wrong for them to do this. They are stealing money from us.”

Why do I get the feeling that if Mr. Scarborough’s accountant were to disclose the host’s tax records for the time he’s been raking in big bucks at MSNBC that viewers would find plenty of “cheating” and “stealing” (if one defines legally keeping more of your own money as “cheating” or “stealing”) going on? Besides, I doubt that Joe Scarborough has purchased a Whopper in the last five years unless someone spread foie gras on the buns. But I digress.

It rarely occurs to leftists and faux conservatives that perhaps the government is spending too much of everyone’s money and needs to curtail its size and scope — as opposed to spending money the nation doesn’t have at a lower rate than “politician X” wanted and then calling it a “cut.”

Instead of asking the question “Why are iconic companies that have been in the U.S. for years suddenly looking for ways to leave?” pundits and politicians want citizens to believe that finding ways to legally keep more of your own money is stealing from someone else.

As Business Insider reported Aug. 25:

The news gives Democrats another talking point. The potential departure of an iconic American company because of “corporate greed” will be trotted out on the campaign trail.

Talking about “corporate greed” may rile people up (How odd that the federal government’s insatiable appetite for money is never framed as “greed”?), but at the end of the day the hard reality is that the United States is no longer the world’s outpost of economic freedom. In fact, in the annual Index of Economic Freedom put out by The Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Wall Street Journal, Canada ranks sixth, with the U.S. embarrassingly holding on for dear life to the tenth spot.

The 2014 Index concluded:

The foundations of economic freedom in Canada remain strong and well-supported by solid protection of property rights and an independent judiciary that enforces anti-corruption measures effectively. While many large advanced economies have been struggling with the heavy burden of government and fiscal constraints that result from years of unrestrained public spending, Canada’s public finance management has been comparatively prudent, with efforts to downsize government made on a continuing basis.

Canada’s economy has been resilient, benefiting from a strong commitment to open-market policies that facilitate global trade and investment flows. Efficient regulations are applied evenly in most cases, encouraging dynamic entrepreneurial activity in the private sector. Steady reduction of the standard corporate tax rate has also contributed to global competitiveness.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to backslide:

Registering a loss of economic freedom for the fifth consecutive year, the U.S. has recorded its lowest Index score since 2000. Dynamic entrepreneurial growth is stifled by ever-more-bloated government and a trend toward cronyism that erodes the rule of law. More than three years after the end of recession in June 2009, the U.S. continues to suffer from policy choices that have led to the slowest recovery in 70 years.

Until Americans stop listening to greasy politicians and start eying ways to increase economic freedom, there will be more well-known companies that close up shop or move overseas. Once you begin telling businesses that their money is your money, it is only a matter of time before the men and women in charge look for friendlier environments. That is not “corporate greed” — that is common sense.

Related: New York Times to Walgreen: You’re unpatriotic if you don’t love high tax rates

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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.

12 comments

  1. Unlike Walgreens, a sizable amount of Buger Kings are franchises; so they will be paying US tax, so when Joe Scarborough boycotts; he’ll in all likelihood be hurting an American taxpayer.

    Walgreens did merge with Alliance-Boots; but decided to stay incorporated here, and their stock immediately lost approx 1/7 of its value as investors wondered if that was the proper move.

    As more and more of these companies leave, or contemplate leaving; one would think Washington would look into why this is happening. They are beholden to do what’s right by the stockholders; not by Washington’s silliness; when iconic companies risk backlash to move; that should tell us something about tax code and business climate here.

    1. Walgreens did merge with Alliance-Boots; but decided to stay incorporated here, and their stock immediately lost approx 1/7 of its value as investors wondered if that was the proper move.

      I should have worded that better. Edits have been made to reflect that. Thanks!

      As more and more of these companies leave, or contemplate leaving; one would think Washington would look into why this is happening. They are beholden to do what’s right by the stockholders; not by Washington’s silliness; when iconic companies risk backlash to move; that should tell us something about tax code and business climate here.

      Agreed.

  2. I don’t eat out much but I think today is a good day to go to BK, then I will buy school supplies to donate to kids from Hobby Lobby. Our government put in the system that gives the advantage to move out therefore it is there fault. What do they expect would any of us pay more if we did not have to? We should be learning from this and making a system that is friendly to business so that they will want to move their business here.

  3. For me, one of the biggest things about this merger is that Tims plans to expand globally. A lot of people up north think that it is one of those distinctly Canadian brands that must be protected at all costs (RIM/Blackberry, Bombardier, Hudson’s Bay, Pizza Pizza, Rogers, etc). Is that going to change?

    1. My first experience with Tim Hortons was maybe five years ago when I flew up to Maine for work. I thought it was decent…but nothing to write home about. Oddly enough, I’m driving up to Maine in the near future for a mini-vacation. Maybe my wife and I will grab a breakfast sandwich, although that might not happen since I like making myself Hampton Inn waffles on vacation. 🙂

      I’m looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.

  4. Someone on Twitchy raised a point that hadn’t seemed obvious until now.

    “Many TV shows have been filming in Canada [and many animated shows have had Canadian voice actors] for years to save money. Have any of these lefties ever been outraged about that?”

    Methinks they love Supernatural, Smallville, and Orphan Black too much to care. When EEEBIL CORPORATIONS do the same thing, it’s something to get riled up over.

    1. Hollywood loves high taxes…unless those taxes affect movie studios. How many movies shoot out of California to take advantage of lower taxes in other states? Quite a few.

    2. And tax exemptions… the biggest reason, I believe, Batman v. Superman will be filmed in Michigan.

    3. “Hollywood loves high taxes…unless those taxes affect movie studios. How many movies shoot out of California to take advantage of lower taxes in other states? Quite a few.”

      I’ve always found it amusing how it’s “bad” for major corporations like Medtronic, Walgreen’s and Burger King to move for tax reasons, but no one ever bats an eye at Hollywood movie studios who film movies and television series outside of California for tax reasons. Places like Vancouver, Toronto, Miami, Atlanta, North Carolina and Cleveland (where the Avengers was mostly filmed) welcome them with open arms, and Vancouver’s film industry has helped the economy there tremendously.

      “And tax exemptions… the biggest reason, I believe, Batman v. Superman will be filmed in Michigan.”

      Bingo. That’s the main reason it’s being filmed there.

      As I’ve said before, taxes are so high in this country that I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to keep more of their hard-earned money. I don’t blame corporations for jumping ship and moving to greener pastures. Idiots like Scarborough and admitted socialist Bernie Sanders can whine all they want, but people like them are the reasons why corporations are leaving the U.S. in the first place.

      I’ve never eaten at Tim Horton’s before, largely because the nearest one is in Tower, Minnesota, over 200 miles to the north of me.

    4. A lot of movies and shows that were set here in Minnesota… weren’t actually filmed here for tax reasons (we can thank the DFL for that). Sure, there are movies like “Fargo,” “North Country” and “A simple Plan” (to name a few) that were actually filmed here, but those are outliers. On more than one occasion, I’ve watched a show or a movie that’s set in Minnesota… and you can see tall, snow-capped mountains in the background. Uh-huh. Looks like home, alright! The only mountains in this state are up by lake Superior, and even then, they’re really not that tall and are more like tall hills.

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