Burger King merges with Tim Hortons; greasy politicians upset no one likes Whopper-sized taxes

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

When government gets in the gay wedding cake business, it’s a recipe for more rules, regulations

Cake

With gay marriage comes the need for gay-themed cakes. Simple, right? Sadly, no. First there were stories of bakers denying cakes on religious grounds in Denver, and now we have a similar story in Oregon. The bakers who are refusing to bake cakes for gay couples seem to be fighting an uphill battle, but should the government be in the business of telling companies who they must cater to?

CBS Seattle reports:

ORTLAND, Ore. (CBS Seattle/AP) — An Oregon bakery stands by its decision to deny a cake for a same-sex wedding.

The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa tell KATU-TV that their religious beliefs have not changed after Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries determined the Portland-area bakery violated the civil rights of a same-sex couple. Owner Aaron Klein says it almost seems as if the state is hostile toward Christian businesses.

“We still stand by what we believe from the beginning,” Klein told KATU-TV. …

Lewis & Clark law professor Jim Oleske says Oregon is one of 21 states that protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“Based on cases in every other state that has confronted this so far, this business is likely to lose on its claim that it can be exempt from an anti-discrimination law,” Oleske told KATU.

If I owned a bakery and I had a competitor who didn’t like gay people, minorities, Muslims, Asians, white peopleany group that has a population of cake eaters among its ranks — I would make a lot of cash. I would serve all of those groups tasty cakes like they’ve never tasted before and they would return to ‘Dough Ernst’s’ for all their confectionery needs. And then I would say: “God bless the free market!”

If my wife and I walked into a bakery and the owner said, “Sorry, we don’t serve interracial couples,” I’d say, “Awesome. Thanks, jerk.” I’d walk out the door, find another bakery, and then I’d spread the word that ‘Bakery X’ doesn’t take kindly to our willingness to “dilute” our races (or whatever it is that a bigot baker would say).

The free market punishes racism and bigotry, and if the cost of upsetting large swathes of the community is worth it for a company, in most instances they should be able to do that.

Exhibit A, the Bank of Italy:

In the early 1900s, Italian immigrants were denied loans because … they were Italian. A guy named Amadeo Giannini started the Bank of Italy in San Francisco. Without getting into the history of Bank of Italy, let’s just say that in 1930 the bank was renamed Bank of America. The point is, the Bank of Italy — and all the success that followed for Mr. Giannini — would not have unfolded the way it did if other bankers simply loaned money to Italian immigrants. Given a chance to work, the free market will punish bigotry.

Once the government gets its hands in an industry, however, it’s generally a recipe for disaster. Expect all sorts of strange and bizarre lawsuits in the years ahead as a result of the gay wedding cake conflicts. The end result will be a myriad of rules and regulations heaped upon an existing mountain of them.