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

A recent New York Times article by Andrew Sorkin is unintentionally hilarious from start to finish. He’s upset that a number of companies, such as Walgreen, AbbiVie, Medtronic and many others are all well on their way to moving overseas. I’d look for the Andrew Sorkin piece calling billionaire John Kerry “unpatriotic” for docking his luxury yacht out of state to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes, but I doubt it exists.

Mr. Sorkin wrote for the Times June 30.

Alarmingly, dozens of large United States companies are contemplating the increasingly popular tax-skirting tactic known as an inversion. Under the strategy, companies merge with foreign rivals in countries with lower tax rates and then reincorporate there while still enjoying the benefits of doing a large part of their business in the United States.

In Walgreen’s case, an inversion would be an affront to United States taxpayers. The company, which also owns the Duane Reade chain in New York, reaps almost a quarter of its $72 billion in revenue directly from the government; it received $16.7 billion from Medicare and Medicaid last year.

“It is unconscionable that Walgreen is considering this tax dodge — especially in light of the billions of dollars it receives from U.S. taxpayers every year,” Nell Geiser, associate director of Change to Win Retail Initiatives, a union-financed consumer advocacy group, said in a statement.

Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, called it “unfair and deeply unpatriotic if the company moves offshore while continuing to make its money here, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab for its tax avoidance.

The last time I checked, Walgreen provides goods and services worth at least $16.7 billion to individuals who utilize Medicare and Medicaid — it isn’t simply holding out its hands and asking for taxpayer cash. It would be an “affront” to American taxpayers if Gregory D. Wasson, the chief executive of Walgreen, refused to pay his water bills for a decade and then demanded someone else pay them when he was drowning in debt (i.e., the citizens of Detroit).

In terms of patriotism, Mr. Sorkin and Mr. Clemente of Americans for Tax Fairness have it backwards — the patriotic thing to do is for Americans to protest high taxation. I applaud Walgreen and any number of pharmaceutical companies for packing up and moving overseas. You can only demonize the men and women running businesses for so long before they get fed up and leave. Instead of asking, “How do we make America more attractive to companies on the other side of the globe?” the New York Times throws socialist temper tantrums.

Mr. Sorkin continues:

The current law allows a company to reincorporate abroad if it acquires a foreign company in a transaction that transfers more than 20 percent of the shares to foreign owners. President Obama has sought to raise the threshold to 50 percent. While many Democrats appear to support a short-term solution, some Republicans, arguing that a Band-Aid approach could have unintended consequences, instead want to address inversions only in the context of an overall corporate tax overhaul bill.

Whereas Republicans realize that perhaps the corporate tax code is a nightmare, President Obama just wants to force companies to withstand significantly more pain before they make the decision to move. The beatings will continue until morale improves.

And finally, we have Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois:

Senator Richard J. Durbin, a Democrat from Walgreen’s home state, Illinois, told The Chicago Tribune last week: “I am troubled by American corporations that are willing to give up on this country and move their headquarters for a tax break. It really speaks to your commitment.”

Poor Dick doesn’t realize that American corporations aren’t giving up on America — they’re giving up on guys like him.

If America is no longer capable of being one of the world’s few outposts of economic and political freedom, then corporations have a responsibility to search out countries that are willing to take on the role. If U.S. citizens are unhappy with the business landscape that takes shape in the years ahead, then the blame will rest squarely on the shoulders of men like President Obama and Senator Dick Durbin.

Related: Dick Durbin: If you have a tumor, letting it grow is always an option

Former Ms. Universe spotlights socialist violence as media hide in the shadows for Maduro

Miss Venezuela

Imagine if you will a situation where a conservative administration was running Venezuela. Imagine what would happen if a conservative Venezuelan president faced scores of protests and he used 1/100th the force used by socialist Nicholas Maduro. Now imagine that a former Miss Venezuela and former Miss Universe took to Twitter to protest that force. Would the media pay attention? I think you know the answer.

As it is, Stefania Fernandez Krupij isn’t getting much attention:

She won Miss Venezuela in 2008 and Miss Universe 2009, and now she’s winning the hearts and minds of Venezuelan protesters standing in opposition to socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Stefania Fernandez Krupij’s beautiful visage has been turned into a bloody, hog-tied and disheveled version of her former self for a social media campaign aimed at spotlighting the Maduro regime’s violent crackdown on opposition protesters.

Neither is opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who has been locked up since February 18th on terrorism charges. At least two other mayors have been jailed, Air Force members taken into custody, over 30 people have died and over 1,500 protesters detained.

The Washington Times reports:

A key opposition leader jailed for more than a month by Venezuela’s protest-embattled government says leaders from across Latin America are engaged in a “shameful silence” toward human rights abuses being carried by “paramilitary groups” loyal to Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro.

The U.S. and Canada-backed Organization of American States is also ignoring what Leopoldo Lopez, a former district mayor in Caracas detained since Feb. 18 on “arson and conspiracy” charges, described as a Maduro government crackdown on protestors and intimidation campaign against opposition leaders.

“The [OAS], which represents nations in the Western Hemisphere, has abstained from any real leadership on the current crisis of human rights and the looming specter of a failed state, even though it was formed precisely to address issues like these,” Mr. Lopez wrote in an op-ed published in Tuesday’s New York Times.

Question: Where is Hollywood’s elite? One would think that the situation would be right up their alley. It’s perfect for them. Actors and actresses can get up on their moral pedestal, raise money, moan about oppressed people and then pat themselves on the back for their efforts — all the while knowing deep down that they’ll never have to actually make real sacrifices for the people they claim to care about.

Answer: They’re nowhere. They’re “consciously uncoupled” from the situation because the politics cut too close to home. Hollywood is filled with ideological allies of Bill “socialism works” Maher and Sean Hugo-Chavez-was-my-boy Penn. When they do get the “news” and it’s not from Jon Stewart, it might come from NPR, which is so morally confused that it still maybe-sorta-kinda thinks Maduro might be right when he blames “unscrupulous businessmen” for the disastrous Venezuelan economy.

If you’re looking for a network that has actually allotted a decent amount of time to Venezuela as of late, I’d have to say CNN makes the grade. The rest? Radio silence.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to look and see what Sean Penn has been saying about student protesters in Venezuela. My guess is that I’m not going to find much.

Related: Socialism’s failures on full display in Venezuela; NPR reports on misery, but won’t assign blame

Socialism’s failures on full display in Venezuela; NPR reports on misery, but won’t assign blame


Last June the reports came of Venezuelan efforts to stop toilet paper and diaper shortages by raiding warehouses, and we knew at that time that it was the beginning of the end. The country had long ago swallowed the socialist poison pill, and when the predictable economic diarrhea arrived they were left with a nasty mess.

The protests, the murdered students, the jailed opposition leaders and intimidation — it was all very predictable, because socialism’s historical track record is one of pain and misery.

Today, NPR reported:

Alvaro Villarueda starts his morning the same way every day — putting in a call to his friend who has a friend who works at a Caracas, Venezuela, supermarket.

Today, he’s looking for sugar, and he’s asking his friend if he knows if any shipments have arrived. As he talks on the phone, his wife Lisbeth Nello, is in the kitchen.

There are 10 mouths to feed every day in this family — five of them children. The two youngest are still in diapers.

“The things that are the scarcest are actually what we need the most,” Nello says. “Flour, cooking oil, butter, milk, diapers. I spent last week hunting for diapers everywhere. The situation is really tough for basic goods.”

Again, completely predictable. Yes, over and over again individuals do not get the lesson. Perhaps part of the reason is because news outlets refuse to report the obvious:

As with everything in Venezuela, the reasons given for the food shortages depend on political affiliation. The government says it’s the result of unscrupulous businessmen waging an economic war and hoarding by regular people afraid of shortages.

Those in the opposition blame a system that imposes price controls, the lack of money to buy imports and problems in the supply chain after the expropriation of farms and factories by the socialist government.

Whatever the reasons, the shortages have meant that Nello spends a lot of time in long lines.

“Whatever the reasons”?! It is quite clear that socialism is to blame for Venezuela’s woes, but NPR can’t bring itself to do more than “report” on the symptoms of the disease. It doesn’t want you to know about the disease itself. All it can manage to “report” is a “whatever…” when it comes to the results of spitting in the face of basic economics.

Instead of looking at the very real history of price controls around the world — a dismal track record indeed — NPR would rather shrug its shoulders and essentially say, “Well, it could be those ‘unscrupulous’ businessmen. Who are we to say?”

The sad truth is that if you pick ten random people on the street in any country, then most of them will probably not have a firm grasp on basic economic principles. However, all of them understand hope and will gravitate to the person who instills it in them. When educational systems and news outlets fail to show people the dire consequences of socialism, the stage is set for generation after generation to fall victim to its smooth talking salesmen.

It is a very distinct possibility that Venezuela will lurch further to the left before the country collectively takes part in an ideological course correction. There are countless variables in the air at the moment, but the one constant is the cult-like addiction to the socialist vision by its advocates. As long as Western media outlets continue to engage in mealymouthed coverage of the truth that is staring them in the face — socialism doesn’t work — the cycle will continue to repeat itself.

Related: Venezuela: You can’t have a revolution without a few skidmarks; ignore the toilet paper shortage!

Seattle tries socialism, hopes to duplicate Venezuelan toilet paper shortages

Seattle Socialist

Venezuela’s socialist revolution is working out so incredibly well that Seattle has decided to follow suit. The city recently elected its first Socialist Councilmember, Kshama Sawant, and she’s already out in public supporting the kind of actions that lead to rolling brownouts, toilet paper shortages (which produces more brown in places you don’t want it), and businessmen who literally have to sell their products at arbitrary prices while guns are pointed at their backs.

Kshama Sawant’s first order of business? Letting the world know that private property rights are merely an obstacle to her socialist utopia — she thinks Boeing’s union members should “take over” the factories if they don’t get their way in an ongoing contract dispute.

“The workers should take over the factories, and shut down Boeing’s profit-making machine,” Sawant announced to a cheering crowd of union supporters in Seattle’s Westlake Park Monday night. …

“The only response we can have if Boeing executives do not agree to keep the plant here is for the machinists to say the machines are here, the workers are here, we will do the job, we don’t need the executives. The executives don’t do the work, the machinists do,” Ms. Sawant said.

Sawant calls that “democratic ownership,” topping it all off with: “We can re-tool the machines to produce mass transit like buses, instead of destructive, you know, war machines,” she told KIRO 7.

To the Socialist, Holocaust-denying mullah’s in the Middle East or Chinese state-sponsored hackers should not prompt a nation to provide for the common defense because the “real” bad guys are the businessmen right here at home. The real enemies of America are Americans — particularly those who hold dear to antiquated ideas like “private property” and “individual liberty.” In the Socialist utopia, people should be paid to dig ditches and fill them back up again, and they should be transported to in from work every day packed in buses like glorious sardines. To fight this vision for the world is to fight progress.

To recap: Boeing seeks a contract that would result in work for eight years on the new 777X airliner — provided that new employees go without a guaranteed pension — and if that doesn’t come to pass then the employees should forcibly take over the factories. Got it. It would be smart for Boeing to run — fast — from Seattle, if an absolute disregard for private property is what gets people elected in the city these days.

There are individuals who have zero fidelity to the rights enshrined the in the Declaration of Independence and codified into law by the Constitution, and these days there are enclaves where they have considerable political power. The real enemies of freedom are not the job creators, but those who actively encourage captive audiences to take the law into their own hands, using Orwellian euphemisms like “democratic ownership” to describe theft and criminality.

Gandalf, from ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” says it well: “We’ve been blind. And in our blindness, our enemy has returned.”

Gandalf We have been blind
“We’ve been blind. And in our blindness, our enemy has returned.” — Gandalf

Returned? They never went away.

Perhaps Thomas Jefferson says it best: “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

Venezuela: You can’t have a revolution without a few skidmarks; ignore the toilet paper shortage!

Here we have Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro telling the "unwashed masses" that if they put their fist into a ball and use it correctly, there is no need for toilet paper. True, the soap shortage will have to be figured out with the increased demand, but price controls will fix that, too. Or not.
Here we have Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro telling the “unwashed masses” that if they put their fist into a ball and use the surface area correctly (knuckles are key!), there is no need for toilet paper. True, the soap shortage will have to be figured out with the increased demand, but price controls will fix that, too. Or not.

How greedy are capitalists? They’re so greedy that they would dare to make a profit on something as essential as toilet paper. Or … perhaps not. Perhaps socialists are so economically challenged that they would try price controls on something as essential to odorless living as toilet paper.

I’ve been meaning to write on this subject for quite some time, but I’ve held off because I feel bad doing so. The free market allows me to buy Quilted Northern as well as Charmin. My bottom is so pampered living in the United States that I don’t want to kick a socialist while he’s down. But … what the heck. At some point we all must answer for our own stupidity; life is full of learning moments if we’re willing to listen.

The Associated Press reports:

CARACAS, Venezuela — Police in Venezuela say they have seized nearly 2,500 rolls of toilet paper in an overnight raid of a clandestine warehouse storing scarce goods.

The Thursday announcement on Twitter said that the officers raiding the garage in western Caracas also seized about 400 diapers and 7,000 liters of fruit juice.

Police chief Luis Karabin told Venezuelan news agency AVN that police, acting on a telephone tip, found “merchandise that we know is scarce on the shelves and doesn’t reach the people.”

Toilet paper is hard to find in Venezuelan grocery stores, as are staple food items such as sugar, milk and cooking oil.

What would it be like to live in a society where tipsters are ratting out their friends and family over rolls of toilet paper? I don’t particularly know, although if you pay attention to the news in the U.S. you’ll find that many, many Americans buy into the notion that price controls work.

I’ll leave it to Lee Doran of “How the World Works” to explain in greater detail:

Over and over and over again, politicians and well-intentioned folks act on behalf of “the poor,” in ways that predictably hurt “the poor.” And when that happens, people are ignorant enough when it comes to basic economics to continue to blame businessmen whose crime is apparently trying to produce a product and get it to the market.

Don’t like what you’re seeing in Venezuela? Think it’s funny? It’s actually not that funny because basic economics is not taught in high school. Most people avoid it like I’d avoid eating burritos in Venezuela right now.

America is on a strange trajectory. A frightening size of its population sees nothing wrong with $17 trillion dollar debt toilet drains, trillion dollar deficits and public policy primordial soup messes that come out of Congress crafted with sound economics as an afterthought.

To my fellow Americans, I say: Do not laugh too hard at our friends from Venezuela. There are plenty of stealth socialists right here at home, and listening to them already has us on the path to Skidmark Row. Let’s wake up before it’s too late.