Despite the economic hard times in which we are constantly told we live, Apple have reported monstrous profits, so why aren’t their tax evading strategies being challenged by law makers?
Apple, well known manufacturer of over-priced, slave produced, simplistic technology for those who prefer style over-substance, has reported profits of such an immense size that they are apparently a problem. The huge mound of excess cash, we were quickly told, wasn’t earning the shareholders a return and sympathetic analysts hit our screens asking how Apple would make the cash work for them, wringing their hands at Apple being a victim of their own success and what a terrible position this put the company in. Just how does one leverage $178 billion to earn a profit for one’s shareholders?
Will Apple Buy The Election?
• Candidates face off at Freedom Summit
• Hillary and Jeb still look locked in
• Billions spent on White House race
Well merely mentioning you have it seems a good place to start, Apple’s shares bumping up a clear 5% at the news, but the reality is that there is no problem beyond one of public relations. At a time when so many are facing hard economic conditions in the slow recovery from the banker-induced fiscal crisis that did so much damage world wide, isn’t it interesting that corporations are still making massive profits? Indeed more massive than usual. We were once told corporations are people too. Well those people don’t seem to be suffering quite as much as the rest of us.
Indeed if one were as simplistic as Apple products when analyzing the situation one would note that most US citizens have had their incomes and standard of living reduced whilst corporate wealth and holdings have steadily increased. The speed with which Apple’s analyst friends bemoaned the company’s plight, such as it is, perhaps belying that it is embarrassingly obvious corporations like Apple are simply robbing the nations in which they operate.
That they do all they can to pay as little tax as they can is a matter of record. They take advantage of any loophole or regulatory ambiguity to keep their revenues away from due taxation, with off-shore headquartering and a corporate ownership maze so complex a minotaur would sit in a corner and weep. Of course they do nothing illegal per se, they’re merely doing the best for their shareholders under prevailing conditions, the fact that their actions are morally reprehensible is only an issue if people notice.
$178 Billion In Spare Cash? Awww, Poor You.
Thankfully for Apple’s PR department Americans are busy discussing to what degree local officials in New York should be gambling news reports of impending doom actually warrant preventive measures that would save lives and, indeed, whether or not the police nationwide should just be allowed to shoot whomever they like, whenever they like, for whatever semi-plausible justification they can come up with afterward. The corporate robbery of the nation, apparently, barely registering compared to these weighty issues.
Back in 2013 the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said Apple avoided paying over $9 billion in US taxes in 2012 alone. That’s one just one year in just one country, and Apple don’t only do business in the states, they rob every nation in which they operate using precisely the same methods. Apple’s cash reserves of $178 billion might be based on sales of their good-looking techno-crap but a fair proportion of it is just the result of borderline criminal activity.
Of course corporations in the US gambling laws around the world will not unify enough to close all the loop holes is nothing new, Google have $60 billion lying around they gained in much the same way. Indeed given they spent $16.83 million on lobbying in 2014 it is unlikely US law makers will be in a hurry to do anything to recoup the money their corporate pay masters at the tech giant lifted from the pockets of hard working voters. They get their cut.
With a Presidential election looming that share of ill-gotten gains becomes hugely significant with both sides having spent well over a billion dollars each in the Obama/Romney race back in 2012. Corporate donors are to be wooed not wounded, heralded not hounded, courted not taken to court. Their donations could be key in battleground states where campaign spending will be fierce right the way up to the wire on November 1st 2016. The question is, who is going to be spending that money?
Politicians Need Corporate Money To Win Elections
The Republicans held a “Freedom Summit” to give their potential candidates a chance to air their views and make a case for their being the chosen one. Most of the major contenders turned up, and promptly gifted John Stewart’s Daily Show with a whole host of comedy gold, particularly Sarah Palin who at one point simply gave up on the English language altogether. Not, I should hasten to add, that this was any more amusing than Trump turning up at all. That’s not a gamble Donald, that’s a fantasy, put the comb-over down and step away from the podium.
Last time’s loser Mitt Romney, the shiny and spherical Chris Christie and the shop dummy in disguise Scot Walker all turned up, vampire impersonator Ted Cruz and the moon sized Mike Huckabee also attended, but in the end this was a show without a headliner as Jeb Bush failed to make an appearance. We are told he’s behind the scenes putting together a “shock & awe” campaign for what the bookies already see as the inevitable battle twixt him and Hillary Clinton. Both these two front runners have all but vanished of late as they raise funds for the fight ahead, and, as Bet365 makes clear, each is a safe 11/4 to gain their party’s nomination right now.
Naturally there is no certainty to this. Never more than a gaffe away from defeat both the major parties are aware of the risks that putting all your eggs in one basket so early on, and worse just how divisive and self-destructive protracted infighting over the nomination can be, let alone how embarrassing the fringe lunatics like Palin and Trump can be. This is more of an issue for the Republicans who know they’ve ground to make up despite their mid-term victory. Bet365 has them trailing at 5.4 (2.25/+125) to the Democrats 4/7 (1.57/-175) chances at taking the White House.
Individually those that like internet betting in the US will find at Bet365 you can get 6/5 (2.20/+120) on Hillary being the next President and 9/2 (5.50/+450) on Jeb Bush to follow in his family’s footsteps across the threshold of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There are other candidates still in the running on both sides, but they’ll have to hope for an unforced error from the two out front to stand even the whiff of a chance, and also have a billion dollars to spend doing it. Apple could help there. Apple could buy the $2 billion US election process 89 times over. That they don’t do so probably indicates they effectively already have – both sides firmly in their voluminous pockets.