Rand Paul: Tax Cheats Are Heroes

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An investigation by the Senate investigations subcommittee has found that Caterpillar Inc. avoided paying at least $2.4 billion in taxes since 2000 by transferring money to a shell corporation in Switzerland.

According to libertarian boy-wonder Rand Paul, Caterpillar deserves an award for screwing average Americans.

I think rather than having an inquisition, we should probably bring Caterpillar here and give them an award,” Paul said. “You know, they’ve been in business for over 100 years. It’s not easy to stay in business.” [...]

“It is a requirement that you try to minimize your costs. So rather than chastising Caterpillar we should be complimenting them,” Paul said.

Let’s be perfectly clear here. When a corporation hides billions of dollars in a shell company to avoid paying taxes on it, they aren’t stickin’ it to The Man; they’re stickin’ it to the little people.

Sheltering billions of dollars overseas means there’s less money for healthcare, infrastructure, defense, and education. It’s not as if they’re preventing Uncle Sam from throwing a big party. What they’re doing is depriving American communities of revenue.

For this Rand Paul says they’re heroes who deserve an award. Because real Liberty(!) is screwing over your neighbors, customers, and institutions.

I’m sure Rand believes this would be a winning message in a national campaign but I think that’s a gross misread of public opinion.

This entry was posted in Ethics, Rand Paul, Taxes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Al Iriberri

    So low-earners not subject to income tax = leeches. Corporations that are subject to taxes, but evade them illegally = heroes. Got it.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Now you understand how things work in the libertarian utopia.

  • Draxiar

    So due to the Caterpillar corporation not paying their taxes we have to now not pay Rand Paul. How’s that Randy? Does that work for you?

    • Sabyen91

      To be fair pols don’t get most of their money in salary…

      • nathkatun7

        Then let’s stop paying “pols” a dime of my tax dollars! And not just their salaries, but also the salaries of their staff, their congressional junkets, and their health insurance coverage.

        • Sabyen91

          And go with nothing but pay for play? That probably isn’t a solution.

          • Christopher Foxx

            It’s actually pretty much the current situation.

  • D_C_Wilson

    If an individual were caught illegally hiding income, they’d be making an extended stay in the federal gray bar hotel. Since corporations are people, my friend, I assume this means that their entire board of directors, CEO, CFO, and accounting staff will be going to prison soon, right?

    • Christopher Foxx

      I get making corporations. For things to work you need to be able to have individuals shield their personal assets from their business ventures. If every failure or even just downturn in a business meant someone would lose all their personal money it’d be very hard to convince folks to start businesses.

      But just because a corporation can be the legal equivalent of a person in order to have its own money doesn’t me the corporation actually makes decisions. People make decisions, not corporations.

      When a the CEO, CFO, Board and/or other executives make a decision that is financially bad for the company, I’ve got no problem with the company taking the financial hit. But when those folks make a decision to do something that is illegal, then they shouldn’t be able to hide behind the corporation.

      If the CEO decides to spend money the company doesn’t have and the company goes into bankruptcy, I’ve got no problem with the CEO’s not being personally liable to pay off the corporate debt. But if the CEO decides to do have the company do something illegal, then the CEO definitely should be liable, personally.

  • muselet

    The report says Caterpillar paid PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP $55 million to develop the tax strategy. Under thestrategy, Caterpillar transferred the rights to profits from its parts business to a wholly-controlled Swiss affiliate called CSARL, even though no employees or business activities were moved to Switzerland, the report said.

    Emphasis added, because of this:

    Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the subcommittee, seemed to agree. McCain, who did not endorse Levin’s report, said Caterpillar appears to manage important operations from Switzerland, which could justify the tax strategy.

    “In this case, an important factor in Caterpillar’s overseas sales seems to be its independent dealer network, which is overseen and managed by Caterpillar’s subsidiary in Switzerland,” McCain said.

    According to John McCain, CSARL oversees and manages Caterpillar’s international dealers, without any business activities having been transferred to Switzerland. The Free Market really is magic, isn’t it?

    –alopecia

  • mrbrink

    Ethics, man. Ethics and shit.

    This fucking company wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for war profiteering and taxpayer government contracts over the years.

    And then there’s this fucking guy who has raised millions and millions of dollars to elect Republicans over the years(big fan of George W. Bush types)on one hand, while on the other– using his company’s amassed corporate welfare chest and influence to threaten economic turmoil if their demands for lower taxes aren’t met:

    Doug Oberhelman, chief executive officer of the giant Peoria-based maker of construction and mining equipment, protested against the state’s tax and spending policies in a March 21 letter to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat who took office in January 2009.

    “I want to stay here,” the letter said. “But as the leader of this business, I have to do what’s right for Caterpillar when making decisions about where to invest. The direction that this state is headed in is not favorable to business, and I’d like to work with you to change that.”

    These are the modern day kings and tyrants. Pillagers and marauders. Now, can someone write some fucking tax code that disarms this criminal enterprise?

    • Churchlady320

      He can close the plant in IL and get CASH from the federal government to do so. It’s tax free based on accelerated depreciation of the property. So I say – let the workers of the plant BUY it for the write down price because the management undoubtedly has loans and tax credits from IL, has abandoned its workforce – so let them keep the building, machinery, and customers and run it as a worker owned business. But once Caterpiller writes it down, no more charging fair value. THEY declared it was worthless, so let’s take them at their word and give the written off taxpayer supported capital goods to those who actually create the wealth – the workers themselves, to run as a union coop. Worked for New Era Window and Door (thought they paid too much) and can work for any other plants we taxpayers have subsidized with the write down.

      • mrbrink

        I like the idea. But they’d probably burn it to the ground to collect the insurance money before they’d go along with empowering workers as owners. I saw management use their 45% stake to crush ESOP at UAL in the late 90s by loading the company up with pie-in-the-sky debt. Minus the squandering of millions by the golden paratroopers sitting atop executive boards like wealth-laundering welfare kings and self-deluded wards of the state, this socialism thing could work.

  • Churchlady320

    This is called “transfer pricing” and is actually egregiously LEGAL. Corporations have done it for decades, avoiding taxes by offshoring profits to other nations, then telling those nations oh mercy no, we earned that in (fill in the nation of choice.)
    Between that and the accelerated depreciation that let companies declare a property worthless and close it so that the feds give them CASH back on taxes paid before on profits, these are the two laws that MUST be eliminated. One evades taxes, the other turns productive business into a shutter cash cow that lets the managers waltz away pretending they made millions when they actually just killed the productivity and people’s lives.
    These two laws HAVE to go and soon.

  • Scopedog

    So…who still wants to “stand with Rand”?