Don’t Like Tax Competition? Be the Shelter.

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This was pretty much my response upon hearing that the European Union wants Ireland to charge Apple more taxes, as Kevin Williamson articulates it:

We could decry overseas tax shelters for the next decade or two, and change absolutely nothing, or we could — here’s a crazy idea — be the tax shelter. You know what Ireland, Norway, and Sweden all have in common? Within living memory, all were desperately poor. That’s why there are more Irish Americans than Irish nationals, more Norwegian Americans than Norwegians, and more Swedish Americans than Swedes. Hunger will make you get on a boat. Sweden grew wealthy under a form of laissez-faire capitalism strikingly different from the EU norm today, with lower taxes and a smaller public sector than its European counterparts. Norway did much the same thing, helped along by a great deal of oil (which can be both a blessing and a curse). Ireland eventually got sick of being poor and followed a similar program.

As Williamson goes on to suggest, our tax system is shot through with deliberate loopholes and special deals; we should just make it low across the board.  If that requires some reduction in government spending, even better.

I’ve written before that the approach government in Rhode Island takes to economic development proves one thing conclusively:  Progressives are interested in economic development only insofar as it does not interfere with government’s heavy hand.  The want the economy to grow as much as it possibly can… with heavy regulations, taxes, and government spending remaining intact.  That is, those other things come first; they’re prior to the wealth and well-being of residents.

(The same goes for education, by the way.  Labor unions and indoctrination take priority over the prospects of actual students.)



  • Joe Smith

    CEO of Apple interviewed mentioned the company might finally bring back billions in net revenue parked overseas given EU’s push for back taxes.

    But..it would be an interesting test of the laffer curve..drop the tax rate from 35% to say 15% and see what happens in terms of revenue repatriation back to the US..

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