View Full Version : Corporate Greed Only Goes So Far... Or Does It?
May 31st, 2003, 2:22am
Offshore Cos. Make $1B in Deals With U.S.
Tue May 27, 3:41 AM ET
By JONATHAN D. SALANT, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Companies that reduced their U.S. tax bill by incorporating overseas did $1 billion worth of business with the federal government last year, an Associated Press computer analysis of federal contracts showed.
The Bermuda-based consulting company Accenture Ltd., a spinoff of the former Big Five accounting firm Arthur Andersen, was the biggest federal customer. It received $662 million in contracts between Oct. 1, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2002, mostly from the Transportation Security Administration.
The engineering firm Foster Wheeler Ltd. received $293.2 million. Ingersoll-Rand Co. Ltd., which boasts that its equipment helped carve Mount Rushmore, received $7.6 million.
During the federal fiscal year that ended in September 2001, companies with offshore headquarters received $846 million in federal contracts, according to the House Ways and Means Committee's Democratic staff.
"It's outrageous that we would do business with these folks," said Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., who has introduced legislation to continue taxing companies that move their headquarters overseas. "They are shirking their citizenship."
The process is known as corporate inversion: A company moves its headquarters — sometimes nothing more than a post office box — to a low-tax enclave such as Bermuda or the Cayman Islands while leaving its operations and employees in the United States.
The Senate twice has passed legislation to prevent the new Homeland Security Department from doing business with companies that relocate overseas, but both times the provision was removed from the final bill by House Republican leaders.
Jonathan Grella, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said the issue should be addressed as part of an overhaul of the tax system. Republicans have blamed high U.S. taxes for the problem.
Corporations that have moved overseas spent $5 million to lobby Congress and the federal agencies and donated $1.2 million to campaigns in 2001 and 2002, according to an AP analysis of data from Political Money Line, an Internet site.
To fight legislation restricting their ability to move offshore, the companies have assembled an all-star team of lobbyists, including former Sens. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., and Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz.; former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer, R-Texas; and former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston, R-La., according to disclosure forms filed with the House and Senate.
Company officials said the tax breaks that result from moving their headquarters overseas keep them competitive.
"We felt that American companies, based upon the tax laws that are written today, are clearly put at an economic disadvantage to foreign companies," said Victoria Guennewig, a spokeswoman for Cooper Industries Ltd., a company that makes electrical products and tools. It moved from Houston to Bermuda in 2002 and received $3.6 million in government contracts last year.
Lawmakers estimate corporations that have moved to low-tax countries cost the U.S. treasury $4 billion a year.
"People should be screaming to the rafters about the hypocrisy involved in corporations moving offshore and then coming back to the taxpayers for a handout in the form of government contracts," said Charlie Cray, director of the campaign for corporate reform at Citizen Works, an advocacy group affiliated with consumer advocate Ralph Nader (news - web sites).
Ingersoll-Rand spokesman Paul Dickard said preventing companies such as his from seeking government contracts would hurt the company's 26,000 U.S. workers.
"They're not necessarily hurting the company as much as they're hurting U.S.-based employees," Dickard said. "That would be unfortunate."
One of the Homeland Security Department's agencies, the Transportation Security Administration, gave Accenture a contract of close to $515 million to handle human resources for the agency's employees, including administering health insurance, life insurance and retirement benefits.
Accenture, which began as the consulting arm of Chicago-based Andersen Worldwide, said the company shouldn't be included on a list of corporate expatriates because it never was a U.S.-based corporation.
But House Democratic lawmakers and others who want to change the law disagree.
"They are a spinoff of Arthur Andersen," said Robert Borosage, co-chairman of the Campaign for America's Future, a liberal research and advocacy group. "Their contracting is significantly done with American companies. If they want to get contracts with the federal government, they ought to pay taxes."
May 31st, 2003, 2:42am
Yes. They take their business out of the US, taking jobs with them, and any economic stimulus those jobs provide. Contributing heavily to our unemployment, poverty, and homeless rate. And what incentive do they get for doing this?, they get a lower cost of doing business, tax breaks (from us) and increased federal dollars for contracted labor and goods.
Why does this happen? Is no one with any real voice paying attention? I am a single mom with a regular 40 hour a week job and even I can see this for what it is, and it stinks
May 31st, 2003, 2:51am
I second that, Ebuzz! This sort of thing makes me so mad, I could just rip my hair out. Especially when so many Americans are hurting for work right now and the economy has slowed to a crawl. It's just disgusting! :mad2:
May 31st, 2003, 2:52am
More Good Information:
Corporate Tax Dodgers
Corporate tax dodger fact sheet
"Sacrifice is for Suckers"
25 Fortune 500 Corporations With the Most Offshore Tax-Haven Subsidiaries
May 31st, 2003, 2:59am
Cancer patients can get thrown in jail for smoking medical marijuana but nothing happens to these a-holes. What is wrong with people?
May 31st, 2003, 3:12am
:cheer4: to iwannawin
May 31st, 2003, 4:24pm
You begin to wonder if the voters really have a say or if they even pay attention.
Even for those of us who give a darn it gets harder and harder to find anyone to take a stand.
Thanks for the posts!
May 31st, 2003, 4:34pm
also hefts up a beer to iwannawin.
disgraceful. am i over simplyfying to say we might as well go ahead and dump money into a separate government agency to investigate wrongdoing and waste of this kind? as autonomous an agency as possible- not entirely unlike the system of Civilian Complaint Boards that exists to police the police? How about a Taxpayers Against Waste and Fraud Review Board run by the taxpayers?
May 31st, 2003, 4:38pm
Yup, there they are moving their corporate headquarters to Bermuda to avoid paying taxes on the money they earn selling goods in the U.S.
Personally, I'm going to start a list. It'll be my personal boycott list. I don't think I want to spend my money to enrich someone who isn't going to pay taxes here on the profits they earn here.
Oh, and I'll buy Stanley Tools. They were going to "move" from Connecticut to Bermuda, but the backlash was so strong, they decided to stay.
May 31st, 2003, 9:15pm
Would you not follow your tax attorney's advice if it was you running those companies? Would you pay more tax than you had to? Would you let your shareholders and employees suffer? Ultimately, would you be less profitable than you could be?
These companies are just doing smart business. The answer is to revise the tax laws.
Let's say you have 5 donut shops. You worked real hard all your life and build up from a kitchen job to owning 5 donut shops. Great! 3 are in one state, 2 in another. You now must chose a state to call headquarters for your small corporation. Where do you have your headquarters? Probably in the state that has less tax, where you will make more profit. Does that make you somehow an evil person to the state you did not locate in? No, just a smart business owner.
Heck, all of us do our income taxes each year and look real hard for tax deductions. Does paying the minimum tax we legally have to somehow make us unpatriotic?
May 31st, 2003, 9:53pm
I know you're looking for me to quote Judge Learned Hand about how there's nothing wrong with arranging one's affairs to pay as little tax as possible. That's the essence of the quote, though it's not exact and I don't even remember the court case name anymore.
And no one has wanted tax reform as much as I have. For many years, I've advocated throwing out our tax laws and starting again. The abuses that Congress has written into the tax code are disgusting. Sometimes I think tax laws are based on how much you gave to the last campaign!
There's nothing wrong with writing tax law so as to achieve a social good. That's why mortgage interest is deductible - because it's seen as a good thing for people to own their own homes. Those are the things that should be debated and discussed in the open and written into the tax code.
But there's something a bit unseemly for a company to be located here in the U.S., manufacture goods in the U.S., sell those goods in the U.S., but turn around and rent a post office box in Bermuda so that they can avoid paying U.S. taxes. What would happen if all corporations in the U.S. rented post office boxes in Bermuda? The tax burden has already drastically shifted toward individuals and away from corporations. What if no corporations paid income tax?
I'm not saying that it's illegal. I just think it's unseemly. I don't happen to like it. Therefore, I will start my own little boycott. I don't ask that anyone else do the same. It just makes me feel better if I boycott companies that I think are operating in a manner that *I* judge to be improper.
June 1st, 2003, 1:23am
I'll agree with unseemly, but if I was in charge of a company and my tax atty said "you can restructure your corporation for a 2% tax savings and it will cost $50,000 in legal fees or you can pay $50,000 in legal fees plus $10 a month for a new PO box and save 100% of your taxes" I'd be renting the box.
If this whole deal is the truth it's simply an unforseen loophole and it should be closed unless for some (pork barrel?) reason we want this rule in effect.
It's a world economy, and we need to make sure America is somewhere the world wants to do business. For example, I like keeping jobs in America but when technical support can be outsourced to India for a 10th of the cost ... if you run a public company it's your duty to be profitable as you can.
June 1st, 2003, 2:16am
Yes, but when you outsource tech support to India, people like my husband (a computer programmer) have that many fewer job opportunities.
June 1st, 2003, 2:44am
All things being equal of course I'd rather see money stay in the country. But all things never are equal. When people in India are thrilled to work ten dollar days, for more hours and making less mistakes that their American counterparts the argument becomes pretty darn convincing.
June 1st, 2003, 1:39pm
I don't agree and frankly, I find that rather offensive. My husband is one of the hardest-working people you will find and he rarely makes mistakes on the job. Even with a computer science degree, a good GPA, and several years' experience, it took him months to find a decent job and even then he had to take what he could get. I assume that you already have work and if so, you probably don't work in the tech sector, because it is a nightmare trying to find work since everyone's decided to cut jobs. Removing them to India makes the situation worse.
Furthermore, I work for a web site, and know a lot of "techies" and without exception they are the hardest-working, most dedicated bunch of guys I've ever had the pleasure of working with. I don't have anything against people in India, but let's not deny American workers jobs simply because company presidents are more interested in buying themselves another jet than paying American workers what they deserve! We depend primarily on my husband's income and I think you should know exactly who it is you're willing to deprive of work in the interest of maintaining the bottom line.
June 1st, 2003, 2:02pm
i don't think it's a question of whether it is legal. it's a question of what is best for america. although i tend to oversimplfy that which is complicated, it is clear to me that multi-billion dollar corporations need to, and can afford to, pay their share of the tax burden, and that we need to keep jobs here in america. how long will the anything-for-the-sake-of-a-dollar, think of the poor stockholders, we have an obligation to them to turn a profit, blah blah blah mentality be tolerated when it is NOT in the best interests of our country. our government needs to be more responsible about who it does business with, and so do our corporations. talk about tides that are turning...i have seen more awareness and more media interest in corporate greed/crime issues in the last few years than in the ten years previous.
when ordinary americans can't find a job because they've all been relocated overseas, and those who do have a job pay taxes to subsidise waste and corruption, and our government is doing business- i.e., giving out the tax money i spoke of- to offshore corporations who are not contributing to the pot-something is very, very wrong.
June 1st, 2003, 2:04pm
:cheer: :cheer: :cheer:
June 1st, 2003, 2:09pm
I didn't say your hubby made mistakes, I said American workers do. They are more sloppy on average than Indian workers in technical jobs. Not an opinion, just a fact. Read the article on outsourcing IT and tech support to India in the recent issue of "Inc" magazine. Interesting yet chilling. Also tells me us Americans need to start working as hard as the rest of the industrialized world or we'll get left behind.
Lots of workers say "corporate executives are greedy and give the shaft to the workers in the interest of profits." In the same vein, it could also be said that American workers are greedy and demand to be paid many times what similar workers make in other countries, while working less hours and fewer days a year. Not to mention, are American workers "greedy" if they work for non-American companies here? I think not.
I'm not forming an opinion here, just being realistic. I guarantee you'd be singing a different tune if your hubby owned a software company that was on the brink of bankruptcy, and the only way to save it was to outsource some work overseas. You'd be crying about how expensive it is to get good work here, and looking tro India for help. I also guarantee you that you already own lots of goods manufactured overseas because some of this stuff represents the best values and cannot be made at a decent price here in the USA. Are you greedy and evil? No, just a smart consumer.
If your hubby wants job security medical is a great place to be these days. If he wants a job he loves and doesn't want to re-train, then staying in computer science might be the best bet but I suggest he buckle down and work twice as hard as the next guy since that field is extremely competitive and there's a zillion people willing to do his job for a lot less.
If you feel strongly about outsourcing, I sugegst you write your representatives and work to legislate it differently. Calling the business owners "greedy" for being efficient at your expense does no good.
If you must know I work in telecom, perhaps one of the hardest-hit sectors. It's scary out there. I am already spending maybe 5 hours a week lining up a new career in automotive in case I get laid off. I was laid off a different company a few years ago. We must accept the fact that the once lucrative technical fields are never going to be the same since us workers are no longer in short supply - and we must accept that we can no longer comand the same top salaries since there are just so many more qualified workers out there now. Supply and demand. I am trying to move to a field where there is more demand. Suggest you two at least consider the same or else be prepared to make less in the future.
Hmm, does that make me greedy, wanting to maximize my salary?
June 1st, 2003, 2:17pm
I don't have a problem with a company who opens more branches outside of the US, outsourcing is just good business. Our world is getting smaller by the day, why shouldn't we branch out? This can go too far of course, using 'sweatshop' type labor that basically takes advantage of people by overworking and underpaying them. As long as it is done fairly, taking into consideration the workers and their economy, I'm behind it. I understand there are people here who can't find jobs - I've been at my horrible job for two years - looking for another job all of that time. I'm no economist, but I don't actually believe that this type of outsourcing is limiting our job rate to such a degree that there are no jobs available for us hard-working Americans because of it. I am sure there are many more factors involved ('course I couldn't really say what they are.)
However, I think that companies that move their 'headquarters' to a PO box elsewhere to avoid US taxes are just plain wrong. This doesn't help the US economy, doesn't help the economy of the country they rent the PO box from and only helps that company spend less on US taxes when they manufacture and sell most of their product/service here in the states.
Plus, the US Government, to protect itself, and to promote the US economy should always give a higher priority to US companies. Isn't that part of their mission? Don't they HAVE to consider minority/women owned, small or disadvantaged businesses first? I always thought that was why they take 'bids' on all government projects so that they can at least consider the small fry for their work.
Well, there is my :twocents:
June 1st, 2003, 2:18pm
"...how long will the anything-for-the-sake-of-a-dollar, think of the poor stockholders, we have an obligation to them to turn a profit, blah blah blah mentality be tolerated when it is NOT in the best interests of our country"
By the same token, maybe what's in the best interest of our country is for some of our workers to stop being so greedy and accept lower wages. That way America could be more competitive.
I mean why is it that when a corporate exec makes a decision to be more profitable he is greedy, yet when a worker changes jobs or negotiates a raise or does whatever to make more money he is "a resourceful hard working American"? Come on, none of us go to work in the morning to do America a favor, we work to make the money we feel we deserve.
You people who decry corporate America are using a double standard. Let's say you work for Acme Widgets, an American company. Tokyo Widgets opens up shop across the street and you can get a job there making more money with more job security. What are you gonna do? Heck, let's say you are looking for a job and get 2 offers (lucky you). Are you "greedy" for taking the one that pays more?
America is pretty darn good at a lot of stuff, but doing low- to mid-level technical work at a bargain price is not one strength of America.
June 1st, 2003, 2:21pm
Yeah, it's disgusting. They can all rot in hell, selfish, pathetic f***'s. Pardon my french.
June 1st, 2003, 2:32pm
Yeah, that's a great solution--tell people to start accepting lower wages in a country with the highest cost of living in the world. That's bloody brilliant. Hey, guess what--people are ALREADY doing that and they still can't get by. I'm sorry, but it's absolute crap to suggest that American workers accept lower salaries when the corporate bigwigs at the top sure as hell aren't going to vote themselves a pay cut. Perhaps if they were to start the trend it would "trickle down" to the masses? Oh no, that would mean having to give up their Learjets and multi-million dollar homes and taking cruises around the world with their 20-year-old mistresses. God forbid we should deny them those luxuries by actually demanding a living wage. Let's just roll the clock back to the late 1800s when workers had no rights and were forced to take whatever the company dished out. I'm sure everyone would be so much happier working in unsafe sweatshops 18 hours a day for pennies.
June 1st, 2003, 3:04pm
we at my job already accept low wages:)
we work for a guy. not a corporation, a guy. there are about twenty of us. he gives us a christmas bonus and a paid vacation that he does not have to. he buys us pizza and chicken and the like on sundays, and we are all on a first name basis. we have one store, a family owned business that has been there since 1961. i am extremely proud to be a worker at, and a supporter of, a good old fashioned small business. this is my choice, there are literally dozens of places i could go to work and earn a better living. but i wouldn't have a better life. no double standard here. the world is what you make of it.
June 1st, 2003, 3:17pm
And the "bonus" of them outsourceing tech support or "customer service" centers to India or whatnot is that half the time their accents are so thick you can't understand the person you are talking to. BIG BIG pet peeve.:twocents:
June 1st, 2003, 7:27pm
I'd love to jump in here.
First for the disclaimers: I do not work as an economist, though my undergraduate hours in economics would qualify me as an economist. Not to mention graduate school. So I know a little about economics. But, more importantly, I've had my own business for the last 23 years, writing computer systems for companies in the Washington DC/Baltimore areas. I've been exposed to a lot of different companies.
Let's look at a couple of things. I think we have some assumptions here that don't really hold up when examined more thoroughly.
The only goal for a corporation is profit.
Bad idea. Sure, you've got to make a profit to stay in business, but the corporation also has a responsibility to the nation. In the beginning (boy, I like the way that starts!:grin3: ), corporations were only granted charters for a limited period of time. It was the intention that there be periodic examinations to see if that corporation was still a good idea for the country/fulfilling it's role as a citizen/etc.
When did this looking at only the bottom line start? I think it was in the 1980s. Then, everyone asked only one thing: did you make more this quarter than you did last quarter? That's very short-sighted. It doesn't take anything else (economic downturns, floods, fires, whatever) into account.
Most of my customers aren't household names, but they realize that they have responsibilities outside just making a profit. They have a responsibility to their employees, their customers, their vendors, etc. They have a responsibility, for example, to run their business in an honest manner. You would think that would be so essential that it wouldn't have to be said. But look at some of the scandals we've seen in the past couple of years: Enron, World-Com, etc. I guess someone should have told them: Don't lie!
So is out-sourcing something to a developing nation always the best idea? Well, while it seems to be a great idea on the surface, is it? The income that could have gone to hire a U.S. worker instead goes to (say) India. (I would hate for anyone to think that I'm picking on India. I'm not - it could be Malaysia or China or any other not-as-developed country.) Let's see, you avoid paying FUTA/SUTA/FICA taxes, worker's comp, any retirement plans, vacation pay, sick pay, holiday pay, etc. Wow! What a savings! Plus, you don't have to worry about plans to unionize or anything like that.
But the money that you pay goes to another country. Does one worry about a balance of trade problem? Does the company have any responsibility to those employees in the case of an economic downturn? Here, they'd be getting unemployment from the FUTA/SUTA you paid. If it's all out-sourced, does that mean you don't have to worry about it?
(As I'm sitting here and writing, I'm hoping that there's no maximum length for messages and worrying that after this one, Brent's going to institute a maximum length!):laugh: Whew! Max length is 12,000! I'm only at 3,345. Lots more room to run my mouth (or fingers, as the case may be).
The U.S. is one of the most innovative of countries, with an enviable GDP and quality of life. That's been good for the growth of businesses and for the people who live here. We did all that without out-sourcing everything. We did all that while depending upon the people who lived here to fill those jobs available.
I can understand how an argument could be made that prosperity growth in the 1990s would not have been as good if US corporations hadn't out-sourced what they did. But today, with millions of fewer jobs available, why has out-sourcing continued even stronger? Shouldn't companies be looking at hiring those who are unemployed/underemployed and located here? They're not for one reason, and one reason only. Greed. They feel no responsibility to their community or their nation.
That's not what I see when I work with my customers or what I have felt as the head of my own company (did I tell you it's 23 years as of today?). I think that a corporation has to have a conscience. And all of my customers do. I have had one who didn't. But they're out of business, through their own fault.
I guess this long-winded message really boils down to one thing: a corporation has to be a good citizen, too.
June 1st, 2003, 7:49pm
Originally posted by Gomez
By the same token, maybe what's in the best interest of our country is for some of our workers to stop being so greedy and accept lower wages. That way America could be more competitive.
More competitive than whom? Let's see, the US has the largest economy in terms of GDP and the largest in terms of purchasing power. What's your standard for being competitive? The US has the largest industrial output, the largest manufacturing output and the largest output of services.
In fact, The Economist puts out a little "Pocket World in Figures" each year. I have the 2003 edition. It ranks global competitiveness. The US is number 1 overall. This ranking, according to the TINY footnotes, is based on "259 criteria covering: the openess of an economy, the role of the government, the development of financial markets, the quality of infrastructure, technology, business management and judicial and political institutions and labor-market flexibility." (Whew, good thing I have a magnifying glass!)
BTW, don't get me started on greedy workers unless you want me to go off on the concessions that the American Airlines employees were making recently, while the executives were going to have some more millions of dollars guaranteed for them. Until it hit the newspapers, of course.
In my experience, every time I've seen employees who knew their company needed help (or a union and an industry, for that matter), they were willing to forego increases or cut wages until times got better.
When I read the papers, it looks like executives who are more likely greedy than the workers.
June 1st, 2003, 9:21pm
Again I issue the challenge:
Why is it that when a "greedy executive" sends dollars out of the country in search of better profits, tries to cut domestic taxes and generally does what she thinks is most profitable it is greed ... but when an average schmoe like you or I buy a Japaneese TV, look for legal tax deductions to take advantage of and haggle with prospective employers to get the most salary we can it is industrious?
I doubt any one of you pay more income tax than you have to, so why can not a corporation change their structure to pay less taxes?
I doubt you pay more for services than you have to when you get a plumber or mechanic or whatever, so why should a company not offer whatever they feel is appropriate as wages?
I bet most of us have a lot of imported stuff in our lives like cars and electronics and fabrics and software and whatever. Does that make us greedy? No, so why should companies make less money than they can just to appease those of us who do exactrly what they do.
Heck, if Ford Motor Company can go out and buy the whole Jaguar company, why can't I buy a single Jaguar? I feel it's no crime, but some narrow minded people give me heat over it. What about the fine men and women who work here in America for foreign companies like Daimler-Benz who owns Dodge and Chrysler? Are these American workers greedy and should be working for American companies instead? Should they wait in unemployment lines until they can work for a 100% American company? Is there even such a thing anymore? What about my small telecom company that sells Nortel (canadian) equipment - are we greedy? Tell that to the US vet who owns my company.
"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
June 2nd, 2003, 12:43am
I must not have been clear in my previous message, since you have misinterpreted it.
I'll try again.
Companies have the option to offer their jobs at the price they feel is fair. And employees have the right to look elsewhere. In "boom" times, like most of the 1990s, you will find that the employer has to pay more than he would like in order to get people to fill his jobs. That's because the demand for the employees was higher than the supply. Now, because those "boom" times have ended, it's a lot easier to get the jobs filled, since the supply of labor is now larger than the demand for it.
However, let's ignore the artificial floor called minimum wage and any laws relating to overtime pay and assume that the employer is offering 100 jobs - 80-hour weeks at $2 per hour. There are two people who are willing to work 80 hours at $2 per hour. So what does the employer do with his other 98 vacant jobs? He could raise the wages to the level where other potential employees would be interested in coming to work for him. But then the employees who signed on at $2 per hour will certainly want an increase in pay. And who could blame them?
The employer is unhappy because he couldn't attract 100 people to work for him at $2 per hour. The question really becomes: does the employer have unreasonable expectations? Especially when we find that the average pay for this type of work is $10 per hour. Who's unreasonable there? The employer or the potential employees?
Let's take the other situation where the employer has 100 people working for him, being paid the average rate for this type of work of $10 per hour. The employer also has to pay benefits of $10 per hour (includes office space, fringes, etc.). He decides that that's too much and fires all of them. He then outsources the job they were doing to, say, Panama (so I pick on another country). There, the employees are paid 50 cents an hour, with no benefits whatsoever.
The 100 now-unemployed people back home are now living on unemployment. They're spending very little in their community, of course, since they aren't making that $10 per hour income. What happens in that community? Well, stores start closing or, at the very least, making less than before because of all the people suddenly out of work. Maybe they have to lay off employees because their profits are a lot lower or non-existent.
It snowballs from there. The florist doesn't do well, since flowers are an item people can get by without buying when economic times are tough. He lays off someone, who then cancels his dental appointment because he feels he can't afford it.
You see? Although your idea of maximizing profit sounds good in theory, there are human consequences that you're failing to take into consideration.
It's one thing when you have a full-employment economy, as we did in the last half of the 1990s. It's something else when you have a trained, capable, unemployed or underemployed stock of people who would love those jobs being outsourced to Panama. And to layoff/fire a stock of people who are doing good jobs in order to save a couple of dollars is very short-sighted.
The bottom line is not everything. Even Andrew Carneige admitted that.
--> Corporations have a responsibility to their communities as well as to their stockholders. <--
June 2nd, 2003, 1:29am
i didn't want to, but now i'm going to tell a true story...
here in the louisville area, there has been much controversy for years over the need for another bridge or two. if you really care, you can do a search for louisville+bridge+I65 and you'll find plenty.long story short, the bridges will finally happen in the next five or so years, our restaurant will be exactly at the foot of the downtown bridge, we will lose a bit of parking lot, and my boss was offered a VERY generous, but optional because our main building could remain, buyout.
around three mill- he's not young- i do part of the paperwork, and what he could have made from the bridge buyout is a large sum compared to what he will earn in his expected life span. the store does not produce THAT MUCH money, but he has some nice properties that he inherited along with the business from his family. he has no children to leave the business to. he does no work. he has a competent, honest manager that runs the business, he sits at his desk, opens the mail, eats and watches tv.
after consideration- i don't blame him for considering, it's a lot of money and the primary goal of a business is profit, he decided not to sell, and i asked him why:
"________ (the head cook, around 70? yrs old?)has been here over thirty years. i don't know if she could find another job.
_________(our manager)she's been here close to thirty years.
___________(our 86 year old wonder woman hostess)you know, no one else would hire her..."
god bless him and anyone else who puts people before profits.
he thought, and decided. as the title of this thread implies, greed only goes so far. the man truly has enough, enough, and is able to value the needs of his employees above a profit. oh, and he added the customers to his list, saying, "some of those people are getting really old, and they've been coming here for forty years, i wouldn't want to let them down."
i love america, i love small businesses, and i love people. the place where I WORK won't be sending our work overseas, or forgetting about the people who made it a success, or not paying its share of taxes. and i wouldn't have it any other way. the people i work for have faces and names and integrity. we are dedicated to delivering a good product in a nice enviroment a reasonable price.
June 2nd, 2003, 1:55am
That's a fantastic story and that's the kind of business owners who made this country what it is today!
Your boss sounds a lot like most of my customers!
June 2nd, 2003, 2:13am
It saddens me to hear that maximising profits is the bottom line. There should be much more to life in America.
June 2nd, 2003, 2:32am
Why is it that when a "greedy executive" sends dollars out of the country in search of better profits, tries to cut domestic taxes and generally does what she thinks is most profitable it is greed ... but when an average schmoe like you or I buy a Japaneese TV, look for legal tax deductions to take advantage of and haggle with prospective employers to get the most salary we can it is industrious?greed - 1: excessive desire to acquire or possess more (esp material wealth) than one needs or deserves 2: reprehensible acquisitiveness; insatiable desire for wealth (personified as one of the deadly sins)
John Q. Public buying a Sony television set, deducting interest payments from income taxes, or wanting to find a decent paying job is not greed, nor is it comparable to big, multi-billion dollar American corporations like Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Halliburton (Dick Cheney's allegedly former company), Bank of America, Boeing, Pfizer, PepsiCo, Viacom, Sara Lee, American Express, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Xerox, Prudential Financial, Arthur Andersen, and of course what was Enron (Bush's largest campaign donor BTW) avoiding their fair share of the tax burden by setting up subsidiaries in offshore tax havens like Bermuda or the Cayman Islands.
It's ridiculous that those who benefit the most from our country and the freedoms, opportunities and the security it provides, can avoid paying their fair share of income taxes. And as if that weren't enough, many of these same companies have contracts with our federal government worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Take Halliburton for example, they're going to make up to $490 million dollars on their contract with the government to fight Iraqi oil fires (how many were there, 10?- I assume the amount will be much less)- and that's just one of the non-competitive contracts they were awarded thus far:
Even if you're quick to dismiss all the recent criticisms of Halliburton, it's ties to Dick Cheney, and all the contracts they've been awarded without the normally required competitive bid process, I find it hard to believe anybody could reasonably justify or rationalize them not paying income taxes on the profits they are going to make off of the war with Iraq. Halliburton will make hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars from the war, yet they're not going to foot their share of the bill.
The net result of tax cuts that over-whelmingly favor the rich, the ever-growing record budget deficit, state and local governments gradually increasing taxes and fees to cover their own shortfalls, and the enabling of American corporations to avoid income taxes, is a greater proportion of this nation's tax and debt burden is being placed on the shoulders of the poor and middle class. It's shameful.
patriotism - n. Love of country; devotion to the welfare of one's country; the virtues and actions of a patriot; the passion which inspires one to serve one's country.
IMHO, it's highly hypocritical (not to mention quite offensive) of the Bush administration and many on the right to so easily label those who critique their policies and question their agenda as un-patriotic, hating America, or as traitors, while at the same time enabling some of their biggest campaign contributors to avoid paying income taxes on their profits- much of it earned through contracts with the federal government and the military. I guess my definition of patriotism is just a little bit different.
Here's a post of yours Gomez from another thread about "Returning wins that you have no use for":
"Anyway, at the very least doing this circumvents the tax system and costs the government money ... and as such I'm entitled to ask people not to do it."
On the one hand, you're entitled to ask people not to return prizes they win to the store because "at the very least doing this circumvents the tax system and costs the government money," yet you don't seem to have a problem with big corporations that stiff our government and our country out of billions of dollars a year "in search of better profits." How would you explain that?
According to many, many sources:
The IRS estimates that the US Treasury loses at least $70 billion a year to offshore corporate tax havens and some put the cost much higher, up to $200 billion a year.
Lawmakers [politicians], according to the article at the beginning of this thread, estimate corporations that have moved to low-tax countries cost the U.S. treasury $4 billion a year.
Quite a large discrepancy.
June 2nd, 2003, 8:43am
:cheer: :cheer: :cheer:
June 2nd, 2003, 9:55am
If you don't want big corporations "stiffing" the gvt out of taxes legally, close the loophole. Until you do that it is no differnet that looking for your own deductions.
I never said pay more tax than you have to, but do think you need to pay all the tax you are supposed to. If your tax advisor said "if you buy a PO box in Antigua I can legally reduce your tax 85%" you'd buy the PO box I guarantee it.
The hipocrisy here is that we as individuals do all we can to get our best bang for the buck and call ourselves positive things like "frugal" and "resourceful" and "savvy" but when a corporation does it and it costs you money they are "greedy." Do any of you knowingly pay more income tax than you have to? I doubt it, so why should a corporation pa more tax than they have to?
Change the tax law. Simple.
Look, I dislike Bush and huge corporations and their good ole boy system more than most Democrats but I'm not going to call anyone "greedy" for acting within the law to minimize taxes. Until we have a flat tax the concept is this: tax laws are put in place, and we work around them to enter into financial activities then benefit us most. If the gvt wants to stimulate or curb activities, tax changes are made.
June 2nd, 2003, 10:38am
A flat tax is harder on someone with a low income than someone with a higher income. If my income is $12,000/year, and the tax is 10%, then I'll be taxed $1,200, which is going to mean a hell of a lot more to me than $10,000 is going to mean to someone who makes $100,000.
June 2nd, 2003, 1:25pm
1) Helen Homemaker does her taxes and says "aha, if I deed my house to my kid as part of the current tax law's quarter million lifetime gift exemption instead of putting it into the will for him to inherit I'll save X% in taxes." Helen's kid still gets the house and the world is no different, but Helen pays less tax. We applaud her for being financially smart.
2) Charlie Corporate looks at the tax books and says "aha, if we rent a PO box overseas and redraw our corporate charter to say that is our headquarters we'll save X% in taxes basd on the current tax laws." Charlie's company still employs people in America and everything is exactly the same, except the corporation pays less tax. We boo and hiss and call Charlie greedy.
IT IS NO DIFFERENT, if you don't like this tax law then take it away.
June 3rd, 2003, 11:18pm
It's not possible to take away the tax loopholes that the greedy corporate executives use. They paid way too much for those loopholes! I'm serious. They pay in campaign contributions and buying tables at the dinner honoring Senator So-and-So. They give $3,000 each to management at their company and expect that that $3,000 will be sent to the Congressman who will make those tax law changes. Yes, it's illegal. But it's done all the time.
The only way to change the tax law is to have an incredible scandal where all the shenanigans are revealed. But we're not even having those (I have theories there, but that would change the focus of this thread too much!)
June 6th, 2003, 9:41pm
We heard what he said about tax cheats overseas and many cos not paying taxes like we all have too. We will never learn > we will vote for idiots like Bush and this bs will still go on