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Pay to Play II: The Wrath of Washington

May 24th, 2013 - 8:12 am

Tim Carney:

Senators are angry that tech giant Apple isn’t paying its fair share.

I’m not talking about taxes. This is about campaign contributions and lobbying fees.

An investigation by Sen. Carl Levin and a grilling of Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations were ostensibly about Apple’s low tax bill. But nobody accused Apple of breaking the law. The company moved money around to minimize the tax it owed and then paid the amount the law required. Apple didn’t write the tax law or even lobby very hard to shape it.

And that’s just the problem. The grilling of Apple is best understood as a shakedown by politicians upset with Apple for not playing the Washington game that yields contributions, power, and personal wealth for congressmen and their aides.

Indeed.

I came by this article from John Gruber, who despite his otherwise doctrinaire liberalism starts sounding quite libertarian where Apple is concerned. There’s hope!

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All Comments   (4)
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"Why do you rob banks? Because that's where the money is." They see that Apple has all this cash, and the FedGov wants them some of it. It's as simple as an endless lust for money.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
John was not alone. Most of the technorati that track Apple is on the left and they completely diverged from that in this hearing. I thought I was following streams from any libertarian or fiscal conservative. These are the same crew that felt fine making fun of GWB and would drop plenty of links to disparaging of republicans during the 2012 election. Perhaps now that all of these guys make significant income (Gruber reportedly pulls in around $500k/yr from sponsorships and other sources, http://www.businessinsider.com/this-apple-blogger-makes-500000-a-year-2012-9) maybe they will care more about taxes now.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment

Their "progressivism" is cultural, not policy-driven. So no, they won't change their stance on tax policy. They'll call for higher taxes on the "1%" while they're declaring themselves "sovereign individuals" and moving to Costa Rica.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment

Interesting...these sorts of hearings are just a warning, not the real power play. When Microsoft had this problem, the government used the anti-trust laws to force them into submission. I wonder what they'll try with Apple?

If I were to guess, I'd say that there's going to be a new round of patent legislation coming out of Congress. Although if they really want to force Apple to the wall, Washington will figure out how to target their relationship with the cell services.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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