What's Going on with Apple's Money?

The big news in the business world today was the announcement by Apple that they were finally giving a dividend ($2.65 quarterly) as well as the opportunity for a stock buy back of as much as ten billion. (Apple holds close to 100 billion in cash.) Apple stock went up around twelve points - nothing really unusual for Apple in this day and age. It has been the most heavily capitalized company in the world, at least in terms of market valuation, for some time now.

Buried more deeply in the WSJ coverage, however, was what should have been the lede - why is Apple keeping so much of its horde of cash overseas?

Apple's comments highlight the issue of the taxes that U.S. companies pay when they try to bring home foreign profits. Critics, like Apple and Cisco Systems Inc., argue the U.S. rate is too high and forces companies to keep and invest that money overseas, instead of in the U.S. On Monday, Mr. Oppenheimer said Apple has talked about the issue with the federal government.

"We think that the current tax laws provide a considerable economic disincentive to U.S. companies that might otherwise repatriate the substantial amount of foreign cash that they have," he said. "That's our view, and we've expressed it."

This seems potentially like a big issue for the Republicans. Over to you... Mitt, Rick and Newt.