Ed Driscoll

Not Evil, Just Hypocritical

Now is the time at Ed Driscoll.com when we juxtapose:

The Politico, November 2nd, 2008: “Google executive supports Obama:”

Citing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s technological savvy and technology policies, Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt expressed his support for the Illinois senator yesterday at the Law School.

Schmidt and Obama’s technology adviser Julius Genachowski made a stop in Charlottesville in an effort to garner support for the presidential candidate and his technology policies. The pair spoke on a wide variety of issues from income disparity to using the Internet as a means for civic engagement, but the primary focus was Obama’s technology policies.

Obama “sees technology as the key part of a solution to almost every problem we face,” Genachowski said. “He believes in using technology to make the government more transparent, more participatory and thus more effective.”

CNN, May 10, 2010: “Obama can’t work an iPod. Really?”

He’s the tech president – the one who totes around a BlackBerry, and who gave the Queen of England an iPod as a gift.

But in a commencement address at Hampton University in Virginia on Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama said there’s a darker side to the technologies that have helped build his image as a hip and digitally enabled public servant.

“With iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations – none of which I know how to work – information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,” he said in the address, according to a transcript posted by KTKR.

The Washington Post, October 31, 2010: “Google slashes overseas tax rate through ‘Double Irish’ and ‘Dutch Sandwich’ strategy:”

By employing strategies known to lawyers as the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich,” Google cut its taxes by $3.1 billion in the past three years – moving most of its foreign profit through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda.Google’s income shifting helped reduce its overseas tax rate to 2.4 percent, the lowest of the top five U.S. technology companies by market capitalization, according to regulatory filings in six countries.

“It’s remarkable that Google’s effective rate is that low,” said Martin Sullivan, a tax economist with Tax Analysts. “We know this company operates throughout the world mostly in high-tax countries where the average corporate rate is well over 20 percent.”

The U.S. corporate income-tax rate is 35 percent. In Britain, Google’s second-biggest market by revenue, it’s 28 percent.

Google, the owner of the world’s most popular search engine, uses a strategy that has gained favor among such companies as Facebook and Microsoft. The method takes advantage of Irish tax law to legally shuttle profit into and out of subsidiaries there, largely escaping the country’s 12.5 percent income tax.

The earnings wind up in island havens that levy no corporate income taxes at all. Companies that use the Double Irish arrangement avoid taxes at home and abroad as the U.S. government struggles to close a projected $1.4 trillion budget gap and European Union countries face a collective projected deficit of 868 billion euros, or $1.2 trillion.

“Google paid more than $1.5 billion in U.S. income taxes in 2009, and we expect that number to be even higher in 2010,” said Tom Hutchinson, director of global tax for Google, based in Mountain View, Calif. “We have an obligation to our shareholders to set up a tax efficient structure, and our present structure is compliant with the tax rules in all the countries where we operate.”

Steven Pearlstein, the Washington Post, October 28, 2010:

On CNN last week, Kathleen Parker asked Google’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, about his company’s lack of fiscal patriotism. Schmidt resorted to the disingenuous parry favored by all corporate tax dodgers and cited his solemn, fiduciary duty to maximize returns to shareholders. He also mocked the idea that anyone would expect Google, or any other taxpayer, to volunteer to pay more than the tax laws require.

The Associated Press, September 18, 2008: “Biden calls paying higher taxes a patriotic act:

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans. The Republican campaign for president calls the tax increases their Democratic opponents propose “painful” instead of patriotic.Under the economic plan proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, people earning more than $250,000 a year would pay more in taxes while those earning less — the vast majority of American taxpayers — would receive a tax cut.

“We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people,” Biden said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Noting that wealthier Americans would indeed pay more, Biden said: “It’s time to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

What say you, Google?

(Concept H/T: SDA.)