From EconMatters: The elephant in the room for Donald Trump is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The most profitable company in the world has $250 billion in offshore tax shelters, and if anybody can afford to bring manufacturing facilities back to the United States, it’s Apple.
Why is Trump focusing on the low margin, barely profitable U.S. Automakers, when he instead could go after the biggest and most profitable outsourcer of manufacturing jobs, Apple? You certainly don’t see GM or Ford building a $5 billion spaceship campus because they are making so much massive profits on their operations.
You also don’t see Ford or General Motors making so much money that they have $250 billion hidden away in offshore tax shelters. If you are serious about the policy and consistent in this belief regarding the outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing jobs, Mr. Trump, then go after the real violator in Apple.
Sure, Apple would just use a lot of robots in the manufacturing process, but just like the manufacturing plants in Tennessee, there are administrative, management, and some necessary manufacturing jobs that would be required — even for highly robotized U.S. manufacturing plants.
It is interesting how Donald Trump has basically given Apple a free pass in all this “Make America Great Again” rhetoric. Donald Trump can start by making Apple pay its fair share of corporate taxes, and contributing to paying down our $20 trillion in national debt. As if we cannot make Apple pay its fair share of corporate taxes from their massive profits, so much so that they have $250 billion sheltered offshore, how are we ever going to pay down our national debt, Mr. President?
If we let the most able and profitable corporations in America, the ones most able to pay taxes, off the hook, then why should anybody pay their taxes? I am not for rewarding Apple for basically employing tax evasion strategies when they knew the consequences of this policy beforehand, especially given the government needs the money with an out of control government debt issue.
America cannot afford to let all these tech companies avoid paying taxes on this sheltered money. If they bring it back, make them pay the full tax rate during the period they avoided or sheltered this money, otherwise this sets a bad precedent. Donald Trump comes across as a pandering politician by not holding Apple accountable. He should be consistent and slap a 20% border import tax on every iPhone that comes into the U.S. — maybe this will motivate Apple to move manufacturing facilities out of China.
We should also tax companies more who shelter taxes in Ireland in order to avoid paying the required tax obligations from their massive profits? These American companies all benefit from being heavily reliant on U.S. infrastructure, after all. This is just plain un-American, letting the most able get away with avoiding paying taxes because they have high-priced lawyers that the average American doesn’t have access to, to shelter money and avoid paying their fair share of their tax burden.
Trump should start holding Apple accountable for tax evasion, outsourcing jobs, and having the nerve to build a $5 billion campus while promoting their greedy ways at the expense of “Making America Great Again” that he supposedly so ardently stands for. Slap a 20% iPhone import tax, and I bet things would change really quickly.
Failing to stand up to Apple would expose Trump as just another hypocrite politician who selectively gives corporations free passes when they are lobbied enough by K Street lobbying firms.
Maybe I’m asking too much of Donald Trump, considering he himself won’t release his own tax returns. It is perhaps no wonder he’s sympathetic to tax evasion schemes. Anything short of going hard after Apple will expose Trump as a massive hypocrite.
The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was trading at $131.48 per share on Thursday morning, down $0.56 (-0.42%). Year-to-date, AAPL has gained 13.52%, versus a 2.78% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.
This article is brought to you courtesy of EconMatters.