Thomas Sowell posted an article at National Review today about the recent Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearings. First of all, I would like to state that I was not even aware that there was a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Secondly, I would like to state that I suspect they are much more active when the Senate and the White House are held by different parties. Since that is not currently the case, I was a bit surprised by one of their recent hearings.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was called before the Committee and publicly chastised for the fact that Apple ‘does not pay enough taxes.’ According to Mr. Sowell, Apple pays $16 million a day in taxes. It seems to me that would be enough for anyone.
The article points out that Apple is not doing anything illegal–they are simply following the tax code and taking advantage of the tax breaks they are entitled to in the tax code. At this point it might be a good idea to remember who writes the tax code–Congress!
The article notes:
Apple CEO Tim Cook was denounced for contributing to “a worrisome federal deficit,” according to Senator Carl Levin (D., Mich.) – one of the big-spending liberals in Congress who has had a lot more to do with creating that deficit than any private citizen has.
Therein lies the problem–it is easier to blame a successful businessman for the deficit than to take actual steps to correct the spending addiction of Congress and the current President.
The article points out:
What is a tax “loophole”? It is a provision in the law that allows an individual or an organization to pay less in taxes than they would be required to pay otherwise. Since Congress puts these provisions in the law, it is a little much when members of Congress denounce people who use those provisions to reduce their taxes.
If such provisions are bad, then members of Congress should blame themselves and repeal the provisions. Words like “gimmicks” and “loopholes” suggest that people are doing something wrong when they don’t pay any more in taxes than the law requires.
Are people who buy homes and deduct the interest they pay on their mortgages when filing their tax returns using a “gimmick” or a “loophole”? Or are only other people’s deductions to be depicted as somehow wrong, while our own are OK?
Next year when you fill out your tax return, think about your own ‘loopholes’? Is your home mortgage deduction a ‘loophole’? If you live in a state with a substantial personal income tax that you deduct, is that a ‘loophole’?
What happened in the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations was a example of the government publicly bullying a law-abiding citizen. That is not a good direction for the country to be heading.
The article concludes:
No American government can take away all our freedoms at one time. But a slow and steady erosion of freedom can accomplish the same thing on the installment plan. We have already gone too far down that road. F. A. Hayek called it “the road to serfdom.” How far we continue down that road depends on whether we keep our eye on the ball — freedom — or allow ourselves to be distracted by predatory demagogues like Senator Carl Levin.