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January 22, 2018


I had some difficulty in determining which metaphor to use in describing the recent tweet by Trump to the effect that Apple’s repatriation of $38 billion in taxes on repatriated profits long held overseas and the promise of 20,000 new jobs in America were precursors of future prosperity, all of which he claimed credit for with passage of his “tax bill.” What he described with his typical ballyhoo was nothing to brag about absent further description, and why? Future prosperity for whom, Donald?

First of all, what kind of jobs? Will they be like the Carrier’s jobs he and Pence ripped Indiana taxpayers off for to “bring jobs back” to Indianapolis, which Harper’s Magazine reports were automated one hundred percent? How did the “jobs” he and Pence “brought back” benefit a single human worker who, along with millions of other Hoosiers, paid taxes to outsource their jobs to automation? Additionally, how did a “bring back” of these “jobs” do anything for demand in the state’s economy? Robots don’t go to Walmart or Target, buy Tide, negotiate mortgages, drive Chevrolets or do anything else to bolster the economy other than to pile up profits for Carrier. They don’t strike or join unions or demand pensions; all they do is perform as programmed. No humans need apply, so Indiana’s right to work law is becoming increasingly obsolete. Final result: Hoosiers paid taxes to have their jobs outsourced while their local economy treads water.

Trump should abandon the superlatives and tell us the micros of the situation, like how many of the 20,000 jobs will be automated, how many will be geek researchers, how many will be assemblers whose jobs are not yet automated etc. I concede that 20,000 new jobs performed by humans that pay living wages would be good for both the workers and the economy, but as usual, Trump doesn’t give us any specifics, nor does he tell us whether Apple will negotiate with a state like Indiana for tax breaks, free sewers, rezoning etc., which would be additional cost burdens for inhabitants of the state or states selected.

Let’s discuss Trump’s claim that Apple is repatriating $38 billion in taxes from overseas as a result of the “tax bill” recently passed. That may be true, but the fact is that Apple’s return of $38 billion to our treasury amounts to a net loss of billions for us. How can that be, the reader may well ask? Here’s how. Years ago a Republican-inspired bill allowed American multinational corporations to defer paying taxes on profits made overseas, owing taxes on such profits only when brought back to this country, or “repatriated.” Apple and others have since held billions if not trillions of profits in overseas havens and claiming “home office” sites in Ireland and other such venues while their tax lawyers negotiated with Treasury for lower rates as the price Treasury must pay for their repatriation of profits (something you and I as individual taxpayers cannot do). Trump’s new tax law lowered the rate to be paid for such repatriation of profits, hence Apple’s move. The problem in swallowing Trump’s glowing description of such repatriated profits is that what we could have ultimately collected was billions more than the $38 billion chump change levy Apple pulled on the rest of us with their “repatriation of profits” in yet another disgusting example of corporate welfare now allowed by the Republican “tax bill” recently passed. It is clear to me that the public good would be well served if we were to repeal Trump’s “tax law” and the older statute allowing deferral of taxes until they are repatriated. The rest of us have to pay as we earn, so why their special privileges?

So is Trump a Barnum of circus fame who observed that “There is a sucker born every minute,” or is he off on another of his jaunts to his otherworld with Narcissus and his “What a good boy am I?” retreats into unreality? Give us some specifics on how Apple’s move to repatriate profits and bring “jobs back” (perhaps a la Carrier) are of benefit to us and our treasury, Mr. Trump. So far we “suckers” have only been treated to a Barnum experience with your positive but undetailed framing. Go micro. Lay out the real and detailed consequences of this move by Apple in claiming (with your help) their latest share of corporate welfare. Leave the golf course. Go to work.      GERALD      E

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