If you google Google, you might learn that this Internet powerhouse once proudly promised to do no evil.
In CorporateWorld, however, ethics are often discarded like an old suit that no longer fits. Thus, this $24-billion-a-year, do-no-evil corporation is now a voracious tax dodger.
A Bloomburg News reporter reveals that Google transfers a big chunk of its annual profits to a subsidiary in Ireland. Then, prior to tax time, Google funnels these profits into a shell corporation in the Netherlands, from which they are bounced into yet another shell corporation in Bermuda. It's not natural beauty that draws Google to the islands, but the fact that Bermuda assesses no taxes on corporate profits. Bottom line: Google escapes paying a billion dollars a year that it ethically owes in U.S. taxes.
Meanwhile, such computer powers as Cisco and Oracle are lobbying furiously to reprise a tax flim-flam that multinational corporations pulled on us during the Bush regime. They were allowed to pay a mere five-percent tax rate on profits they had stashed abroad — in exchange for pledging to invest this money in American factories and jobs. They got their tax break, then reneged on their job-creation promise, with many corporations actually grabbing the giveaway while firing employees.
Now, they're demanding another tax holiday in return for bringing home a trillion dollars in profits they've squirreled away in foreign tax havens.
Amazingly, like rubes at a medicine show, Republicans in Congress are swallowing this same old snake oil, pushing legislation to let super-rich corporations do it to us again.
Before GOP leaders give in, they should recall the words of George W. Bush, the guy who enabled the first scam:
"Fool me once, shame on — shame on you," he said, "Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.
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