Blog, 317 words

Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime for a CEO?

Corporate honchos say taxes are "forcing" them to relocate their businesses to offshore tax havens.

Jim Hightower

Wall Street buccaneer Carl Icahn has pocketed billions for his himself over the years. But now he says he’s passionate about helping others.

In particular, the corporate-takeover specialist is pushing a charitable cause for people who, through no fault of their own, are being forced out of America.

Are they poor refugees? No.

Icahn weeps for the incomprehensible suffering of a small tribe of Americans, namely: the CEOs of select U.S.-based multinational corporations.

Huh? Yes, Icahn wails in a New York Times op-ed, the poor super-rich chieftains of Pfizer and other profiteering giants are moving their corporate domains into exile abroad. They’ve been driven out of the United States, he says, by “our uncompetitive tax code.”

Money hiding offshore


These American-raised corporations have been raking in enormous profits on foreign sales, but the CEOs have whined that those profits should be exempt from U.S. taxation, since they’re taxed by the countries where the products are sold.

In fact, however, their “double taxation” claim is a fraud: Most of the $2.6 trillion in profits they’re hiding overseas has been stashed in offshore tax havens that often don’t assess any taxes at all.

These rank corporate tax dodgers are starving America’s essential public services of some $600 billion they owe in taxes, yet Icahn sobs that they’re the victims. If these trillions are brought back home, he explains, they’ll be taxed — so, don’t you see, this “forces” CEOs to desert the United States, moving their corporate citizenship to a place that doesn’t make them pay for public services.

Icahn insists that America must let the CEOs “repatriate” their foreign bounty by essentially forgiving the taxes they owe on it. That way, the corporations get the money, and America gets to keep the corporations.

But Carl: Why should we want to keep scofflaw corporations that refuse to pay what they owe to America?

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, and a member of the Public Citizen board.

  • Rusty Wilson

    Unfortunately these robber barons own and control the mass media where most people get their info. The robber barons use the big lie tactic of repetition to make lies the truth. And let us not forget the economists and right wing think tanks that justify anything they do on the basis of a free market. Worse they control most of the politicians that subscribe to neoliberalism and want to defund and privatize all social programs and services. Unfortunately a large segment of the public has, for decades, bought into reducing taxes never looking far enough to see that the biggest tax reductions go to the rich while the meager reductions most people get is offset by a greater reduction of their public services and programs.

    Nothing is going to change and the only way CEOs will bring their corporate domains back home is when the U.S. is reduced to enough of a low wage nation with no social benefits, not to mention a corporate tax haven, to make their return profitable enough. Get ready for the new world order of global poverty and corporate feudalism.

    • SunshineMoonbeam

      If this thread is still open, and we can communicate: I need to talk to you, and I have a free to USA landline telephone. Can we arrange to meet online so that I can have a telephone number from you – if you give me the time and the day you will be here, then perhaps we can arrange it so that the number is immediately withdrawn from the thread? I will be deleting this message as soon as I hear from you as well. So that we can communicate as best we can, without these messages still present online.