Can you spare a dime for a CEO?
By Jim Hightower
Wall Street buccaneer Carl Icahn has pocketed billions for 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.”
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.