CSM editors equivocate on corporate taxes


The Christian Science Monitor editorial board spun hard the discussion of corporate tax reform Wednesday, opining under the headline: World class tax evaders need a global response. 

Tax evasion is illegal.  Are the editors implying that the folks at Apple and other firms under recent Senate scrutiny are criminal?  At minimum, The Monitor executes an Orwellian equivocation.  For them, “tax avoidance” is interchangeable with “cheating” and “legal tax evasion.”

The editors opine with unconscious irony, likening the plight of national governments to that of their taxpayers.  They’d have us believe that it’s as frustrating for governments to capture revenue from corporations as it is for taxpayers to navigate convoluted tax codes.  The world’s tiniest violin plays in response.

Waldo Jaquith / Music Photos / CC BY-SA

The Monitor quotes British Prime Minister David Cameron to no effect : “Some forms of avoidance have become so aggressive that I think it is right to say these are ethical issues.” This does nothing to elucidate the actual ethical threshold that Mr. Cameron thinks avoiders have crossed.

Moving on, the editors warn of a pernicious race to the bottom, where, absent a level playing field, corporate tax rates around the world will just be too low.  Then, quoting another British official, they deftly imply a connection between those lower rates and lack of transparency.

The solutions the editors look to are systemic, top down, and require dilligent international cooperation.  In other words, they’re impractical. More of the same nonsense that puts Libya on the UN Human Rights Council and binds Europe to a useless carbon curbing regime while the US and China continue on their merry way.

In an age of highly mobile capital and labor, competition is more a reality than ever before.  Forcing “fairness” by restricting mobility from the top down is patently illiberal.  Instead, policy makers should “reward” corporate winners as Rand Paul urged in a recent Senate hearing.  Whether countries or corporations, let competitors learn from and emulate the most successful, and global revenues–corporate and goverment– will be racing to the top.

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About cogitating duck
I study Christian apologetics at Biola University and occasionally write on ethics, truth, science and politics.

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