There have been a number of blockbuster hearings in Washington lately, and I imagine that there are more to come related to the IRS, Benghazi and the DOJ targeting journalists. But there was a hearing yesterday unrelated to those scandals. Lawmakers trotted up executives from Apple to defend their corporate tax structure. While Apple paid $6 billion in taxes last year to the US government, Congress is upset that it managed to use our tax code to legally “avoid” paying $9 billion more in taxes by using offshore subsidiaries. It is important to note that Apple isn't doing anything illegal; Congress is just throwing a temper tantrum that Apple, as a private company, is trying to minimize its tax liability and in order to do so, will not keep all of its foreign earnings in the United States. Why? Because of our tax system and our high corporate tax rates! In other words, the tax system and policies Congress has created is what forces companies like Apple to set up their systems in such a way.
This is where rising GOP star Senator Rand Paul comes in. During that hearing yesterday, he passionately pointed out the fact that we should be celebrating companies like Apple, rather than demonizing them for their success. He then pointed the finger back at Congress and our byzantine tax code. Here's a portion of his remarks:
“I’m offended by the spectacle of dragging in executives from an American company that is not doing anything illegal. If anyone should be on trial, it should be Congress … Instead of Apple executives, we should have brought in here today a giant mirror, okay? So we could look at the reflection of Congress, because this problem is solely and completely created by the awful tax code. If you want to assign blame, the committee needs to look in this mirror and see who created the mess.”
It's refreshing to see a member of Congress who does not protect or try to justify big government, but recognizes that government has been allowed to become this onerous and burdensome by our own doing.