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Facebook Finds Grass Greener In Ireland 287

Posted by kdawson
from the o'tax-break dept.
theodp writes "Facebook announced it has chosen tax-haven Dublin for its international HQ, but not all are buying COO Sheryl Sandberg's line about local world-class talent being the motivation behind the move. The Irish Times recently reported that Irish subsidiaries owned by US multinationals are opting to convert to unlimited liability status, concealing the financial performance of their Irish operations from public view. They include Microsoft's incredibly profitable Irish subsidiaries Round Island One and Flat Island Company, Google Ireland Holdings, and a subsidiary of Apple Computer. The conversions have occurred as US tax authorities have increased their scrutiny of international mechanisms used by American multinationals to reduce their taxes at home."
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Facebook Finds Grass Greener In Ireland

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  • the US tax code (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thrillseeker (518224) on Friday October 03, 2008 @10:47AM (#25246125)
    is a politician's wet dream of byzantine unfairness and vote buying
  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot@NospAm.davidgerard.co.uk> on Friday October 03, 2008 @10:49AM (#25246163) Homepage

    The "talent" in question is that able to secure local subsidies and bribe^Wincentivise the local politicians.

    There's a reason Microsoft, Dell and so on have their European bases in Ireland.

    Thankfully they aren't big on local talent for the Facebook movie. [today.com]

    • by Azghoul (25786) on Friday October 03, 2008 @12:01PM (#25247153) Homepage

      So, Ireland is smarter than us in how they go about attracting corporate dollars... ... and you fault THEM for it?

      Maybe if we were a little more competitive companies wouldn't bother fleeing there. Just a thought.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by cetialphav (246516)

        Bingo! This is just competition. For most of our history, governments had very little competition (except for the occasional war here and there) and were economic monopolies. That is starting to change with globalization. When companies can easily do business all around the globe, what is the meaning of corporate headquarters? Most modern nations now are roughly equivalent in terms of available talent, language (English is the language of commerce in much of the world), infrastructure, and legal protec

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Carewolf (581105)

          A race to bottom! It is on!!!

          P.S. I am going to let you win, and stay up here in the sunlight.

      • Ireland is not smarter. We are just desperate.

        You must understand that Ireland, as a country, had nothing. The most common phrase I hear from older people about the past is: "This country had nothing". The sad fact is, beneath it all, Ireland still has nothing. We have no natural resources, a low population, poor infrastructure, no significant industrial base. We are an island, and communications with the continent have always been expensive, slow and prone to monopolies. Corruption is and always was a very serious problem. We have a weak judiciary, a rather inept legislature and an effective one-party system. None of these points is a crippling issue, but you must understand that Ireland was never traditionally an attractive place to invest.

        The low corporation tax rate is the only, and I mean the only , thing that this country has to attract foreign investment. No one is very happy with this, least of all ordinary people who have to pay ~45% income tax rates to make up for the attractive 12.5% taxes paid by corporations and yet still have to put up with a substandard public service. Ireland is a leader in the race to the bottom, and it cannot be denied that this policy has paid off. Big fish like Microsoft, Pfizer, Dell, Intel, etc have contributed substantially to Ireland's transition from a second world country in 1990, to a ... well talk to me after the current crisis is over, but I'll say for now a first world one.

        The low corporation tax had lead to some substantial anomalies. Former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald has argued for years that Ireland's official GDP figures are grossly misleading, with a very small amount of foreign companies contributing a sizeable fraction of GDP(If I remember correctly, Pfizer's Viagra operation in Cork alone was said to account for 3% of GDP). But because the tax rate is so low, these profits will largely be sent back to their home countries, and the country will not see the benefit(as much).

        Make no mistake, Ireland has made a Faustian deal with multinational companies. If even one, just one, major american company decides to pack up and head elsewhere, this country will feel the impact for many years. The company might consider its presence relatively small in global terms, but in Irish terms Microsoft's Dublin office is akin to Ma Bell in its heyday. At this point, we literally cannot afford to ever increase the corporation tax rate to anywhere near the rate in England or the continent. If we do, one or more multinational companies will leave, and the country will go under.

        Many of these same reasons lay behind the bail out of Irish banks this week by the government. Our banks are small in global terms, but if they go down, we go down with them. (And they were going down. Ireland's housing crisis is exactly the same as in the US only even more extreme). Before you mention it, I will say that yes, this country as a whole has been mismanaged. For many years. I and most people living here are chronically aware of this fact.

        Ireland has changed substantially in the last ~15 years. But I must stress that our great national fear has never gone away. That fear is that the country will become utterly bankrupt, and everyone in it will be reduced to abject poverty. "This country was a disaster." I've been told this over and over ad nauseum since I was old enough to speak. Even the cubs of the Celtic Tiger, for all their confidence, are dimly aware of this fact. Despite all the mobile phones and iPods, green beer, SUV's, wine counters, foreign holidays, etc, etc, Irish people collectively have not and will never let go of this one, real and ever present terror that they will be, as a nation, pauperised. Again. It has happened over and over and over. In the 1930's, the 1950's and the 1980's, and that's just in the modern era.

        Ireland still, to this day, has very little going for it, and people here will do everything they can to avoid going back to nothing. As such, I seriously doubt that they

    • by Ash Vince (602485)

      It is not just about bribing the local politicians. It is also about Ireland being a damn decent place to run a business. You have lower levels of violent crime, a very stable currency and a well educated populace. Add to this a much lower cost of living than many other countries nearby and you also get a very happy workforce who are then more productive.

      • These are important points in its favour :-) It's a fabulously nice place.

        (Hell, I live in London. Where's not nice by comparison?)

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Friday October 03, 2008 @10:51AM (#25246199)

    Because IMO Facebook is just another fad and will go the same way as Friends Reunited when something new and shinier comes along or the novelty wears off. Very few trendy websites stay trendy for more than a few years - its only the interesting ones that survive and theres a limit to how much aquaintances boring lives and silly little games can keep you interested over a long period of time.

    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Friday October 03, 2008 @10:54AM (#25246231) Homepage

      Viol8, you've been bitten by a zombie!
      Click here to transfer all your private information to a untrusted 3rd party.

    • by Miamicanes (730264) on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:28AM (#25246715)

      Plus, Facebook has (at least) one fundamental flaw: it assumes you WANT everyone who you're "friends" with to indiscriminately know about everyone ELSE you're "friends" with. It ignores the fact that you don't necessarily WANT your kid brother (or coworkers, or parents) reading about your wild weekend (or at least not the full details you'd share with your best and closest friends).

      What's needed is a social networking site with a concept of groups as containers for acquaintances and other groups, applying permissions in the order of default-deny, groups with permission, groups denied, individuals permitted, individuals denied. THEN, when you post something, you'd be able to specify its visibility scope across those groups... possibly, even creating fake or munged entries for some groups to see in lieu of "real" entries, and NO way for acquaintances to discern which group(s) they're in, or even which groups exist at all.

      Then, you could create a safe, bland (semi-)public page for (almost) everyone to see, but let the appropriate acquaintances see things appropriate to their relationship with you... and possibly even maintain one or more "parallel universes" that completely override each other for people with two or more groups of friends that should (ideally) NEVER encounter each other (parents and drinking buddies being an obvious example). Ideally, you could even set up one or more "duress" passwords that logged you in as an admin for your profile with access to only a subset of your real one, in case someone like a girlfriend or family member coerced you into logging in with them present to "prove" something. By allowing an unlimited number of duress passwords with unlimited groups and parallel universes, you'd effectively achieve plausible deniability... nobody could ever force you to reveal things, because they could never know for sure whether you were logged in with a duress password or your real one.

      The sad thing is, a feature like THIS would be the perfect way to monetize something like Facebook... keeping the current model free, but charging monthly or annual fees to add more sophisticated group management and/or depth.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        Plus, Facebook has (at least) one fundamental flaw: it assumes you WANT everyone who you're "friends" with to indiscriminately know about everyone ELSE you're "friends" with. It ignores the fact that you don't necessarily WANT your kid brother (or coworkers, or parents) reading about your wild weekend (or at least not the full details you'd share with your best and closest friends).

        Also introduced to us by Seinfeld as the "worlds colliding" theory of social interaction.

      • by edmicman (830206) on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:49AM (#25246989) Homepage Journal
        They already have something like this. It's called the Internet. I can have my group of Facebook friends, my self-hosted blog where people know it's me, my self-hosted blog at a different registered domain under a pseudonym where I can post my propaganda, my Flickr stream, my Google Groups persona, my Slashdot persona, and my personas at any number of other forums/communities.
      • by D Ninja (825055)

        What's needed is a social networking site with a concept of groups as containers for acquaintances and other groups, applying permissions in the order of default-deny, groups with permission, groups denied, individuals permitted, individuals denied. THEN, when you post something, you'd be able to specify its visibility scope across those groups... possibly, even creating fake or munged entries for some groups to see in lieu of "real" entries, and NO way for acquaintances to discern which group(s) they're in, or even which groups exist at all.

        Ummm...Facebook has that. Actually. Well, admittedly, not to the level you're describing, but they are working that way. They do have groups which allows you to show/hide information on your page. And, as far as I can tell, people don't know their in a group (unless of course, they see your page on someone else's account). I figure it's only time before things posted in your profile can be limited on a per group basis as well.

        And, then of course, if you don't want to share things...maybe you shouldn't

      • What's needed is a social networking site with a concept of groups as containers for acquaintances and other groups, applying permissions in the order of default-deny, groups with permission, groups denied, individuals permitted, individuals denied. THEN, when you post something, you'd be able to specify its visibility scope across those groups... possibly, even creating fake or munged entries for some groups to see in lieu of "real" entries, and NO way for acquaintances to discern which group(s) they're in
      • Facebook has quite a bit of stuff like that already. Check out the privacy settings.

    • Friends Reutd had two things against it: 1. All you could do is the find friends thing, nothing akin to Scrabulous and its ilk, and b) they charged you five pounds to get full use of the service - inc. the ability to contact people, a bit of a deal-breaker on a social networking site (as it wasn't called then). The two are really not comparable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lysergic.acid (845423)

      Facebook is actually a well-designed/developed site, and a particularly useful one in its original niche. college students, especially incoming freshmen, gravitated to the site because it allowed them to stay in touch with all of their friends from high school who are now off to different universities, and it was also different from other social networks in that it had highly organized and usefully structured profiles which aren't cluttered by pictures, clashing colors, and annoying videos or music the way

  • by reverseengineer (580922) on Friday October 03, 2008 @10:52AM (#25246207)
    It's the Guinness. Just tastes better the closer you are to St. James's Gate.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday October 03, 2008 @10:54AM (#25246233) Homepage

    So our country goes farther in the hole every day and big companies skip out overseas to avoid paying taxes here. You don't have to be a financial expert to know that just ain't right.

    • by Chaos Incarnate (772793) on Friday October 03, 2008 @10:56AM (#25246271) Homepage
      The solution to the US going further in the hole every day isn't more taxes, it's to stop pissing away money like $700 billion is pocket change.
      • by Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:05AM (#25246383)
        In fairness, the $700 billion may be a cure for the billions that were pissed away before, but it is hard to tell these days.
      • by larry bagina (561269) on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:17AM (#25246571) Journal
        Don't you know, it's important for the economy to pass it as quickly as possible. Not because the economy would stop, but because a 2 day delay meant 400+ pages of unrelated pork and complications to the tax code.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by darkfire5252 (760516)

          Don't you know, it's important for the economy to pass it as quickly as possible. Not because the economy would stop, but because a 2 day delay meant 400+ pages of unrelated pork and complications to the tax code.

          Well, the original reason that it was important to pass ASAP right-this-very-moment is that the original bill text, as recommended to the legislative branch by the executive branch (treasury secretary and president), contained a clause that said "any actions taken by the secretary under this bill are not review-able by the legislative branch nor are they contestable in any court of law."

          President Bush demands that the legislative branch provides him with un-checked power and authority to dispose of $700 bi

      • by EraserMouseMan (847479) on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:21AM (#25246623)
        The middle-class need tax relief. So let's tax the big companies they all work for much more heavily.

        This will surely help the middle-class employees of these large greedy companies. In order to remain competitive in this global economy these large companies must move out of the USA because the taxes are so burdensome here.

        Thanks Obama! That really helped a lot!
        • by illumin8 (148082) on Friday October 03, 2008 @01:48PM (#25248597) Journal

          The middle-class need tax relief. So let's tax the big companies they all work for much more heavily.

          No, let's not tax them any more. Let's instead give tax breaks to companies that don't outsource American jobs, thereby encouraging them to stay here.

          Thanks Obama! That really helped a lot!

          In case you haven't pulled your head out of your ass long enough to notice, Obama isn't president yet. How does Obama's future economic policy explain why companies are relocating over the past several years? Answer: It doesn't, it's the Bush failed economic policies of deregulation that are encouraging companies to dodge taxes overseas.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JohnHegarty (453016)

        except the Irish government guaranteed the Irish banks for $550 billion on Monday

      • Borrowing money and then moving the money from one account to another and then buying investments with it is not "spending". Investments either go up or down or they mature and pay out in full or they're defaulted on. That leaves either more or less money in the account.

        It's not "spending". It's not "pissed away" either unless all the investments are defaulted on and assume a zero value.

        This is just a clarification from the rational world. Feel free to ignore it. People who are "outraged" and have bump

        • Money is leaving the government and entering the private sector. How is that not spending?
          • by Kohath (38547)

            Money is leaving the government and entering the private sector. How is that not spending?

            #1 it's borrowed from the private sector to start with
            #2 lending is not spending. If I put money in a bank, I have lent that money to a bank. It has "left" me and the bank has it now. Is it "spent"? No. Buying investment securities is simply a more complicated version of this.

    • by hobbit (5915) on Friday October 03, 2008 @10:57AM (#25246291)

      Hey, you guys all but invented "letting the market decide", so if you're not the most attractive country in which to pay tax, surely you'll be redressing that through competition, not regulation?!

    • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:06AM (#25246403) Journal

      You don't have to be a financial expert to know that just ain't right.

      A corporation has a duty to its shareholders to increase their equity. If they can save money by relocating, it's entirely appropriate for them to do so.

      You might want to ask why the USA has such high corporate tax rates.

      -jcr

    • by dattaway (3088) *

      The way to fix this is customs duties and tariffs. Of course, trade is corrupt as hell and hidden deals are going to be made.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        How do you tax the internet???
        Please there isn't really a good way to fix this. If you make the rules looser then you will keep getting Enron. If you tighten them up you get companies moving.
        The same thing happened to manufacturing. Do you know how hard it is to get a new plating plant built in the US? Yes plating is a nasty dirty process and it is good to have rules to keep them clean but...
        Or a Steel Mill?
        Most cities tried very hard to get heavy industry out. They all want light clean industry.
        Same thing

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      hey its you guys that are such big fans of the free market, It turns out that they're free to move to Ireland. The lower taxes you get in return must also be great for America as its such a big fan of small government too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by colganc (581174)
      It is their money. They earned it. Don't take it from them after they earned it. If you don't like how they earned it, change the rules for the next set of companies coming up. More likely your rules will prevent any new ones though.
    • by Kohath (38547)

      What do you expect them to do? The taxes they pay outweigh the benefits that they receive. Taxes are simply a bad deal for them.

      Did you notice when the gas price went up? The response from about 49% of the politicians was "we should punish the oil companies by raising their taxes". How does raising taxes on oil companies reduce the price of gas? Obviously, it does the opposite: raises the cost of producing gas, and raising the price the producers need to charge to make a profit. Did the media point th

  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Friday October 03, 2008 @10:55AM (#25246255) Homepage

    Ha! As if the US spends its tax money wisely! 900 billion here, 900 billion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money.

    I asked my Representative to vote against the failout.

  • by MarkWatson (189759) on Friday October 03, 2008 @10:57AM (#25246281) Homepage

    I think that the tax law changes started way back in the Clinton administration. If I remember correctly that Congress passed legislation to make it very difficult for people to move to lower tax rate jurisdictions and keep their money and at the same time made it easy for corporations to do so. This process of giving more rights and flexibility to corporations than to individuals continued full speed ahead during W. Bush's term.

    I don't think that there can be much doubt (especially after this corporate giveaway bailout being voted on today) that most governments (including mine, the USA) have been totally subverted to corporate interests. The question is, I think, given this environment, how can we as individuals thrive most effectively? I have been blogging a lot about this lately, but I won't bore anyone here with links to that :-)

    • by poetmatt (793785) on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:24AM (#25246671) Journal

      Sorry, but I need to correct you.

      This round of change problems came around with Nixon, not with Clinton. Similar sounding name, but diff. When corporations began to be unaccountable and stop having to report things, a number of almost immediate changes took place. Not over months, but days. Noerr Pennington doctrine in 1972 is where they decided "it's legal to use money to influence political power". It's where "felony interference of a business model" came around. After that Reagan, Bush Sr, they all kept it going even worse.

  • duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by einer (459199) on Friday October 03, 2008 @10:58AM (#25246307) Journal

    Corporations seek environments where they can generate the most profit. Get over it. America is quickly becoming a business unfriendly environment. Taxation, absurd regulations (for example, you CAN'T test 100% of your cattle for BSE no matter how much your customers want it, or how competative it will make you), insane legal exposure...

    Welcome to the "service economy."

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Corporations seek environments where they can generate the most profit. Get over it. America is quickly becoming a business unfriendly environment.

      I don't really see how this relates to your previous sentence. Even if the USA had incredibly "friendly" tax laws, there would still be some small country/island who turned up and said "we'll do you one better! zero taxes!!"

      An American company setting up its corporate structure overseas in order to dodge taxes is exactly the type of thing Biden was talking about in the debate yesterday.

      • by rho (6063)

        There's a convenience factor as well. There aren't really that many big corporations who can afford all the overhead of an overseas incorporation. But if the difference between making a profit and not making a profit lies in incorporating overseas, you'll see more smaller corporations take advantage of it. You see this in Nevada/Delaware incorporations to a certain extent. Being incorporated in Delaware makes things a bit more complicated than if you incorporated in your State, but it's often worth it becau

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      It's much less interesting if you don't use hyperbole.

      The FDA won't sell you the tests to test 100% of your cattle when they know the test is not effective on the cattle you're testing (as you are killing them before they are old enough for the test to work), as the only function of such a test is to gain a competitive advantage through false advertisement.

  • by Stanistani (808333) on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:02AM (#25246347) Homepage Journal
    ...and they say there are no snakes in Ireland?
    Where's St. Patrick when you really need him?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Wait...what!?! St. Patrick means more than a one day celebration to get stinking pissed with all your friends? Damn the misleading parade.
  • How do we, the citizens get in on this? Offshore banking isn't illegal, neither is having an offshore company. Where does one start researching this information? Considerations are lack of transparency, lowest fees, internet accessability, and no insane initial deposits like in Switzerland. Come on folks, dish!
    • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:09AM (#25246439) Journal

      Where does one start researching this information?

      Pick up a copy of The Economist magazine, and check the small ads towards the back. Or, just google for "offshore banking".

      -jcr

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Pollardito (781263)
        you mean the small ads in the back of The Economist aren't offers to talk live one-on-one to a real, fun, flirty economist from your area?
    • by scorp1us (235526)

      You can form a corporation, which only pays taxes on PROFIT, whereas people pay taxes on GROSS INCOME (though they might call it "net income" what is deductible for you as a person is far less than what a company can deduct.)

      If you read the Rich Dad/Poor Dad books, this is a key point - Your corporation should own everything. You use the corporation as s tool to acquire things and pay for them. You only give yourself a modest amount of income. As owner of the company, you get to call the shots on what is bo

    • by Kohath (38547)

      How do we, the citizens get in on this?

      Because people who work at companies aren't citizens? They may know a lot more than you about finance, but that doesn't make them alien. They originated on Earth.

      Here's an easy answer for you: buy stock in a company with overseas offices.

  • by Moridineas (213502) on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:10AM (#25246463) Journal

    Why should corporations want to stay in an environment becoming increasingly hostile? Public perception of many corporations (and certainly "the corporation") is justifiably dismal. The next president will no doubt raise business taxes. Doesn't it make sense to move to somewhere like Ireland? People make this same kind of decision all the time when deciding where to live.

    One of the interesting things in these discussions is that so many people betray how utterly insular they are. The economy is global and it's easier than ever to move around the world and communicate around the world. The difference between Ireland and the US (or the US and China, India, Slovakia, Russia, etc ad infinitum) ain't what it was 50 years ago. American exceptionalism is commonly laughed at as something for fools and demagogues, yet everyone who rants about how corporations should be taxed higher and how corporations shouldn't be allowed to go overseas are betraying their own beliefs.

    • by Kohath (38547)

      American exceptionalism is commonly laughed at as something for fools and demagogues...

      Because liking your country is bad when Americans do it but it's good for South Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Africans, Asians, Australians, and anyone else. But not Americans. Americans who like their country and are proud of American success are "fools". Right?

      And is it completely irrational to suggest that since America's success has been exceptional, it might be because of some quality that's exceptional -- even if it's just exceptional luck? How foolish is it to draw an obvious conclusion from th

      • Because liking your country is bad when Americans do it but it's good for South Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Africans, Asians, Australians, and anyone else. But not Americans. Americans who like their country and are proud of American success are "fools". Right?

        Woa there, I think you might have misunderstood me! *I* am a big fan of American exceptionalism, I think we're the best, and while there are plenty of places around the world I enjoy visiting and still want to visit, this is the only place where I want to live.

        • Yeah. Not you. The people who criticize "American Exceptionalism". They're objectively wrong. There's a lot of other things not to like about them too, but when you can easily prove people "objectively wrong" there's not much reason to consider anything else they might say until they wise up a little.

  • Half of the UK's choosing to move their finances over to Ireland because the government (up until this afternoon) was only guaranteeing to protect up to £35,000 of savings should their bank collapse whereas Ireland will guarantee 100%...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by vigour (846429)

      Half of the UK's choosing to move their finances over to Ireland because the government (up until this afternoon) was only guaranteeing to protect up to £35,000 of savings should their bank collapse whereas Ireland will guarantee 100%...

      It's not quite as simple as that, the government has increased the savings protection from €20,000 to €100,000 for the 6 wholly Irish owned banks. This happened only a few days ago, and it is planned to last for 2 years. The biggest influence is on the banks liabilities, i.e. all it's deposits, commercial, retail (you and me) etc. According to the bankers, and the central bank, the bank's problem is with liquidity, not solvency. This means the banks need to attract deposits so they have short term

  • No Patriotic duty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scorp1us (235526) on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:15AM (#25246537) Journal

    In Gregory v. Helvering Supreme Court Justice Learned Hand was quoted as saying:

    "Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands."
    Gregory v. Helvering, 293 U.S. 465 (1935).

    The fact is tax avoidance is a key part of keeping taxation in check. If it gets oppressive, you move. In this way, governments compete for taxpayers.

  • by Notquitecajun (1073646) on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:21AM (#25246621)
    All I'm seeing is the "unpatriotic" banner being waved by the left in America, when they AREN'T asking, "Why are companies leaving America, and why do they have hard-to-touch bank accounts offshore?" Somewhere there's a BAD disconnect - that we could minimize what many banks are going through by doing something that would ENCOURAGE people keeping their money there rather than seeing large companies as something to tax and take from because they somehow "owe" it.

    The left NEVER asks what is wrong with their system - they just ask what is wrong with everyone else. We need to ask, "what would it take for you to keep your money in America," rather than proclaiming from the rooftops that they're leaving and should be punished for it.
    • by scorp1us (235526)

      The problem is the left is well meaning and sincere. They want to create this However for me anyone to buy into it, they have to admit that the government knows best. This is a hard pill to swallow, since history has shown that the government doesn't know best. The government has been influenced by special interests, meaning now you have to trust the special interest groups. However the special interest groups only look out for themselves. So now you're leaving "what is best" to people who don't care what i

      • by brkello (642429)
        And what we have learned now? That maybe corporations and the free market left unchecked doesn't actually know best either. There is a balance that is delicate and hard to find, but the old cliche that government doesn't know best is becoming naive. Unreasonable regulations that stifle growth are bad. Complete deregulation that allows for unchecked greed and predatory practices is a disaster. Surely there is a middle ground in there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by daigu (111684)

      What the neoconservative right ISN'T asking is who bears the burden for paying the taxes and paying off the debt for wars like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., maintaining the military in hundreds of bases around the world (the DoD is the world's largest single consumer of oil), and paying the higher costs associated with producing everything elsewhere and shipping it to the United States - otherwise known as the trade deficit.

      Unfortunately, if you don't have sound fiscal policies and a sane foreign

    • by BlueStrat (756137)

      All I'm seeing is the "unpatriotic" banner being waved by the left in America, when they AREN'T asking, "Why are companies leaving America, and why do they have hard-to-touch bank accounts offshore?" Somewhere there's a BAD disconnect - that we could minimize what many banks are going through by doing something that would ENCOURAGE people keeping their money there rather than seeing large companies as something to tax and take from because they somehow "owe" it.

      The left NEVER asks what is wrong with their s

  • FairTax.org (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jemminger (914046)
    I'm sounding like a broken record. Once again, passing of the Fair Tax ( http://www.fairtax.org/ [fairtax.org] ) would fix this. Our current tax code punishes us as individuals and businesses for making money. The FairTax would turn the U.S. into the world's biggest tax haven, and businesses would be seeking to make the U.S. their home rather than fleeing it.
    • by ckaminski (82854)
      No broken record, you converted me... I even wrote a paper for my english class on it (scored a D, but that's because I can't write research papers, not that of the FairTax).

      See, what everyone seems to forget about the FairTax is that the purpose of money is to be spent. So what if BillG hordes his billions. Sooner or later his kids will inherit that and go on a spending spree. Implementing it will cause short-term pain, but if rolled into service over a period or 3 or 4 years, the impact should be A) me
    • Ass backwards (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop (214511)

      The fair tax penalizes people for spending money. That is, without a doubt, a bad thing for the economy as a whole.

      I'd prefer a gross receipts tax on every TIN (that's taxpayer identification number, aka SSN for individuals and TIN for corps). A small percentage (3-4%) of every dollar you receive goes to the government. I'm even okay with a 2087xFMW (annual min wage salary) against any receipts. It sounds like the fair tax, but it's essentially a "fee" for all transactions in the US. Think of them as real

  • by squarooticus (5092) on Friday October 03, 2008 @11:38AM (#25246851) Homepage

    When you want a government that regulates and taxes everything into submission, is it any surprise that business moves to places with fewer regulations and taxes? Good on Facebook: I hope more business moves away from the US, as that appears to be the only remaining hope for US citizens to demand smaller government.

    • Good on Facebook: I hope more business moves away from the US...

      Although I don't particularly want businesses to move from the USA, I wouldn't mind if they moved to Ireland, since I am a dual-national with Irish citizenship!

  • If all of these corporations keep setting up in Ireland, it will start attracting the needed talent. When the economy can no longer support all the tech companies in Seattle and California, those employees aren't just going to sit around. They'll go looking for new tech centers.
    Ireland has the advantage that Guinness is locally made, so who wouldn't want to move there.

  • The US tax code double taxes companies by taxing them on income earned in other countries. We create an business unfriendly system and are surprised when companies leave?

  • Shillelaghs, tweed caps, and green t-shirts with orange "I <heart> Ireland" printing are NOT cool.

  • Balancing act (Score:3, Interesting)

    by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Friday October 03, 2008 @12:09PM (#25247263) Journal
    This should just about balance out the tax lost when Bono "I'm all about supporting the little guy" NoLastName moved all of U2's holdings out of Ireland [google.ca]
  • McCain called it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by natedubbya (645990) on Friday October 03, 2008 @12:22PM (#25247453)

    Some of you may remember the Presidential debate only 6 days ago. As soon as I saw this story, I recalled McCain's argument for lowering business taxes. He used a very specific example...Ireland.

    You can see the video here [google.com] with the Ireland remark highlighted.

    I took the liberty of transcribing McCain's words. Not to go totally partisan up in here....but you gotta give him props for calling this one:

    The business tax. Right now, United States of America business pays the second highest business taxes in the world, 35%. Ireland pays 11%. Now, if you're a business person, and you can locate any place in the world, then obviously if you go to the country where it's 11% tax versus 35, you'll be able to create jobs, increase your business, make more investment, etc. I want to cut that business tax. I want to cut it so that businesses remain in America and create jobs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Colonel Korn (1258968)

      Some of you may remember the Presidential debate only 6 days ago. As soon as I saw this story, I recalled McCain's argument for lowering business taxes. He used a very specific example...Ireland.

      You can see the video here [google.com] with the Ireland remark highlighted.

      I took the liberty of transcribing McCain's words. Not to go totally partisan up in here....but you gotta give him props for calling this one:

      The business tax. Right now, United States of America business pays the second highest business taxes in the world, 35%. Ireland pays 11%. Now, if you're a business person, and you can locate any place in the world, then obviously if you go to the country where it's 11% tax versus 35, you'll be able to create jobs, increase your business, make more investment, etc. I want to cut that business tax. I want to cut it so that businesses remain in America and create jobs.

      It's not like he made an impressive prediction. As even the summary points out, businesses moving to Ireland is (very) old hat, and well known.

      There does seem to be a bipartisan blindness to actually solving this problem. In addition to taxes sending businesses out of the US, low wages do as well. A good PhD scientist in China I know makes $7000/year and so do his peers. How do we compete with that? I'm open to suggestions, but all I see from major parties in the US is a whole lot of nothing.

    • He didn't call it (which would presume he anticipated a future event), he observed it. He is correct. The problem isn't how to lower our corporate taxes, necessarily, but to more evenly spread the taxes amongst those benefiting from the US system and to guarantee that those who should be paying taxes do.

      Simply reducing them for reductions sake won't work. Unless the government happens to stop spending money, in which case you can lower them right down to what we spend.

      Hell, I'd like to see congress send a b

  • People complain about American companies going overseas but then aren't willing to do what it takes to motivate them to remain in the US. I realize there's a current desire in the US to want to punish corporations with higher taxes.

    Certain politicians love talking about how the the middle class apparently is the engine of the economy. In some ways that may be true, but the basic fact is that they don't create the jobs, corporations do. I don't even see why it's become such a political issue. When a company

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