“The expenses of government, having for their object the interests of all, should be borne by every one, and the more a man enjoys the advantages of society, the more he ought to hold himself honoured in contributing to these expenses.”
― Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot
I was once a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia, where I was entitled to all the rights and privileges of that state. I was also obligated to pay taxes on everything I earned in the way of income to receive them. When I enlisted in the US Navy, after all my schooling, I was transferred to California for the remainder of my four year enlistment, where state law required me to pay taxes on income earned there.
The problem was, Virginia’s tax law also required me to pay income taxes regardless of where I earned any income. Dilemma, what to do about it? The solution was an easy choice, that since living in California meant I would be using and enjoying the benefits and advantages of that state, that’s where my taxes should go. I declared California residency. Of course, this also meant I could no longer receive any benefits from Virginia, but it only made sense that I should only pay taxes to receive any benefits from where my home was officially.
Which brings my thoughts to Apple and the hundreds of other American corporations who make billions of dollars in income from their overseas operations, but who are leaving their profits abroad or even shifting their corporate headquarters to another nation because they want lower taxes abroad than they’d pay here, much like I did by officially moving from Virginia to California (although, in my case, California’s taxes were higher).
But there is a big difference between what I did and what they’re doing – I gave up all my benefits as a Virginian when I voluntarily removed my income from their tax system while Apple and other corporations like them still receive the all the advantages of being American without paying U.S. taxes on all their income:
1. They are able to contribute to U.S. political campaigns, lobby Congress, participate in U.S. government agency rule-making proceedings and have the right to sue in U.S. courts for acts committed against them outside the United States. (I gave up the right to have any say in Virginia politics.)
2. They receive government benefits. (I gave up everything Virginia provides its citizens.)
3. Their assets and their intellectual property – property, patents, trademarks, trade names, copyrights – around the world are protected by the U.S. government through the use of negotiations or sanctions or use of our military. (I gave up the right to have Virginia defend me in any way.)
If they want to move to avoid paying taxes, I fully understand. But, if they no longer feel honor-bound to contributing to our national expenses and the interests of America, they should no longer have the advantages that come with being American, just as I did to being a Virginian, leaving a 350-year family home.
And since our Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are legally persons, Apple and the other corporations like them should be considered – and treated – the same as any other foreign citizen.
When I moved to California I gave up all my rights in Virginia under their law and my interests then became of no concern to them. That should be the same for Apple and all like them – their interests should be of no concern to the U.S. government because they’re no longer American.