In the United Kingdom, Google has come under fire for lowering its tax bill by legally rerouting nearly $10 billion to Bermuda. Google chairman Eric Schmidt was quick to defend his company and its strategies.
“We pay lots of taxes; we pay them in the legally prescribed ways,” he told Bloomberg. “I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate.”
“It’s called capitalism,” he said. “We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this.”
This did not, however, mollify or persuade the UK’s business secretary, who goes by the delightful name Vince Cable.
“It may well be [capitalism] but it’s certainly not the job of governments to accommodate it.”
Really? It’s not? Then what economic system is the government supposed to accommodate? Socialism? Communism?
You really must read the rest of the article to see just how panicked statists get when corporations don’t pay as much as they want them to pay. Here’s a taste:
A Californian pressure group called Consumer Watchdog wrote to the Senate’s Finance Committee demanding a hearing on Google’s “global tax avoidance strategies”.
Consumer Watchdog’s director John Simpson called for the Committee to schedule a time for Mr Schmidt and Google’s chief executive could “testify under oath and explain their company’s apparent abuse of the tax code to the detriment of all who play fairly.”
Mr Simpson urged the Senate to work with “other countries’ tax authorities” to “put an end to egregious loopholes that allow cynical exploitation by this generation’s Robber Barons.”
“Governments in Europe, many of which have been targets of Google’s morally bankrupt tax policies, are actively seeking redress,” he wrote. “But this is not a problem that only impacts other countries’ revenues. Google’s tactics strike at the US Treasury as well, forcing the rest of us to make up for the Internet giant’s unwillingness to pay its fair share.”
He added: “What makes Google’s activities so reprehensible is its hypocritical assertion of its corporate motto, ‘Don’t Be Evil‘.”
So employing hundreds of thousands of people at wages far above average and legally paying the least amount of taxes that you can is evil. Good to know what the moral rules are in this brave new world.