First it was Vice President Joe Biden who said paying higher taxes was “patriotic.” Now, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has resurrected the taxes-as-patriotism meme for the Obama White House.

Secretary Lew used the phrase “economic patriotism” this morning on his interview on CNBC to discuss the Administration’s new plans to regulate the corporate marketplace.

“Congress should enact legislation immediately,” Lew told a business conference in New York hosted by cable television channel CNBC. “We should have some economic patriotism here.”

Lew’s remarks came amid a wave of corporate deals known as inversions, in which a U.S. company shifts its tax home base to a lower-tax country by combining with a company based in that country. Popular destinations are Ireland, Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The deals are still rare, but a flurry of them in recent months has prompted concern in Washington. Medical technology group Medtronic Inc plans to buy Dublin-based rival Covidien Plc and shift its tax home base to Ireland.

Drugstore chain Walgreen Co is weighing a possible inversion. Drugmaker Pfizer Inc’s bid in April to buy UK rival AstraZeneca Plc was structured as an inversion. That deal fell through, but it drew attention to inversions.

According to the letter Secretary Lew sent to Congress today, he urged them to pass legislation to “prevent companies from effectively renouncing their citizenship to get out of paying taxes.”

This seems very odd coming from the same Adminstration that doesn’t believe corporations should have “free speech” rights or “religious liberty” rights — but does believe corporations have ability to express “patriotism.” Through higher taxes, of course.

The Administration is simply trying to force another ill-conceived patch onto a patchwork of non-sensical tax policy. The real answer, of course, is a complete overhaul of our nation’s tax system like the one proposed by The Heritage Foundation.

Simple, easy, and fair. That seems very patriotic.

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