Burger King, the fast food giant, bills itself as “Home of the Whopper,” a name intended to convey to burger eaters that this one is jumbo, chockfull and a whale of a deal. But “whopper” also means a prevarication, a crock, flim flam, a tall tale — ie, hogwash.
Both meanings apply to Burger King’s current effort to take over Tim Hortons, a Canadian coffee-and-donut chain. The $10 billion price certainly is a whopper — the most ever paid to buy out a fast-food purveyor. And the deal would result in a mondo corporation, with 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries, making about $22 billion in annual sales.
But the deal is also a whopper in that it’s based on a fabrication, a scam, a con. While Burger King’s CEO, Daniel Schwartz, offers some credible business reasons for the combine, what he doesn’t want BK’s American customer’s to know is that the clincher in the deal is that it provides a huge tax dodge for his corporation. In U.S. tax law, something called an “inversion” (actually, a perversion of law) is a loophole allowing an American corporation that merges with a foreign one to reincorporate in the foreign country — and dodge its tax responsibilities to our nation.
Schwartz intends to do just that, renouncing Burger King’s U.S. citizen ship so it can get a lower tax rate as a Canadian citizen. Schwartz & Company would still be headquartered in Miami, Burger King would still haul in billions of dollars in sales from its U.S. outlets, and top executives would still enjoy all the benefits that the USA affords them — but without putting a corporate dime into our national treasury.
Why should we buy this whopper?
There are plenty of burger stands — why put your dollars in the one that says it doesn’t want to be a U.S. citizen? If Burger King won’t support America, American’s shouldn’t support it.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.