Wall Street buccaneer Carl Icahn has pocketed billions on deals, but he says he’s now passionate about helping others.
In particular, the corporate-takeover specialist is pushing a charitable cause involving a group of people who, through no fault of their own, are being forced out of America. Poor refugees? No, Icahn weeps for the incomprehensible suffering of a small tribe of Americans, namely: the CEOs of several U.S.-based, multinational corporations.
Huh? Yes, he wails that poor superrich chieftains of such profiteering giants as Pfizer pharmaceuticals are having to move their corporate domains abroad, having been driven out of the U.S.A. by “our uncompetitive tax code.” These American-raised corporations have been raking in enormous profits on foreign sales, but the CEOs have whined that those profits should be exempt from U.S. taxation, since they’re taxed by the countries where the products are sold.
In fact, however, their “double taxation” claim is a fraud, for most of the $2.6 trillion in profits they’re hiding have been stashed in offshore tax havens that assess as little as zero taxes. These rank corporate tax dodgers are starving America’s essential public services of some $600 billion they owe in taxes, yet Icahn sobs in print that they are victims! If these trillions are brought back home, he explains, they’ll be taxed — so, don’t you see, this “forces” CEOs to desert the U.S., moving their corporate citizenship to a place that doesn’t make them pay for public services.
Icahn insists that America must let the CEOs “repatriate” their foreign bounty by essentially forgiving the taxes they owe on it. That way, the corporations get the money, and America gets to keep the corporations.
But Carl: Why should we want to keep scofflaw corporations that refuse to pay what they owe to America?
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.