• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Apple and Ireland: Partners in Crime

Dublin, Ireland.

Underneath the sleek design there’s nothing but sleaze. And behind the blarney there’s sinister bullshit. No wonder they understand each other and have been working harmoniously together since 1991. Despite the ultramodern technology and the trendy little economy – Apple and Ireland are nothing but pirates attempting to pillage as much as they can from the global community.

All was revealed in Brussels on Tuesday when the EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, nailed the corporation and the country to the wall of shame. After investigating Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland Vestager concluded that Dublin is breaking EU rules by giving state aid to Apple – one of the richest corporations in the world (it’s value is not far off a trillion dollars).

The state aid in question is a tax arrangement that allows Apple to avoid paying international tax. The trick is the use of a shell company that is based in Ireland but which is officially “stateless”. By directing all the money it makes outside the US into it’s “Irish” shell company Apple – thanks to the Irish government – walks away with a tax rate of “0.005%”. That is: apart from the token amount it pays to the Irish government at the usual 12.5% rate – Apple walks away with everything it can get it’s hands on. But since this special tax package is offered “only” to Apple the EU judged it to be a breach of it’s competition rules.

Ireland in other words has been “subsidising” Apple’s international profits (in October 2015 it recorded an annual profit of $53.4 billion). By offering a phantom address and turning the other way Ireland is facilitating a world wide tax dodge. And what does Ireland get in return for this “service”? Six thousand Apple jobs. And what can the EU do about it? It is attacking the shell company and demanding that it pay the “Irish” taxes it has been avoiding all these years. It calculates an unpaid Apple tax bill of $14.6 billion plus interest (a world record penalty). And Ireland’s response? It claims innocence and doesn’t want any money from Apple!

That’s right. The Irish state which is up to it’s neck in debt (it owes $232 billion) refuses in the face of it’s EU masters to “tax” the richest corporation on the planet (Apple is sitting on a mountain of cash worth $231 billion). The asymmetry is perfect. And is a true reflection of globalisation. For the sake of the corporation – the nation state is impoverished. And for the sake of the corporation – the nation state impoverishes other nation states. You would think that Ireland learned it’s lesson after it bailed out it’s banks. But no: it continues to carry water for the corporation. And sees nothing wrong with this – even when it is dying of thirst. It is obvious therefore that “dignity” is excluded from the official Irish lexicon. And justice – at home and abroad? That’s a foreign language in the corridors of Irish power.

The irony is that Ireland – a victim of the EU’s extreme financial capitalism – is making the EU look good. Neoliberal Ireland is being called to order by Neoliberal Europe. And Ireland dares to protest even though it has been caught red handed cheating Europe and the world. In the name of competition Europe wants justice. And in the name of globalisation Ireland rejects justice. It’s a right wing joke. It’s a neoliberal farce. But it’s deadly serious too.

The issue is taxation. And in the age of austerity this is an explosive subject. And it looks like the EU understands this while Ireland has it’s head buried in the sand. It is no surprise that the EU is coming after Apple and Ireland because the OECD has been openly targeting tax havens since 2014 (see the OECD’s Beps project). When Western governments are bailing out every bank in the Western world – tax avoidance becomes a real issue. The significance of Tuesday’s ruling against Ireland and Apple is that it has set a strong precedent. The EU intends to hit Europe’s tax havens hard. Luxembourg and Holland beware!

And the USA? The USA is angry. Because it’s corporations have been caught red handed. And because it’s government is controlled by it’s corporations. The likes of Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks and McDonalds have lodged themselves into the dark corners of Ireland, Luxembourg and Holland. And are walking away with staggering amounts of untaxed profits. The US government fears that it will now have to pay for the sins of it’s corporations. But that will be the case only if it is spineless. The USA can fight it’s tax dodging corporations if it wants to. However that would mean ultimately a break with Wall Street. Is that possible?

In any case sit back for the moment and enjoy seeing the Atlantic establishment fight each other over the issue of taxation. The fragmentation of the Atlanticist Agenda is for the benefit of us all because it is a Corporate Agenda. If the neoliberal fanatics – the competitive hardliners – in the EU are the source of this current concern for justice: who cares? We welcome justice whenever it comes along. And isn’t history after all dialectical? Contradictions in the system will transform it. And who knows this current discord may even block the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Perfect!

And Apple? Surely it will have to change it’s smug wording on the back of it’s products. Not only is it “Designed in California” and “Assembled in China”. It is also “Dodging tax in Ireland”. Taxpayers of the world unite!

 

More articles by:

Aidan O’Brien lives in Dublin, Ireland.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 16, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
How Turkey’s Invasion of Syria Backfired on Erdogan
Chitrangada Choudhury – Aniket Aga
How Cotton Became a Headache in the Age of Climate Chaos
Jack Rasmus
US-China Mini-Trade Deal: Trump Takes the Money and Runs
Michael Welton
Communist Dictatorship in Our Midst
Robert Hunziker
Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World
Peter A. Coclanis
Donald Trump as Artist
Chris Floyd
Byzantium Now: Time-Warping From Justinian to Trump
Steve Klinger
In For a Dime, in For a Dollar
Gary Leupp
The Maria Ramirez Story
Kim C. Domenico
It Serves Us Right To Suffer: Breaking Down Neoliberal Complacency
Kiley Blackman
Wildlife Killing Contests are Unethical
Colin Todhunter
Bayer Shareholders: Put Health and Nature First and Stop Funding This Company!
Andrés Castro
Looking Normal in Kew Gardens
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail