Draw whatever conclusions you like from this development. But if the point of the piece is to detail the revival of a once-reviled public figure, offering a single purified paragraph detailing the events that first made the man famous seems a bit disingenuous. Perhaps a little more context is necessary for those who didn’t live through his violent circus.
So let’s revisit.
Do Americans really want the government to sponsor a website that collects their Tweets and determines whether they are socially harmful? Like it or not, taxpayers have already contributed nearly $1 million to such a project.
The uproar over corporate inversions continued this week with the news that Burger King would seek to reincorporate in Canada as part of their purchase of Tim Horton’s. By calling attention to the perversity of the US corporate tax code, companies like Burger King may finally compel Congress to act and move, hopefully, to a more pro-growth system. Boycott? I’m thinking of taking up junk food again. Hail the King!
All other OECD countries treat the profits of their companies’ foreign subsidiaries very differently, relying on the so-called “territorial” method of taxing foreign earnings. For example, a French firm that invests in Ireland pays the 12.5% Irish corporate tax but is then free to repatriate the after-tax profits with a tax of less than 5%.
America’s current tax system adversely affects the US economy in several ways. The extra tax that US firms pay if they repatriate profits raises their cost of capital, thus reducing their ability to compete in international markets. Foreign firms can also outbid their US counterparts in acquiring new high-tech firms in other countries. And when a foreign firm acquires a US company, it pays US tax on the profits earned in the US but not on the profits earned by that firm’s other foreign subsidiaries, thus lowering its total tax bill.
A shift to a territorial system of taxation would remove the disadvantages faced by American multinational corporations and encourage them to reinvest their overseas profits at home, increasing US employment and profits…
Almost as delicious is the hypocrisy of Warren Buffet, who is funding a large portion of the transaction. Buffet’s two-faced approach to taxation is nothing new. Many on the left who bang the drum for higher taxes on the “rich” and corporations, are doing so from their private jets, their limousines, their mansions. I’m waiting for one of them to actually lead by example and renounce all of their wealth. I expect a long, long wait.
Mr. Buffett is no doubt aware of the tax implications of this deal, as he always is when investing his fellow shareholders’ money. Despite his public pose as an advocate for higher tax payments, he’s remarkably good at minimizing them for Berkshire. He recently cashed out his investment in Graham Holdings, former owner of the Washington Post, by executing a tax-free swap of assets.
Summer rapidly drawing to a close, we continue an eventful August, spending a weekend in Brule Wisconsin with our friends the Harrisons. I treasured 48 hours disconnected from the outside world and getting my son to do the same.
The highlight was yesterday’s sixteen mile, six hour canoe/kayak journey down the Brule River. We enjoyed a calm weather day and some modest rapids that offered some excitement.
At one point my intrepid son and yours truly managed to get our canoe well lodged into the rocks within one stretch of rapids. It was actually more than a little hairy. I had images of a nighttime helicopter rescue if we didn’t find some way to extricate ourselves. Finally, with half my body hanging out of the canoe to push off some of the submerged boulders, the Lad using his oar for leverage, we freed ourselves. Notably, not one drop of beer was spilled during the proceedings.
Everyone felt pretty depleted by the time we returned to our cabin and campsite yesterday evening. I manufactured a couple margaritas for the old men and then got a bonfire going. Played frisbee with the boys, listening to music, and chatting with my friend in the last light of the day. A perfect day.
I will never forget how powerful the fragrance of wildflower and evergreen filled the river in a couple narrow stretches. During my time alone in the kayak, I stretched out on my back, faced skyward, and closed my eyes. Listening to nothing more than the wind whispering to the tops of the trees was a form of perfect peace. I opened my eyes to take in the images around the nearly still water, in time to see one golden leaf alight to its surface, and the ripples where brook trout rose to meet midge.
I hope, and I think that it is in some way true, that my son was also able, among the moments of laughter unique to sharing a day with a boyhood pal, to achieve a sense of wonder at it all.
The Lad and I entertained his grandparents on a trip along the St. Croix River.
How shall I name you, immortal, mild, proud
I only know that all we know comes from you,
And that you come from Eden on flying feet.
Is Eden far away, or do you hide
From human thought, as hares and mice and coneys
That run before the reaping-hook and lie
In the last ridge of barley? Do our woods
And winds and ponds cover more quiet woods,
More shining winds, more star-glimmering ponds?
Is Eden out of time and out of space?
And do you gather about us when pale light
Shining on water and fallen among leaves,
And winds blowing from flowers, and whirr of
And the green quiet, have uplifted the heart?
~ W. B. Yeats
After a marvelous brunch we found our way down the breakwater to the iconic lighthouses in the town of Two Harbors. Striking to see how depressed the town’s main street, just off of Hwy 61, has become. The vast majority of storefronts are shuttered. On the lake, however, beauty and industry.
Spent the Sunday in and out of downpours, hiking along the St. Louis River. Amazing.
A nice afternoon and evening of music, featuring Jeremy Messersmith, BoDeans, and Brandi Carlile. All put on a very fine show. Not pictured – the post-midnight pulled pork egg rolls.