U.S. Companies?


 (This piece  is written from my perspective - that of an American.) Right now the U.S. military (the military of my home country) is spread out all over the globe.  There is no doubt Americans support their troops that point is never questioned and when when I say theirs I means ours as I am an American also.  But why our military leaders insist we be spread ourselves out all over the map is another question entirely, one we have a right to be asking.  Bob Gates said recently that cuts to US defense would hurt our military might. (http://www.freep.com/article/20110525/NEWS07/105250374/Defense-Secretary...)  The insinuation of course was that we and of course “American Interests” would be less safe , but who exactly is he talking about?

    When we say American Interests we are usually talking large American overseas corporations.  I say the large corporations because the small US companies don't seem to have any US military bases strategically protecting them.  It's always the big boys.
    Bob Gates said regarding those large corporate interests and our defense, "A smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go fewer places and be able to do fewer things." (http://www.freep.com/article/20110525/NEWS07/105250374/Defense-Secretary...)  But why is that a concern?  Why do we care?  The largest share of tax revenue is not coming from US corporations.  Most of it comes from us – the average US citizen.  Why should we pay their way?
    Those corporations are not publicly owned and as an American public we do not directly benefit from these companies' bottom line, and that's as it should be.  We are a free society with a free market so we shouldn't get a piece.  But by the same token we should not be forced to pay for security guards for them.  There are so many private security contractors that at various points there have been more of them in Iraq for instance than actual US service personnel.  The large corporations can surely afford to pay for their own security.  They might not want to and wish to get it on our dime but that's their problem.  We just bailed them out of the failure of their sub-prime ponzi scheme.  They've used up all their good will.
    Further many of these companies aren't even US based anymore.  Just because they once were or have traditionally been thought of that way, that doesn't mean they are.  Hence as they aren't US companies they should not be treated to the protections and benefits of entities that are incorporated here in the US.
    In order to skip out on taxes many of them have re-located to what are known as “tax havens” overseas.  That's right they registered themselves as operating out of other countries to avoid paying what you and I are forced to pay and should – our fair share of taxes.
    The Washington Times had an article entitled “Top ten list: Tax evaders' wall of shame.”  On their list of people using tax havens to keep from having to pay US taxes were two US companies with large footprints overseas – both with no plans to slow down anytime soon. 
    According to the article mentioned previously it discussed the companies as such, “4. Exxon/Mobil, received huge oil subsidies from the government and earned $45 billion in 2009 but paid no taxes, again thanks to stashing profits in places like the Bahamas and Singapore. 5. GE – see last week’s column for the stats and facts on this corporation’s tax dodge.” (http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/ad-lib/2011/apr/10/t...)
    As an article in Bloomberg points out, “Del Monte Fresh Produce Inc., whose corporate headquarters is in Coral Gables, Florida, lists another address -- Walker House on Mary Street in George Town, Grand Cayman -- in its SEC filings. That’s around the corner from Ugland House. Del Monte’s effective tax rate for 2008 was 3 percent, up from 1 percent the year before. Del Monte spokeswoman Vidya Samsundar had no immediate comment on why the company is incorporated in the Caymans.” (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aWoQkk2WY1oc)
    Del Monte is a huge mega corporation enjoying our tax dollar funded protection overseas.  Yet they have chosen to skip out on paying their share which does not just mean US infrastructure their own shipping and US business requires.  It also means military protection for their overseas locations we are paying for and they are not.  Why should we?
    An article from 2004 published by the Center for Public Integrity stated, “U.S. oil and gas companies have at least 882 subsidiaries located in oil-free tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and even the tiny European principality of Liechtenstein, a Center for Public Integrity investigation has found.  Further, the investigation revealed that at least a half dozen U.S. oil and gas companies have actually re-incorporated in tax haven countries.” (http://projects.publicintegrity.org/oil/report.aspx?aid=346)
    With US expenditures so high and the debt rising to a level that it is putting our entire nation on the brink of causing a catastrophic collapse why are we paying to protect these ingrates? (http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/66778/roger-c-altman-and-richard-...)  Why do we have so many bases overseas protecting companies that can protect themselves?  What have they done to deserve our protection?  They already proved they put money over the flag.  Heck these companies even qualify to give huge political contributions and set up non-profits to channel funds into campaigns.  Why should they be allowed to?  They are not US entities if they are incorporated elsewhere.
    We are cutting back on teachers for our children – the future of America and you think the CEOs and board members of those corporations headquartered overseas to avoid paying taxes are getting less quality education for their children?  Of course not we are suffering and are being forced to pay for their security and well padded lifestyles.
    We are cutting back on police, firemen and other emergency services, yet do you think the towns they live in are doing so?  Do you think the portions of the cities they live in are doing so?  I'm sure they are doing just fine.  How about their other services?  Are they having to go without like the rest of us?  How many of them even have children in the military services protecting their companies by directly having skin in the game?  Lol.
    These clowns have had their run on our hard earned dollars that are supposed to be going to pay our bills, towards our children's futures and towards our retirements.  This isn't about business friendly or not.  We don't need to be protecting them anymore.  If Saudi Arabia values them let them do what The UAE is doing and set up their own army to protect their interests including so called US companies operating there they receive huge revenues from. (http://www.thenation.com/blog/160746/jeremy-scahill-inside-erik-princes-...)  Either that or let them pay for it themselves.  They can certainly afford to.  Either way there is simply no good reason we should protect these guys when they can afford to do it themselves.  That ain't our civic duty.
    To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.