Taxes

Have You Taken Your Economic Patriotism Oath?

Haven't we all suffered enough with this unhindered access to affordable goods, exotic merchandise, and cool gadgets?

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Heartlover1717/Flickr

Jonathan Alter at The Daily Beast has an idea that will infuse the president's "economic patriotism" rhetoric with some bite: Compel companies to take "loyalty oaths" to prove their patriotism. You may find this suggestion a little creepy, maybe even a little fascistic; but Alter says that "it's time for red-blooded Americans to take matters into our own hands."

And by taking the matter into "our" hands, Alter means that President Barack Obama would unilaterally bar any company that practices "inversion"—corporate merging with foreign firms to save on U.S. tax bills—from doing business with the federal government. Companies that follow the administration requirements would earn a government seal of approval. If you were to act "un-American" and fail to recognize your "real interests" and those of the United States—which are, naturally, indistinguishable from the president's agenda—you would be shunned and your business punished.

You would be powerless to stop it: "That's because," Alter explains, "efforts to stop desertion aren't populist or socialist but nationalist, a much more powerful force in American politics. Unbridled nationalism is a menace; it leads to trade wars and, all too often, real wars. But properly channeled, nationalism and patriotism are matters of the heart that cut to our deepest ideas of who we are."

Ah, properly channeled nationalism. You see, when you do it, it's just a bunch of dangerous jingoist rubbish. When we do it … America! And after five years of conflating patriotism and left-wing economic policy, you are expected to treat a completely legal tax designation as an attack on the homeland. Unless, of course, you're a seditious weasel who's betting against America.

Now, I suppose, a conservative might ask: Can we really trust politicians who offered legislation to limit free expression and religious freedom (as defined by the Supreme Court, which still decides these issues) to be arbiters of American patriotism? Or is it only the president who's tasked with deciding who deserves special status?

A liberal might ask: What happens when the next administration, one with different views on "nationalism," begins divvying out golden stars? When the future GOP president punishes companies that aren't helping fight the war on Iran, for instance, will that be cool, as well?

Now, we could lower corporate tax rates to be more competitive with the nations that are enticing companies to move elsewhere and avoid this sort of ugliness. There is some unanimity on the issue. But as Alter notes, that probably wouldn't work, considering how many countries continue to cut corporate taxes or have eliminated them altogether.

Clearly, I'm not the rock-ribbed patriot Alter is, because I hope corporations continue to use inversion to avoid taxation until D.C. is forced to pass reform that completely eliminates corporate taxes that unnecessarily burden consumers. Multinational corporations do not exist to be tax collectors. Now, if a person were going to get into the economic patriotism game, he might point out that rent-seeking companies that subsist on government subsidies and use their political connections in Washington as a cudgel against competition are engaged in something far more un-American. And you can imagine the unholy cronyism that would be likely to erupt if the executive branch were to begin deciding which companies deserve to be rewarded for their patriotism.

It's worth remembering that when Alter proposes that Obama discipline companies that have done nothing illegal or illegitimate, he's simply taking Obama's "economic patriotism" to its next logical step. He wants the administration to threaten to close the "easy access to American markets" companies enjoy. And really, haven't we all suffered enough with all this unhindered access to affordable goods, exotic merchandise and cool gadgets?

NEXT: Tonight on The Independents: 'And Justice for Some,' Starring Freeway Ricky Ross, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Man Who Did Solitary for Five Years, and More!

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  1. the impending fascist cloud descending on this country makes me want to go full-Thoreau and simply withdraw and live in the forest.

    1. 1) Impending, my ass
      2) You’ve pretty much confessed, in advance, to being a poacher
      3) They have drones with heat detecting capability, they’ll find you in short order
      4) Impending, my ass
      5) Impending, my ass

      Economic Patriotism is an END GAME, not the first shot over the bow

    2. the impending fascist cloud descending on this country makes me want to go full-Thoreau and simply withdraw and live in the forest.

      Wouldn’t do any good – the spy satellites can still see you.

    3. By living off the grid and not paying your “fair share” of taxes, not only are you un-American, but a criminal as well, stealing money from the State.

  2. “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” I pretty sure that applies to economic patriotism.

  3. Perhaps OT but I think it’s somewhat related: I’ve never heard a convincing explanation as to why Progressives find it so objectionable that people inherit money (“they’re rich and they don’t deserve it!”) yet they are perfectly OK with people having all types of rights and opportunities by virtue of being born in the U.S. Even if you’re born in the proverbial trailer park, you’re still a lot better off than someone being born in Central Africa (and a lot of other places). Yet rarely will you hear a Progressive arguing for, say, truly universal education (that is “universal” in the sense of for any human, irrespective of citizenship). And some take a positively nationalist and protectionist stance, like this author.

    So why is winning the birth lottery in one case better than the other? It seems if Progressives were really interested in “leveling the playing field,” they would have to attempt to even it for all humans, not just those who happen to be born here.

    1. Just speaking for myself, I think I would prefer being born in the “proverbial trailer park” than an urban ghetto. Just saying.

    2. Progressives who shout the loudest about the need for inheritance taxes are those who are the richest in Congress or celebrities who wouldn’t notice the difference. But, in the end, they don’t really include themselves in that category because a) they have skilled attorneys and b) socialism is for the masses, not the socialists. Look at penthouse hypocrites like Pelosi and Boxer.

  4. Dude that like the craziest thing I heard all day.

    http://www.AnonGalaxy.tk

  5. Dude that like the craziest thing I heard all day.

    http://www.AnonGalaxy.tk

  6. You know who else took an oath?

    Or better yet, You know who else required loyalty oaths?

    1. Walt Disney?

  7. Compel companies to take “loyalty oaths” to prove their patriotism.

    It’s almost like they think that corporations are real people.

    1. Interesting point. Funny how treating a corporation as a person with interests, needs and desires is so natural to the left, as long as the corp isn’t funding the broadcast of views with which they don’t agree, or objecting to having to provide a certain set of birth control or whatever else. Then it’s all “CORPORATIONS AREN’T PEOPLE YOU NAZI!!!!1!”

      Only a person or group of people can incorporate. Not trees, rocks nor non-human animals, as far as I know.

      1. Yes, trees and rocks and animals are “incorporated”. They are Mother Earth, the first and only valuable “corporation”. We humans are a cancer upon its living, breathing corpus… so there.

  8. Alter means that President Barack Obama would unilaterally bar any company that practices “inversion”?corporate merging with foreign firms to save on U.S. tax bills?from doing business with the federal government.

    America was created out of the idea of tax avoidance. Anyone who complains that someone else isn’t paying taxes is un-American, anti-American, and pseudo-American. If you are complaining about people not paying the taxes that they “owe”, then the Founding Fathers hate you, and in the afterlife, George Washington will slap you repeatedly across your whore mouth while Thomas Jefferson makes witty, cutting remarks about your low intelligence and poor personal hygiene that everyone, including God, will laugh at, and you will be shamed forever. I hate you. Losers.

    1. So you’re on the fence wrt this issue?

  9. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this. I’ve always been a patriotic oaf.

    Oh…different thing, huh?

  10. Nationalism in the 20th century didn’t result in millions of dead because it was unbridled. On the contrary, it was very expertly channeled.

    1. Yes, and it was “expertly channeled” by the same people who brought you the first public welfare system, the first regulated near-universal healthcare system, the first public pension system, the first public education system, and one of the largest public rail systems; the people who believed that markets should be subordinate to “the public’s interest” as represented by the government. And the worse things worked out economically and socially, the more they kept blaming “bankers”, “capitalists”, “foreigners”, etc.

      Obama embodies late 19th century German “virtues”, programs, and political views; and he embodies their failures too.

  11. I pledge allegiance to the state. And to the euphemisms upon which it stands, one monopoly, ever centralizing, with serfdom and stagnation for all.

  12. Snarky little bugger ain’t ya, I like it.
    Are you really in Petrolia as suggested in Ancapistan? I live about 20 miles SE of you near Glencoe.

    1. Thread fail, meant for FS.

      1. I’m on ancapistan but that’s not me. That city is marked by someone named Kyle. Why do you think I’m in Petrolia?

  13. Until the industrial revolution, and the expansion of productive freedom that was inherently embedded in it (i.e. broadcast technology that made it difficult for slavers to control), corporations existed by royal charter, it was illegal to associate without consent. All property was really the crown’s (you didn’t make that) and any value in new territories to be explored were the crown’s too. No private venturing for the mundanes.

    And so what do we have today? Draconian environmental control to suppress productive freedom and the “re=chartering” of corporations to the crown. We have royalists trying their best to revert is to a pre-industrial era. But, of course, that Road to Serfdom screed was a bunch of hogwash.

    1. I remember watching a couple “docu-cartoons” that the Left are so fond of around the time of Occupy Wall Street.

      In them, they explained that corporations are evil now because they weren’t like what corporations before – the royal charter/state groups. Instead, they were mean capitalists.

      I snickered. My first thought was – so, you support not only fascism, but the mercantile system that was responsible for militarized colonialism?

      Then I realized, “oh, it’s the Left. They have no ideology beyond the seeking of absolute power.”

      They don’t care if it makes sense as long as they get power.

  14. A liberal might ask: What happens when the next administration, one with different views on “nationalism,” begins divvying out golden stars?

    But…but I thought it was the anti-social and unpatriotic elements who have to wear gold stars – not the loyal ones. Oops, I’m thinking of the wrong nazis, I guess.

    1. I think that’s the point, innit? To seize power before the other party/parties have the chance…

      1. (Sigh) I see irony is completely wasted on you. 🙂

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