Free Markets, Free People


“Economic patriotism” equals “stay here and pay punitive taxes to cover our ruinous spending habit”

“Economic patriotism” is the new meme that Democrats are throwing around to demonize companies that try to avoid taxes here in the US, i.e. you’re not a patriotic company if you attempt to avoid taxes the Dems think you should be paying.  Kevin Williamson covers it:

Jack Lew, late of Citigroup and currently of the Obama administration, has issued a call for “economic patriotism.” This phrase, which is without meaningful intellectual content, is popular in Democratic circles these days. Ted Strickland, the clownish xenophobe and nearly lifelong suckler upon all available taxpayer teats who once served as governor of Ohio, famously denounced Mitt Romney as a man lacking “economic patriotism” during the 2012 Democratic convention. President Barack Obama has used the phrase. It’s not that I do not appreciate lectures on “economic patriotism” from feckless former executives of dodgy Wall Street enterprises, guys who get rich monetizing their political celebrity, and second-rate ward-heelers from third-rate states; it’s just that nobody ever has been able to explain to me what the term is intended to mean.

The proximate cause of Mr. Lew’s distress is the fact that many U.S. firms either are up and leaving the country entirely or are acquiring foreign competitors in order to reorganize themselves as companies legally domiciled in friendly tax jurisdictions.

Now we’re not talking about 3rd world countries here … just countries that are much friendlier to business and have a lower tax rate.  For instance:

U.S. pharmaceutical firms in particular have been in a rush to acquire partners in order to escape punitive U.S. corporate taxes for the relatively hospitable climates of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Walgreen’s, a venerable firm that, like the lamentable political career of Barack Obama, has its origins in Chicago, is considering abandoning its hometown of 113 years for Switzerland. Eaton, a Cleveland-based manufacturer of electronic components, moved to Ireland. The list goes on.

Note that in spite of the would-be class warriors’ “race to the bottom” rhetoric, these firms are not moving to relatively low-wage countries such as China or India. Switzerland is not a Third World hellhole — especially if your immediate point of comparison is murderlicious Chicago, which endures more homicides in a typical July than gun-loving Switzerland sees in a typical year. The Netherlands is not Haiti, and Ireland is not Bangladesh.

Got an ironic chuckle out of his point about Chicago. Maybe some might consider they’re moving out of a 3rd world country if they’re Chicago (or Detroit) based.

Anyway, all of these places have one thing in common – lower taxes, less regulation and a friendlier business climate than exists in the US.  What they face here is the reason they’re becoming “unpatriotic”.  It is more than just taxes:

Mr. Lew is correct in his assertion that relative tax rates are a main driver in the desire of firms to relocate, though it is not the only driver — arbitrary and unpredictable regulation, a lousy tort environment, and unstable public finances surely play a role as well. The United States has the highest statutory corporate-income-tax rate in the developed world, and though effective rates are typically lower than the nominal rate, that is more of a bug than a feature: Our corporate-income-tax regime is riddled with handouts and political favoritism. Crony capitalism is not an inspiring condition for firms looking to make long-term investments.

The point of Democrats and their use of “economic patriotism”, of course, is to demonize and attempt to shame companies that seek relief from the business crippling effects of this government.  If the company doesn’t stay to be bled dry by the Dems to finance their utopian and big government schemes, well, they’re just “unpatriotic”.

Williamson summarizes:

“Economic patriotism” and its kissing cousin, economic nationalism, are ideas with a fairly stinky history, having been a mainstay of fascist rhetoric during the heyday of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s favorite “admirable Italian gentleman.” My colleague Jonah Goldberg has labored mightily in the task of illustrating the similarities between old-school fascist thinking and modern progressive thinking on matters political and social, but it is on economic questions that contemporary Democrats and vintage fascists are remarkably alike. In fact, their approaches are for all intents and purposes identical: As most economic historians agree, neither the Italian fascists nor the German national-socialists nor any similar movement of great significance had anything that could be described as a coherent economic philosophy. The Italian fascists put forward a number of different and incompatible economic theories during their reign, and the Third Reich, under the influence of Adolf Hitler’s heroic conception of history, mostly subordinated economic questions as such to purportedly grander concerns involving destiny and other abstractions.

Which is to say, what the economic nationalism of Benito Mussolini most has in common with the prattling and blockheaded talk of “economic patriotism” coming out of the mealy mouths of 21st-century Democrats is the habit of subordinating everything to immediate political concerns. In this context, “patriotism” doesn’t mean doing what’s best for your country — it means doing what is best for the Obama administration and its congressional allies.“Economic patriotism” and its kissing cousin, economic nationalism, are ideas with a fairly stinky history, having been a mainstay of fascist rhetoric during the heyday of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s favorite “admirable Italian gentleman.” My colleague Jonah Goldberg has labored mightily in the task of illustrating the similarities between old-school fascist thinking and modern progressive thinking on matters political and social, but it is on economic questions that contemporary Democrats and vintage fascists are remarkably alike. In fact, their approaches are for all intents and purposes identical: As most economic historians agree, neither the Italian fascists nor the German national-socialists nor any similar movement of great significance had anything that could be described as a coherent economic philosophy. The Italian fascists put forward a number of different and incompatible economic theories during their reign, and the Third Reich, under the influence of Adolf Hitler’s heroic conception of history, mostly subordinated economic questions as such to purportedly grander concerns involving destiny and other abstractions.

Which is to say, what the economic nationalism of Benito Mussolini most has in common with the prattling and blockheaded talk of “economic patriotism” coming out of the mealy mouths of 21st-century Democrats is the habit of subordinating everything to immediate political concerns. In this context, “patriotism” doesn’t mean doing what’s best for your country — it means doing what is best for the Obama administration and its congressional allies.

Another adventure in short-term political gain trumping a coherent economic policy that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, etc.  Nothing new in that, but I think the summary helps focus it’s purpose. And it has nothing to do with “patriotism” or “economics”.

~McQ

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28 Responses to “Economic patriotism” equals “stay here and pay punitive taxes to cover our ruinous spending habit”

  • There is really no excuse for corporate taxes, which are simply taxes imposed on the consumers of corporate goods and services, collected by the companies.

    Quite regressive, too, if you think about that.

    Plus, as I pointed out to the moronic Erp, money will vote with its feet, metaphorically.  Meaning that money will flee tax-adverse climes for less avaricious places.

    Duh.

    • One could say that the Tea Party has been calling for another for of “economic patriotism”

    • When the Boomers wealth starts fleeing in-earnest, the Statists will trade their cutesy little catch-phrase for more heavy-handed tactics. Wealth confiscation.

  • I owe no patriotism – economic or otherwise- to our weaponized government or the legions of cretins that fancy themselves “Americans” lined up with their grasping hands trying to reach into my wallet.

     

    • Usually, most “wallet-ectomies” are accompanied by the usage of the phrase “the greatest nation on the face of the Earth”

  • In other words -
    “Economic Patriots allow their wealth to be properly redistributed!”
    “Your gold for the Rodina!”
    “Patriots strike off your bonds, wealth is a binding chain!”
    Uh, they’ll sound better when we translate them into Russian.

    You know, if they dress these up right, put them on banners with sickles and hammers, we can parade them on the new white bricked square across the street from the White House on May 1st every year.
    Let’s see, maybe we can buy Nunavut from the Inuit and open up our own gulags, though if we were really good little socialists we’d just find a way to have the Inuit cease to exist by ‘helping’ them.

    • Actually, the Swastika or the flag of fascist Italy.  American COMPLIANT businesses get to keep the allusion of controlling their property.

      • Some businesses seem to be moving  from compliant to complicit.

        • Oh, yeah.  It was ever thus!  One of the reasons the fascist model works is that it does provide benefits to the businesses who nipple up to the BIG GOVERNMENT teet.  As we’ve discussed before, it trades a very healthy kind of market competition for a very sick kind of competition for influence and favor.

  • The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and useful instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organisation of production is a function of national concern, the organiser of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.

    Economic patriotism, nothing new under the sun and as usual, someone already did it better, earlier. Or as Musso might say to Obama nowadays… “you didn’t build that”.

  • While we are on the topic of Nazis,
    The cutting and pasting job after “Williamson summarizes:” needs to be redone.
    Best regards,
    The Editing Nazi.

  • A video to explain economic patriotism.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY_aOtFAcO4

     

  • Hey, didn’t the NYT just absolve an Economic Patriot?
    National Journal
    How to renounce America and still be called a patriot

    I post that in lieu of pointing out the Pro Golfer thinks the airliner shoot down over Ukraine ‘may’ be a terrible tragedy.
    Can someone get his teleprompter’s opinion on this?

    • “Before I begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border, and it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy,” Baracula quoth.

      “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, may be a day that will live in the pantheon of terrible mistakes.”

      • I didn’t need him to point fingers – even if he has intel, which under the circumstances I WOULDN’T want him to that reveal this soon afterwards out of national security concerns.

        but ‘may be a terrible tragedy’?
        Geeze, is he waiting for the news on Friday evening to discover it’s beyond the use of the ‘may’ qualifier at this point?

        But July 17 is apparently going to be a sucky history day all around – shoot down of a civilian jet liner, an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza, what’s next.

        • Well, according to Princess Running Bare Warren and Crazy Nanny Pelosi, etc., the ‘orrible, ‘orrible troglodytes of the GOP are continuing their theocratic campaign to rape co-eds and make them bear white babies while killing brown ones at the border.

          So.  There’s that…

          • The media actually noticed he really wasn’t very engaged on this.   23 dead Americans, I guess that’s not enough.  Maybe they didn’t wear hoodies,  or didn’t look like people who could have been his kids.

            You think they’ll agree he just had a(nother)  “now watch this drive” moment?

          • The expectations here are so low that I don’t think it would matter.  Let him golf.

          • Hell, I’d be DE-flucking-LIGHTED if Baracula would JUST golf.  He can make that happen, too!  Resign.  Nixon had the integrity to do it.

            If only…

          • I am getting on a plane on Sunday that would have taken that route to Bangkok… gives one a nice sense of security.

          • Mark Steyn said something that struck me last night about how this was a first-world airline flying first-world people between two first-world cities.  And it was still shot down over Europe.

            I’ve been saying for years that we were coming to a much more dangerous world.  It seems like it will be prudent to check your geopolitical awareness against your travel plans in today’s reality.  Part of the price we will all pay for the Obamic Decline.

            Be careful.

          • Pax Americana baby – gone bye bye.

          • Rags, most Europeans regard anything East of Poland as not Europe (despite what our resident multi-cultural doe-eyed professor might claim). Whether that is fair is another question. The irony is that we’ve been flying over similar trouble spots in Afghanistan, Iraq and so on for years without issue. Now some fool with a SAM bigger than he can handle goes and pops a commercial airliner. On the other hand, hopefully the route planners will be somewhat more cautious with us from now on.

  • “Gaseous patriotism” is “taking the gas pipe”

  • “This should snap everybody’s heads to attention,” he said from the White House briefing room on Friday. “We don’t have time for propaganda, we don’t have time for games, we need to know exactly what happened.”


    Odd.  We had time for a Pit Burger and a crass photo-op, a few jokes and shout-outs, and a fund-raiser.  And nobody with a brain failed to notice.
     

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