Walgreens is reported to be considered emigrating from the United States, renouncing its citizenship and becoming a Swiss Citizen to cut its tax bill.
Well and good for its shareholders. If it were a person it would then have to apply for a visa to visit the United States and because it was a non-US citizen would not be permitted to be employed in the United States.
Of course Walgreens will have a US subsidiary, which will remit royalties back to its Swiss parent, payments so large that the US Walgreens operation would be almost unprofitable.
In addition, under the unpublished provisions of the various trade and trade in service treaties being negotiated so transparently on our behalf (sarcasm intended), Walgreens (Swiss) would have the ability to sue the Federal and State Governments for potential losses in profits, which one might believe could be more lucrative than being the drug pusher of choice on the corner of many streets.
For drug pushers they are.
If major corporations can become foreign nationals and enjoy more privileges as foreign nations than natives then we’ve inverted the meaning of citizenship. (Note here that TPP, TTIP, and TISA all reportedly have clauses that elevate corporations to supra-national status, so that in many cases, the corporations may have more power than countries.)
Citizenship then becomes a trap, to bind one to ones debts and obligations, to one’s disadvantage, for natural persons, and an opportunity for corporate persons to sue for profit governments of countries where they are not native.
But let’s be clear, corporations do not pay taxes, their customers pay taxes. The corporations act as tax collectors. One can make an argument that corporations should pay no income taxes whatsoever, but the shareholders should pay taxes at personal income tax rates – not portfolio income tax rates.
Alternatively if corporations truly be people, as our Supremes state, then the differing tax regimes for natural people and corporation should be considered unconstitutional. Of course, that would have disadvantages for the corporations. There is not a corporation in the US today which would not become insolvent almost immediately if it had to pay income taxes at the personal income tax rates.
One cannot imagine why any corporation would remain a US Native under the current personal tax regime and proposed ISDS (Investor State Dispute System) mechanism. Here’s the starting proposal, all income, individual or corporate, wage or investment, become taxed at the current wage tax rate, take this argument to the Supremes because the current tax code is clearly inequitable for all. Natural people are taxed differently from fictitious people, wage income taxed differently from corporate revenue, and passive or investment income.
There are also too many inequitable tax exemptions, deductions and other foolery.
Let the Supremes(R) work on that “equality or equal protection” issue. One hopes they Koch on it.
And Congress? Will be both irrelevant and poor. When corporations can buy a decision from their captive and well paid ISDS arbitrators, why would any corporation spend a dime on congress? An attempt to pass laws regulation companies will result in “loss of potential profit” lawsuits, not because profits might be affected, but because the authoritarian Sovereigns of corporations will not tolerate an limits on their divine rights.
ISDS enables Corporations to levy Taxes on States, through an opaque, secret, and corrupt mechanism, arbitration where the arbitrators are paid by the corporations, where all the corporation has to show is possible future profit affected by the State’s laws.
Where’s a constitutional lawyer when one is needed — oh (R)ight, He’s in the White House looking to change the constitution through the treaty process in secret, change you can believe in through loopholes, not upholding the existing constitution!!
An Incredible Legacy!
Photo by Terry Ross under Creative Commons license