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Old 11-17-2009, 08:54 AM  
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Chasing Corporations out of U.S.

We were warned; looks like it's happening. Article from Investors.com

Chasing Corporations Out Of The U.S.
By ROBERT J. HERBOLD AND SCOTT S. POWELL
Posted 11/16/2009 06:16 PM ET


Unemployment is foremost on everyone's mind today. Yet jobs can continue to leave the U.S. because of the threat of new taxes, the convergence of technology, the ease of digital collaboration and ready access to abundant foreign engineering talent.

Multinational corporate executives may have to move R&D, product development, management and manufacturing overseas when there is no longer a comparative advantage to staying in the United States. A shocking thought for sure, but it's the new reality.

After Japan, the U.S. has the world's highest corporate tax rate, and there is seemingly no willingness by Washington to bring rates down.

In fact, the Obama administration recently proposed taxing the foreign profits of U.S.-based multinationals even when those profits were not repatriated, but backed away when executives threatened to move offshore. Obama aides acknowledge that the administration has set aside the idea for now, but plans to revisit it in a broader tax overhaul sometime next year.

This ambiguity and the threat of new taxes from Washington, such as cap-and-trade, have already prompted 11 major U.S. companies to move offshore in the past year.

Tyco International, Foster Wheeler, Weatherford International, Nabors Industries, Noble Corp., TransOcean International, United America Indemnity, Cooper Industries, Covidien, Ingersoll-Rand and Accenture have all completed or taken steps to change their domicile of incorporation, with Switzerland and Ireland as the most popular relocation destinations.

Commenting on his company's decision, an Accenture board member asked, "What shareholder would ever vote to incorporate in a country that taxes your worldwide income?"

But it is not just taxation that is chasing corporations out of America. Another top consideration is access to talent. The U.S. now spends more per capita on public education than any other OECD country, but its students test in the bottom decile.

The U.S. Government's National Assessment of Educational Progress generates the "Nation's Report Card" annually. For the last 10 years, less than 25% of American high school seniors achieved a rating of "proficient" in either math or science. In August 2009, the ACT test service announced that only 23% of this year's high school graduates tested adequately in reading, writing, math and science to succeed in college. This is a national embarrassment.

Everyone understands teacher quality is the key determinant of academic success. However, teachers' unions don't allow performance appraisals and merit pay. So, many top-performing teachers get frustrated and opt out, leaving behind the less competent who keep the bar low.

Washington forms commission after commission to find solutions, but nothing much happens. Why? Because no one wants to take on the teachers' unions, which are a major source of re-election campaign dollars.

With the scarcity of technical talent in the U.S. resulting from failing schools, many corporations try to recruit foreign students. But with anti-immigrant regulations and sentiment imposed by Washington, many corporations find the easier course is to just hire abroad. Recently, Bank of America, among others, had to rescind job offers to dozens of foreigners because it had received federal bailout money.

Another major concern for American multinational executives is the increasing political risk in the United States. They now worry about the high cost of uncertainty associated with excessive government activism and a hostile culture.

A culture that turns a blind eye to government failure, but is quick and unrelenting to blame society's ills on business, will naturally and subliminally embrace socialist solutions. The problem is that when one intervention fails, the government attempts to fix its errors with yet more intervention — a sort of creeping socialism that results in a compounding of waste and inefficiency.

So the nationalization of General Motors was followed by Cash for Clunkers and successive bailouts of GMAC. The TARP rescue of banks was followed by government micromanagement, wage controls and punitive salary caps for highly paid talent.

Unfortunately, this kind of populist government meddling in our financial sector is sure to drive talent offshore. In fact, Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann recently commented "we can't wait to get our hands on all that top talent."

Americans must realize that the geese that lay the golden eggs can take flight. Most U.S.-born multinational board members and executives want their native country to be successful. On the other hand, their fiduciary duty requires that they face reality and respond to global competitors who increasingly have an edge in taxation, access to educated talent and a more supportive political and cultural climate. Taking no action and losing out to the competition breaches their duty to shareholders.

Washington needs to wake up and see the big picture. Now more than ever, it is all about keeping and creating jobs. We can't afford to chase multinational corporations out of the United States.

• Herbold is the retired chief operating officer of Microsoft Corp. and managing director of the Herbold Group.

• Powell is managing director of Alpha-Quest and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. Both live in Bellevue, Wash
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:59 AM   #31
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You underestimate them. The big boys have an easier time moving than the little ones.
That's what I just said.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:01 AM   #32
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If they do that, and I don't think they will, they're just going to end up screwing themselves. Believe it or not, not everything is business is profit motivated, but they present it to you like that because all most people understand is basic free enterprise economics. "Supply and demand". There's a lot more social dynamic to running a huge multi-national corporation than just the bottom line. There's standing with a public who is your main consumer. Believe it or not, there's even a conscience among certain business leaders about what is "right" for the country that afforded their success and the employees they provide for. If you really think you can just rip all that, plop yourself in a cheaper country, and expect to run the same or better as it always had, you're naive about the nuances of what makes huge corporations work.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:08 AM   #33
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Awwww the excuse for the lack luster American parent for 50 years. Parents do their job and public school would be just fine.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:10 AM   #34
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I'm all for policies that encourage capital formation. That's why the growth-oriented aspects of the Bush tax cuts (reduced taxes on cap gains and on dividends) were such good ideas. We should be taxing our consumer base and lightening the taxation on production in this country. It's so simple even a caveman can understand it.
Yea, they were such good ideas that benefited us soooooooooo much
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:12 AM   #35
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Thank, God, we've shaken the inflated Hamiltonian view of thirteen colonies and agrarian based economics into the educational debate. Our public schools work quite nicely, sorry yours suck.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:14 AM   #36
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Yea, they were such good ideas that benefited us soooooooooo much
Of the current issues that face the US on an economic basis, what do you believe was caused by tax cuts?

Was the banking crisis/liquidity issues related to tax reductions on corporations?

Was the housing bubble and the fall out from that related to corporate or individual income taxes?

Do you believe that the current unemployment situation is somehow related to tax reductions?
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:14 AM   #37
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If they do that, and I don't think they will, they're just going to end up screwing themselves. Believe it or not, not everything is business is profit motivated, but they present it to you like that because all most people understand is basic free enterprise economics. "Supply and demand". There's a lot more social dynamic to running a huge multi-national corporation than just the bottom line. There's standing with a public who is your main consumer. Believe it or not, there's even a conscience among certain business leaders about what is "right" for the country that afforded their success and the employees they provide for. If you really think you can just rip all that, plop yourself in a cheaper country, and expect to run the same or better as it always had, you're naive about the nuances of what makes huge corporations work.
All those things are true, but that doesn't mean that strong enough incentives can't overcome those things. Every reason we give a company to leave is another straw on each corporation's back. Some will collapse to the pressure early and some will resist longer. My preference is to line up as many incentives on the side of staying in America and providing jobs here as possible, not to simply expect American-born corporate leaders to stay put out of loyalty to the homeland no matter how onerous we make it for them.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:14 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by HolyHandgernade View Post
If they do that, and I don't think they will, they're just going to end up screwing themselves. Believe it or not, not everything is business is profit motivated, but they present it to you like that because all most people understand is basic free enterprise economics. "Supply and demand". There's a lot more social dynamic to running a huge multi-national corporation than just the bottom line. There's standing with a public who is your main consumer. Believe it or not, there's even a conscience among certain business leaders about what is "right" for the country that afforded their success and the employees they provide for. If you really think you can just rip all that, plop yourself in a cheaper country, and expect to run the same or better as it always had, you're naive about the nuances of what makes huge corporations work.
Really? who are these noble business leaders? Why do people line up at Wal Mart to buy products without any thought as to where they came from?
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:15 AM   #39
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Yea, they were such good ideas that benefited us soooooooooo much
They were great ideas that didn't go nearly far enough.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:17 AM   #40
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Of the current issues that face the US on an economic basis, what do you believe was caused by tax cuts?

Was the banking crisis/liquidity issues related to tax reductions on corporations?

Was the housing bubble and the fall out from that related to corporate or individual income taxes?

Do you believe that the current unemployment situation is somehow related to tax reductions?
Ah disHonest comes along and tries to play smart.

The tax cuts did not cause any of the above situations but that's not what we were discussing. Nice attempt to change the subject though.

What the tax cuts did do was fail to deliver the increased revenue from more economic growth. They increased our deficit immensely, provided no benefit to the economy, and were just plain out stupid during a time of war.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:18 AM   #41
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They were great ideas that didn't go nearly far enough.
Right, we should have increased our deficits more during a time of war. That's the ticket to economic prosperity.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:23 AM   #42
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Really? who are these noble business leaders? Why do people line up at Wal Mart to buy products without any thought as to where they came from?
Did WalMart relocate to Southeast Asia? We're talking about two different business concepts here. Being multi-national is very different from being foreign-based. So, yes, I think if the Waltons all of a sudden decided they were going to move their corporate headquarters overseas and they think the American public (because we know how patriotic the consumer base is that shops at WalMart is) is just going to say, "No biggie, give me my cheap plastic shit, please!", I don't think you have a grasp on the social dynamic. People consider WalMart an American company, no matter where they get their stuff from. But, if the suddenly became a Southeast Asia company, yes, I think their customers would say screw you and shop at KMart or Target and WalMart would soon go out of business in the U.S.

-HH
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:27 AM   #43
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Ah disHonest comes along and tries to play smart.

The tax cuts did not cause any of the above situations but that's not what we were discussing. Nice attempt to change the subject though.

What the tax cuts did do was fail to deliver the increased revenue from more economic growth. They increased our deficit immensely, provided no benefit to the economy, and were just plain out stupid during a time of war.
So you blame the tax cuts for an increse in the deficit. If that is the case, are their data to support that? In other words, looking at federal tax revenue before and after the tax cuts, would the revenue from before been high enough to offset the spending including the spending on war efforts?
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:29 AM   #44
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So you blame the tax cuts for an increse in the deficit. If that is the case, are their data to support that? In other words, looking at federal tax revenue before and after the tax cuts, would the revenue from before been high enough to offset the spending including the spending on war efforts?
Do you own homework, but the answer is no. Even without considering the wars the tax cuts wouldn't have paid for themselves.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:43 AM   #45
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I assume that you understand that tax rate and tax revenue are related but not tied to the actual reveues. I say I assume that because I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

In fact, the greatest contributors to the change in deficit before and after the tax cuts were a reduction in the taxable revenues the economy created and for Defence expenditures that outstripped all other factors.

Had the tax cuts not have been done, we would still have been in a deficit, that proven by the numbers.

But what is impossible to quantify is had the tax cuts not have taken place, would the economy have tanked sooner or deeper?

To state that no benefit came from the individual tax cuts is far reaching. I would have to think that individuals who saw taxes cut felt they benefitted from not having to pa the tax to the federal government.

Would you agree or do you stand with your previous statement that there was "no benefit to the economy"?
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