Bob Barr

Of course, few hurling insults at Burger King care to even define what is considered to be one’s “fair share” in taxes. The fundamental fact remains that looking at corporate tax rates across the globe, at 39.1 percent the United States in fact has the “least fair” tax rate of any modern industrialized nation. Even factoring for deductions and other write-offs, America’s corporate tax rate still is higher than countries like Ireland (12.5 percent), the United Kingdom (23 percent), and Canada (26.1 percent). Just as millionaires are fleeing liberal, high-tax states like New York and New Jersey for more reasonable tax climes in Republican-controlled states like Texas and Florida, American businesses increasingly are questioning the efficacy of doing business in a country where politicians have made it harder and more expensive to operate profitably; and where any effort lawfully to reduce such tax burdens are met with charges of “unpatriotic” or worse.

These “Tax Patriots” also fail to ask a very important question at the root of the debate over “inversion” -- where companies move their headquarters outside the U.S. for tax reasons: Why is America’s corporate tax rate so high? Since large corporations typically bring in sizeable profits, they, along with wealthy Americans, have long been targeted by liberals in Congress as a revenue stream to fund bloated federal budgets. And, rather than find new ways to cut government spending, Democrats continue to invent new ways to make corporations pay more, evengoing so far as to making it more difficult for companies to relocate outside of the U.S. -- the same as Obama has done for U.S. citizens wishing to renounce their citizenship, increasing those fees more than 400 percent.

“My attitude is I don't care if it's legal, it's wrong,” Obama said in July, referring to companies that have moved their headquarters outside the U.S.; adding that he views them as “corporate deserters.” So, rather than addressing the problems that are leading to more people and companies wishing to leave the U.S. because of high tax rates, Obama hopes to trap them here with a regulatory version of the Berlin Wall; cheered on the whole way by people who appear to believe such coercion is patriotic.

“A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle,” wrote George William Curtis, a famous American writer and public speaker in the 19th Century, “and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.”

America is more than just land, mountains, rivers and woods. And, American “patriotism” is far more than a demonstration of loyalty to our country as a geographical or political entity. When we talk of patriotism, we should refer to the idea of America as a land of opportunity; opportunity that comes from the principles of free markets and capitalism, which can only thrive when regulations, taxes and the heavy hand of government are held to a minimum.

So, rather than shame businesses and business leaders for seeking lower taxes elsewhere, we should shame America’s deplorable tax system that chases corporations away. More than this, we should work to replace the “tax and spend” liberals responsible for these taxes in the first place; along with a number of Republicans in the House and the Senate, who refuse also to meaningfully simplify the Tax Code and reduce tax rates. Only by making America more competitive in the global marketplace, as a competitive marketplace, will the trend of inversion be stopped.

Politicians who raid the coffers of business, both small and large, are the true “traitors” to the American way. Not companies like Burger King.


Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.