You really have the marvel at the hypocrisy of some of President Obama’s biggest supporters rushing to avoid the tax increases that have become central to his agenda for a second term.
When President Obama needed a business executive to come to his campaign defense, Jim Sinegal was there. The Costco co-founder, director and former CEO even made a prime-time speech at the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte. So what a surprise this week to see that Mr. Sinegal and the rest of the Costco board voted to give themselves a special dividend to avoid Mr. Obama’s looming tax increase. Is this what the President means by “tax fairness”?
Specifically, the giant retailer announced Wednesday that the company will pay a special dividend of $7 a share this month. That’s a $3 billion Christmas gift for shareholders that will let them be taxed at the current dividend rate of 15%, rather than next year’s rate of up to 43.4%—an increase to 39.6% as the Bush-era rates expire plus another 3.8% from the new ObamaCare surcharge.
Warren Buffett, who has long backed Obama’s play when it comes to tax hikes, did a $1.2 billion share buyback to help an investor avoid tax hikes:
(Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s $1.2 billion share buyback from a single unnamed investor likely helped that person’s estate save substantially on taxes, just one day after the Berkshire Hathaway CEO said the rich should actually be paying more, not less, when they die.
With the “fiscal cliff” looming and estate taxes set to rise dramatically in less than three weeks, the timing was seen as advantageous – and, according to Berkshire watchers, also out of place in the context of Buffett’s recent tax activism.
Now the folks at Google, who were a “top source” for Obama’s campaign funds, have stuffed $10 billion in to an off-shore tax haven:
Google Inc. (GOOG) avoided about $2 billion in worldwide income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 billion in revenues into a Bermuda shell company, almost double the total from three years before, filings show.
By legally funneling profits from overseas subsidiaries into Bermuda, which doesn’t have a corporate income tax, Google cut its overall tax rate almost in half. The amount moved to Bermuda is equivalent to about 80 percent of Google’s total pretax profit in 2011.
It’s amazing how actions speak louder than words, isn’t it?
When our friends on the left talk about everyone paying their “fair share” in taxes, they don’t really mean them. They mean other people. Like, say, you.