Does Apple know how to use its money better than the U.S. federal government?

“The New York Times reported on Saturday that Apple lowers its tax bill with various tax moves that involve using offices in lower tax regimes,” Elizabeth MacDonald reports for FOXBusiness. “Using analysis from a former Treasury economist, the New York Times reported that Apple ‘paid cash taxes of $3.3 billion around the world on its reported profits of $34.2 billion last year, a tax rate of 9.8%.’ The article goes on to say that Apple’s federal tax bill likely would have been $2.4 billion higher last year without these moves.”
“But using Apple’s corporate accounting profit to arrive at its effective global rate of 9.8% is dubious because profit figures are different numbers versus the taxable income figures companies report to the Internal Revenue Service,” MacDonald reports. “A look at Apple’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows the more appropriate effective rate for Apple is likely more than double the 9.8% effective rate the Times reported. Apple already reports in its filings that its global effective rate for both 2011 and 2010 is 24%, and its effective U.S. federal rate is likely 20.1%. Moreover, its global effective rate for 2009 was 31.8%.”

MacDonald writes, “The story [also] doesn’t note how the U.S. government gave tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks to American International Group, Citigroup and Bank of America in order to bail them out for their reckless bets in the marketplace. The more important debate is this: does Apple know better what to do with its money than the federal government, which has recklessly blown money on bankrupt companies like Solyndra and lavish junkets for the General Services Administration? A government that launched policies that blew out the balance sheets at the bankrupt Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two off balance sheet hedge funds the US taxpayer now owns, with more than $150 billion net so far chucked in that hole?”

MacDonald asks, “Would it be cheaper and better for job growth for the U.S. to have a pro-growth tax and regulatory regime to attract back home up to $700 billion Moody’s Investors Services estimates companies have parked offshore, versus the government spending money on things like the White House’s $753.2 billion stimulus, that didn’t move the needle much on the jobless rate?”

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