Tuesday, March 20, 2012

From Gollum to Good Guy


Have no doubt, there most certainly are bad capitalists. The huge winger lie — from the GOP's POTUS candidates to talking heads and bloggers — is one of job creators.

Click around just a little and go to huge supporters of unfettered capitalism, like the WSJ, and you'll find the sad reality. Companies and rich people in general hoard. They've been sitting on cash that brings to mind Scrooge McDuck's swimming pool. The nation rots in unemployment and slow recovery, while they put their wads and bags of liquid resources only where those get guaranteed returns.

They create nothing but incremental additional wealth for themselves.

A few of the super-rich, such as Warren Buffet have called them on this disgrace and lack of concern for both the nation and its citizens. The government is fairly powerless to make fake and self-identified job creator actually create jobs.

Playing Gollum viciously protecting the Precious is the reality of the job-creator myth for the fast majority of flush companies and individuals. Yet we may finally have a corporate peer to lead boards and CEOs to responsibility, compassion and patriotism.

The ever self-interested Apple announced it would begin doing the right thing. It will pay out much of an accumulated $100 billion-plus in cash. Its admission that it has passed its tipping point of hoarding may well catalyze other McDucks to do the same.

Apple absolutely has been stifling the economy when it could have been a hero. Now if other corporations see the warm rains of praise and great PR surely to fall on Apple, many are likely to follow suit.

The corporation admits its cash has grown faster than it can use it. It will start by paying dividends around $45 billion to shareholders.

As another indicator of the nature of the hoarding problem's expanse, it won't touch $65 billion, at least short term. That cash is held outside the country. Its tax rate would be higher as a result of re-Americanizing it.

Don't hurt you head thinking of the companies, banks and individuals who also expatriate their millions and billions rather than creating jobs or expanding opportunities domestically.That's simply the inherently bad side of capitalism. Those amoral sorts need direction to act well.

Apple's first payout, beginning in July, is relatively modest in percentage, 1.8%. That's moderate for a high-tech company, and below the rate of Microsoft and others. However, it's a big change for Apple and likely an inspiration for other hoarders who have shunned their duties to the nation and its people in this awful economy.

I contend that an even better solution would be tweaking our tax code. Sure, Congress is mostly rich white folk making the rules to benefit rich white folk. Here the great mower with blades of shame and reason can slice off the unfairness and deceit.

Structure taxes like other Western nations. Businesses and the wealthiest would have a seminal choice. Either keep sheltering the millions and billions from economic growth, thus losing most to tax, or reinvest and invest it in job creation, company expansion, and the good aspects of capitalism for low or very low tax.

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