High-Tech Lynching: Senate Attempts to Crucify Apple
May 21, 2013
RUSH: As we speak, ladies and gentlemen, the Senate — some stupid, idiotic committee — is attempting to blame Apple Inc. for the deficit, for the national debt, unemployment, and tax fraud. (Ah, I should be careful!) The interesting thing is that nobody — and, by the way, the Senate committee chairman here of whatever this committee is, is Carl Levin. He’s a liberal Democrat from Michigan, but he has an echo. He has a Republican echoing everything he says.
That would be Senator McCain.
Senator John McCain is joining in this senatorial effort to crucify Apple Inc. over taxes. You want the truth? And, by the way, I could probably spend a half hour telling you everything Apple is doing tax-wise. I have spent a lot of time last night learning how Apple is using tax law. They’re not breaking it. Nobody, nobody — not Carl Levin, nor any of his witnesses, nobody — is accusing Apple of violating tax law. Yet they’re being persecuted today.
They’ve got Harvard economists.
They’ve got Princeton tax specialists.
They’ve got all these expert witnesses.
They’ve got the committee.
The only person on the committee defending Apple, and defending the concept of low taxes and limited government, is Senator Rand Paul. Apple Inc. pays more taxes than any US corporation. GE ought to be up there explaining how they don’t pay any tax on their multiple billion dollars of earnings. Instead, it’s Apple. Apple paid $6 billion last year to the US Treasury. To put that in perspective, that’s $16 million a day Apple paid in taxes. Apple pays 2.5% of all income tax collected by the US Treasury.
One company pays 2.5%. That’s $6 billion this year, and it will be more next year. (New Castrati impression) “There you go, Mr. Limbaugh. You just love Apple. That’s all you want. You just want to talk on your iPhone and use your iPad!” No, no. I’m defending the premise here, defending a concept, defending the founding of this country. It’s what I do, folks. I get up and I look at the people or the things or the institutions that I think are great and ought to model everybody else’s behavior under assault, I come here, and defend ’em.
I don’t care who they are.
RUSH: So we are putting together some audio sound bites from the Senate grilling of Apple. Three Apple executives are up there today: The CEO, Tim Cook; the chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer; and one of their tax specialists. I think the guy’s name is Bullock. Before we get to this tornado business, I just have to share this with you. Because this little interchange here — this exchange between John McCain and Tim Cook — is an illustration that these guys in the Senate have not the slightest idea what they’re investigating today.
During a lighthearted moment, Senator McCain said to the Apple CEO, Tim Cook, “Sir, there’s only one thing I really wanted to ask you today. Why do I keep on having to update all the apps on my iPhone? Can’t you guys fix that already?” That’s a verbatim quote from Senator McCain, who has served in the Commerce Committee forever. A powerful, longtime senator ought not be this ignorant, but he is profoundly ignorant.
Apps being updated on an iPhone means they’re being improved.
It means they’re being upgraded.
It means that they’re being made better.
They’re being made to do more and to work more efficiently. Sometimes they’re redesigned. Senator McCain apparently thinks that app updates mean his phone is broken, and this guy is sitting in judgment of whether or not Apple is a good corporate citizen.
RUSH: This is the McCain back-and-forth, and he intended this. Look, in good cheer, he was trying to be convivial, I understand, but it’s indicative. He was not on the attack here, is the point. Apple’s been under assault this whole day and starting since yesterday with the — well, actually New York Times, last year, and this has been building to this event now, but I just want you to hear this exchange. This John McCain with Tim Cook, who is the Apple CEO.
MCCAIN: What I really wanted to ask is why the hell I have to keep updating the apps on my iPhone all the time, and why you don’t fix that. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
COOK: Sir, we’re trying to make ’em better all the time.
RUSH: You know, updating apps means that the developers are improving them and there’s a new version and it’s gonna do more, and it’s gonna maybe be faster, and it’s gonna use less of your battery, it’s gonna have more features to it. App updates, I can’t wait to get app updates. I love getting app updates. I don’t get enough of ’em. I wish Apple was updating the iPhone far more often than they are, but McCain is just one of these just buy it… never mind.
RUSH: Apple is to the United States government what Clarence Thomas was to the civil rights coalition. How dare you get this big sidestepping us.
RUSH: Oh, before I get to that, I got an e-mail note from a friend. “Rush, is any part of you enjoying the inquisition the Apple execs are going through today? You mentioned all of these welfare check-cashing bloggers who are out there blindly supporting Obama on everything he’s doing, and then he doesn’t live up to his promises and they can’t believe it.
“What about high-information voters like these Apple execs, from a liberal-thinking company? They’re probably all a bunch of libs, and here they are under attack from the president they supported.” And, by the way, folks, don’t think that this Senate stuff isn’t happening without Obama’s knowledge. Again, Apple is to be made an example of here. They’re too big, they’re too successful, and they didn’t use government to get there. He ran against business and rich people.
He ran against these kinds of guys not paying their fair share. He ran against these guys. Now, I know he went out there and he had dinner with Steve Jobs and Zuckerberg and all that. But Jobs told him, “You’re not gonna get reelected if you don’t change the way you’re doing things. The education system in this country’s a mess.” Jobs told Obama what-for. Now, Jobs was wrong about Obama getting reelected. Most of Apple… I don’t really know. I’m just assuming because of efforts that we’ve made.
I’m just assuming that most of the people out at Apple are politically liberal, and so the question I’m getting is, “Rush, how do you feel? These guys are in their inquisition, and the president they supported and the Democrats they vote for are giving ’em hell today and attacking them and trying to destroy their company, destroy their image. Don’t you just have a little schadenfreude, Rush? Aren’t you just a little pleased to see this?”
I said, “No. I am totally frustrated.” This kind of thing totally frustrates me, that otherwise intelligent people can be this kind of wrong, and I’m wondering how these Apple execs feel. There’s one guy in that Senate committee that’s defending them — and to the left, this guy is a racist, extremist, Looney Toon, wacko, Tea Party kook by the name of Rand Paul. He’s the only senator in this committee defending Apple, the only senator on this committee defending low taxes.
I’ll give you an example. Rand Paul was talking to one of these Harvard or Princeton professors that the Senate brought in to agree with them that Apple’s a bunch of cheats. Nobody’s accusing Apple of breaking the law, by the way. What they’re accusing Apple of is bad citizenship. They’re saying Apple should be paying more. Apple’s saying, “We’re taking exactly what we owe!” “Well, you’ve got shell companies. You’ve got holding companies in Ireland. What do you mean?”
Rand Paul asked this guy, this Harvard guy (paraphrased exchange), “Let me ask you a question on your taxes.”
“Yes, sir? Yes, Senator?”
“Do you minimize your tax burden as much as you can?”
“Yes, Senator, I do.”
“Oh, you mean you are not trying to pay as much as you can?”
“No, Senator. I’m not.”
“Do you try to find every legal tax deduction you can and take it, sir?”
“Yes, Senator, I do.”
“So it’s safe to say that you are trying to minimize your tax burden; is that right?”
“Well, then what the hell is your beef here? That’s all Apple’s doing!”
Taxes are a cost. They’re doing everything they can to keep their costs down. What Apple’s being accused of here is bad citizenship. What the Democrats on this Senate committee (aided and abetted by Senator McCain, by the way) are trying to say is that Apple can pay more because they have more. Apple doesn’t need all this money that they’re making. Apple doesn’t need all this money that they’re hoarding. Apple doesn’t need all this money that they’re saving.
The government needs this money, and Apple has it, and they’re capable of paying it, and the definition of good citizenship is paying more taxes than you have to. These guys are trying to publicly humiliate Apple, and put pressure on their stock price. Many of us go through this kind of thing, folks, when the left gets in gear trying to do economic damage. That’s what they’re trying to do to Apple, and Apple’s defending themselves. “We haven’t done anything wrong. We haven’t broken any law.
“We’ve paid every dime of tax that we owe and we will continue to,” and nobody’s accused ’em of breaking the law. They’re just accusing them of bad citizenship. But the people accusing them of bad citizenship are the people they support, the people they vote for (and the guy they think that they wouldn’t dare go to a cocktail party with) is the one guy defending them. It’s frustrating to me. There’s no schadenfreude.
RUSH: Here’s Carl Levin this morning during the Senate hearing on Apple and their bad citizenship and their irresponsibility. Apple has not done anything illegal when it comes to their taxes and nobody has accused them of that. “Then why are they up there, Mr. Limbaugh? You keep saying that they haven’t broken the laws, then why are they up there?” Mr. New Castrati is asking. ‘Cause the company’s huge, it’s big, it’s popular, and it got there without government, and therefore they’re the enemy. They gotta be brought down a couple pegs. They ought to be paying more. Obama campaigned against companies like this making all this money and not paying their fair share. They got more money than they need, but they’re not breaking the law. So they’re dragged up there and accused of bad citizenship and more. Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat, the leader of the committee on the Democrat side, Democrat from Michigan.
LEVIN: The lost tax revenue feeds a budget deficit that has reached troubling proportions. It has helped lead to round after round of budget slashing and the ill-advised sequestration that now threatens our economic recovery. Because of those cuts, children across the country are not gonna get early education from Head Start, needy seniors are gonna go without meals, fighter jets sit idle on tarmacs because our military lacks the funding to keep pilots trained.
RUSH: That’s a crock. That’s a load of crock. They sit on the tarmac because nobody in the regime lorded them into the air. Anyway, Apple is to blame for all of that. The Apple CEO, the Apple CFO, and an Apple tax specialist are sitting there as Carl Levin blames them for seasoned citizens not eating, for young kids not going to Head Start, for fighter jets sitting idle on the tarmac, all because of Apple. And, by the way, there are little mayors in towns in California who are also blaming Apple for their problems, ’cause Apple isn’t giving them enough money in California, either. Rob Portman, senator from Ohio, this afternoon he also spoke up in defense of Apple, somewhat.
But it was left to Rand Paul who actually apologized, or said that Congress should be apologizing to Apple for this.
PAUL: Frankly, I’m offended by the tone and tenor of this hearing. I’m offended by a $4 trillion government bullying, berating, and badgering one of America’s greatest success stories. You know, tell me one of these politicians up here who doesn’t minimize their taxes. Tell me a chief financial officer that you would hire if he didn’t try to minimize your taxes legally. I’m offended by a government that uses the IRS to bully Tea Parties, but I’m also offended by a government that convenes a hearing to bully one of America’s greatest success stores. I’m offended by the spectacle of dragging in executives from an American company that is not doing anything illegal.
RUSH: Yeah. That’s Rand Paul — the kookiest, extremist, wackoist Tea Party Republican in the Senate — defending the good liberals from Apple. He wasn’t finished. Here’s where he says Congress should apologize…
PAUL: I, frankly, think the committee should apologize to Apple. We haul before this committee one of America’s greatest success stories, and you want applause? I say instead of Apple executives we shoulda brought in here today a giant mirror, okay? So we could look at the reflection of Congress, because this problem is solely and completely created by the awful tax code. If you want to assign blame, the committee needs to look in this mirror and see who created the mess, see who created this tax code that is chasing American companies overseas.
RUSH: Apple has about $110 billion out of their $145 or $150 billion cash reserve overseas. They leave it there because to bring it home would cost them 35%. They’re just not gonna do it. So they have holding companies in Ireland. Folks, if you want me to (and I know you don’t), I could explain every tax thing Apple is doing in a way you would understand it. It’s made to look complicated but it really isn’t. It’s as simple as Apple has a holding company in Ireland.
They have a holding company expressly to collect sales outside of the United States, which are not taxable anyway. Ireland’s tax laws are Ireland’s, and the US Senate has not got a damn thing to say about those. Yet that’s what they’re complaining about today is the way Apple is set up in Ireland. Even the country of Ireland got mad today at this committee for impugning their tax law. They said (summarized), “You guys are claiming we made a special deal with Apple, and we didn’t! Our tax law is our tax law. We didn’t make a special deal with Apple. We don’t make a special deal with anybody.”
But Carl Levin was livid at Rand Paul for what you just heard him say.
LEVIN: (angrily) No company — no company — should be able to determine how much it’s gonna pay in taxes, how many profits they’re gonna keep offshore, how they’re gonna bring ’em back home, using all kinds of gimmicks to avoid paying the taxes that should be paid to this country. If you want to hold up a mirror, you can hold up a mirror to anybody you want. You can apologize to anyone you want. This subcommittee is not gonna apologize to Apple.
RUSH: I’ll tell you, it was vicious. I don’t know how much money Apple has sent to Carl Levin’s PAC, I don’t know if they’ve sent any, but if they have they’re probably… I don’t even know if they regret it. Hell, folks, this is probably all just considered part of the game, the way it’s played. “Come in here, eat the excrement sandwich for today, head on back to Cupertino, and keep doing what you’re doing.” That’s probably what it is. You know, it’s just the dog and pony show.
“Okay, it’s our turn. We’ll come up here, we’ll take the medicine, and we’ll head home. To hell with these guys. We’re not gonna waste a lot of time with it.” But did you hear him? “No company should be able to determine how much it’s gonna pay in taxes!” Really? “No company should be able to determine how many profits are gonna keep offshore.” Really? “No company should be able to determine how they’re gonna bring ’em back home, the profits, using all kinds of gimmicks!” They’re not gimmicks. They’re legal tax laws. “To avoid paying taxes that should be paid in this country!”
They are paying the taxes that they should. They’re paying every dime they owe, senator!
RUSH: You know, imagine this, folks. You have this bunch of senators who’ve demonstrated they’re totally inept at balancing a budget; they’re totally inept at administering the country in a reasonable fiscal sense. They can’t manage the nation. It’s horrible what these senators have done — and members of the House, too — and here they are preaching to the CEO and the CFO of perhaps the country’s most profitable corporation, the country’s most successful corporation.
They ought to be asking these guys at Apple for help. They ought to be asking these guys at Apple for their advice. But I know it’s all a game because most of these people at Apple support the very people that are ripping ’em today. Steve Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, just did an interview in the New York Times. She talked about how she’s gonna start doing more for climate change, gun control, and immigration. I guess it didn’t help. The Senate still went after her husband’s company.