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August 19, 2014

"In a stew over inversions"

Three fine paragraphs from George Will:

Progressives say corporations using inversions are unpatriotic, which is amusing. When the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision stipulated that Americans do not forfeit their First Amendment right to political advocacy when they act together through corporations (including, and especially, incorporated nonprofit advocacy groups), progressives ridiculed the idea that corporations should be treated as people. Now, progressives charge that corporations resorting to inversion are not behaving like patriotic people. . . .

This is the progressive premise in action: Because government provides infrastructure (roads, etc.) affecting everyone, and because government-dispensed money flows everywhere, everything is beholden to the government, and more or less belongs to the government, and should be subordinated to its preferences, which always are for more control of the nation’s wealth. Walgreens retreated, costing its shareholders, employees and customers billions. . . .

This illustrates the grandstanding frivolity of the political class. It legislates into existence incentives for what it considers perverse behavior, and then waxes indignant when businesses respond sensibly to the incentives.

See also "Three Cheers for Tax Inversions".

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