Apple is only taking advantage of opportunities that exist in the tax code. Why do they exist?
A completely separate question, woven through the linked NYT article, is the way some states — notably California — take so much in tax that they drive businesses away. There's a competition among the states, and it punishes them for getting too greedy.
I get the impression the NYT would like to shame corporations into willingly forking over more money to the government. Here's a great anecdote:
In one of his last public appearances before his death, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, addressed Cupertino’s City Council last June, seeking approval to build a new headquarters.Feel more connected.... Absurd! The article ends with a quote from the president of a Cupertino area community community college complaining that companies like Apple are "philosophically antitax, and it’s decimating the state." I'd love to hear what Steve Jobs would say to that. It's the pro-tax philosophy that decimates a state.
Most of the Council was effusive in its praise of the proposal. But one councilwoman, Kris Wang, had questions.
How will residents benefit? she asked. Perhaps Apple could provide free wireless Internet to Cupertino, she suggested, something Google had done in neighboring Mountain View.
“See, I’m a simpleton; I’ve always had this view that we pay taxes, and the city should do those things,” Mr. Jobs replied, according to a video of the meeting. “That’s why we pay taxes. Now, if we can get out of paying taxes, I’ll be glad to put up Wi-Fi.”
He suggested that, if the City Council were unhappy, perhaps Apple could move. The company is Cupertino’s largest taxpayer, with more than $8 million in property taxes assessed by local officials last year.
Ms. Wang dropped her suggestion.
Cupertino, Ms. Wang said in an interview, has real financial problems. “We’re proud to have Apple here,” said Ms. Wang, who has since left the Council. “But how do you get them to feel more connected?”
IN THE COMMENTS: Maguro said:
Needs an "Apple is like Elizabeth Warren" tag.