August 27, 2014

Well, it's not called Burger President.

Is Burger King unAmerican?

77 comments:

Hagar said...

According to what I heard on TV yesterday, Burger King is owned by a Brazilian hedgefund, or something, so I guess the proper quesstion to ask is: Is it un-South-American?

PB Reader said...

Corporations really don't pay taxes, they only collect them from customers and send them to the government. Let's start with setting the corporate income tax to zero. Let shareholders pay taxes when they receive dividends or capital gains.

Original Mike said...

Think I'll go have me a Whooper.

MadisonMan said...

I haven't been to Burger King in about a decade because, you know, Culvers.

Tim Hortons though is a chain I will stop at for coffee and donuts. There really should be one in Madison. This is one of several reasons that Columbus OH is superior to Madison. But all the Tim Hortons I see are paired with Wendy's Restaurants, so I found this merger interesting from that perspective. (I think at one time Wendys and TH were in the same Corporation).

If Corporations are fleeing high taxes, doesn't that say more about the tax rates than the Corporation?

rhhardin said...

Maybe the government can make up the money by opening a casino.

Hagar said...

The Democrats trying to stop "tax inversion" will be about as successful as efforts at price controls have been across the world since the beginning of civilization.

Hagar said...

Which will not stop them from trying to make hay with it in the months leading up to an election!

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

It needs to be said over and over again. Burger King will still pay the high US business tax on every dollar earned in the US. Our government will not have one less dollar in taxes. This inversion only means Burger King will pay the Canadian tax rate on money earned in Canada.

This is a phoney issue ginned up by demagogues.

Tank said...

Burger King?

Gotta admit, as a rich white privileged guy, I go with Bobby Flay's Burgers.

We actually met him (he was filming a commercial) at his place in Paramus.

Mrs. Tank: There's Bobby Flay.

Tank: Which one is Bobby Flay?

Tank said...

My original comment failed:

What would George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson think about the corp tax rate?

Which is un-American, the King or the Tax Code?

Ron said...

O will appoint a Burger Czar who make each chain make a "healthier" Hammer and Sickle Burger

AustinRoth said...

"Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands." - Judge Learned Hand

Hagar said...

And in fact, if you don't, you presumably are screwing up the works, since the assumption is that Congress knows what it is doing, and the natural results of its actions are what was intended.

Brando said...

I'm all about Wendys myself. Their burgers and fries are superior.

The most maddening thing about this controversy is the misinformation about it. Our corporate tax laws are idiotic not simply because our corp tax rate is high (35%), but because we apply it to all global earnings of corps domiciled here. So if BK is domiciled here, and does 10% of its business in the U.S., but 90% overseas, it still pays that corp tax rate of 35% on the 90% of overseas business. Other developed countries (such as Canada) do not do this--companies domiciled there pay that country's corp tax rate for the operations in that country, and whatever corp tax rate applies in any other country they do business in.

So by doing this "move", BK is still paying the U.S. corp tax rate for its operations in the U.S.--it's only going to not be paying the U.S. corp tax rate for operations OUTSIDE the U.S. The mouth-breathers behind this boycott are likely unaware of this. The U.S. method happens to be massively unfair, and it naturally drives companies to change their domicile.

And leave it to Obama and his populist moron allies to skim over these facts, and try to shame companies into staying here and paying far more in taxes. This is the only game they know how to play, and responsible governance has long gone out the window.

Hagar said...

If everyone assume that Congress does not know what it is doing, and work to correct its actions by acting "un-naturally," the results will be anarchy and havoc.

-Peder said...

When you eat a BK burger, is it the same as regicide? Does the crown instantly pass to the next burger?

Original Mike said...

"This is a phoney issue ginned up by demagogues."

But that would mean Obama is a. ... is a ...

lgv said...

Clearly, BK will be destroyed for such a ploy. Just like Chick Fil-A went bankrupt after the left attacked them.

Huh? Oh wait.... Never mind.

I haven't eaten at a BK in years, but we could use us some Tim Horton's down here in Texas.

Seeing a Tim Horton's in the middle of winter is like seeing an oasis in the Sahara.

Big Mike said...

The federal government made the rules. It is unseemly for the leaders of the federal government to be bitching about people following the rules. If the results are not what they wanted, they need to change the rules.

DanTheMan said...

A similar example:
If you live in Florida and work in Georgia, you pay Georgia income tax.
But, if you live in Georgia, and work in Florida, you pay Georgia income tax.

This is called "fairness".

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Our government will not have one less dollar in taxes.

If Burger King currently makes a profit in any country other than the US, then the US will lose the tax revenue on those profits. However, there is no particular reason to think that the US was ever entitled to that revenue; most governments do not collect taxes on revenue generated outside their country.

CWJ said...

AustinRoth beat me to it. I haven't seen that quote for a long time but I've always loved it. Yeah, how dare BK follow the law!

CWJ said...

Brando, well put.

Big Mike said...

Wife pointed out to me that corporations favored by this administration -- General Electric comes to mind -- not only pay no taxes, but actually receive money from the government. As in crony capitalism. Meanwhile MacDonalds gets exempted from ObamaCare while Burger King does not. So in essence Burger King is being taxed heavily to pay for other corporations, and to partially subsidize its biggest competitor.

Why wouldn't they run away from that?

Ann Althouse said...

When I was a college student, I had a summer job at Burger Chef. Remember Burger Chef? Sounds kind of French, don't you think?

The special burgers were called "Big Shef" and "Super Shef"… spelled like that, presumably to spare American idiots from mispronunciation, even though someone we managed to deal with the name of the restaurant. But maybe they knew people were mispronouncing the name of the restaurant, and this was an effort to help people avoid mistakes while ordering.

Seeing Red said...

Nope. When retired people move from a high-tax state like NY to Florida, is it UN-American?

So you're moving farther, what's the big deal? Walgreens considered it and caved.

Bono/U2 did it, they moved their biz to a lower-tax EU country.

Seeing Red said...

When W gave "amnesty" the USG took in a couple if hundred billion more than they thought they'd get.

Putin found out when he lowered taxes, it wasn't really worth trying to avoid them.

Seeing Red said...

My question is how many of these corps who are thinks of doing this, much less did this, supported Barry or the dems?

Seeing Red said...

It's time to shrug and say I guess the US is just having some bad luck.

It's what we voted for, after all.

Kelly said...

I think that the people who eat at Burger King won't care one way or another.

Ann, I remember Burger Chef, ours was right across the street from Burger King. Weren't the burgers sent out wrapped in plastic? They were kind of steamed which wasn't very appetizing even to a kid. I also remember soggy fries.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Original Mike said...
"This is a phoney issue ginned up by demagogues."

But that would mean Obama is a. ... is a ...

8/27/14, 8:08 AM

Shhhh. Don't tell Althouse, it'll break her heart.

MadisonMan said...

I was on the #6 Bus yesterday, riding home, and a woman got on in her BK Uniform. She smelled of grease. (I think if I worked in fast food I'd be spending 30-40 minutes after work in the shower cleaning the smell from me.)

Anyway, that tired black woman on the bus is the person boycotters want to punish.

madAsHell said...

I've eaten at a Tim Horton's in Vancouver.

Once!

The food suxs.

Xmas said...

I was just reading about this on Bloomberg View, it has a good explanation of this.

Long story short, even if the US passed a law to stop inversions, this inversion would still happen. Tim Horton's is bigger than Burger King in every way except Market Cap. Burger King's market is shrinking in the US and growing internationally, keeping their HQ in the US would actually hurt them.

Also, Burger King will still continue to pay US taxes on US sales. The inversion would only free them from paying US taxes on foreign sales.

kcom said...

"The special burgers were called "Big Shef" and "Super Shef"… spelled like that, presumably to spare American idiots from mispronunciation"'

It sounds more like a copyright thing. Big Chef is two normal words. Big Shef is proprietary.

kcom said...

Of course, I meant trademark, not copyright.

Hagar said...

This is the kind of muddied up waters that Democrat bigwigs like Warren Buffet and Tom Steyers like to fish in.

Michael said...

Again, the economic cluelessness of the left is on display. BK makes its money by franchising, not by making, cooking and selling burgers. Franchising. The evil corporation does not directly cook and sell burgers. It doesnt touch burgers. It sells BK franchises to entrepeneurs who hire local people to cook and sell burgers to the burger eating public.
If a stupid leftie wants to ride their high horse to a boycott they are doing so to crush the local owner and the people who work for him. Burger King will lose a miniscule amount of money on franchise fees. Miniscule. The local owner will have to further reduce hours of her employees from the 30 hours they currently work to skirt Obamacare to many hours less to make up for lost revenues.

lemondog said...

Booger King.

Uncle Warren is financing with $3 billion.

Maybe BO will give him another Freedom Medal.

Biff said...

Seems as good of a time as any to revisit Burger King's classic "Have it Your Way" commercial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJXzkUH72cY

(There is another video that runs through a few Burger King commercials from the 60s and 70s. I remember most of them. Very interesting cultural artefacts. Just imagine if BK reprised its "Indian" commercial today! There's also an interesting moment in the second commercial when a fellow asks, "Where's the meat?" So close, yet so far. I wonder if the script writer for that ad was upset when Wendy's came out with the "Where's the beef?" ads a few years later.)

EDH said...

Remember how the left mocked "freedom fries"?

Today, President Obama took executive action to prevent Burger King from topping its burgers with American cheese.

Seeking neutrality, Burger King with use melted Swiss.

Robert Cook said...

I remember Burger Chef...there was one in Gainesville, Florida where I attended college in the 70s. I ate there once, and it was okay, as I recall. I ate at Burger King 2 or 3 times and never liked it...the burgers were never cooked through. Hardee's was also okay, but nothing special. McDonald's was not bad, but I preferred Dairy Queen. The best fast food burger I ever had was from Mr. Swiss, a little-known chain that proliferated in the mid-west and the south in the 70s. I worked at one for 3 years. They had 36 flavors of milk shakes when I started, but eventually "cut down" to only 16 flavors. In the one where I worked, they made their own corned beef, they roasted their own beef, and, as I said, the burgers were superior to any available anywhere else, then or now.

Thorley Winston said...

I'm all about Wendys myself. Their burgers and fries are superior.

Agreed, the quality and value of fast food at Wendy’s is heads and shoulders above that of Burger King or McDonald’s.

EMD said...

Le Royale with Cheese?

MayBee said...

Gah.

The tax code for international companies headquartered in the US is insane. Politicians talkiing about closing "loopholes" will just make fewer and fewer companies choose to be headquartered here.

The demagogues need to stop demagoguing. They want to create a financial Berlin Wall. That's what's unAmerican.

Anonymous said...

Old hotness: US corporations don't have to pay taxes!
New hotness: BK is trying to evade the taxes US corporations have to pay!

Old hotness: Corporations aren't people, so it's silly to think they can be religious!
New hotness: Corporations should be patriotic!

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

Our corporate tax laws are idiotic not simply because our corp tax rate is high (35%), but because we apply it to all global earnings of corps domiciled here.

But you earned that foreign income because you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did!

Oh, wait...

Rusty said...

In and Out Burger #1 in large franchise burgers.

Portillos #1 in local franchise burgers.

Beorn said...

It is more unpatriotic to waste billions of our hard-earned money, than for people to look for ways to avoid being shaken down by the Washington Waste Machine.

Brando said...

"But you earned that foreign income because you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did."

Not only that but consider the implications of that reasoning--if it is unfair for U.S. corporations to benefit from U.S. infrastructure, etc. while getting started and then move elsewhere to benefit those other countries, then is it unfair for us to take on immigrants from other countries who got their educations in their home countries?

The populists making this argument should come out and stand for the logic of what they're arguing--that the U.S. should close off all interactions with any other nation, because fairness.


Brando said...

I just want to understand the populist Left's logic, because unfortunately my brain hasn't been sufficiently hobbled by beer.

Corporations, despite being a way for individuals to organize themselves, cannot be people and so cannot express religious rights. But they can be unpatriotic?

Ok, while my brain tries to slow itself down enough to grasp that, let's move on to the next one. We should follow the lead of other developed nations--nationalize health care, ban gun ownership, raise individual tax rates well above 50%. Of course we should do this--other developed nations seem to do quite well even if they have smaller GDPs and a bit less growth than us! But never you mind the fact that those same nations have no corporate tax at all, or otherwise don't apply their corporate tax rates to overseas activities. We shouldn't emulate that, because patriotism!

Ok, head starting to hurt now. I think I'm getting it! I'll try one more.

Warren Buffet is a great, wonderful type of capitalist, because he favors higher estate taxes, supports Democrats, and plans to leave his entire fortune to charity. Hell, he even lent his name to the much ballyhooed "Buffet Rule." A saint, unlike those GOP fat cats! But wait--the same Warren Buffet engineered this unpatriotic move by Burger King?

Ok, I'll need a nap...

Revenant said...

"No taxation without representation" is a core American principle, and last I checked corporations weren't allowed to vote... so, no, I'd say that it isn't un-American. :)

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If corporations aren't people (stupid Mitt Romney!) then why would anyone expect them to act out of a sense of patriotism?

Revenant said...

The real tragedy here is that Tim Horton's is pretty damned good and Burger King is pretty much the worst fast food chain out there. *Maybe* Taco Bell is worse. I don't count White Castle because, hey, drunk people gotta eat too.

MadisonMan said...

The best line I read in the articles about the Burger King/Tim Horton's merger was the toss-away Imagine the catering.

Robert Cook said...

"'No taxation without representation' is a core American principle, and last I checked corporations weren't allowed to vote... so, no, I'd say that it isn't un-American. :)"

Shit. Their votes are counted in dollars, and their votes are listened to, while yours and mine are not.

Brando said...

"Shit. Their votes are counted in dollars, and their votes are listened to, while yours and mine are not."

Sounds like the problem is with the politicians who decide to be purchasable, and the power that they wield that makes it worth it to buy those politicians. Or do you think making them cheaper to buy would be an improvement?

Pianoman said...

I have a few 401Ks and IRAs. The purpose of those investment vehicles is tax-deferral. As a result, I pay less in taxes. Am I "un-American"?

I need to have some medical stuff done within the next year. I'm going to wait until after October, so that we can beef up my wife's FSA and use the tax-free money to pay for everything. Is that "un-American"?

I know people who have purchased big-ticket items in Oregon, then driven them back down to California because of sales tax differences. Are they un-Californian?

"Subsidize something, and you get more of it. Tax something, and you get less of it."

Pianoman said...

@SeeingRed made a good point about people who move to Florida to avoid taxes. Are they un-American too?

My wife and I know a couple who live for five months out of the year in a mountain cabin in California, and seven months out of the year in San Antonio. The reason they do this is state taxes. They don't want their income taxed in California, so their legal residence is Texas.

I'm sure there are several such examples.

The more complex a system, the more unintended consequences there will be. Remember the whole business about the Prius? The government started out by subsidizing them -- because they were GREEN!!! or something -- and then changed their tune once they realized that gas taxes were going down. Then suddenly, SOMETHING NEEDED TO BE DONE about it. In other words, government created the incentive structure, then recoiled when they saw the results of their incentives. Idiots.

Robert Cook said...

"Sounds like the problem is with the politicians who decide to be purchasable, and the power that they wield that makes it worth it to buy those politicians. Or do you think making them cheaper to buy would be an improvement?"

How about making it more painful for them to be bought?

MayBee said...

Shit. Their votes are counted in dollars, and their votes are listened to, while yours and mine are not.

Some businesses are listened to. They use their power to design laws that help them and hurt their competition.

But no other country does what we do wrt to taxing money made outside the country. The Democrats and Obama can call this tax dodging all they want, but it's greedy and it's created this situation. The government can either pull back or make laws like....you can't do business in the US if you aren't headquarted here.

We can spiral out- loosen tax laws and be open and free. Or we can spiral in- make ever-tighter laws until we strangle.

Which way does Obama want to go? This is very much his baby.

Drago said...

Cookie doesn't like our (US) resultant policy/legislation related to corporate structuring/tax laws for multinational corporations which were passed by congress and signed by the executive.

Apparently giving congress such power over corporate activities and setting the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world makes it well worth corporations time and energy to attempt to influence the legislation being passed.

According to cookie this "petitioning" of the government is a bad thing.

Of course, the standard everyday response of the left is to increase the very centralized power that created this scenario.

Logic.

MayBee said...

Steve Jobs tried to explain this very issue to Obama, but Obama knew better.

Robert Cook said...

"According to cookie this 'petitioning' of the government is a bad thing.

"Of course, the standard everyday response of the left is to increase the very centralized power that created this scenario."


American citizens are guaranteed a first amendment right to petition the government; corporations are not, despite the legal fiction that they are "persons."

Moreover, given their economic clout, especially as contrasted against all but the richest individuals, corporate influence within government is incalculably greater than that of unincorporated citizens, (who, it has recently been confirmed, have virtually no influence on policy). (This is available on a number of sites online, but I chose to link to a source that most Althousians will consider reasonably unbiased.)

I can't speak for "the left," but I advocate greater power of the people, and policy aimed at serving the people at large and not just the people with the financial clout to be listened to. The power of the people can only be exercised through the agency of government, so I do not advocate abolishment of government.

So, how do we retain government yet minimize undue influence of the wealthy and increase the influence of the great majority of American citizens who presently have no influence or power?

It's a conundrum, possibly irresolvable. Perhaps our burgeoning police state will not be arrested in its swift and well-advanced development, and perhaps we will not regain power over ourselves through self-government, and perhaps our present hurtling decline and eventual collapse cannot be halted.

Alex said...

John Travolta never went to Burger King while in the Netherlands. But he did go to McDonalds and had the 'Royale with Cheese' and 'Le Big Mac'.

We should have brought shotguns.

Krumhorn said...

A similar example:
If you live in Florida and work in Georgia, you pay Georgia income tax.
But, if you live in Georgia, and work in Florida, you pay Georgia income tax.

This is called "fairness".


I lived in Florida (a state with no personal income tax) and made a feature film that was distributed by a Canadian company based in LA. I had to pay California income taxes based on the fact that California was the "source" of the income.

For those New Yorkers who move to Florida but keep even a small apartment in NYC, they have to prove to the New York tax folks that they have actually been out of state for more than 183 days. And by "prove" that means showing a receipt for a purchase each and every day out of state.

No wonder Rush moved his EIB headquarters to FL and broadcasts from there.

When the libruls decide they want your money to fuel their waste, social engineering, and income redistribution, there are no lengths to which they will not go to tax you.

-Krumhorn

Anonymous said...

"The only way to stop politicians selling favors is to take away their inventory." --Iowahawk

Anonymous said...

It's kind of weird that BK would be getting a better deal from the Canadian than the US government, when the US government is the one they've supposedly bought.

jr565 said...

The problem is America's tax rate. So lower it. It's not just the taxes that they are forced to pay here. If it were just that they probably would grumble, but not think about leaving. Its taxes they are forced to pay for overseas sales.

jr565 said...

"So by doing this "move", BK is still paying the U.S. corp tax rate for its operations in the U.S.--it's only going to not be paying the U.S. corp tax rate for operations OUTSIDE the U.S. The mouth-breathers behind this boycott are likely unaware of this. The U.S. method happens to be massively unfair, and it naturally drives companies to change their domicile."
EXACTLY! BK is not paying less taxes here. They don't want to pay the same taxes on overseas sales at the same rate. And taht's understandable. It's govt's fault then that BK wants to flee since they are the ones, essentially penalizing BK for keeping corporate headquarters here.
Incentives work.

ken in sc said...

Years ago, McDonalds called their fish sandwich a Whaler, it was cod, no whale meat of course. I tried to order one by calling it a fish sandwich, but the counter person kept insisting I call it a Whaler and would not complete my order until I did. Just thought of that for some reason.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Back when I was young I watched Saturday Night Live. There was a great skit with a blonde cast member telling Bill Clinton (the great Phil Hartman) "like, they have theirs man, so WHERE'S MINE?"

Like, BK has money man, so like where's mine?

The cat is outta the bag man.

"Undecided Female Voter 1: See, it's like, you look all around, and you see all this stuff? And, everybody's got stuff but me! Where's mine?! Where's MY stuff?! I'm young, man! I should have stuff, too! WHERE'S MY STUFF?!! ".
http://snltranscripts.jt.org/92/92anightline.phtml

Brando said...

Wait, as Warren Buffet was behind this, are we supposed to not like him now? Or do we forgive him because he "bought the indulgences" of favoring the Buffet Rule and supporting Obama?

It's exhausting trying to keep up with the populist left. You need the memory of a sieve and the brain of a cinderblock.

tim in vermont said...

Why don't we just nationalize Burger King? Chavez had a lot of fans in the US.

tim in vermont said...

"My wife and I know a couple who live for five months out of the year in a mountain cabin in California, and seven months out of the year in San Antonio. The reason they do this is state taxes. They don't want their income taxed in California, so their legal residence is Texas."

Well, depending on your income, the second home is basically "free."

Michael Deloatch said...

I think this is a brilliant move on the part of the power behind the Burger King's throne. My understanding is they will revolutionize fast food by dispensing with the order-at-counter concept and installing a Buffet.