Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day weekend reading: Taxes, Russia, and more

We learned this week that Burger King will buy a Canadian restaurant chain and open a headquarters for the new, merged company in Toronto, a move that may allow the fast-food giant to lower its tax burden. The announcement sparked denunciations of Burger King and threats of boycotts – the same response that apparently caused Walgreens to stop considering a similar move abroad. The White House is reportedly thinking about circumventing Congress yet again and adopting new regulations to stem corporate flight.

We can’t afford to sit back and watch U.S. businesses pull up stakes and move away. But I don’t believe the answer lies in exerting ever-more government control over businesses. Like people, businesses respond to incentives. If the U.S. taxes them much more than other countries do, then U.S. businesses have an incentive to move.

So I suggest we remove that incentive – and while we’re at it, we should revamp the entire way businesses are taxed and provide new incentives for businesses to stay here, expand, and bring money home that is now parked in foreign tax havens. I have proposed using 100 percent expensing as a way to accomplish those goals. You can read more about my proposal here.      

Separately, I have a new op-ed outlining a more effective response to Russia’s belligerence. You can read it here.  

Finally, I wanted to share a few pictures of my trip this week to Sequoia National Park, one of central California’s great natural treasures. Portuguese Ambassador Nuno Brito and I had an instructive talk with the park rangers, who led a ceremony declaring my daughters Julia and Margaret to be junior rangers after they climbed to the top of Moro Rock.  

Not long ago, my daughters saw something they seemed to like as much as Sequoia National Park – John Boehner’s toy monkey.