Monday, April 11, 2016


"Why the Obama administration is stepping up a corporate crackdown" PBS NewsHour 4/7/2016

aka "Stopping the Rape of American Taxpayers."


SUMMARY:  The Obama administration has taken steps to rein in big businesses this week: New rules issued by the Treasury Department regarding tax loopholes ended a $160 billion deal between Pfizer and Allergan.  Meanwhile, the Justice Department has filed an antitrust suit against a proposed oil giant merger, and more may follow.  Gwen Ifill talks to Jim Tankersley of The Washington Post for more.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  The Obama administration took steps this week to rein in big businesses when it comes to taxes and mergers.

First, the Treasury Department issued tough new rules that make it harder for one company merging with another to lower its taxes by taking a foreign address.  The President spoke out against the so-called inversions, saying they lead to one of the most insidious tax loopholes.

A day later, the drug companies Pfizer and Allergan called off a $160 billion deal.  Plus, the Obama Justice Department is trying to block oil services giant Halliburton from merging with its rival Baker Hughes.  Other proposed mergers may also be in trouble.

Jim Tankersley writes about this for The Washington Post.

Welcome, Jim.

JIM TANKERSLEY, The Washington Post:  Thanks for having me.

GWEN IFILL:  So, give me a sense of whether this is a conscious strategic use by the administration on tax policy to crack down on business.

JIM TANKERSLEY:  Well, in this particular case, it’s absolutely the administration saying, this is a practice in the corporate world that we don’t like, and we’re going to use tax policy to stop it.  It looks very tailored in particular to mergers like the Pfizer one, which, I mean, it’s very rare that you see a rule get announced on one day and a merger get called off the next, but that’s what they have pulled off here.

GWEN IFILL:  So, one of the things that they — when we talk about this, though, for instance, the administration decided they wanted to make financial advisers more accountable to clients.


GWEN IFILL:  Is that part of that same strategy, or is that different?

JIM TANKERSLEY:  I think what we’re seeing are two things.

Over time, we have seen the President sort of shed his inhibitions about taking positions that might be opposed by the business community.  He doesn’t seem to really care too much anymore if he’s being called anti-business.  So, we see like sort of string of decisions this week that we have mentioned that are all in that vein.

And the business community has howled, and he hasn’t really let that bother him.  Shorter term, what we’re seeing, though, is the President, I think, is thinking about his legacy, and he knows right now we’re in a time, a very populist time, anti-corporate time in the America in the campaign.

And so by personally getting out and announcing details of the inversions rule, making the case for it, for example, this week, he’s trying to cement that rule in the public’s mind, so that the next President doesn’t change it or walk it back.

NOTE:  "Next President" aka "Corporate owned President."

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