Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

'Normal' is killing us.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal.” Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

"Apple's plain purpose," writes Rice, "is to curry favor with the Trump administration by creating the mirage of positive economic news closely following the tax overhaul. The goal is to obscure the fact that the new law is a massive giveaway to huge multinational corporations like Apple."

Apple Polishing: The Tech Giant’s Devious Attempt to Support Trump’s Tax-Cut Fantasies

The company's real goal here is to obscure the fact that the new law is a massive giveaway to huge multinational corporations like Apple.

Apple’s recent announcement touting plans for American investments and what it will pay in U.S. taxes on its offshore profits is full of misleading statements, vague promises and spin. Conservative commentary on the announcement (including by President Trump) has read into it a claim that’s not there: that the company’s investments are due to the new GOP tax giveaway law.

Nevertheless, Apple’s plain purpose is to curry favor with the Trump administration by creating the mirage of positive economic news closely following the tax overhaul. The goal is to obscure the fact that the new law is a massive giveaway to huge multinational corporations like Apple.

  • Nothing in Apple’s announcement links its planned investments in the U.S. to the new GOP tax law. Despite conservative inferences, the only mention of the tax overhaul is in reference to how much the company will pay in U.S. taxes on its accumulated offshore profits under the new law’s provisions. There’s no clear indication that any of the described investments were decided on because of the new tax regime.
  • The $38 billion in U.S. taxes Apple congratulates itself for paying on its offshore profits is less than half what it owed before the GOP tax giveaway was signed into law. Under the old law, Apple owed $78.5 billion on its $252 billion in accumulated offshore profits—$40 billion more than what it will now pay. That was roughly 10% of the total $750 billion Corporate America owed on its collective $2.6 trillion in overseas earnings. The new law will collect only $339 billion on that offshore corporate loot, handing profit-offshoring corporations a $400 billion tax cut, a full tenth of which goes to Apple.
  • The $350 billion in American investments over the next five years that Apple presents as an acceleration of domestic spending includes its one-time tax payment and is mostly a continuation of existing plans. As noted in a New York Times analysis, the company admits it was already planning to spend $55 billion in 2018—at that pace it would spend $275 billion over five years anyway. Subtracting this already-planned spending and the $38 billion tax payment (which is a legal obligation, not optional spending) brings Apple’s new American investment down to just $37 billion over five years, a relative pittance. And again, there is no statement by Apple that this is due to its huge tax cut.
  • Assuming Apple is really only committing to roughly $7.5 billion a year ($37/five years) in new American investments, the bulk of its hundreds of billions of dollars in offshore profits will apparently go somewhere else—most likely into the pockets of wealthy shareholders. Even after paying its deeply discounted tax bill, Apple will still have over $200 billion in offshore cash to use however it wishes. As noted by tax-law expert Edward Kleinbard, Apple offers no guidance on what it will do with all that money. But judging by both history and the announced plans of other corporations, a lot of the cash will probably go to rich shareholders (including top Apple executives) in the form of increased dividends and stock buybacks. Over the past six years, Apple has used these two methods to return over $225 billion to mostly wealthy shareholders, with an announced goal of $300 billion by early 2019.

© 2021 Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

Will Rice

Will Rice is a senior writer for Americans for Tax Fairness.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

US and Israel Vote 'No' as 184 Nations Condemn American Blockade of Cuba

"The U.N. vote... on Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership," said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. "He failed miserably."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

With Planet's Future at Stake, Biden Told to Be Bold With Pick for Top Energy Post

"It's time to treat climate change like the emergency it is, and stop approving new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, reads a letter signed by over 300 climate-focused groups.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

SCOTUS Solidifies Students' Free Speech Protections, Upholding Right to Say 'F**k Cheer'

"The message from this ruling is clear—free speech is for everyone, and that includes public school students."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Rules Union Organizing on Farms Violates Landowners' Rights

The Supreme Court "fails to balance a farmer's property rights with a farm worker's human rights," said United Farm Workers of America.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·

Lawmakers Tell Biden US Has 'Moral Obligation' to Ban Landmines

"If the United States takes these steps it will be welcomed around the world."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·