It appears there is some sanity in a post-September 11 world after all. Stanley Works, after taking the heat from about every conceivable corner for their tax-avoidance scheme to re-incorporate in Bermuda, has finally backed off. Both the U.S. Congress and consumers questioned the patriotism of the proposed move.
The New Britain, Connecticut company could not even take advantage of super-intense lobbying on Capitol Hill to stop Congress from threatening to yank all future government contracts from Stanley or any other company that might try to move their mailing address offshore. Even the dozen or so companies that have already moved offshore to Bermuda or the Cayman Islands now face retroactive penalties. Fruit of the Loom moved to the Cayman Islands years ago.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch was quoted as saying "We need to overhaul our tax laws to level the playing field, which is presently tilted in favor of companies headquartered outside the United States." Do I hear a reactionary "America First" tone?
Although the Senator gave no specifics, the truth is that American companies pay over three times as many taxes to our government than comparable foreign-owned firms. That means Ford and General Motors pay three times as many taxes as Toyota and Honda, Harley-Davidson pays three times as many taxes as Kawasaki, and Marriott pays more taxes to our government than Holiday Inn. We Americans need to remember this the next time we hear public schools are under-funded, the Health Care system is in crisis, or that there really is no Social Security Trust Fund. Actually, such a fund exists. It's just that it has "no assets" according to current U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.
Now if only Orrin Hatch and the rest of Congress could see that we also need to level the playing field in manufacturing, which is presently tilted in favor of foreign producers. Every individual reading this article should call Orrin Hatch's office and ask him to apply his truthful quote above to the manufacturing sector as well.