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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jon Stewart nails corporate tax inversions

Last night Jon Stewart (h/t BruinKid) went after tax inversion with style, showing up Republican hypocrisy on welfare programs vs. "corporate welfare," all the subsidies one company has received from multiple levels of government, government contracts, and government-funded research. His primary target was Mylan, a Pennsylvania-based generic drugmaker. Mylan, as Ron Fournier recently pointed out, has as its chief executive officer Heather Bresch, the daughter of West Virgina Senator Joe Manchin. Manchin now says inversions should be illegal, according to Fournier in a follow-up article.

As Stewart shows, while Republicans are outraged by one person apparently abusing the Food Stamp program while mainly surfing in California, they all cheer inversions, at least on Fox News. Mylan has benefited from millions in government subsidies and billions in government contracts. But it has to move to the Netherlands anyway. Stewart concludes that since corporations have been people only since the 2010 Citizens United decision, they are just toddlers and we need to be firm with them: "You're grounded!"


"Inversion of the Money Snatchers"


  1. Except inversions are estimated to cost 2 billion per year while the food assistance budget is 106 billion per year - nice try but the net effect of inversions is practically zero when compared to entitlements.

    Also, Mylan makes billions of doses of life saving generic medication which makes care affordable for billions of the less fortunate around the world. Mylan's main competitor is TEVA which is domiciled in Israel. Since the US tax rate is so uncompetitive without this inversion the costs of drugs would be much higher. Again, nice try. Get out of your ivory tower and stop drinking the jon Stewart koolaid.

    1. A couple billion here, a couple billion there; pretty soon you're talking about real money. (I think I stole that from Andrew Tobias.)

      Whether food assistance is a good and cost-effective policy is completely independent of corporate taxation. And if inversions ramp up dramatically, the cost will be more than $2 billion a year.

      Teva has always been based in Israel. It is really based there, not just domiciled there. Meanwhile, Mylan's net earnings have increased from $93.5 million in 2009 to $623.7 million in 2013 (, p. 46). Doesn't look like Mylan is hurting to me.