Rand Paul has this to say about Apple in DC:

“It’s absurd for Congress to vilify businesses like Apple for wanting to minimize their tax code just like every other American rightly does,”

And he’s absolutely correct.

In fact, Apple has a legal fiduciary responsibility to minimize its taxes. Given Congress’ proclivity for demonizing businessmen and their businesses, it’s likely that if Apple wasn’t hoarding cash in offshore tax havens the SEC or shareholders would be suing.

Carl Levin and John McCain disagree:

“The ability to pay taxes of less than 2 percent on all of Apple’s offshore income gives the company a powerful financial incentive to engage in convoluted tax planning to avoid paying U.S. taxes,” notes the report from Senators Carl Levin and John McCain

But Senators, YOU are the ones who have given Apple the incentive to do this. YOU are responsible. If you’re going to demonize Apple, you have to doubly demonize yourselves. When people operate within the law but not within the “spirit of the law”, that is Congress’ fault. Congress should be held accountable. Congress should be on trial, not Apple.

Here is Rand Paul again, speaking as one of the only rational members of Congress:

“This is a vendetta against American companies for trying to maximize profit,” he said. ”I want to see one company come before here and tell us that they’re goal is different from Apple’s, that their goal is to maximize their tax burden.”

Noting that thousands (if not millions) of U.S. citizens hold Apple stock directly or through pensions, Paul argued, “When we want to punish Mr. Apple. who are we punishing, we’re punishing ourselves.”

And when we don’t punish Congress for its stupidity, we are also punishing ourselves.

Unintended consequences, incentives, and emergent order. It’s all in the article above, it’s all real, and it’s all in the books.

-JD Cross