Friday, April 15, 2011

Michael Dell: The Making of an American Oligarch

I was once a fan of Dell computers, at least until the moment when I started to use one and found I'd stepped back several years in terms of speed and reliability. Despite their technical mediocrity I still thought that founder Michael Dell was at the cutting edge of enterprise. And then I read this on the Mother Jones site:

"Recently, Dell Inc. has been better known for gobbling up federal contracts and pulling financial shenanigans to line its executives' pockets—all while exploiting tax loopholes, outsourcing production, and laying off American workers."

Exploiting tax loopholes? Not another US gaming the system? Apparently so:

"By 2010, it has subsidiaries in 77 countries, including holding companies in tax shelters such as Bermuda and the Caymans that allow it to avoid at least $3.7 billion in US taxes. In 2010, it paid an effective tax rate of 7.5% on its foreign income."

And it gets worse:

in 1999 "Dell Inc. gets an estimated $200 million in city and state incentives to build a factory in Nashville, Tenn. Three years later, half of the plant's jobs are relocated to a nearby town, where Dell gets $6 million in tax breaks."

And worse:

Michael Dell "buys two ranches outside Austin for an estimated $75 million. One gets its property taxes slashed 99.8% by claiming an agricultural exemption (proof: turkey feeders, birdhouses, and deer "habitat control"). Recently asked by Time about reducing his carbon footprint, Dell answered, "I'm sequestering way, way more than I'm using. I have a lot of land and a lot of trees.""

Enterprise, US style. Elsewhere its known as socialism for the rich. Read more here.


Blogger Physiocrat said...

Dell is only milking the system. Blame those who provide the teats and keep them filled up.

1:47 pm  

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