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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 00:13:21 +0000
(LOS ANGELES) -- At a campaign-style event in Los Angeles, President Obama delivered an unusually blistering indictment Thursday of American businesses that have reincorporated overseas to avoid some U.S. taxes -- calling them “corporate deserters” who are “cherry picking the rules.”
While not singling out any by name, Obama said they had tapped into the, “holy grail of tax avoidance schemes” by exploiting a legal “loophole” in the tax code.
“My attitude is, I don’t care if it’s legal, it’s wrong,” he said.
The president said it's a “small but growing group” of companies taking advantage of the provision – keeping a headquarters and most operations here in the U.S. but establishing corporate citizenship elsewhere.
“Technically they’re renouncing their U.S. citizenship,” he claimed.
Obama explained that the issue is easily fixable through corporate tax reform. He called on Congress to close the loophole, part of a new line of populist messaging that comes as the president returns to active campaign mode ahead of the November elections.
Republicans have expressed some openness to addressing the so-called “inversion” issue Obama raised Thursday, but only as part of broader corporate tax reform.
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said: “until the White House endorses our tax reform plan or convinces Senate Democrats to act, every pink slip from companies moving overseas may as well be signed, ‘President Barack H. Obama.’”
“I’m not interested in punishing these companies, but I am interested in economic patriotism,” Obama said, invoking a line that has become something of a slogan for the Democrats’ 2014 campaign.
“We rise and fall together as one nation and one people,” he said.
The president’s appearance was interrupted however, by a man screaming about “God almighty, Jesus Christ” and how Obama “will be destroyed.”
“You will be destroyed. You will be destroyed. You will be destroyed,” the man kept yelling. He was eventually drowned out by the crowd.
“I actually met that guy before. He used the same line,” Obama quipped. “He needs to update his material.”
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