But that's exactly what they're sorry for. It's not like Dell's going to say "We're sorry we hired a jerk." That implies that they meant to hire a jerk. "We're sorry you're offended" means "We didn't do this out of malice, but we recognize that it was hurtful regardless, and that's why we're sorry."
I always get the feeling that what they're really supposed to do is grovel--to admit that it wasn't an honest mistake, but that they really were being evil, and that they've finally been caught and forced to own up. I don't think people are comfortable with diversity when it means that some people think it's totally okay to do something that other people would find horribly offensive.
I'm sorry if that's offensive. But that's all I'm sorry for.
> But that's exactly what they're sorry for. It's not like Dell's going to say "We're sorry we hired a jerk." That implies that they meant to hire a jerk.
Say what? That doesn't imply that at all. It implies they made an error of judgement, be it due to poor due diligence, a misperception of what is appropriate, weighing the options between "controversy" and "politically correct" and falling too far to the one side, and so on. It has nothing to do with intent, it has to do with making an error and telling your customers/audience that you learned from the error and will not make a similar one in the future.
One good reason to have this kind of bonus: you're more likely to end up hiring people who existing employees have already worked with. Having a common culture is hugely valuable, and outside recruiters/random applicants don't have this quite as often.
I haven't heard of situations where someone refers a bunch of garbage applicants for the referral bonus--and I'm sure the usual referral agreement has some legal caveats that allow the company to cut off particular referrers if they're abusive.
It's not necessary for every company, but it's not as toxic as it sounds. From working as an actual recruiter: recruiting is really hard. Doing part-time recruiting for a fee well below the industry standard is a waste of effort; if you can make good money doing that, quit your dev job and start recruiting full-time.
I reasoned that there is no greater strategy at play by the Zynga geniuses in the war room of their ridiculous company headquarters.
Whenever I find myself thinking this way, the klaxons start going off. I'm basically saying "My mental model of a clearly smart person, surrounded by clearly smart people, who has made more money than I have and raised money from other smart people who have also made more money than I have--is that he's an idiot."
And then we get to:
So here Zynga finds itself, sitting atop a group of popular games and bracing itself for the next Draw Something to come onto the market so it can swallow it up...So the matchup is Zynga against the field, the field being every person in the world who knows how to, and has the will to create a social game.
Another way of looking at this is that Zynga is building a competitive advantage in social game monetization: if you have a given audience, Zynga can do more with it than you can. Meanwhile, giant deals like OMGPOP create a tournament dynamic, where everyone wants to build the next Draw Something. If Zynga is making their raw material cheap while putting their competitive advantage at a relative premium, that's great for their future.
It's also a more solid theory than just assuming that Pincus doesn't know what he's doing.
I don't understand why you'd trust a corporation more than Congress when it comes to how the tax code should work. If we all pay what we think we should owe, rather than what the rules tell us we actually owe, that would lead to chaos.
"If we all behaved the way corporations do" doesn't really mean anything. Corporations are people. It would be much more accurate to say "If all people behaved like the people who work at Apple, the world would be a worse place," but I don't think that's defensible at all.
If it does become a social norm to obey the law you wish Congress passed, instead of the law they actually passed, you're subsidizing people who ignore this norm. I wouldn't want to live in a world where RIMM out-competes Apple because Apple scrupulously follows good, imaginary rules, and RIMM scrupulously follows actual rules instead. This would all be a lot less meaningful if the US had lower corporate tax rates, but ours are effectively the highest in the world. Since the corporate tax rate is also the subsidy for hiding a given amount of income, it's no wonder that we lead the world in tax avoidance, too.
This indirectly brings up the point that it's hard to make the case for directly taxing corporations at all, aside from the fact that it's convenient. Ultimately, all corporations are owned by tax-paying people (or nonprofits). So why not tax their distributions as income? If I forgo working, and instead develop some skill that I could use to raise my income, nobody taxes me on the increase in notional wealth I have from being more skilled; I get taxed when I get paid in a form that I could use for consumption.
a) Get taxed on their profits
b) May pay lower notional levels, but only by paying people to game the rules
c) Get taxed on their dividends (essentially a 15% surtax on the 35% tax on their profits)
d) Also get taxed through capital gains--which is a change in the (un-inflation-adjusted) net present value of future dividends (which, remember, are taxed when they're earned, then taxed when they're paid).
If you give our tax code enough credit, the 35% tax rate is a lower bound. If the government is willing to let you pay $X less in taxes for doing Y, they're saying that the benefit of Y exceeds the forgone tax income of $X. So if I get a $5K tax credit for installing solar panels, the amount of tax-equivalent benefit the government has derived from my behavior is at least $5K.
You could argue that the tax code is imperfect, and that action Y is not always worth $X. But then you're suggesting that we transfer money from a competent rule-follower to an incompetent rule-writer. If governing skill is constant across tax collection and other government behaviors, then exploiting tax loopholes is just in proportion to how exploitable they are--a government so screwed up that it can't manage to legally tax you for anything is a government that definitely shouldn't have its hands on your money.
Obviously, the government has other core competencies besides taxation. But corporate taxes are worth reconsidering. I'd much rather have dividends taxed as regular income--turning corporations into a pure savings vehicle. Taxing corporation-generated wealth four times--when it's generated, when it's calculated, when it's distributed, and when ownership is transferred--is at least three times too many.
But if the money is never distributed, how does it benefit the shareholders? My thought experiment from earlier in the thread: what is the net present value of a billion dollars in cash, if I put it on a rocket and launch it into space? If you can't get the money, you can't spend the money, and you can't enjoy the money.
You could theoretically borrow against those assets, but only if your lender expected you to be paid. That's the beauty of the plan: it means that the only taxable event is the one that materially benefits you.
The value of your stock is the net present value of the future dividends you should expect. If you put a billion dollars in cash on a rocket and launch it into space, the value of that billion dollars is not one billion. It's near zero, depending on the odds and cost of recovering the currency.
If I live off of my savings, and generate no taxable income, am I also immoral for driving on roads? What if I work part-time, but pay less in taxes than the average person? Once you have a theory that it's morally wrong for people not to pay taxes given that they benefit from the government, you run into the problem that the most effective tax avoidance scheme, by far, is to not have anything taxable.
Oddly enough, New York has implemented an effective Henry George-esque tax system: to merely exist in the city, you have to live in fairly pricey real estate, and the taxes your landlord pays are effectively passed through to you by market rents. Other places have much cheaper real estate, so they don't have the same dynamic.
The maneuver you describe is equivalent to incorporating in Delaware (or Nevada, I suppose). You can compound your wealth in the low-tax environment, but you will pay taxes when you try to transfer it to yourself.
Just like Apple, in this case. Under the current legal regime, they have successfully deferred taxes, not evaded them. It's the same way I carefully evade sales taxes by saving some of my money instead of spending every paycheck.
Afaik, incorporation in Delaware isn't usually tax-related; most Delaware corporations don't actually book their income in Delaware, but are registered there because of favorable corporate law and a business-friendly civil trial system.
You're right on the deferral/transfer with regards to international income (e.g. income Apple books in Ireland and later uses to pay for something in Cupertino), but I don't believe Apple ever pays California income taxes on the income it books in Reno, even if it immediately turns around and uses that income to pay Cupertino salaries. There's no state-to-state equivalent of repatriating income.
How much of your paycheck do you save? Apple can afford to wait until the government passes a Homeland Investment Act type law to avoid paying those taxes. OTOH, most people need to pay for things like food, clothes, whatever they're using to post comments on websites, etc.