Below is a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook that its author shared today with the Washington Monthly. I think it speaks for itself:
Dear Mr. Cook:
Friends at Texans for Public Justice have informed me that Apple is on
track to ask and receive $21 million in tax dollars to build your
Austin-based “Americas Operations Center.” Another $14.5 million is
reportedly on the way from city and county governments, offered as
incentives to continue amassing more of your company’s Chinese
As it is well-known, your cash reserves, based on your high-profit
margins, are around $100 billion – greater than any other company in the
U.S. Why are you risking your company’s reputation by becoming more of a
corporate welfarist and taking Texans’ tax dollars at a time when public
budgets, including education budgets, are strapped?
Already Texas public schools have laid off 32,000 workers, including
12,000 teachers. Another round of $2 billion in funding cuts from the
state government is coming this September.
Who needs $21 million (plus another $14.5 million) more: the bulging
corporate treasury of Apple or the school children of Texas? Please
don’t trot out the shareholder obligation argument, when you have just,
after many years of profitability, at last agreed to give some dividends
back to your owners. Moreover, there is no such legal obligation and
you, like many other massively-compensated executives, with a
rubber-stamp board of directors, know this only too well. What was that
new compensation package you announced so soon after the loss of Steve
Jobs, who only took in $1 as salary per year? The press reported it at
over 300 million Tim Cook dollars!
Mr. Cook, please take the high road and grandly announce that your
company will not take this $34.5 million from Texas taxpayers. Say it is
needed for essential educational and other public health and safety
services in Texas and that you urge other companies to turn back their
corporate welfare. Such a statement would set a good example. Tell
Governor Rick Perry to stop treating capitalists as if they were welfare
cases. Say that capitalists should behave like capitalists and not “have
their hands in the government’s trough,” to quote a phrase Ronald Reagan
used when I debated him at an American Enterprise Institute Symposium
As an Apple shareholder, I and other shareholders will pursue this
matter further should you not give the people of Texas the good news
that Apple intends to stand on its own two $100 billion feet.
Unlike individuals, artificial corporate entities get more than one bite
of the apple. However, given your problems in China and elsewhere, you
don’t need to take yet another bite of the Apple.