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Apples & Lemons

11:57 AM, May 29, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Bernie Becker and Kevin Bogardus write in The Hill that, according to “two top tax writers on Capitol Hill ... the case for tax reform has been strengthened by the recent revelations about Apple’s tax tactics and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups.”

The juxtaposition here seems a little ungainly.  The one activity was legal and the other ... most, likely not.  Apple's CEO answered the questions put to him by a committee of Congress, while a ranking IRS bureaucrat took the Fifth.  Also, Apple is a private company that plays marketplace hardball but, in the end, can't force anyone to do anything, while the IRS  wields all the intimidating and, it appears, wildly discretionary powers of the central government.

But these are distinctions that don't seem to matter much on Capitol Hill where:

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) are looking to marshal support ...

For, inevitably, a rewrite of the tax code.  By the same people whose fingerprints are all over the monstrosity currently in place and whose former staffers are placed strategically up and down K-Street, ready to head into battle to preserve those elements of the status quo that are advantageous to their clients and work hard to to earn their fat salaries by adding a few more into the mix.

Meanwhile, as Alex Guillen at Politico writes, Apple has hired the former head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson as "vice president for environmental initiatives."

The (somewhat) good news is that, for now, between Congress and Apple, it isn't a fair fight.

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