What Fires Anger in Grass Roots America?
January 28, 2016
Washington – If you want to see what fires the grass roots passion for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and the populist rebellion against the U.S corporate and political elite, take a look at the latest case of an American corporation’s gaming the system for handouts and bailouts and then walking out on Uncle Sam and all of us.
Back in 2009, Johnson Controls, a $33 billion maker of auto batteries and industrial-scale HVAC systems, wound up with a $100 million chunk of the federal bailout for the auto industry. In 2010, it got another $300 million federal grant to develop advanced battery systems. But now, Johnson Controls wants to duck out on U.S. taxes by renouncing its U.S. citizenship and shifting its legal residence to Ireland.
Like nearly 50 other U.S. multi-national corporations over the past decade, Johnson Controls can dodge U.S. taxes legally through a corporate inversion – merging with a foreign ompany, Tyco International, based in Cork, Ireland. Tyco, too, was once a U.S. company based in New Jersey but in 1997, it skipped out on U.S. taxes by merging with a foreign firm based in Bermuda.
Johnson Controls says it will save $150 million a year in U.S. taxes. And its CEO, Alex Molinaroli, gets a sweetheart payout of $20.5 million to $79.6 million over the next 18 months for making the deal. And if Molinaroli has to pay additional taxes as a result, the company will pay those taxes for him.