There is a technical term economists like to use for behavior like this. Unbelievable chutzpah.
One potentially good thing out of all this, Tim Cook will address it directly tomorrow in front of the Senate:
Mr. Cook is expected to emphasize that Apple is most likely “the largest corporate income tax payer in the U.S., having paid nearly $6 billion in taxes to the U.S. Treasury” in the last fiscal year. “Apple does not use tax gimmicks,” Mr. Cook is expected to testify.
He is expected to seek to rebut the Congressional findings by arguing that some of Apple’s largest subsidiaries do not reduce Apple’s tax liability, and to argue in support of a sweeping overhaul of the United States corporate tax code – in particular, lowering rates on companies moving foreign overseas earnings back to the United States. Apple currently assigns more than $100 billion to offshore subsidiaries.
I figured this would lead to a change in tax policy. Now I’m sure of it.
This story, the day before Cook testifies to the Senate, is probably the worst thing Apple PR could have dreamed of. I wouldn’t want to be in Cook’s shoes tomorrow though, by the same token, if I were an American taxpayer I’d be pissed as all hell about Apple’s actions regardless of the legality of those actions.