Warren Buffett Helping Burger King Cut Its Tax Bill

   < < Go Back
from The Huffington Post,

Warren Buffett has figured out how to anger people on both the right and the left when it comes to taxes.

Buffett, America’s most-beloved billionaire capitalist, is currently annoying the left by putting up some of the cash for Burger King’s $11 billion deal to buy Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain Tim Hortons. As part of the deal, the combined company’s headquarters will be in Toronto, instead of BK’s current home base of Miami, helping it avoid paying some unknown amount in U.S. taxes.

Such deals are known as “inversions,” and they have actually annoyed a lot of people on the right and the left, including President Barack Obama. He recently called companies that do these deals “corporate deserters.” Buffett, a long-time advisor to and supporter of Obama, is giving one such company a lift across the border, putting himself immediately in the middle of a political gunfight.

“I don’t think this is a good deal for the American taxpayer,” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) said in a CNBC interview after the deal’s announcement on Tuesday.

It’s also not clear how much tax money Burger King will actually save in this inversion deal. It’s possible the amount is not very much.

And the private equity fund that currently runs Burger King, 3G Capital, is Brazilian. It does not give a cold french fry whether Burger King is based in Miami, Toronto, or Rigel IV. Burger King may be an American brand, but it is only barely an American company.

Of course, we have come to expect more from Warren Buffett — who lives in Omaha and drinks Coke and is just generally reasonable and sensible and homey as all get-out — than from some Brazilian private-equity fund.

That was our mistake, and this is our reminder: Buffett is mainly in this business for the money, not patriotism.

Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

More From The Huffington Post: