Crackdown on legal ‘deserters’

White House aides say President Barack Obama may use an executive order to crack down on what he has called “corporate deserters.” Incredibly, three members of Congress requested the action.

The behavior that has angered some members of Congress and the president is perfectly legal under the U.S. Tax Code. If Congress wants companies engaging in it to be penalized, they should change the law.

At issue are companies that merge with competitors from other countries, then move their headquarters abroad to gain lower corporate tax rates. U.S. rates are among the highest in the world.

Again, whether the technique is unpalatable to many or not, it is legal under current law.

But the law has been no barrier to Obama, who refuses to obey statutes he doesn’t like and, when Congress fails to do his bidding, makes his own rules through executive orders.

But if he acts on this issue, what tax law change will he make next? One that affects you personally?

It just will not do. U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, all Democrats, were wrong to seek the action. Their more thoughtful fellow lawmakers should disavow the idea.

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