Senator Manchin: What My Daughter Did Should Be Illegal
So instead of fixing the problem of the tax code, Manchin wants to make it illegal for businesses to move. How would you enforce that?
Check it out:
You’re a United States senator from a state struggling to compete in the world economy. Your daughter runs a giant drug company with roots in your state, and the firm makes a fortune from taxpayers via Medicare and Medicaid. Everything’s cozy and connected and perfectly Washington—until your daughter renounces the firm’s U.S. citizenship to reduce its U.S. taxes. What do you do?
If you’re Joe Manchin, you duck a reporter’s telephone call for six days, then emerge for an interview in which you vow to make your daughter’s actions, from this day forward, illegal.
The West Virginia Democrat told me he’d “be happy” to support a bill that outlawed so-called inversions, a loophole that allows U.S. corporations to avoid federal taxes by shifting their tax domiciles overseas. Such transactions are setting a record pace since the first inversion was done 32 years ago.
Manchin’s daughter, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, announced last week that the generic-drug company will renounce its U.S. citizenship and instead become incorporated in the Netherlands. After waiting a day for Manchin to return my call, I wrote a column on Bresch’s announcement headlined, “How to Renounce America and Still Be Called a Patriot.”
“I think, basically, inversion should be absolutely repealed,” Manchin said. “All of them. Get ’em all, Ron. Get ’em all.” The second-term senator said he had no prior warning of his daughter’s decision.