Feature

The ingrates who exploit America

Is the tech world somehow exempt from social responsibility?

Froma HarropThe Providence JournalEduardo Saverin is a world-class ingrate, said Froma Harrop. Saverin, a Brazilian immigrant who co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg, just renounced his U.S. citizenship in order to become a Singaporean citizen—enabling him to avoid hundreds of millions in taxes. So let’s get this straight: The U.S. gave Saverin’s wealthy family refuge when it faced a kidnapping threat in Brazil. We provided Saverin with schooling, police protection, and the fertile tech soil and financial markets that made Facebook—and his enormous wealth—possible. And now he flees to a low-tax paradise. Saverin’s arrogance, unfortunately, is not unusual in Silicon Valley. Apple paid only 9.8 percent tax on its stupendous worldwide profits last year by routing its money through various foreign tax havens. Walmart, by comparison, paid around 24 percent. Is the tech world somehow exempt from social responsibility? America educates its engineers and programmers, guards its mansions and glass offices, and defends its intellectual property. At tax time, Facebook and Apple should stop “unfriending” the country that made their success possible.

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