Playing America for a Sucker

Some days, I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or go in for a brain scan.

That's how I felt when I read about the jaw-dropping corporate chutzpah of an outfit named Nabors Industries, physically located in Houston. I say "physically located" because Nabors is one of these notorious corporate abdicators that have legally uprooted themselves from America and formally re-incorporated in the tax havens of Bermuda and Barbados.

Thanks to a slick loophole slipped into our country's bizarre tax laws, Nabors Inc. can simply maintain a mail drop and a legal letterhead in these offshore islands and -- Hocus Pocus! -- escape paying taxes, since technically, it's no longer an American corporation. Last year alone, this Bermuda shell game allowed Nabors to dodge $10 million in taxes owed to the Red, White, and Blue.

But now this fair-weather patriot suddenly wants Uncle Sam to treat it like an American corporation! Not for tax purposes, of course, but for the purpose of getting some shipbuilding business that is reserved by law for U.S. companies. Nabors wants to have its cake in America, but eat it in Bermuda. A family-owned shipping firm in Louisiana that has to compete with Nabors calls it "grossly unfair that we pay taxes for certain services and this big corporation goes foreign and they get the benefit of the same services without paying for them."

Yet, Nabors has a hotshot high-dollar Washington lobbyist trying to ram through a behind-the-scenes law that would let it both abandon America and take American business from taxpaying American companies. The lobbyist even is disdainful and insulting to the taxpaying companies that oppose Nabors' power play, saying, "Those are the guys we like to call the whiners."

Well, the lobbyist and executives of Nabors Industries are the guys I like to call treasonous greedheads! Why would congress even consider helping them take business from family-owned American companies?

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.