Dave Crabbe of Cottage Grove, Tennessee just wanted respite from the stresses of everyday life.
Work had been just brutal.
Sagging back into the twenty-five year-old recliner he sighed and opened the bottle of fizzy, brown, sugar-water he had paid $1.59 for at the local convenience store. The Pepsi cost twenty-three cents to make and deliver. The difference...that is the profit...was reported by the Pepsi Cola Company to the state of New York and duly taxed by them. Pepsi incorporated in New York State.
Ripping open a bag of Frito-Lay chips (a subsidiary of Pepsi Cola), Dave started scarfing down the twenty-six cents of potatoes, fat and salt he had paid $3.49 for when he bought the Pepsi.
Looking around, he did not see his wife, Diane. Sighing, he cracked windows on opposite sides of the room for cross ventilation and lit up a Marlboro. Marlboro is manufactured by Philip Morris which is incorporated in New York State. The profit on the pack of cigarettes is reported in New York State and the state dutifully taxes Philip Morris on the profits made on the sale of the cigarettes in Henry County, Tennessee.
Diane walked into the room and started giving Dave hell. "How many times I gotta tell ya. Met Life sez they ain't gunna pay on the life insurance if you have tar in your lungs when you die. We got a break on the premiums because we said you weren't smoking any more."
In fact, the premiums were "only" $200 a month. Dave prided himself on being a good provider and he intended to be so, even after he died.
Dave shook his head. The insurance salesman had been very persuasive and given them a big wink when Dave said he was a non-smoker. Met Life is incorporated in New York State.
States love taxing corporations. Corporations don't vote. Corporations would prefer to not pay taxes but it is just the cost of doing business. They don't kick as long as all of their competitors get the same haircut.
Diane did the bills and she was always giving him hell for spending money. That is why he still used the twenty-five year-old recliner. They didn't have enough money to buy a new one. Fortunately, it was as comfortable as hell, the bottom contoured to exactly match his ever-expanding posterior.
"Tough day?" Dave asked, attempting to redirect the conversation.
"We are being audited...again." Diane said. "Our company doesn't have enough accountants to fend off the tax auditors so we hired Price-Waterhouse-Cooper to be our agent" Diane said.
"I thought your company used Delloite for accounting?" Dave said, confused.
"We do but the lawyers made us switch because the tax auditors use Delloite and we had to avoid appearances of conflict-of-interest" Diane explained.
"What that means is that I have to spend my day collecting information for BOTH companies...in addition to my regular eight-hour job" Diane said.
Both Delloite and Price-Waterhouse-Cooper are incorporated in New York State.
Diane opened up her Verizon tablet to pay bills. She accessed her account at Citi and swore under her breath. Citi had just extracted "fees" of $75 dollars and she didn't have time to ascertain why.
One of the bills she had to pay was the $287 monthly fee charged by Verizon for services that cost them less than a dollar (variable cost) to supply.
Both Verizon and Citibank are incorporated in New York State.
Dave turned on the Sony TV and tuned in NBC to watch the news.
Both Sony USA and NBC are incorporated in New York State.
Lester Holt was ravaging Mitch McConnel for suggesting that New York's pension shortfalls were a New York problem.
"I like him" Dave said.
"Who, Lester?" Diane asked distractedly.
"No. McConnel. I also like that Kennedy guy from Louisiana" Dave said. "They tell it like it is."
Lester posted a video clip of Cuomo rebutting McConnel. "New York State puts more money into the US Treasury than almost any other state" he claimed. "We are the cultural capital of the United States. It is only fair that we get our tax revenues back from the Federal Government and that the rest of America pay 'their fair share' for the cost of maintaining culture."
"Why are pension funds in trouble?" Dave asked. Diane was his go-to person for financial issues.
"States can't run deficits" Diane said. "So they found a way to cheat. They made pension promises but didn't put the money away to pay for them. They used that money to fund pet-projects like the arts or promoting diversity or funding colleges granting wonky degrees like Race Baiting and Gender Studies."
"I always wondered" Dave mused "how you address a person with a Master's degree in Race Baiting?"
"I can see why they have a problem" Dave said. "Everybody is leaving New York. What do they MAKE there? For Gawd's sake, the cost of doing business is outta sight."
Diane shrugged because she was distracted. Looking at her reflection she could see it was time to redo her hair coloring. Clairol is incorporated in New York state even though the products were made in Indonesia. Even though the hair coloring wasn't made, packaged or shipped through New York, New York claimed taxes on the profit, just as they claimed taxes on the advertising companies that Clairol hired.
"You know, I don't think folks in Tennessee should have to pay for New York's problems" Dave said. "We do what we have to to stay in budget."
"The last thing I want to have happen is for Tennessee to become a tax-donkey for high-spending politicians in New York."
--- TOO LATE, AMERICA. YOU ALREADY ARE ---