Friday, November 30, 2012

And The Hypocrisy Award Goes To…

Gary L. Bauer


When it comes to finding winners for hypocrisy awards, Washington politicians are always frontrunners, followed closely by Hollywood and media elites. But today's hypocrisy award goes to a corporate executive.

Now, I'm a fan of free enterprise. But I have never understood the corporate chieftains who back liberal policies. If I could, I would gladly raise only their taxes!

So let's consider today's winner -- Costco CEO Jim Sinegal. You may recall that Mr. Sinegal gave a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention this year. Presumably, he's all in for tax increases, right? Well, it doesn't appear that way.

This week Costco announced that it was giving shareholders a special dividend of $7 a share at a total cost of $3 billion. Costco is in such a hurry to rush this dividend out the door by the end of the year that it is actually borrowing the cash to make it happen.

Why the rush? Dividends are currently taxed at 15%. But new tax rates as high as 43.4% on dividends will kick in starting January 1st.

Now get this: Mr. Sinegal owns two million Costco shares, and his wife owns nearly 85,000 shares. He stands to make at least $14 million from the dividend. After taxes, he'll keep about $12 million. But if he waited until next year, he'd get only $8 million. By cashing in this year, he's avoiding $4 million in higher taxes. So much for "shared sacrifice."

Perhaps Joe Biden needs to have a talk with Mr. Sinegal about his "patriotic duty."