A leaked memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook to his staff explaining why he met with Donald Trump — a guy who called Apple traitors for refusing to defeat their own security — explains the rationale: "tax reform."

Apple pioneered dodgy tax strategies that involve pretending that all of their profits were realized in countries with low to nonexistent tax-rates, like Ireland — and then went further, claiming that its profits came from activity that took place in no country at all (!).

Where Apple led, others followed, so now the tech sector has $560B in profits "overseas" (in reality, much of that money has been laundered and is now in the form of US Treasury Bills, which pay interest out of the taxes that law-abiding companies and individuals pony up). Though companies can borrow against this money and enrich their shareholders through self-devouring buybacks, these shenanigans are a distant second to the preferred course of action, which is to move the income onto the company’s global, liquid balance-sheet, accessible at the CEO’s direction.

Donald Trump has promised a tax-holiday for these companies, letting them repatriate their tax-avoidance money to the USA at a one-time rate of 10% — by Apple’s own reckoning, this would let the company avoid $40-$50B in taxes — showing you that trumpism has something for everyone. You don’t have to love his pro-surveillance agenda, or approve of the violent homophobic bigot he’s put in the Vice President’s seat, but you can still wholeheartedly believe that not paying taxes makes you smart


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