Brain Dropping #11
The baseball paradigm. As George Carlin brilliantly put it: “Baseball is a pastoral game where the object is to be safe at home.”
Baseball provides us with other vivid parallels to life in the world off the playing field. As a defensive strategy teams are reviving the fielding “shift” used with mixed success, fifty years ago, against Boston’s ‘splendid splinter’, lefty Ted Williams, who almost always pulled to right field. So the left fielder would be in centerfield, the short stop between first and second base, the third baseman in the shortstop’s position – third base and left field were unattended. It was a gamble. What if Williams secretly developed the ability to punch the ball into the opposite field? Nah! He would never do that because he always swung for the fences, or in Fenway, ‘The Green Monster’. He would never have been satisfied with a ‘Texas Leaguer’ slap into left field.
American corporations are becoming ‘shifty’ in a similar way to avoid being hit with having to pay their taxes. The current example is the humongous pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer. The good, loyal Americans among Pfizer’s management, to avoid paying American corporate taxes, are shifting not from left field to right field – but right out of the country to the U.K. By buying the London based AstraZeneca drug corporation Pfizer can execute what is termed a ‘tax inversion’ – shifting their tax liability to the U.K. which has a more favorable (meaning much less) corporate tax – less revenue for our government and the loss of thousands of jobs. This is just one of the many arcane loop-holes in the U.S. tax code which allows the fat-cats to fix the game. Michigan Senator Carl Levin has expressed outrage and has vowed to pass legislation to level the playing field. But, alas, don’t hold your breath, this is Washington D.C. where just about everybody is throwing the game. A game which makes you and me, dear ordinary tax payer, the losers and less-than-safe at home.