TMA is writing in to Merriam-Webster that the word “Greenpeace” be added to the lexicon.
Greenpeace \ˈgrēnpēs\ transitive verb: to use a popular brand as a scapegoat for a cause. Popularized by the shameless environmentalists, Greenpeacing involves taking a platform and stapling it to the most notable for-profit entity possible in an attempt to garner maximum media saturation for said cause.
Apple gets Greenpeaced all the time. Greenpeace booed them for their lack of environmental awareness in 2006, but they’re currently off their shit list, ranking 9th out of 18 large electronics manufacturers for “eco-friendliness”. No one seems to understand their methodology for the ranking, but you appear to get as many points for promising to do things as you do for actually doing them. Rest assured that Apple doesn’t give a shit about where it appears on Greenpeace’s rankings, but that doesn’t prevent Greenpeace from riding Apple like a rented mule.
Another organization that apparently got a look at the “ride the brand playbook” is US Uncut, a group that wants U.S. corporations to stop the nefarious practice of sheltering their earnings by using other countries’ more lenient tax structures as opposed to America’s onerous 35% tax rate. It’s a very common practice, and Apple is not the most egregious abuser by far. By US Uncut’s own admission “Unlike General Electric or Pfizer or Verizon, who pay zero taxes, Apple is not a total tax sleaze.” But they’ve got the most recognizable brand and a massive retail presence, so they get US Uncut’s attention.
The group is organizing protests at Apple Stores to wag their judgmental fingers at Apple’s “bad enough” abuse of the tax structure and to raise awareness about a proposed tax holiday that would limit corporations’ liability to 5.25% for 2011-2012 instead of the usual 35%. According to a statistic cited by US Uncut, this would result in a $80 billion loss in tax revenue in the long term. That seems like a lot to TMA, since its predicated on companies declaring at the 35% rate, which I would argue they’d have zero desire to do sans holiday, but what do I know?
TMA (over)pays his taxes, so I get what the raised feathers are about. What I don’t understand and openly mock are groups like US Uncut that would rather protest a minor player with a big name instead of hating on more obnoxious abusers or, better yet, hating on the game. Companies can do this because the tax laws allow them to. But slogging through tax code and lobbying lawmakers isn’t as sexy as showing up at an Apple Store and pretending that you’re moving the needle.