When you look at it one way, conservatives are absolutely correct to defend Burger King’s right to move its headquarters to Canada to avoid crippling U.S. corporate tax rates, and to call out liberals who label such decisions “unpatriotic” as economically illiterate.
On the other hand, Burger King and dozens of fast-food chains like it contribute to the alarmingly rapid rise of obesity and associated diseases that cut people down in the prime of their lives and disproportionately hit Republican-leaning states. So there’s that.
On Monday, Burger King Worldwide Inc. announced its plans to bid on the $8.4 billion Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons. The move would allow BK to merge with Hortons, reposition its headquarters north, and capitalize on Canada’s 15% corporate tax rate, which is well below the U.S.’s 35% rate. Other companies around the world have been seeking similar moves in a recent trend known as “tax inversion.” (This should not be confused with what the Obama administration has been doing to our economy, which is a recent trend known as “prosperity inversion.”)
Democrats like Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and pseudo-conservatives like Joe Scarborough predictably accused Burger King of “abandoning their country,” called for a boycott, and threatened new regulations that would crimp such deals, including a “minimum global corporate tax rate.” (Wouldn’t a minimum global tax rate agitate major contributors to Democratic presidential campaigns?)
In contrast, Republicans correctly defended the fast food chain’s proposed acquisition and merger as being in the economic interest of the shareholders to whom it has a duty to make money.
That’s all well and good; Republicans have been consistent in defending such principles. Bravo for them.
But can I ask about something that’s been bothering me: Why are conservatives always so quick to jump to the defense of companies that push mass-produced, preservative-laden, artificially-flavored, nutritionally-stunted, lowest-common-denominator fare? (Or, as it’s also known in other settings, “Democratic policy proposals”?) Can we Republicans support the right of businesses to sell whatever products they want and express whatever political views they hold, without leaping to champion the virtues of low cuisine?
According to a recent Experian survey, conservatives support the following right-leaning companies that dump artery-clogging garbage on the public: Chick-fil-A, whose CEO has supported anti-gay groups; Domino’s Pizza, whose former CEO funds pro-life groups; McDonald’s, which has ignored criticism from workers protesting for higher wages; Waffle House, which donated to Karl Rove’s group American Crossroads; Wendy’s, which used to belong to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council; and White Castle, which donated to House Speaker John Boehner’s Super PAC.
Right-wingers flock to feed on the hefty fare offered by gut-busting outfits like Carl’s Jr., Dairy Queen, Denny’s, Hardee’s, KFC, Outback Steakhouse, and Steak’n Shake. They gush over politically incorrect, obesity-glorifying joints like Arizona’s Heart Attack Grill and Delray Beach’s Heart Stopper Grill with the rebelliousness of a mulish teenager who gets his nose pierced just to anger his parents.
The free market-embracing Burger King, for its part, recently announced its plan to offer cheeseburgers, Whoppers, chicken sandwiches, fries, and apple pies… on its breakfast menu.
Meanwhile, liberals frequent the (relatively) healthy Au Bon Pain, Chipotle, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Jamba Juice, Panera Bread, Panda Express, P. F. Chang’s, Qdoba, Quiznos Sub, Starbucks, and Subway, all of which are lower on the heart-attack-causing and heart-stopping indexes.
The healthy/unhealthy pattern also holds for supermarkets: Liberals get their groceries at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods; conservatives slum it at Foodtown and the Piggly Wiggly.
Is there something inherently, shamefully liberal about having refined or healthy tastes? Is it essential for conservatives’ pride in their country to uphold the stereotype that our version of haute cuisine is carnival food?
Dying of a heart attack in one’s 40s doesn’t strike me as an effective way to bolster Republican voting rolls. Are we determined to let aging hippies vote into their ninth decade while we remain planted on our extra-wide, steel-reinforced sofas watching FOX News?
Conservatives pride themselves on thinking long-term, exercising self-discipline, and doing the right thing even if it doesn’t feel good in the here and now. Why does this sensible ideological stance never apply to food?
I think it’s possible to oppose Michelle Obama’s poorly conceived, excessively intrusive overhaul of America’s school lunches without dismissing its goal of helping fewer children get fat in their preteen years and die prematurely of painful and expensive diseases.
- Eldridge Rips ‘Unpatriotic’ Burger King Tax Inversion as Husband Invests in Tim Horton’s (freebeacon.com)
- Burger King’s merger with Tim Hortons could prompt tax fight in Congress (miamiherald.com)
- Burger King buying Tim Hortons for about $11B (sfgate.com)
- Buffett’s BURGER KING backing flips Obama inversions calculus… (bloomberg.com)
- People Are Going Ballistic On Burger King’s Facebook Page (businessinsider.com)