Daughter of Joe Manchin Jilts U.S. for Lower Tax Rate

Fournier: 'How to renounce America and still be called a Patriot' by the New York Times

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) / AP

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The daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin (D.-W.Va.) is taking her giant generic drug-making company based outside of Pittsburgh to the Netherlands for a favorable tax rate, and according to the New York Times, Heather Bresch remains a "patriot" and made the decision "reluctantly."

Ron Fournier at National Journal took issue with the Times writer Andrew Ross Sorkin’s characterization of "Bresch as a helpless victim of a system that has made her wealthy and her father powerful."

Bresch is the chief executive of Mylan, a generic drug maker with profits that "come largely from Medicaid and Medicare, which means her nest is feathered by U.S. taxpayers," according to Fournier.

This is the sort of story that makes blood boil in populists – voters from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party to libertarians who follow Rand Paul and including tea party conservatives. These disillusioned souls, growing in numbers, hate hypocrites who condemn the U.S. political system while gaming it.

Sorkin writes that Bresch’s patriotism rubbed off on her from her senator father, and proves it by showing that Esquire magazine named her "Patriot of the Year" in 2011.

Heather Bresch grew up around politics. Her father is Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia and a former governor. She has heard him say repeatedly, "We live in the greatest country on Earth," as he did in countless political advertisements. And it appeared to rub off on her: Ms. Bresch was named a "Patriot of the Year" in 2011 by Esquire magazine for helping to push through the F.D.A. Safety Innovation Act. 

Fournier especially takes issue with Bresch’s claim that renouncing the United States was a last step for the company after her complaints about corporate taxes fell on deaf ears on Capitol Hill.

"It's not like I've not been vocal and up there talking to anybody who'd listen to me," Bresch told the Times regarding her crusade talking to lawmakers about overhauling the corporate tax code. "But you know what they all say? ‘Yeah, uh huh, O.K. Uh huh.'"

Fournier has trouble finding pity for Bresch’s failure to get Congress to listen to her needs.

That's ripe. The daughter of a U.S. senator and former governor–a Patriot of the Year, no less–says she got lip-service from Congress. Just like you and me. […]

Corporate taxes will go as low as ordinary voters can stand it, no doubt, because their rates are determined by powerful special interests and elites like Bresch and her father. Manchin wouldn't speak to me, but he did issue a nugatory statement to Sorkin – something about being "disappointed" when U.S. companies "feel the need to move overseas because of the U.S. tax code."

Too bad Manchin isn't in a postion to feel the need and find a way to keep Mylan paying taxes to the United States, the country that presumably will continue to enrich her firm via Medicare and Medicaid. Would he try to cut federal drug payments to Mylan by roughly the amount of taxes his daughter is taking to the Netherlands? I don't know, because my call to the senator's office was not returned.

As for Americans less privileged and powerful than these two characters, your role is clear: Just cast your votes and pay the bills. 

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