SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 01: A sign stands outside a Burger King restaurant November 1, 2006 in San Francisco, Califorina. Burger King Holdings Inc. posted a 82 percent surge in its first-quarter earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 30. Total profit was $40 million, or 30 cents per share, up from $22 million, or 19 cents per share, one year ago. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Times is reporting on a publicly released letter from Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to Miami based Burger King Chief Executive Daniel Schwartz.

The gist of this letter is, “Shame on you for running your business responsibly and not letting us take more money from you by theft of exorbitant corporate taxes.”

The senators are upset that they might be losing big bucks in taxes due to a process called “inversion.” Inversion is the practice of a company moving its headquarters outside of the US for more favorable tax rates in other countries.

Who Owns What?

Burger King Worldwide was purchased by 3-G Capital, who has offices in New York and Brazil. 3G doesn’t believe in corporate jets, and expects executives to fly coach and stay in regular hotels. They have a no frills existence and the payoff is huge. Under 3G, profits doubled in the fourth quarter of last year at Burger King with 30 percent less revenue.

3G also bought and moved Anheuser-Busch to Belgium. They also bought Heinz along with Canadian based Tim Horton Coffee and Doughnuts. To open the Canadian market they are attempting to move their Burger King headquarters from Miami to Tim Horton headquarters in Canada. Not to save taxes, but to open new markets. Canada’s corporate taxes are only slightly less than the US and vary by province. It’s not a big tax savings.

Would You Like Some Cheese With Your Whine?

The five senators wrote, "Many of your loyal customers may choose to spend their hard-earned money at one of your many competitors, instead of supporting a company that wants all the benefits of America but refuses to pay its fair share to support our nation."

Have people stopped buying the “King of Beers” because the company moved senators? Anyone boycotting Heinz?

They continue their letter saying that Burger King, “relies on U.S. taxpayer-funded roads and bridges to deliver its products, safety inspectors to ensure the food it provides is safe for consumers, and a robust trademark system to protect its brand."

"Now, after profiting from these taxpayer-funded benefits, Burger King intends to move its tax address overseas to avoid paying its fair share for these benefits."

Fair share Senators??

Someone please explain to me why 40 percent is anyone’s fair share. We all pay the price for those exorbitant corporate taxes at checkout.

Forty-seven percent of these “taxpayers” who are working so hard to provide all the breaks for Burger King don’t pay any income tax at all. Where’s their fair share?

Their subsidies are off the charts and these nitpickers want corporations to do all the heavy lifting. If you want to give someone a tax break, if you want foreign companies to move their headquarters into the US instead of out to Canada or Ireland, why not do your job, and make the corporate tax code a little more user friendly. Taking less from more companies will give you the same money to waste on your other frivolous federal programs as taking more from a few will do.

Some Final Thoughts

Eighty percent of Burger King customers have no idea they are planning this move and an even higher percentage don’t really care. In six months, even the ones who claim they will boycott Burger King will be back.

Dick Durbin claimed on the senate floor recently that he skipped eating at Burger King in favor of Steak N Shake, a Midwestern chain with many restaurants in Illinois and headquartered in Indiana. I guess before the sale he’d rather send his Illinois money to Miami instead of keeping it local.

We always blame the company, never the cause. It’s not a matter of “fair share,” or patriotism, it’s a matter of being competitive in a world market and staying in business. Stop whining senators and do your job because right now your corporate tax code is killin’ me with higher prices.