Captain Louis Renault Award: Steve Ballmer

posted at 1:35 pm on June 4, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The latest recipient of the Captain Louis Renault Award for shock,shock at the anti-business nature of Barack Obama and his administration goes to Steve Ballmer, Obama supporter and CEO of Microsoft.  Ballmer provided substantial support for Obama’s presidential run, and also giving $100,000 to his inauguration, as did Microsoft founder Bill Gates.  Now, however, Ballmer has balked at Obama’s tax positions and now says he’ll move Microsoft jobs overseas if necessary:

Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steven Ballmer said the world’s largest software company would move some employees offshore if Congress enacts President Barack Obama’s plans to impose higher taxes on U.S. companies’ foreign profits.

“It makes U.S. jobs more expensive,” Ballmer said in an interview. “We’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S. as opposed to keeping them inside the U.S.”

Obama on May 4 proposed outlawing or restricting about $190 billion in tax breaks for offshore companies over the next decade. Such business groups as the National Foreign Trade Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have denounced the proposed overhaul.

A month ago, I warned that Obama’s plan to “close loopholes” by taxing all income, even that already taxed by foreign nations, would create a flight of multinationals:

[C]ompanies with the wherewithal will simply move overseas to take advantage of better tax environments, limiting their exposure to Obama’s tax-hiking fever and protecting their revenues.  He can try to make this as painful as possible, but in the end businesses will act in their own interest.  Obama seems to either not realize this or not care much whether companies flee the US, nor does he appear to have learned the value of dynamic tax analysis.

For the rest, the high American corporate tax rate will cause them to invest less in their own businesses, killing expansion and development.  It will curtail employment, and in the end, the businesses won’t pay most of the tax anyway.  They will do what all businesses do — pass their internal costs to their customers in the form of higher prices.  Those higher prices will depress demand, as well as creating inflation on top of stagnation.  This will not only cripple the American economy in a similar manner to what we saw in the 1970s, but it will also mean less revenue for the federal and state governments.

Ballmer apparently agrees, at least as it applies to him — now that he helped foist Obama on the rest of us.  What exactly did Ballmer not understand about “share the wealth”?

In Casablanca, Victor Lazlo tells Rick, “Welcome back to the fight.  This time, I know we’ll win.”  I wish I could say that about Ballmer’s belated Road to Damascus moment, or that I’d trust him to not repeat his financial support of Obama and the redistributionist Democrats now that he has tasted the cutting edge of “share the wealth.”  I’ll believe it when I see it.

Update: I’ve been corrected in the comments; Ballmer and Gates contributed the $100K donations to the inaugural.  I’ve corrected my lead paragraph.


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Buyer’s remorse, brought to you by the idiot who gave us Vista.

Knucklehead on June 4, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Everyone who voted for the One will now begin to reap what they hath sowed.

Suck it up, buttercup. You did this to us, all.

Neo on June 4, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Wouldn’t surprise me if people like Ballmer proclaimed their love for Obama, or at least the wisdom of voting for and supporting him, all the way to the figurative (or even the literal!) executioner’s scaffold. If so, it wouldn’t be anything especially new under the sun.

CK MacLeod on June 4, 2009 at 1:41 PM

That $100,000 wasn’t for the election, it was for the inauguration… huge difference that you should have picked up on Ed…

ninjapirate on June 4, 2009 at 1:43 PM

I was wondering whether he supported Obama when I read this link via Drudge. I am not surprised at the answer. You think these CEOs of large companies would be sharp.

brought to you by the idiot who gave us Vista.

Knucklehead on June 4, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Nevermind. Now I understand.

WashJeff on June 4, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Hey, I’m smarter than the CEO of Microsoft!

Cicero43 on June 4, 2009 at 1:45 PM

Take note that he says it will be more profitable for them to move people (Not jobs but people) overseas.

- The Cat

MirCat on June 4, 2009 at 1:45 PM

P.S. Who’s he going to move?

Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers etc.

MirCat on June 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM

Microsoft? Move jobs overseas?

*yawn*

Joe Caps on June 4, 2009 at 1:48 PM

I was just telling someone today that I see LOTS of parallels between Obama’s totalitarian and devious handling of the country to Microsoft’s totalitarian and devious handling of its markets.

Regardless, I’m amused by this buyer’s remorse.

Daggett on June 4, 2009 at 1:48 PM

Now, however, Ballmer has balked at Obama’s tax positions and now says he’ll move Microsoft jobs overseas if necessary

Call it the Democrat Blue Screen of Death. Now if I can only hold the power button for five seconds and reboot the election.

WashJeff on June 4, 2009 at 1:48 PM

Here is his political donations… didn’t donate to Obama or McCain and he’s pretty even on donations to Rs and Ds…

http://www.newsmeat.com/billionaire_political_donations/Steve_Ballmer.php

ninjapirate on June 4, 2009 at 1:49 PM

He tried to curry favor AFTER THE ELECTION by paying $100,000 grand for the inauguration… I’m sure he got his monies worth even if it was extra tickets to the inauguration or something…

ninjapirate on June 4, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Ballmer has balked at Obama’s tax positions and now says he’ll move Microsoft jobs overseas if necessary:

You effed up Stevie Weevie; effing live with your mistakes and pay the taxes you supported.

You are a MAJOR LEAGUE A$$HOLE!!!! BIG TIME!!!

Branch Rickey on June 4, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Monkey boy can dance!

daesleeper on June 4, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Another awakening from the Obama stupor.

Brat on June 4, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Microsoft has already moved thousands of program management and development jobs to China and continues to do so. This would be nothing new, though the pace will probably quicken.

DarkCurrent on June 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM

That $100,000 wasn’t for the election, it was for the inauguration

Buying influence is buying influence…you should have picked up on that.

Branch Rickey on June 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Hey, wait…are you sure he didn’t help hoist Obama on us?

DrAllecon on June 4, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Buying influence is buying influence…you should have picked up on that.

Branch Rickey on June 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM

I know what I’m talking about and you and Ed should know better… it’s not like he picked Obama over McCain… a lot of corporations pitched in for the inauguration…

ninjapirate on June 4, 2009 at 1:57 PM

P.S. Who’s he going to move?

Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Support, etc.

MirCat on June 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM

FIFY

Joe Caps on June 4, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Hey Ballmer, to put it in Microsoftian terms: Higher taxes from Obama is not a “bug”; it’s a feature.

Mr. Bingley on June 4, 2009 at 1:59 PM

It’s a little late for all these brilliant people to be realizing that bad-to-worse is also “change.”

califcon on June 4, 2009 at 2:02 PM

The CEO of MS will wind up fine thank you. It’s the rest of us middle class that will be paying the real price.

r keller on June 4, 2009 at 2:02 PM

I don’t think Obama really cares. These are political strategies–not revenue strategies. The sooner Microsoft fails, the sooner it can be nationalized. Win-win.

RBMN on June 4, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Indian Developers Developers Developers Indian Developers Developers Developers Developers Indian Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Indian Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Indian Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers etc.

MirCat on June 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM

FIFY

Caper29 on June 4, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Here’s an idea: stop taxing business profits. At all. Just tax capital gains and dividends.
Then, stand back and try not to get trampled in the rush.

Count to 10 on June 4, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Hurting the rich by making them rich in another country.

kirkill on June 4, 2009 at 2:09 PM

It really is true. Obama won’t stop until the USA is a third-world nation.

RandyChandler on June 4, 2009 at 2:11 PM

I guarentee you, they’ll be back on the Obama bandwagon in 2012.

Rebar on June 4, 2009 at 2:15 PM

There is a point when a particular technology reaches an apex.
From there own, the engineers just start f*ckin’ it up instead of improving it.

TheSitRep on June 4, 2009 at 2:17 PM

Isn’t Microsoft already the largest employeer in India?

Rod on June 4, 2009 at 2:17 PM

I am really continually surprized at how the Democratic Party gets people to vote against their own best interest. Do these guys hate themselves for making money? Do they hate the capitalism that made them wealthy? How can anyone with money give it to a Democrat? I don’t get it.

petunia on June 4, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Hey, I’m smarter than the CEO of Microsoft!

Cicero43 on June 4, 2009 at 1:45 PM

By this measure, so is half the country.

UltimateBob on June 4, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Idgit.

ladyingray on June 4, 2009 at 2:19 PM

It’s hard to feel sorry for Ballmer. The entire basis of Microsoft has been corruption, secret deals to prevent competition, and now increasing the use of “software patents”.
Software patents may be as utterly destructive of the computer industry as socialism. No one who isn’t already a major player in the computer industry will be able to start a business because just about all ideas are patented–with patents as outrageous as Amazon’s patent on one-click purchases. And the worse thing is with computers in all products, all products are part of the computer industry. Microsoft sued a manufacturer of portable GPS car navigation systems, Tom Tom, for using file names longer than eight characters in their products. One remembers a day when patents were supposed to help innovation, not stifle it.

thuja on June 4, 2009 at 2:24 PM

I guarentee you, they’ll be back on the Obama bandwagon in 2012.

Rebar on June 4, 2009 at 2:15 PM

We’ll see, but I think you are wrong. Rich people their money and won’t like Obama taking it for stupid projects.

thuja on June 4, 2009 at 2:26 PM

A Vista like policy by Obama.

No wonder Microsoft is mad.

Mr. Joe on June 4, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Indian Developers [and support]

[spoken with an accent that makes the words hard to understand]

“Hello, my name is Sanjay. How may I provide you with excellent service today?”

Daggett on June 4, 2009 at 2:27 PM

someone at Youtube posted
“He’s like a smart Bush.”

ha lol…

max1 on June 4, 2009 at 2:34 PM

a lot of corporations pitched in for the inauguration…

and buying influence is buying influence…you should know that

Branch Rickey on June 4, 2009 at 2:41 PM

Everyone who voted for the One will now begin to reap what they hath sowed.

Yeah, except the rest of us have to reap it as well.

crazy_legs on June 4, 2009 at 2:49 PM

Looks like a couple of people are starting to ‘wake up’ about that SHARE THE WEALTH statement. Too bad it happened AFTER the election.

On another note, isn’t it odd that all those company’s that got bailout funds haven’t been hiring. Yet WalMart is hiring 22,000 people? Go figure.

GarandFan on June 4, 2009 at 2:50 PM

In Casablanca, Victor Lazlo tells Rick, “Welcome back to the fight. This time, I know we’ll win.” I wish I could say that about Ballmer’s belated Road to Damascus moment,

Whoa mixed metaphors worthy of Obama!

Ted Torgerson on June 4, 2009 at 3:08 PM

“It makes U.S. jobs more expensive,” Ballmer said in an interview. “We’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S. as opposed to keeping them inside the U.S.”

Ok, what didn’t they understand during the campaign? I’m confused? Did not their beloved Biden say it’s patriotic to pay taxes? Did not Obama espouse to raising taxes on the wealthy, which included corporations? Did not Obama himself tell a man in Ohio, that he believed in sharing the wealth, and bringing those behind, up?

How is it, two extremely successful men, didn’t get what he meant, when he said that, yet us lowly idiots figured it out, and for most, I think we figured it out, very early on.

Now I question their ability to run anything, even a treadmill.

capejasmine on June 4, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Not just developers will move (that has happened already). Corporate management will move as well, establishing HQ outside the U.S. to control the tax burden. And take their executives with them to protect their. wealth

Predicted BEFORE the election, then discussed again and again, You’re way behind the curve on this one, Ed.

michaelo on June 4, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Coming soon: The Hopeychangey Iron Curtain of Yes We Can (keep you from leaving).

Beagle on June 4, 2009 at 3:25 PM

Man bites man, film at 11!

Limerick on June 4, 2009 at 3:25 PM

For businessmen that supported Obama I don’t think this is a big deal. They can move jobs overseas. avoid extra US taxes on their business and STILL support Obama and his social programs here. Best of both worlds for them. Same applies to the wealthy. they will always be able to structure their affairs in such a way that they can avoid some or all of a tax increase and still support Obama and his programs. It’s the rest of us that have to depend on a salary here that get screwed.

JohnnyL on June 4, 2009 at 3:37 PM

Way to go Microsloth…….Maybe it’s a payback for all those blue screens fo death American have had…Karma! Gotta love it!!

sargentj on June 4, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Brilliant economics is not in The One’s gene pool. Look at what his father did for Kenya. And the home lives of several mothers and children…thinking about that, his son is a constitutional lawyer? Maybe that is why he wants to keep Gitmo open. It is for us

IlikedAUH2O on June 4, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Maybe that is why he wants to keep Gitmo open. It is for us

IlikedAUH2O on June 4, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Well he sure doesn’t want his muslim brothers around, when he has us whipped, beaten, raped, and shocked.

capejasmine on June 4, 2009 at 3:59 PM

GarandFan on June 4, 2009 at 2:50 PM

So true – and Ford is kicking GM and Chyslers ass as are banks and financial companies – like USAA who never took a bailout dime.

Odie1941 on June 4, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Microsoft has already moved thousands of program management and development jobs to China and continues to do so. This would be nothing new, though the pace will probably quicken.

DarkCurrent on June 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Not just China, either. Much of their Train Simulator game from earlier in this decade was created by the Japanese, and they just put their MS name on it.

MS also recently fired their entire Flight Simulator team. Those jobs will go offshore as well.

Del Dolemonte on June 4, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Well, duh? Didn’t the geniuses at Microsoft understand that Obama was going to unfriendly to business and the creation of wealth. Joe the Plumber needs to be elected to the Microsoft board of directors.

SC.Charlie on June 4, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Man, Obama is really going all Michael Myers on the goose that laid the golden egg, isn’t he? Perhaps he figures it is easier to build a socialist utopia workers’ paradise on the ashes of a bourgeoisie capitalist pig system rather than on top of it.

They will do what all businesses do — pass their internal costs to their customers in the form of higher prices.

Many of the people that I work with have to go to Europe frequently. They tell me that everything there is expensive (like $11 for a cup of coffee). Perhaps decades of utopia have had an effect…

Kafir on June 4, 2009 at 4:31 PM

In the very near future, there is no longer going to be a recognizable middle-class in America.

There is just going to be the politically powerful, each “representing” a “district” (a basic land-grant) complete with a population of surfs and peasants who trade their “votes” for basic subsistence-level survival.

Then the world will be just like the libs want with “everyone” equal (except, of course, the exalted ones), all enjoying living a wonderful “green” medieval life-style, complete with a 40 yr life span and a severe reduction in the world’s human population – preserving the rest of gaia for “nature”. Its perfect! Nirvana!! UTOPIA!!1!11

And Obama is bound and determined to grace us all with such a wonderous tranformation within the next decade or so.

Fatal on June 4, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Commissionaire, not Captain.

Yeah, I know. Nit-picky.

mojo on June 4, 2009 at 5:23 PM

This is basically the flip side of an Obamateurism, where someone who voted for him is suddenly dismayed that he does … what it was obvious he wanted to do all along.

You could make this a special feature like the Obamateurism, too. If only you had a more specific tag for it. “Captain Louis Renault” award is fine, but is too general. “Buyer’s Remorse” would fit, but it just doesn’t capture that special facepalm quality.

And of course past recipients could include Kathleen Parker. And Chris Buckley, in a few more months. Right now he’s still in denial that he made a mistake.

tom on June 4, 2009 at 5:29 PM

Buyer’s remorse, brought to you by the idiot who gave us Vista.

I was thinking more along the lines of Windows ME…

Geministorm on June 4, 2009 at 5:40 PM

Windows M.E., Vista, Obama….who says Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are not the Spawn of Satan? Just think what they could do if they actually thought about something before they released it and didn’t depend on users telling them what’s wrong with it after they’ve already paid $100.00. Maybe I’ll just move my Windows off-shore and then perhaps I’ll get an operating systems that actually works the first time!

flytier on June 4, 2009 at 6:07 PM

I’m sure Obama Inc. is looking at the $40 bil in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation coffers and the $30 bil pledge by Warren Buffet to come upon his death. No way, NO WAY, the Obama team wants this money to go to help others – unless it passes thru them first.

It’s the Chicago way. Hear more about this tomorrow at http://www.RFCRadio.com at 10am ET. I’m on the job!

ArmchairEnergist on June 4, 2009 at 7:25 PM

As usual not a single commenter here even begins to understand the issues. Ballmer is not experiencing buyers remorse as so many of you think. He’s just stating plainly that if this change in tax policy goes through, Microsoft will move jobs back overseas and do any subsequent restructuring necessary to avoid paying extra US taxes. MS will come out better or at worst break even. In essence, he doesn’t care one way or the other. He and others can still support Obama and his programs in the US without it harming their business. Until they see some concrete evidence that Obama’s policies are hurting their business they will continue to believe that supporting him is the right thing to do. Even then I don’t think they would reverse course.

JohnnyL on June 5, 2009 at 9:55 AM