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Jewish World Review May 21, 2002 / 10 Sivan, 5762

Art Buchwald

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Consumer Reports

Why Bermuda? | American companies are fleeing to offshore paradises at an unbelievable rate.

The latest is the Black Sheep Tool Co., who decided to move their main headquarters to Bermuda.

At a stockholders' meeting I talked to Winston Bottoms, the CEO of Black Sheep.

"Why Bermuda?" I asked.

"We surveyed all the offshore locations and discovered Bermuda is a perfect place to keep our money. The weather is excellent, the people are friendly, and everyone speaks English. We also liked the fact that they play cricket."

"Besides all this, you must have another reason to move your headquarters to Bermuda."

"Bermuda has the best golf courses in the world."

I said, "There are some nasty rumors that you went to Bermuda so you wouldn't have to pay American taxes."

"That's a lie. When we decided to go there we didn't know it was a tax-free zone. We want to pay taxes and would if we didn't owe our first allegiance to our stockholders. We saved them $100 million a year."

"But if companies don't pay taxes, how will the government afford all the programs Congress and the president have initiated?"

"They should do what we did and tighten their belts."

"What about Homeland Security? Shouldn't you at least contribute something for that?"

"We support the battle against terrorists. We give out American flags to our employees, and they get Memorial Day off."

"All right, so you've moved your headquarters to Bermuda. How many people man the main office there?"

"One person. All he has to do is go to the post office once a day to pick up the checks from the mainland and then deposit them in the offshore bank."

"One person?"

"We're trying to keep the costs down. When the news broke that we had located in Bermuda, our stock went up 45 points. Wall Street likes offshore companies."

"Are you planning on going to Bermuda soon?" I asked.

"Yes. We're going to open a discount tool store on Front Street in Hamilton. The trip is deductible."

"How can it be deductible if you pay no taxes?"

"Our accountants have it figured out."

Comment on JWR contributor Art Buchwald's column by clicking here.

05/19/02: White collar prisons
05/15/02: Those in depression
05/09/02: Mother's Day in the market
05/07/02: Salary negotiations
04/26/02: Homeland security
04/24/02: The greatest breakthrough
04/18/02: Conflict of Interest
04/15/02: The Sign That Couldn't
04/11/02: It's Cherry Blossom Time
04/08/02: The Young Audience
03/31/02: Safe Deposit for Sale
03/26/02: Au Revoir to Soft Money
03/21/02: Andersen Defense Fund?
03/19/02: Celebrity kickers
03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

© 2002, TMS