March 03, 2017

Why refer to “cash repatriation” when you know it is not cash? Are there some should-not-be-named motives for it?

Sir, Gillian Tett writes: “Mr Trump will need widespread Republican support if he wants to enact his promised tax reforms, cash repatriation or $1tn infrastructure spending plan.” “Trump’s stealthy deregulation delights business” March 3.

“Cash repatriation”? When will Ms. Tett, like most other discussants of this, understand that we really should not be talking about “cash repatriation”. All those exiled profits, or at least 99,99% of these, have already been deployed in assets different from cash under the mattress. These assets to be repatriated might indeed already have been repatriated, like if for instance they are held in bonds of the sovereign to which the repatriation takes place. 

So, to refer to “cash repatriation”, can only feed the illusion that this would signify a fundamental way to correct for the world problems, like that of growing inequality. Under some circumstances, if the redistribution recipients exchange inefficiently those repatriated assets, it could in fact worsen some of our problems.

Sir, now why would some like to feed such “cash-repatriation-is-a-solution illusion? You tell me!

Does this mean that I am against the repatriation of assets booked abroad as a result of corporate profits? Of course not! If there is where these, by law or by incentives should go, that’s how it should be.