Many of President Donald Trump's tweets can be classified as foolhardy, but his series of recent rants about Amazon.com Inc. were over the top. I will leave to others the implications for democracy when a U.S. president singles out a company that he wants to punish, but from a business point of view, his crusade is nuts. For all of Trump's huffing and puffing, there is little he can do to inflict pain on Amazon and its chief executive, Jeff Bezos. It's amazing that he can't see it. The president complains that Amazon doesn't pay taxes. For the most part, that hasn't been true; between 2007 and 2015, it paid a combined tax rate (for federal, state, local and foreign) of 13 percent, on par with many big companies. Last year, however, it did not pay any federal taxes. Why? It appears that Amazon was able to take advantage of some provisions in Trump's pride and joy, the tax cut he signed in December. In addition, while Amazon for years fought efforts to force it to collect state and lo...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.