Dan Primack

The latest on private equity, M&A, deals and movements — from Wall Street to Silicon Valley

On Ireland and taxes: Let's try this again

November 23, 2010: 11:54 AM ET

Getting hammered by the email readership this morning, for including my note about how John McCain once held Ireland up as a beacon of fiscal sanity. Scott sums it up:

"Dan, your narrow cause and effect analysis of McCain's statements and Ireland's economy are nothing short of dopey. This inane commentary pleasures only you, not your readers. No more of this or half your audience will stop reading your emails entirely."

Let me be clear: I never argued cause and effect. Instead, I kind of argued the opposite.

My point was not that Ireland's corporate tax rate caused the nation's financial crisis. It was that Ireland's corporate tax rate did not prevent the nation's financial crisis.

McCain made his statements in the fall of 2008, when America was in the most panicked phase of its recession. His discussion of Ireland was in that context -- suggesting that were we to follow the Irish model, perhaps we wouldn't be in such a mess. Considering that Ireland itself has now found itself similarly dirty, McCain's certainty can no longer hold water.

It is indeed possible that Ireland would be in even worse shape had it been using a higher corporate tax rate. It also is possible that things would be better. We do not know. Neither did McCain.

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About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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