If there were an annual award for the most wrongheaded newspaper editorial, a recent one from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch would be a finalist (“Another View: Pfizer’s latest discovery: Dodging taxes in Ireland,” Dec. 5).

The Post-Dispatch is all exercised about Pfizer’s plan to merge with Allergan, which is headquartered in Ireland, so that the combined entities can take advantage of that country’s 12.5 percent corporate tax rate. The editorial complains that Pfizer isn’t willing to subject itself to the 35 percent nominal ceiling in the U.S. (higher when state and local taxes are included).

It’s true that some companies can take advantage of various credits and deductions, which can significantly lower rates, but Pfizer’s average rate for the 2011-2014 period was 26.4 percent, well above the Irish rate that the Post-Dispatch thinks is unpatriotic.

What the paper doesn’t grasp is that high tax rates on businesses transfer money to a feckless government that can’t control its spending, and makes those dollars unavailable for new private-sector jobs, higher wages or investment in plant and equipment that increase worker productivity.

Nominal and effective rates in the U.S. are among the highest in the developed countries, and almost all tax experts agree that lower rates are necessary to make domestic companies competitive in international markets.

If the Post-Dispatch hates tax inversions so much, it should lobby for lower rates that would make tax mergers unnecessary. In the meantime, Pfizer is engaging in its own tax reform, the kind that Congress keeps talking about, but doesn’t do anything about.

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