Ireland’s reputation as a major center for American investment came under intense scrutiny on America’s top rated TV show ‘60 Minutes’ on CBS which investigated why 100,000 jobs in American companies were in Ireland and not in the US.
The investigation came at a tough time for Ireland when they are desperately trying to hang on to overseas investment in the current crunch and hardly need a bright light shining on the fact that American companies lose jobs to Ireland
"Almost everybody is in Ireland," leading economist Martin Sullivan said. "All the pharmaceutical companies, all the high tech companies. You're stupid if you're not in Ireland," he replied.
John Chambers , The CEO of Cisco ,one of America’s largest companies, told the company the low corporate tax rate of 12.5 per cent there compared to 35 per cent in the US. was key.
"We do what makes sense to the shareholders," Chambers said. "We go where there are incentives in countries that say, 'We want you here, we're going to give you tax advantages, and we want you to add jobs here, etc.' We can no longer in America say, 'This is how we do it, therefore you must do it.' We've gotta change, or we're going to be left behind."
Economist Martin Sullivan told ‘60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl that "U.S. multinationals are shifting their research facilities, shifting their manufacturing facilities, and shifting some regional headquarters into Switzerland and into Ireland. And those are massive numbers of jobs,"
"Well, if you have a 35 percent rate in the United States and, for example, a 12.5 percent rate in Ireland, there's a incentive to move your factory to Ireland," he explained.
"Six hundred American companies are in Ireland and they employ 100,000 people," Stahl stated . "Those are jobs that aren't here. And they moved to Ireland because of taxes."
"The U.S. Treasury in effect is subsidizing investment in Ireland," Sullivan said.
"We leave the money over there. I create jobs overseas; I acquire companies overseas; I build plants overseas; and I badly want to bring that money back," John Chambers told Stahl.
Chambers told Stahl that Cisco had about $40 billion overseas that could be brought back to the U.S.
Chambers called for lower corporate tax rates in the US , "All we're asking is: Give us a level playing field. Get us close."