Next in the Nugget in a Nutshell videos…
…so no words needed here to explain a minute of video.
Next in the Nugget in a Nutshell videos…
…so no words needed here to explain a minute of video.
Tax avoidance is not the problem, despite it understandably getting up the noses of those who have no option but to pay in full. Those who can avoid paying tax do so because it is taken by force, as it always has been. Nobody likes being mugged, even when their money feeds the hungry family of the mugger waving a knife. Many of us regularly indulge in tax avoidance when we bring the max of duty-free goods back from our travels. It is neither immoral nor illegal. Yet we have been conned into thinking that eager compliance with legalized mugging by the state is the socially responsible approach.
We are urged to regard individuals and corporations who avoid paying tax as responsible for the failings of our state to provide viable services with the vast sums they already take from us and borrow against our children’s future. The avoiders are made convenient scapegoats, but the real issue is value for money and not insufficient tax. UK Government spending leapt from £341 to £731 Billion between 2000 and 2015 as more was needed to resolve problems often caused by this growing drain of money from the real economy. Inflation in that period would have raised £341 to £517 billion.
It is as though we believed that if only those clowns in Westminster and Washington had enough money they could fund their wars and deliver full employment, no hunger, homes for all, healthy food, safe streets, a clean environment and no potholes in the road. Dream on. That is not what ruling the world is about, though some nations, some of the time, undoubtedly do a better job than others at sprinkling some of their tax harvest back to those it came from.
Taxation arose as the means to support a ruling class and pay for the standing army that secures their power. It’s simple really and the underlying principles of it have changed little in the ensuing years. If anything, release of the Panama Papers affirms this. There have been many variations of how ruling classes acquire their power, whether by the sword, heredity, murder, marriage, hand of God, or a popularity contest usually won by those with most to spend. There have been changes of those behind the scenes directing the hand of the ruling class, whether they be religious zealots, oligarchs, bankers, militaries, corporations or combinations thereof.
Along the way there have been countless varieties of tax and endless rationales for its imposition. The underlying principle, however, was best summed up by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, finance minister to King Louis XIV of France, when he wrote that “the art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least amount of hissing.” Our taxes subsidize tobacco and sugar producers in Europe, while their products are taxed to safeguard our health. We are screwed at both ends and nobody’s hissing.
This idea of taxation being a socially motivated and beneficial transfer of wealth is clever spin that is masking the transfer of wealth from a productive society to the state, those who pull its strings, and those in its employ. Only about an eighth of what is sucked out of the economy gets sprinkled back as ‘benefits,’ reluctantly. The other 87.5% is administered by the inefficient and often ineffective mechanism of the state.
It is the state’s sucking away of our wealth that is the prime underlying factor behind the poverty that leads to homelessness, unemployment, petty crime, hunger and many of the problems we empower the state to take charge of. Half or more of the wealth we generate each year goes to the state instead of circulating freely in our self-built economy. There is plenty of money to take care of the disadvantaged in our society and ways to do so in a caring and connected fashion were the state not in charge, spawning government departments that thrive, expand and depend upon the problems in their care.
It is the state’s oppressive regulation that stifles human enterprise and innovation, creating a playing field heavily tilted towards the major corporations who can comply. The $2.5 Billion it costs to bring a new drug to market creates a ruthless pharmaceutical industry, with a few major players hungry for massive profits on over-priced drugs. Agricultural subsidy and regulation of animal breeds and seed varieties favour those best suited to industrialized farming. Much of our food is anything but safe, though fully compliant with safety regulation. Safe, inexpensive and non-addictive drugs are banned worldwide, while toxic, expensive and addictive ones are widely available, bringing in massive tax revenues (imposed for our health, of course). “Green taxes” are levied to save the planet, which will as like as not be used one day to subsidize fracking and nuclear power.
The disclosures we should be concerned by in the Panama Papers are two, the main one being those rulers and robbers who collude with the bankers to conceal their ill-gotten gains in secret accounts. This goes beyond tax evasion, as one would not expect thieves to declare their stolen loot on tax returns. The other relevant exposure is the sheer hypocrisy of those politicians urging full tax compliance while themselves avoiding or evading it. The taxes they don’t pay, of course, are on money provided by taxes demanded of us.
Don’t be taken in by politicians spinning the Panama Papers into an excuse for their own lamentable failings. However much more money the state could raise through taxation, it would never be enough to reverse the damage done with that they already take.
I am author of The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better, a book which makes the case for a self-governed world that moves towards diminishing crime, poor health and poverty by more positive means than creating departments of the state that thrive upon their existence.
The issue is not who is in power, how they got there, what they want to do, or why. The issue is whether or not the underlying principles of the state can ever bring us lasting peace and harmony, and what could.
The UK government pushes forward with its plans to frack the hell out of our green and pleasant land, pumping toxic chemicals through miles of horizontal shafts beneath the ground. They are bribing local councils to give permission for criminal damage to planet Earth, while deploying their police to deal with pesky protesters trying to save the planet. Get detailed information here on the toxic components of Haliburton’s fracking fluids.
The Turkish government has just sacked 350 police officers, including those chief officers in charge of monitoring financial crime, smuggling, and organized crime. This follows a corruption investigation that had named and shamed several of Prime Minister Erdogan’s minsters and close associates. Thousands have taken to the streets in protest. Fighting and scuffles even broke out in the Turkish parliament.
There have been huge anti-government protests in Ukraine over the past few weeks after the government rejected a closer alliance with the EU in favour of closer ties to Russia (dogshit versus catshit, I would say). But the organizer of those protests was savagely beaten by a gang of thugs last week as he left a police station. Another pro EU campaigner was stabbed outside his apartment and a journalist supporting the protest was beaten unconscious.
The daughter of the Spanish king has been named as a suspect in a fraud and money-laundering case involving millions of Euros, allegedly taken from a publically funded charitable fund run by her husband.
The British state has purchased some £500 million worth of Tamilflu vaccinations without having any evidence of its effectiveness. Those lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry are certainly earning their inflated salaries! In the USA there are three of these lobbyists for every congressman and senator.
Protesters are out on the streets of Bangkok once again in an attempt to shut down the government being run by the sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatr who fled the country to evade corruption charges after being ousted by the military.
After wide-ranging protests last year against corruption and government waste in Brazil, a new 10,000 strong force of specially trained elite police officers has been created to make sure that no protests interrupt the smooth running of next year’s World Cup matches being played in Brazil. Is this how democratic states respond to citizens expressing their dissatisfaction?
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While Germany is scrapping all of its nuclear program and France cutting nuclear back by 33%, the UK announces plans to expand its nuclear program. There have been no nuclear plants built in the UK or USA for over 20 years, with good reason, since no commercial company is prepared to adopt this dangerous and expensive approach to power generation. Now, plans to build a giant new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point have been announced, underwritten by the British, Chinese, and French governments. It is solely our tax revenues and the idiocy of the out-of-date state make this expansion of nuclear power possible – even after the disastrous experiences of Fukushima and Chernobyl.
from The State of Business, chapter 20
“Government schemes create another major distortion of the natural evolution of business in society. These are designed to protect and promote certain industries—even when they are outdated and delivering overpriced product. Nuclear power was developed for one purpose alone—to supply material for the state’s nuclear weapons. It does not make economic sense and is uninsurable. Not even the most notorious industrialist of the nineteenth century would have jeopardized his entire wealth on such a risk. What company could cover the loss of a city the size of Tokyo or London, the re-location of its residents, and their medical bills for life? That responsibility falls upon the state and we must wonder whether they will be able to cover it. We now know that the evacuation of Tokyo was considered after Fukushima, and have been told that, if all goes well, it will take over forty years to clean up the mess and stabilize the dangerously damaged reactors.”
(get the full ebook online for less than a cup of cappuccino)
From The Independent, August 16th, 2008:
“Cost of Britain’s road-building projects soars by almost £4bn
Britain’s road-building programme will cost the taxpayer billions of pounds more than expected, with some major projects more than doubling in price in five years, research indicates.”
From Chapter 10:
“Yet rather than cut the department back, they proceed with constant rebuilding of the existing road system for an alleged future benefit. The reality is a road system constantly clogged by rebuilding works, only a few of which relate to relevant repair of the existing structure.”