Tuesday, September 28, 2004
The super-rich are fleecing us by avoiding taxes, and it should be a matter of public record
Excerpts from a Guardian article that although appertaining to the UK applies, in my opinion, to the US.
"Behind every great fortune there are two crimes: the crime required to obtain it, and the crime required to maintain it. Well, that isn't quite true. There may be no moral difference between evading tax and avoiding it, but there is a legal one. If a rich man is well advised, he can lawfully keep every penny to himself".
"Until this has been sorted out, there is precious little point in proposing, as both the Liberal Democrats and a group of rebel Labour MPs did last week, that income tax be increased to 50% for people earning more than £100,000 a year. It is just, it is necessary, but it simply raises the incentive for the very rich to find new means of staying that way".
"Tax avoidance in the United Kingdom deprives the exchequer of between £25bn and £85bn a year, according to the Tax Justice Network. It's hard to get your head round these figures, until you see that the low figure more or less equates to the projected public-sector deficit for this financial year. The high figure represents 74% of the income tax the exchequer receives. It is more than we spend on the national health service. The super-rich are fleecing us".
"The problem is that there is almost no public pressure for a real war on tax avoidance. Last week, the Tax Justice Network opened an office in London to try to focus attention on the issue. But it's not likely to feature much in the corporate press. Patience Wheatcroft, the business editor of the Times, attacks the Treasury for regarding tax avoidance as "tantamount to extreme wickedness". Coincidentally, her employer, Rupert Murdoch, is the most successful tax avoider of all. When the Daily Telegraph was owned by Lord Black, it argued that people had "a legal and moral right to work out how to pay as little tax as possible, a right which it is in the interest of all citizens to uphold". It's not very likely to change its position: its new owners, the Barclay brothers, live in tax exile. The tabloids slaughter the welfare cheats, and spare the tax cheats".