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They're all in in it together.,
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This review is from: The Great Tax Robbery (Kindle Edition)
"They" being the big 4 accountancy firms, multi-national businesses (like Amazon), big-earning individuals and complicit politicians. The ordinary citizen pays his/her taxes and gets clobbered by HMRC for any transgressions, but if you are a large corporation, like Vodafone, then the head of HMRC will personally sort out any difficulties you have and ensure your liability is as low as possible.
This book is one of the most dispiriting I've read in a long time: the depth of avarice among the filthy rich, the collusion of government and the capitulation of HMRC, all of which are documented by Brooks in enormous detail left me fascinated, horrified and angry. These are individuals and corporations, celebrities, footballers, "captains" of industry, masters of the financial universe, of whom most already have more money than they can spend and yet they want more and will go to great lengths to pay as little tax as they can. The amount of brain power diverted into these schemes which benefit only the top few percent of the population could be put to much better use. Brooks is unrelenting in his exposure of the schemes and the people behind them and the crass stupidity of government together with the appalling behaviour of the former head of HMRC who should have been sacked years ago. It's particularly galling that government and HMRC should be working for the benefit of all citizens and not just the "new few". (see Ferdinand Mount)
This tax robbery, where the rest of us end up paying more than we should, far more than we pay for benefits cheats, is part of a greater social movement initiated by the Reagan/Thatcher revolution and continued by their spiritual successors Blair and Brown. It's philosophy can be summed up in one word: Greed. Whether it was privatisation or tax breaks their new world order appealed to the lowest of human instincts. Hence, the rich, it seemed, needed ever greater amounts of money to get out of bed to do a day's work, while the poorest needed to be made poorer to turn up at the factory or office.
In this the rich were aided and abetted by naive and incompetent politicians, particularly by Chancellors of the Exchequer and Treasury ministers, who, together with their new friends in the corporate sector redrafted taxation legislation and turned the UK into a tax haven for the wealthy. At the same time, the HMRC initiated a new approach to the taxation of corporate and high net wealth individual tax dodgers and instead of pursuing them relentlessly took a more conciliatory approach which bordered on abject surrender. The government assisted them in this new customer-focussed strategy by slashing thousands of HMRC jobs devoted to investigations.
Does all this matter? Of course it does: not only is the great inequality in wealth in the UK, which increased inexorably under the Thatcher government, which at least was up front about favouring the rich but also under Blair/Brown which was supposedly a socialist government, a social obscenity, but it is also harmful for all sectors of society, as shown in the Spirit Level.
There seems to be no evidence of social benefits flowing from greater wealth inequality nor of greater commercial effectiveness by paying CEO's and others huge salaries and allowing them to shelter most of their mega-millions from the tax man - i.e. the rest of society.
Brooks offers some solutions, including international cooperation, but perhaps what we need most is a massive simplification of the tax system and the introduction of simpler and unavoidable taxes. Ultimately, this is in the hands of politicians, and for as long as they go on to dip their snouts in the trough then things wont change. We need a new system of governance, for at the moment politicians are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Taxation and social equity are too important to be left to politicians alone.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Sep 2013 08:50:30 BDT
Excellent review. Couldn't agree more with what you say. Let's hope the current Government's much lauded and talked about initiatives, coupled with action at the G8 and EU level, actually bring out a sea change in tackling this massive and corrosive abuse in society.
Posted on 10 Mar 2014 23:33:18 GMT
Mr. Simon P. Casson says:
Thanks for your view-point - along with Nicholas Shaxson's "Treasure Islands" these books tell it how it is - a small powerful, deadly and greedy HNW private community are ruling Earth as a private fiefdom...
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