Brendan Barber visits a rich man.
(Picture forty-percented from here)
(Picture forty-percented from here)
The TUC say that rich people are costing the taxman four billion a year in lost revenue. Apparently they object to handing over forty percent and so keep their money in countries that charge fifteen percent or less.
The nerve! How dare they try to hold on to their own money! Don't they know how many cans of Stella that would buy, how many plasma TV's, how many Xboxes? We have children in 'poverty' who have never played the latest versions of Deathmatch Golf or Roadkill Challenge. Such deprivation!
Hold on a minute. The TUC are discussing tax policy? What are we paying that Chancellor bloke for? How much is he getting just to balance caterpillars over his eyes? He doesn't seem to be doing much else.
Well, it seems it's down to the TUC. They have The Answer:
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "The mechanisms of tax avoidance are always hard to understand, but this is a very simple story. If the super-rich held their money and assets in the UK they would contribute at least £4 billion extra.
Ah, point of order there, Barber boy. Nobody 'contributes' tax. It's taken from us and if we don't pay, we go to jail. 'Contribution' is where you think something's a good idea and give some money towards it. Tax is better described as 'stand and deliver'.
Yes, if the super-rich kept their money here they would pay an extra £4 billion in tax. That's why they don't do it. It's not complicated at all.
"This would be enough for the Government to meet its target to halve child poverty by 2010. It would also mean that instead of being squirreled away in tax havens, it was being spent in the real economy here helping us fight recession.
Oh, here goes the child poverty crap. None of it goes to the cheeeldren and the Barber knows it. It goes to politicians and union leaders so they can have chaffeur-driven Rollers with blacked-out windows so the street urchins don't offend their eyes. No visible homeless, problem solved as far as these people are concerned.
It's really really simple. If you earn a lot of cash and you keep it here, the Government will take forty percent of it. If you keep it somewhere else, that somewhere else will only take fifteen percent of it. If our government only took fifteen percent of it, not only would it all stay here, but rich people from higher-tax countries would put theirs here too. Has it never occurred to these people to wonder why tax havens look so wealthy when they charge such low tax rates?
"With the tax take falling because of the recession, there can be no better time to get tough with the super-rich, so many of whom did so much to throw the world into recession."
Brilliant. Let's penalise and threaten people who could afford, at the drop of a hat, to leave the country entirely and reduce their tax liability here to zero. Let's blame them all for the recession, even those who have never been involved in finance or banking, because the Gorgon had nothing to do with it, as he keeps telling us all. All rich people caused the recession, including those who have lost fortunes and including those who have committed suicide because of it. Oh, they really wanted it to happen, didn't they?
Rich people pay vast amounts of tax and that's why they hide a lot of it abroad. Legally. Stop them doing that and their most sensible option is to move abroad and take the money with them. No rich people from anywhere else would put their money into a high-tax country. You don't get that rich by being stupid.
So putting up taxes mean the rich bugger off and nobody wants to invest here. Oh, and when a rich guy leaves, what do you think happens to all those who work for him? They can't leave. They aren't rich and they are now unemployed. I'm not talking about butlers and maids. I'm talking about factories and their supply chains. All folded and liquidated and the cash gone.
I'm no economic expert. I have no training and no understanding of deep economic theory but surely it must be face-slappingly obvious even to a TUC official.
You have the option to pay 40% of your income or pay 15% of it. That would save you 25% of your income. A lot. It's worth paying an accountant to help out with that. You want to stop them doing it? Make it not worth their while. Reduce the tax to 15% and no tax will go offshore. Further, taxable assets and cash will flood into the country from more expensive administrations as their rich people do what our rich people have been doing. That's tax on another country's rich people. We don't have to do a thing.
It seems obvious to me that if we attract other countries' cash and tax it, as well as making it not worthwhile for our rich people to run offshore accounts, our total tax take will be far better than if we harass our own rich until they leave.
The TUC don't see it that way. The Gorgon doesn't see it that way. Caterpillar-balancer doesn't see it that way.
So where's the flaw? There must be one. I can't possibly be right, while the Great Ones are wrong.
Can someone explain?