I’ve been reading with a somewhat jaded eye about the ‘revelations’ contained in the Paradise Papers, which contain details of the totally unsurprising fact that the wealthy pay clever accountants to legally minimise their tax liabilities. This is something we’ve all known since we were co-opted into the tax system, and something that most (if not all) of us would do ourselves if we had the good fortune to have very high incomes.
But of course the self-righteous (who for the most part seem to be on the political Left) have taken umbrage at the fact that as they see it, the rich are avoiding paying their ‘fair share’. Leaving aside the fact that those wealthy people using tax loopholes probably pay far more tax than the umbrage-takers anyway, even though they move some of it offshore, the important point that all these SJWs seem to be missing is that all these schemes are legal. There is no law being broken, just loopholes in an over-complicated tax system being exploited. There is nothing to condemn. It’s a non-issue.
And yet we have things like this:
The shadow chancellor John McDonnell said in response to the Paradise Papers that ‘every pound avoided in tax by the super-rich is a pound desperately needed by our NHS, our schools and our caring services’.
As I said in a comment recently on a ‘Spiked’ article on the subject:
And if the government is so concerned that “every pound avoided in tax by the super-rich is a pound desperately needed by our NHS, our schools and our caring services”, perhaps they could improve matters by ‘draining the swamp’, as Trump put it. De-fund all the sock-puppet charities like ASH and Alcohol Concern, de-fund ‘Public Health’ and all their assorted hangers-on, scrap all the pointless quangos and scrap the overseas aid budget. Just those few would not only improve the lives of a population constantly harangued by the serried ranks of ‘experts’ telling them what to do, but would also put much more money into the treasury than curtailing any ‘tax avoidance’ schemes.
However, the rights and wrongs of tax avoidance wasn’t actually what interests me. What interests me is: who released all this private information, and why? And how does it fit in to the current political situation? Obviously there will be no criminal charges laid against anyone, as no wrongdoing was involved, so it seems as though the whole exercise was intended to stir up resentment against the rich for not paying their ‘fair share’. And it’s worked remarkably well. I’m constantly coming across comments and tweets that claim we’re all somehow being shafted by the rich, because they invest offshore.
Myself, I don’t have that attitude at all. I don’t give a damn what financial arrangements the wealthy have. If they can avoid paying most of their hard (or easy) earned cash to a bloated and wasteful state, then good luck to them. I’d do exactly the same if I was in their shoes.
But we seem to be set on a race to the bottom. Nobody is allowed to succeed. If they get rich, they should be made to give most of it to the state, so the state can piss it up against a wall. If they get famous, they should be torn down or be made to grovel to the idol of Political Correctness, as we are seeing with all these ‘celebrities’ who are being crucified for their sexual peccadilloes at the moment. If you seek to voice a contrarian opinion, you must be silenced. If you want to enjoy something, then that thing must be taxed, demonised and made difficult for you to enjoy.
So back to the Paradise Papers – who released them, and why?
First of all, what doesn’t seem to have been mentioned in all the news reports is that this is a criminal case of someone hacking the database of private companies, and as such, that information, which was originally given to a German newspaper, and then shared widely, should never have been released into the public domain. But nobody is talking about that. Secondly, this wasn’t some spotty teenager in his bedroom in Leighton Buzzard who did the hacking, it was a professional job.
And presumably someone paid for it. But in whose interest would it be to expose the finances of thousands of corporations and individuals to all and sundry? Call me cynical, but I rather doubt that it was done out of a sense of misplaced altruism. There’s more to it than moral outrage. It was well planned, the information was gathered a year or so ago, apparently, but only released now:
Gavin St Pier, an elected Deputy of the tax haven Guernsey, stated that the “coverage was part of a well-orchestrated, ongoing campaign”. He also averred that despite having the information since 2016, the timing of the release was deliberately delayed to coincide with the meeting of EU Finance Ministers ahead of the proposed discussion of a tax haven blacklist.
So someone has an agenda. What sort of agenda would see destroying the credibility of thousands of wealthy companies and individuals as being advantageous? There’s much talk of ‘investigative journalism on an international scale’ being bandied around, and of ‘exposing the rich and powerful’. All very ‘Power-to-the-People’-ish, but if the intended effect is to shame all those named into paying more taxes, the advantage will be seen not by ‘the people’, but by the state(s). And by extension, a percentage of that money will devolve to the supranational bodies (EU, UN, WHO, IPCC etc), who are busy extending and entrenching their powers. And none of whom, it should be noted, are ever the subject of any ‘investigative journalism’ themselves, despite there being plenty of reasons why a number of their policies should be publicly scrutinised, given the economic and social damage they cause globally.
But the big advantage to the supranational, unelected leaders of the planet is not the money, it’s the removal of potential competitors. International business is powerful, and can influence government policy with promises of investment. And those policies often don’t agree with the Globalist viewpoint of ‘sustainability’. So it may well be that undermining the credibility of those companies as ‘tax avoiders’ will weaken their influence with governments, thus clearing the way for the supranational bodies to in turn increase their influence with those various national governments.
This, of course, is purely speculation on my part (verging on tinfoil hattery), and I might be completely wrong. Maybe the hacker who garnered all this information did it because he has high moral standards, and loves paying tax so much that any sort of tax avoidance scheme is anathema to him. But somehow, I doubt it. I’m more inclined to think that whoever did the hacking was paid handsomely for the data.
But paid by whom? And why?