Taxes

Richard Murphy: Who Really Pays the Tax on Rents?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 17/10/2018 - 8:37pm in

Clearing up a widespread misperception about tax.

The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire

How Britain's system of offshore finance and tax havens developed and preserved the UK's role as the largest player in international finance.

Beating the Tax Gap

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/09/2018 - 7:07pm in

The UK focuses on the tax gap, how much tax it ought to be collecting versus what it gets. Why isn't this a concern in the US?

Scoring Trump’s Tax Cuts So Far: $280K For Rich Lawmakers, Pennies For Working People

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 25/08/2018 - 4:00am in

Tags 

Taxes

The Trump-GOP tax law was sold as a boon for the middle class. But many months after its passage, there are no signs that working Americans are getting the pay raise they were promised. The Trump administration claimed the corporate tax cuts would eventually lead to wage increases of up to $9,000 a year for ordinary workers. But so far, workers’ wages remain stagnant. Tracking by Americans for Tax Fairness shows that only about 400 out of America’s 5.9 million employers have announced any wage increases or one-time bonuses related to the tax cuts. That’s about 0.007 percent. In fact, real wages have actually declined since last year after accounting for higher gas prices, prescription drug prices, and other rising costs. If that weren’t bad enough, Trump and the GOP now want to come after the services that working families rely on.

What are taxes actually for?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/08/2018 - 3:06pm in

We need to talk about taxation. I do not think it means what you think it means.

(This piece was originally published on Patreon)

While some of us are pretty conscious of the importance of using the correct terminology when it comes to issues of social justice, race, gender and sexuality, when it comes to addressing inequality, we are still using language straight out of the neoliberal handbook.

We need to be honest about how the tax system works and what it is for. To do so isn’t radical, or even progressive. It is simply the economics of reality.

What are taxes for?

In countries whose governments issue their own currencies, taxes do not pay for federal services.

Governments like those of the US, UK, China, Australia, Canada, etc run spend & tax economies, not tax and spend. They do not need your taxes to pay for anything. You might be angered to know that, actually, your taxes are not used for anything after you pay it. Not at a federal level. Your taxes are essentially destroyed upon receipt. Taxation is the act of taking currency out of the economy. Using your taxes to pay for public services would keep that money in circulation, thus serving the very opposite of its purpose.

There are some exceptions here which are important to underline: Taxes pay for services at state and local levels, but that is only because they are themselves inadequately funded by federal governments and therefore raising taxes becomes necessary to make up the revenue shortfall. Taxes also nominally pay for spending in countries whose governments adopt foreign currencies (most EU member states, for example), or peg their gold to a foreign currency.

So why pay tax at all?

Taxes are important. Just not for the reasons that are often talked about.

Taxes exist for a number of reasons:

- To maintain the value of the currency.

- To stabilise aggregate demand.

- To manage growth and distribute wealth. and, depending on what you think government is for and who it exists to serve, ensure prosperity and equality of opportunity for their constituents.

- To discourage bad behaviours (taxation on cigarettes, for example, are designed to discourage smoking and reduce the burden on health systems) & encourage good behaviours, (like promoting sustainability through a tax on carbon and investment in renewable energy).

- It also exists to accurately cost public spending requirements: infrastructure, education, health, public safety: police, fire, ambulance, defence, intelligence etc.

As economist, Professor Randall Wray recently pointed out: Governments do not need a single dime from the wealthy to address inequality. That is not how taxes operate, or what they are for.

“Taxes on the rich might take ‘resources’ from people who have too much — in that their demand deposit account is debited,” he writes for Naked Capitalism. “But taxation does not ‘give resources’ to people who have too little.”

“Rather, government spending directed to those who ‘have too little’ is what gives the poor access to resources. (They can use their demand deposit credits to buy food, clothing and shelter, etc). They are functionally two separate entities.

“Government can spend to help the poor without taxing the rich or anyone else.”

Buying into the myth

Nonetheless, the idea that taxes pay for government spending persists as an inaccurate bipartisan consensus, one of the greatest collective myths of modern capitalism.

When you hear politicians or pundits squawking about workers’ hard-earned tax dollars paying for this or that, you can almost certainly guarantee they have no idea about how taxes work either.

Our acceptance of this lie is, to quote anthropologist David Graeber, “collectively acquiescing to our own enslavement.”

The continuation of the status-quo depends upon the public’s ignorance or blind consensus as to the true nature of banking, finance, government spending, job creation and the nature of work itself.

The very myth that the vast majority of us have settled on is the very thing preventing full and gainful employment, and guarantees a future (and a present) where the only way to buy our way out of public squalor is through rising private debt.

In his recent book, Bullshit Jobs, Graeber describes modern day capitalism as a system of ‘Managerial Feudalism’, a form of social and political control achieved through corporate bureaucracy: the proliferation of middle-managers, supervisors, administrators all employed to ‘appropriate labor through usury’, stealing wealth, resources, opportunity and power from the working and middle class and transferring ownership to the political and elite classes and the idle rich.

“Marx appears to have been right when he argued that ‘a reserve army of unemployed’ has to exist in order for capitalism to work the way it’s supposed to,” he writes.

“…we are identifying with our rulers when, in fact, we’re the one’s being ruled.”

To truly address inequality and abolish austerity politics, we must start being honest about how taxation works and what it is for.

Language is important. You can be as woke as you like about gender and racial politics, but using the wrong terminology for taxation is kryptonite for social justice. We cannot subvert the neoliberal playbook while continuing to use the very same language invented to ensure a permanent economy of inequality and austerity.

Thank you for reading. I couldn’t afford to continue my research, or write this book, were it not for the support of my generous sponsors. Support independent journalism, sponsor me on Patreon, starting at $3 a month, or throw some money at my PayPal.

Preview: What are taxes actually for?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/08/2018 - 10:18am in

We need to talk about taxation. I do not think it means what you think it means.

While some of us are pretty conscious of the importance of using the correct terminology when it comes to issues of social justice, race, gender and sexuality, when it comes to addressing inequality, we are still using language straight out of the neoliberal handbook

We need to be honest about how the tax system works and what it is for. To do so isn’t radical, or even progressive. It is simply the economics of reality…

To continue reading, subscribe to my Patreon for as little as $3 a month

Taxcast: A Firewall to Protect EU Citizens from the Big Four Accountancy Firms and the Tax Avoidance Lobby

In the Tax Justice Network’s July 2018 Taxcast, Vickie Cann and John Christensen examine a proposal for a firewall to protect EU citizens from the Big Four accountancy firms and the tax avoidance lobby, as well as look at a new report from the Corporate Europe Observatory.

The Missing Profits of Nations

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/07/2018 - 4:25pm in

Profit shifting is a key driver of the decline in global average statutory corporate tax rate, which has fallen by more than half

The case against income tax

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 05/07/2018 - 11:38pm in


“If income tax were really important, how come those who make the most often pay the least?

Income tax doesn’t really pay for government services federally. So why do we, the 99%, even need to pay it? Isn’t it just punishing people for earning?”

Me at Renegade Inc. on the case against income tax. Click here for the full schpiel.

Taxcast: How Accountants Broke Capitalism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 01/07/2018 - 8:25pm in

No matter what the scandal is, when it comes to financial secrecy and tax dodging, the so-called big four accountancy firms are key players. The latest June 2018 Taxcast discusses how accountants broke capitalism.

Pages