July 2013        

Tax justice for the rich!

The G8 were allegedly having tough discussions on tax injustice and tax avoidance in Enniskillen recently. This was made comical by Michelle Obama’s lunch with Bono as these “tough discussions” were happening. Presumably she was also discussing tax avoidance—best tips on how!
     The G8 then issued its ten-point plan for tackling tax injustice; but, as one campaigner put it, “the devil is in the detail—and there are no details!”
     Did we expect anything else? Of course not. Tax avoidance and money-laundering are endemic in the system and actually account for a significant part of profits recorded globally. Tax Justice Network in the United States reports $32 trillion in hidden and stolen money resting in largely tax-free areas. Some of the biggest banks in the world are under investigation for laundering drug cartel money. James Petras suggests that, according to establishment reports, international banks launder between $500 billion and $1 trillion each year. Indeed, even while the summit was taking place the fashion monopolists Dolce and Gabbana were convicted of tax evasion, and the Italian authorities estimate there is about €120 billion in unpaid tax each year in their jurisdiction.
     What is called tax injustice is actually tax justice for the rich. The ability to pay less tax, to increase after-tax profits in what we have repeatedly shown is a stagnating system, is an essential feature of the system today. It is not something the political establishment have any desire to tackle, as their party funding increasingly comes from the same individuals and institutions involved.
     These “discussions,” like those on climate change in previous years, are merely the camouflage for what actually takes place at these meetings. Both explicitly and implicitly, the summit is about stabilising the carve-up of the world and its resources among the global powers—imperialism. It is the opportunity for the global elite to manage the affairs of their class and try to do it in as peaceful and co-operative a process as possible. Any of the tensions or disagreements that the media love to report on are only tensions between one segment of the ruling class and another.
     Squabbles within the G8 are intra-class feuds rather than inter-class conflicts.

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