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6 February 2019

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Billionaires avoid paying and even talking about tax! Take the wealth off the 1%

Jarrow demonstration: we are the 99% Take the wealth off the 1%, photo Paul Mattsson

Jarrow demonstration: we are the 99% Take the wealth off the 1%, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Scott Jones

Dutch historian Rutger Bregman went viral by putting the cat among the pigeons at billionaires get together Davos in Switzerland recently.

During a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum Bregman laid into billionaires for not paying tax or even discussing it at the event, he said: "It feels like I'm at a firefighters conference and no one's allowed to speak about water."

And that industry had to "stop talking about philanthropy and start talking about taxes, taxes, taxes. All the rest is bullshit in my opinion."

He has a point. The same week, Amazon announced record profits for a third year in a row reporting a profit of $3.03 billion - up from $1.86 billion on the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue grew 20% to $72.38 billion.

But despite these record profits the company only pays 1.7 million in tax in the UK, for example In 2018, through loopholes in US tax law, Amazon paid no income tax at all. During the five previous years, Amazon had an effective tax rate of just 11.4% compared to the 35% to 40% average for traditional retailers.

And Amazon is not alone. Billions of pounds and dollars in owed and unpaid tax is squirrelled away by the rich and big companies every year. But we do not agree completely with Bregman. It's not all about taxes, taxes, taxes.

Yes, we call for the reversal of all cuts to HM Revenue and Customs and for the collection of the uncollected tax, as well as a huge increase taxes on the super-rich and big business.

But we also go further. We call for the nationalisation of the banks and top 150 corporations - many of which are major tax avoiders - so we can have a democratically planned economy, under the democratic control and management of workers, which could actually start to plan production in the interests of the 99%.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

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The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 6 February 2019:


What we think

Corbyn must prepare for a general election: Remove the pro-capitalist saboteurs - fight for the socialist alternative


Workplace news

College lecturers strike for a pay rise

University and College Union elections

PCS: Campaign for Chris Baugh for AGS

Traffic wardens' strike is just the ticket

Unison: Democracy and the right to speak out are under threat

Historic strike of nurses in Ireland

Backing for the Birmingham homecarers


News

Tory Brexit farce, Corbyn and unions: Call mass action now

Cash-starved health service ripped off by big pharma - fund our NHS now!

Struggling unis account for bulk of unconditional offers - end education marketisation!

Billionaires avoid paying and even talking about tax! Take the wealth off the 1%

Them & Us


Iranian revolution

40 years since the Iranian revolution: Learning the lessons for today's new working-class struggles


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Haringey 'Corbyn council' must fight borough regeneration

Victory! Campaign reverses Wallasey fire cuts

Sheffield tree campaigners' legal win

Southampton by-election

Worcestershire: save the libraries, reverse all the cuts

'Stansted 15' deportation protesters could face jail

North West Socialist Party conference


International socialist news and analysis

United States: LA teachers' strike defeats privatisers

France gilets jaunes' backed by mass strike action

Sweden: dock strikes test new government

United States: strike ends federal shutdown


Opinion

Film: Vice - Dick Cheney - a cold and calculating opportunist

Theatre: Ballad of Johnny Longstaff

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Tax:

triangleIs Biden offering a new 'New Deal'?

triangleColombia: Mass trade union-led protests force tax retreat

triangleHow to deal with the tax-dodging mega-rich? Nationalise!

triangleFreeports spell deregulation, low pay and a new race to the bottom

triangleWould a wealth tax end poverty and inequality?

Wealth:

triangleWhere's the road map to jobs and wages Boris?

triangleCovid spreading, poverty rising, rich get richer, fight for socialism!

triangleSuper-rich tax evasion costs 34 million nurses worldwide

triangleUniversal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

Taxes:

triangleTake the wealth off the super-rich

triangleBig drugs companies dodge 3 billion pounds in tax

triangle600 more retail jobs on the line: workers must not pay for the bosses' high street crunch!

Amazon:

triangleAmazon - union vote lost

triangleHistoric union battle at Alabama warehouse

Rich:

triangleNo trust in billionaire owners - kick them out and reclaim the game

Banks:

triangle'Casino capitalism' - driving another potential financial Armageddon

World Economic Forum:

triangleCapitalists fear for their system at Davos

HM Revenue and Customs:

triangleHMRC: Pay deal agreed but at what cost?

Big business:

triangleVote TUSC to oppose sleazy capitalism

Article dated 6 February 2019

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