Digital Cabinet

Polevaulter Donkeyman's rants, raves musings and flame wars

Posts Tagged ‘income tax

Agent Haddon Goes Wild for Taxes

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Author Mark Haddon has come out for higher income taxes on the wealthy like him:

“I’m a wealthy person. Austerity measures introduced by the coalition have caused real suffering to many people, but my comfortable life hasn’t changed in the slightest. Why have I, and people like me, been asked to contribute nothing?” Haddon told the Sunday Times he had annoyed his accountant by insisting on paying all tax that was due rather than seeking to avoid it. “I should be paying more tax,” he said.

(emphasis mine)


Mr. Haddon clarified on his blog:

also, for the record, all those on twitter and in the guardian comment columns who suggest that i simply send an extra cheque to the HMRC are missing the point. i am talking about a systemic, moral and political problem not personal feelings of guilt. and, in point of fact, i do send an extra cheque, but i send it to oxfam. some people think that’s wrong, too, but you can’t please everybody…

(emphasis mine)


Some questions for Mr. Haddon:

  1. What in your mind is the optimum marginal tax rate you should be paying?
  2. Why did you not cut a cheque to the HMRC based on your desired rate rather than paying only what was legally required?
  3. Did you take advantage of any deductions such as the personal allowance?
  4. Do you take any advantage of tax sheltered schemes such as Individual Savings Accounts, Pension Funds, National Savings Accounts, and other such devices?
  5. Would you release your tax returns (present and past) to the public?
  6. Do you take a deduction off your tax/taxable income because of your charitable contribution to Oxfam?
  7. Given that you do send an extra cheque to Oxfam (and your language makes it seem you see it as an adequate replacement for the tax you should be paying to the HMRC but don’t), if your tax rates are increased, would your contributions to Oxfam decrease? Do you think that higher tax rates would decrease contributions to charities by others?


To be charitable to Mr. Haddon there is a collective action problem here. He does not want to contribute alone to the HMRC, since his individual contribution would be minuscule given the total tax revenue. But that does not get him off the hook. His desire to pay more tax implies that the government spends wisely, so it speaks volumes that he does not trust the government enough to voluntarily give it more money, in fact he trusts Oxfam more. Is his call for higher taxes just a signal to all the “right-minded” folk that he is one of them?


And one final point. Mr. Haddon talks about the systemic, moral and political problem of low taxes and high austerity. But his solution is not to convince his fellow 1%-ers to contribute to charity to alleviate the hardships of people he claims to care about; it is to use the power flowing from the barrel of a gun, to force others to adopt his moral positions and to live as he prescribes.


The last word goes to Mr. Haddon:


P.S. Title of the post alludes to Agent Z Goes Wild, a children’s book by Mark Haddon.


Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

August 14, 2012 at 11:58

Dear New York Times, You Need to Try Harder

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From a New York Times article on the staggering wealth generated by casinos run by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Indian tribe in Minnesota:

Alan Meister, an economist who compiles tribal gambling data, said Minnesota’s 18 tribal casinos earned a combined $1.4 billion in 2010, although the Shakopees’ portion of that is unclear. But even if the tribe accounted for nearly the entire $1.4 billion, its philanthropy would compare well with corporations, even though the tribe receives no tax write-offs for giving.

For example, the tribe’s $28.5 million in charitable cash contributions in 2010 was more than those of several Minneapolis-area Fortune 500 companies, including the 3M Corporation, which had 2010 revenue of $23 billion, and U.S. Bancorp, which had $19.5 billion in revenue in 2010, according to the Minnesota Council on Foundations.

The New York Times of course fails to mention:

Indian tribal businesses do pay a wide variety of taxes, including taxes on wagering, occupational taxes, and employment taxes. For federal income tax purposes, however, Indian tribes are governmental entities and, as such, are not required to pay taxes on the income generated by the Indian tribes, including income generated by commercial activities.

State governments have no control or authority over Indian tribes unless specifically authorized by Congress.
  • In 2011, 3M was on the hook for USD 1.674 B (USD 331 M deferred) in corporate income tax.


The NYT does though thankfully concede:

tribal facilities do not pay direct state taxes because of the tribes’ status as sovereign nations.


And why have the Shakopee Mdewakanton been so spectacularly successful? From the NYT article

The primary anxiety is competing casinos being hurriedly opened by states in pursuit of new revenue. But more menacing, tribes say, is a sophisticated and growing movement to legalize Internet gambling under state laws that would give those states the potential power to regulate and tax online gambling even on reservations.


Monopoly profits being made due to laws which previously banned internet gambling and restricted casinos? Somehow I don’t have much sympathy for the Indian casinos.


Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

August 13, 2012 at 20:20

I Would Do Anything for My Country, But I Won’t Pay a 75% Marginal Income Tax Rate

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Will Smith (while promoting Men in Black III in France):

I have no issue with paying taxes and whatever needs to be done for my country to grow. I believe very firmly that my ability to sit here—I’m a black man who didn’t go to college, yet I get to travel around the world and sell my movies, and I believe very firmly that America is the only place on Earth that I could exist. So I will pay anything that I need to pay to keep my country growing.


Interviewer:

Do you know how much in France you would have to pay on earnings above one million euros [under new French President Francois Hollande’s proposal]? Not 30%. 75%.[1]


Will Smith:

75?! Yeah, that’s different, that’s different. Yeah, 75. Well, you know, God bless America.


(Interview at 0’20”)



Hat tip: Ed Krayewski at Reason


This Meat Loaf fella seems to have multiple disguises.


Footnotes


[1] Indigestion for ‘les Riches’ in a Plan for Higher Taxes.

Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

August 10, 2012 at 23:52