Sunday, October 22, 2006

More on Mr Bono

Earlier this year it was revealed that Irish band U2 had switched their financial affairs from Ireland to the Netherlands to take advantage of tax avoidance opportunities. Unsuprisingly this revelation was embarassing for lead singer Mr Bono, especially when the Irish finance minister pointed out the disconnect between what he says: "more taxpayers money should be donated to Africa's poor"; and what he does: avoid paying tax.

An article in this week's International Herald Tribune records that Mr Bono and his colleagues justify their actions on the basis of efficiency: "Of course we're trying to be tax efficient. Who doesn't want to be tax efficient?"

Whenever the term efficiency is used in a financial or economic sense it needs careful deconstruction to understand its meaning in the particular context. In the case of tax it invariably means that one party ends up paying less tax, whilst others have to pay more to make up the loss of government revenue or suffer from declining public services. Of course, the rich, like Mr Bono and his colleagues, can afford to pay corrupt lawyers and accountants to set up tax efficient schemes. How stupid of the poor to not be tax efficient. Small wonder they stay poor.

Mr Bono and his tax advisers should not be allowed to get away with their feeble excuses. They avoided tax because they are greedy and selfish. In Bono-speak, efficiency had f**k all to do with it.

PS I'm delighted to see that Nick Cohen gives Mr Bono short shrift in today's Observer. Many of my African colleagues are indignant about his claim to speak on behalf of Africa. As Nick says: "it is suprising that the rest of the world continues to take (him) seriously."

2 Comments:

Blogger TJ said...

Since when is it intelligent to not avoid paying tax to governments who are by very nature the necessary enemy of all free individuals and have a history of wasting what we pay.

5:14 pm  
Anonymous David East said...

Dear TJ

With all due respect, the debate about tax justice is reserved for those who believe in democracy, in all its forms. So please take your anti-democratic ravings to another site somewhere else on the blogosphere. If you had any experience of what life is like in a country without public services you would not indulge in these childish thoughts. Compare the quality of services in New Orleans with those in most European cities and you might get the point.

1:10 am  

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