Tax havens expose gap between rich and poor
The Panama Papers have helped expose just how big the problems of offshore tax havens are.
Professor Gabriel Zucman, from the London School of Economics, had already estimated the amount of offshore money by measuring discrepancies between global financial assets and liabilities.
He came up with about seven trillion dollars. That treasure trove is about eight per cent of all global wealth.
Zucman says that it has gone up by 25 per cent in the last five years. This means that official statistics on the huge gap between rich and poor is too small.
Now, offshore tax havens allow people to avoid paying tax in the countries where the wealth is created.
This is certainly one problem. Perhaps of greater concern is that over half the companies listed in the Panama Papers are registered in the UK or its overseas territories.
However, the greatest concern to me is how all this wealth, stashed away in treasure islands, has ended up in the hands of relatively few rich people.
Some of the money has certainly been obtained by corruption. The rest seems to have been collected legally? How did that happen?
Most people support the idea of Robin Hood robbing the rich to give to the poor.
This is because they believe that in the days of Robin Hood, the system and the law were rigged to make sure the rich got richer at the expense of the poor.
The big idea then for controlling the poor was the divine right of kings to rule and share land and property out between themselves and an elite group of barons.
Well, now the big controlling idea is that the way to create new wealth is by some people ‘earning’ huge fortunes using the financial system and stock markets.
Sadly, others find it hard to just pay for life’s essentials.
Many working people only get by through claiming benefits to supplement poor pay.
Am I the only one having a job spotting the difference between past and present? Come back Robin Hood I say.
Questions over academies
From the days before Robin Hood to modern times, rich and powerful people have often attempted to take over or enclose the ‘commons’, that is property or land shared by everyone.
They usually use the law to confiscate it or compulsorily buy it at a knock down price and place it in private hands.
The most recent plans announced are to take over our schools.
All the state schools are to be turned into academies compulsorily so that they are ‘free’. There is an irony in compulsion being used to bring freedom, until you realise that those trying to make this happen equate the ‘free for all’ of the commercial world as freedom.
The need for parent governors will go, along with any regulations over pay and conditions for staff.
There will be academy chains of schools.
Whether Mc-food chains are best for food is debatable, never mind using this approach about education.
The big argument to try and justify all this privatisation is that the market approach is better.
They used that argument when they took over our railways and our energy providers.
Privatisation got rich people richer, and they have been very busy, hiding their money away offshore ever since. But, did it work for the rest of us?
Well, there have been major problems.
With the top energy companies annoying so many people, the Government’s big idea is to make it easier for you to constantly change between energy companies.
So, will their next big idea be to keep moving your children between different school chains?
Stop austerity and help poor
Perhaps the biggest con perpetrated on the rest of us recently has been that austerity cuts are needed because of a money shortage.
During the years of austerity, the poor have got poorer while the rich have got richer. We now know more about where the money is being kept, and there is clearly no shortage!
Austerity cuts should be stopped and the money returned to the poor for them to spend in the economy, helping us all.
The big banking crash of 2008 which kicked off austerity was caused when poor people in the US could not afford to keep paying back their sub-prime mortgages to the banks.
They were forced out of their homes and then the banks could not sell the sudden glut of houses to get their money back. Now if those people had not been so poor, they would have stayed in their homes and the banks would have survived as well.
All that was needed was for money to be taken from the rich and given to the poor.