I invite the opinion of my former colleagues still active in history and comparative socio-cultural evolution/political anthropology to tell me whether, in their well-researched opinion, there has ever been a system of taxation as counterproductive and mind-numbingly stupid as the graduated “progressive” income tax. The article below shows the international scale of the dishonesty which the tax begets. What do we expect from a tax which penalizes a little success a little bit and a lot of success a LOT? The income tax has but one incentive built into it: either make no money at all or lie about it if you do. Does the fact that I am in the former category rather than the latter make me more “virtuous” because I don’t have to lie about anything? Or does it mean that I have failed to achieve that level of comparative economic success which apparently the elites hate and despise because the moment you achieve it, they do what they can to take it away from you….
But there are other built in perversities in the income tax: I was conversing today in the Garden District in New Orleans with a hotel-owner (one of the most famous brand names of any hotelier in the whole world, history of the hotel business in fact) about the “historic preservation tax credit”, about which I knew very little. But after listening to his description of recent litigation in federal court (arising out of the attempts to preserve and pass on the “Map of the Town that Made the Monopoly Board,” namely Atlantic City, New Jersey, http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/111832p.pdf, Atlantic City Boardwalk “Historic Boardwalk Hall”) about who was reaping the benefits from this tax credit, I was able to draw comparisons to the “clean air emissions tax credit” (which I studied because of my interest in environmental law rather than my terror of the income tax—struggling some twenty some odd years ago—and how odd they’ve been—to learn the arcane logic of this tax law credit swap business from the most unbelievably disorganized and incomprehensible professor I had at the University of Chicago Law School—Professor, now one of Obama’s top “Czars,” Cass Sunstein). In essence, the 1990s revisions to the Clean Air Act set up an exchange system dictating how tax credits can be swapped or sold at a discount (like any obligation of indebtedness, right?) so that those who have succeeded the most in fulfilling the tax credit’s stated purpose (contributing to historical preservation or emitting less toxic fumes from a single point source, e.g. factory complex) can make more money by selling off and trading the benefits of THEIR efficiency and success to those who are LESS successful, making the rich richer (as always) and (somewhat counterintuitively) lessening the burden or penalties on those who are either abject failures or in the “the middling-to-less successful” categories in the middle.
The income tax is simply a tool of arbitrary and capricious governmental control—an instrument of terror and lies. If anyone knows a worse system of taxation—I would love to hear about it. And don’t tell me “Aztec Tribute involving Human Sacrifice”—because the incentives built in to participate in that system were HUGE—honor and glory to one’s name and family, life transcending death either through apotheosis or something near to it. There is no honor or glory for anyone in paying the income tax—if you show a high income and pay high taxes, the socialists want you to pay more and the country club set snicker at you for poor tax planning. If you don’t pay when you owe income taxes, you’re going to be prosecuted a criminal of course, unless you ARE one of the elite who hire the most elite tax accountants who can turn the super-byzantine tax code on its head and upside down to your benefit…. And there’s no real glory in either of those outcomes either. The income tax is the single worst aspect of the Keynsian Socialist-Corporate State, because it is the most universal—or, at least, it was the most universal until OBAMACARE…..
Austria has accused Britain of being a haven for money laundering and tax evasion as the Alpine nation comes under European Union and German pressure to axe its banking secrecy laws.
Europe’s finance ministers meeting in Dublin today are pushing Austria hard to follow Luxembourg’s example in agreeing to reveal information on European banking depositors to EU tax authorities.
Maria Fekter, the Austrian finance minister, has vowed to “fight like a lion” against the demands and has refused to change her country’s laws until Britain ends tax haven and banking secrecy laws in offshore financial centres, such as the Channel Islands.
“Austria is sticking to bank secrecy. We fight tax evasion and money laundering,” she said.
“Great Britain has many money laundering centres and tax havens in its immediate legal remit – the Channel Islands Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands. These are all hot spots for tax evasion and money laundering.”
Austria is opposed to German-led demands for the automatic exchange of information on banking depositors with other EU countries, proposals that will be discussed by Europe’s finance ministers.
Earlier this week, Luxembourg caved into German pressure and announced it would to share foreign bank account details with the depositor’s home governments, if EU countries, from 2015.
“Automatic exchange of information involves a massive interference in people’s privacy rights. Here the state sniffs around deep into the private affairs of account holders,” said Mrs Fekter.
The Austrian finance minister has described Britain as “the island of the blessed for tax evasion and money laundering”, comparing British offshore banking to the Cypriot financial sector that is to be forcibly restructured as part of a eurozone bailout.
“Just as we urged the abolition of sealed foundations in the Cyprus rescue to drain the money laundering swamp, we must demand the same of the UK,” she wrote in an article for Kurier, an Austrian newspaper.
“We want a trust registry for the Channel Islands, but also for countries where British law applies, such as the Cayman Islands, the Virgin Islands or Gibraltar. These are all areas that are havens for tax evaders.”
Eurozone finance ministers will also discuss Cyprus as the EU-IMF has frozen its contribution at €10 billion as the costs of its bail-out surged from €17.5bn to €23bn, larger than the size of the country’s economy, further bankrupting the island.
In a bid to stop Cyprus leaving the euro, the EU-IMF has demanded that it hand three quarters of the countryﾒs gold reserves to pay back loans making it much harder for the island to ditch the single currency to go it alone.