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WHY THE ESTABLISHMENT PARTY ARE SO TWITCHY CHALLENGED ON SUPPORTING TAX BREAKS FOR THE SUPER RICH?
(PART ONE OF MANY)
If anyone still doubted just how inadequate and completely morally bankrupt this Council of Ministers is then surely Assistant Treasury Minister, Deputy Eddie Noel’s stand-up comedy routine last month should have torn the last strands of wool from such people’s eyes. .
Unable (as usual!) to answer even the most straight-forward of questions on 1 (1) Ks convincingly Deputy Eddie Noel had then proceeded to tell the Assembly that a report - which he had claimed “verified” that our super-wealthy tax evaders benefited the rest of the community by between £50 and £70 million - was in fact so secret and so sensitive that not only could Members not see it…they couldn’t even be informed as to who had complied and written it!
Such a publication it seemed would lead quickly to Armageddon! I really wish that I was joking about this but I’m not. As a former colleague was often want to comment: you really couldn’t make it up.
Of course, I’ll be looking at the sham and semantics of the politics of tax evasion and avoidance (don’t get hung up on the manufactured differences!) at length as we build towards the most important election in Jersey’s history. But for now let’s just briefly look at perhaps the most basic of myths spun to make this sickening hypocrisy half-palatable to ordinary working people all of these years…
This being the pure fiction that allowing the wealthy a bigger slice of the pie across the world automatically always leads to everyone else being better off.
The politics of stupidity & greed
The States Chamber is not the first legislature to be treated to the despicable antics of free-marketeer ‘politicians’ trying to keep straight faces whilst deadpanning through their teeth that – far from the natural, ultimate consequence of such greed-based ideologies – the economic meltdown of the past three years is in fact all really down to over-paid and bloated public service workforces. Oh...and those damned 'lefties' of course!
Indeed, how many times have we heard the likes of Senators Le Sueur, MacLean, Shenton, Ozouf - never mind his political glove puppet - infer this garbage whilst screaming cut, cut, cut and cut again? No mention of incompetence on the part of Ministers; the waste caused by inefficient little empires created by untouchable, very senior Civil Servants... Many of these politicians and the sycophantic head-nodders who support and keep them in office do know better, of course, but we’ll talk about that and why they keep so quiet in a future post?
Personally I have lost count of hearing this desperate mantra of protecting the status quo at all costs; all too often in tandem with this standard right-wing tactic of shameless ‘guilt or blame transference’. But it’s not as if this smokescreen even ends there. For hand-in-hand with such garbage always go the groundless barbs hurled at any like me and the other ‘progressives’ in the States - who believe equality and social justice should actually be more than just words on a Strategic Plan - that such criticisms are based on envy; ‘not understanding’ or plain old ‘Socialist’ embitterment! Worst of all any critics must be anti-Jersey!
Confronting the propaganda
Oh but you would say that you might respond? Well, fair enough. So just to clarify the reality far from relying on the word of one of us so-called ‘radical lefties’ let us instead briefly consider the findings of a true, renowned expert in the field: award winning economist Ha-Joon Chang.
Chang isn’t anti capitalism – he is anti unregulated, free-market capitalism. Because he is acutely aware that .the spin peddled out of elitist self-interest that making rich people even richer still automatically make the rest of us richer too is demonstrably untrue!
Let’s put it this way. Chang knows, and illustrates in his writings adroitly, that alleged wisdom that ‘we must give the rich a bigger slice of the pie’ because it will then automatically benefit us all is absolute tosh! No, not an anti capitalist message at all: Chang just knows - as many of us ‘progressives’ here in Jersey know - that there is simply a much better way to operate it.
We’ll look at what this needs to entail in future posts over the coming months. Likewise the ethics (or lack of them) that allows many of the politicians you and me have elected in good faith to then go on to sell ordinary, hard-working people short: down the economic river in fact. For now let’s just end with a snippet of what Jersey’s ‘Establishment’ Party, like their counterparts around the globe, hate and fear so very much: facts. And what interesting facts they are!
Some very inconvenient facts
Utilizing data from the World Bank Chang points out that whilst the world economy used to grow in per capita terms at more than 3% during the 1960s and 70s, since the 1980s it has been growing at around 1.4% per year. (For the record Chang’s data is from 1980 – 2009).
Put in a nutshell what Chang demonstrates is that while since the 1980s the rich have globally been given a bigger slice of the pie due to the right-wing spin that they would automatically create more wealth and help us all by making the pie bigger – not to mention giving the rest of us a bigger slice - they have actually slowed down the pace of the rate which the pie is growing!
Of course, what needs to be secured by politicians to even make such a concept potentially begin to work is to ensure that those lovely tax evaders/avoiders actually invest more as a result of their wholly unjustified tax breaks courtesy of world governments. Which brings us neatly back to ‘Eddie’ Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?
Would you buy a secondhand car if you couldn't look under the bonnet?
A report has been written which in the limited case of 1(1) Ks apparently demonstrates this very thing. Only… politicians elected by the ordinary people of Jersey are currently not allowed to read it for themselves. No – just the chosen few who advocate such policies in the first place…. Makes you proud. And to think - we haven’t even considered the matter of morality yet!
But would Treasury Minister Ozouf offer more ‘enlightenment’ when I followed up, questioning him in the States this very Tuesday? Would the Bald Truth (sorry, couldn't resist it!) finally reluctantly unfold if we kept the pressure up? Would the Council of Minister’s protestations of a solid commitment to openness, transparency and ‘political inclusion’ turn out to be of any more substance than America’s proclaimed commitment to supporting democracies that don’t accept that their interests must always come a poor second to that of the USA?
Well, judge for yourself…
Earth-shatteringly we finally got to know who wrote this most Top Secret of reports! But more on this particular angle in the near future…And we also got the promise that we could even have…an ‘executive summary’ of the report! But as for the report in its entirety and quite possibly sight of all the bits that don’t quite back up the Establishment party spin… What do you think?Nah. Don’t be silly! This is Ministerial government - Jersey style. Asking for that…well, anyone would think I was an elected Member of a democratic government or something!
And yet perhaps the most interesting development of all was not the contents of the report itself at all. No. It was the fact that the cold, hard World Bank data that I gave - that I have given now on two or three occassions - telling us that pandering to bullying and spin from mega-rich parasites and their apologists with tax breaks doesn’t actually automatically benefit those of us who have to live in the real world wasn’t even disputed! Now you might have thought that the JEP might have picked up on that within their report on Thursday...