Category Archives: tax

Corbyn panders to the instincts of the mob

Britain, writes Dalrymple

is on a knife edge, and anti-rich demagoguery is on the upsurge.

Jeremy Corbyn

has suggested requisitioning property by fiat for reasons of social justice. Following the disastrous fire in Grenfell Tower, Corbyn proposed seizing the houses of wealthy foreigners (mostly Arabs and Russians).

Dalrymple points out that Corbyn’s policy

is to increase government spending enormously, while balancing the budget: this can only mean much higher taxation, and given his social views, this in turn can only mean taxation on the rich and even the modestly prosperous, both of whom he regards as milch cows. But unless he exercises explicit power to keep them where they are (which he would not be above attempting), they will flee, and take their capital. French exports of their rich will seem a trickle by comparison.

In Britain, says Dalrymple,

the degradation of the population has gone much further than in France. British culture, which has become one of crude and vulgar self-indulgence, is inimical to rapid improvement; and now, in addition, there has been a recrudescence of the notion that wealth derives from redistribution rather than from creation.

Slashing corporate tax is perfectly rational

One cannot say, writes Dalrymple,

that the past few months in Western civilisation have provided a model of reasoned debate worthy of imitation. We have reached the stage—the nadir—at which, if Donald Trump were to issue a decree to the effect that two and two made four, his opponents would shriek that they didn’t, they made five.

Of course Trump, says Dalrymple, is not

exactly blameless. When it comes to argumentation, he is no Socrates.

However, Trump’s proposal to cut tax on corporate profits to 15% from 35% is, Dalrymple notes,

perfectly rational. 15% of a lot is more than 100% of nothing.

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-19-54-03

 

Postcards from Switzerland

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.34.24Entering Switzerland at Geneva, writes Dalrymple,

one enters a bourgeois paradise. One feels one lowers the tone by entering. The streets are spotlessly clean, the wealth vast. Even the interiors of the lifts in public car parks are clad in marble and lit with crystal. In England, such luxury would invite, and call forth, immediate vandalism.

The Swiss, he notes, are

rigidly, almost morbidly, and intimidatingly law-abiding. If you break a traffic regulation, even in a harmless fashion, ordinary citizens are likely to stare at or gesture to you in a hostile way, or reproach you.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.37.18There is one thing, however, about which they are, he points out, highly flexible: tax.

Not only every canton, but every commune, sets its tax: and each commune is in competition to attract wealthy, or potentially wealthy, people. The beauty is that the taxes raised locally are kept locally. If you go to the tax authorities and tell them that an authority down the road has just offered you residence if you pay x francs a year, they are quite likely to offer you residence if you pay x − 1 francs. A virtuous competitive circle to lower taxes is set up. All the authorities are interested in is whether you will represent a net gain to the area; they have no interest in knowing the size of your income and then squeezing you until your pips squeak.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.32.16Moreover,

since the money raised locally is spent locally, the population has a genuine and abiding interest in making sure that it is spent wisely. In large centralised states or societies, the bureaucracy has a vested interest in spending money unwisely, for by doing so it creates the very population that allegedly needs its ministrations. Not so in Switzerland: the population is the master of the bureaucracy.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.35.13Dalrymple goes to a friend’s flat

a little way out of Geneva and up the mountainside. It overlooks the lake, and you can see Mont Blanc in the distance.

The cold air

is bracing, and gives a pleasantly scouring sensation in your lungs. I almost wish I had tuberculosis, to experience the relief such air would provide. I understand The Magic Mountain and the lure of sanatoria a little better.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.42.28The neighbour below

has a balcony so huge that it has a real garden in it, including a lawn and miniature palm trees. It is so perfect, so clean, that one could safely perform surgery in it.

Dalrymple takes his dog for a walk.

I am very nervous, in case he relieves himself in the wrong place and calls forth retribution.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.32.00When Dalrymple’s dog urinates against a garden wall,

I look around me as I used to look around me in the Communist bloc when meeting a dissident.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.47.57Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.44.47 Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.46.34 Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.47.38 Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 10.48.22

A bogus charity

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Many proud Oxfam employees are richly supported. Indeed they are comparatively very highly paid. The ‘charity’ states that this is owing to the need to ‘attract, motivate and retain highly skilled and committed executives’

By far the largest donor to Oxfam Australia, notes Dalrymple, is

the Australian government, which contributed slightly more than 26% of its total income — almost enough to cover the nearly 29% of its income it expended on raising funds.

It spent $3m last year on

long-service leave of its senior employees. We learn that remuneration for ‘key management personnel’ (number unspecified) rose by 16% between 2014 and 2015, from $821,000 to $952,000. (The head of Oxfam UK is paid somewhat over $200,000 a year.) No explanation for the rise is offered.

Properous employees

Explaining why remuneration is so relatively lavish at what is supposed to be a charity, Oxfam states:

The performance of the Group depends upon the quality and commitment of its senior management. To prosper, the Group must attract, motivate and retain highly skilled and committed executives.

A State-dependent racket that exists for its staff

Dalrymple comes across an advertisement for a job at Oxfam. The ‘charity’ indicates certain selection criteria:

  • experience in defining use cases and business rules and processes with a strong engagement of customer groups
  • experience in successfully mapping and documenting business and technical requirements, process diagrams, scenarios, and test plans based on conversations with the technical team and customers

The successful candidate will be paid $75,783 plus superannuation and

access to generous NFP tax concessions (specifically, a salary packaging scheme offering up to $18,450 of your salary tax-free).

Could this, asks Dalrymple, be

tax avoidance? Surely not. I may be behind the times, but Oxfam doesn’t sound much like charity to me, more like a government-subsidised scheme for those who work in it.

The joy of spite

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 15.37.08The outrage that greeted the Mossack Fonseca revelations partakes, writes Dalrymple,

more of joyous spite and hatred of the rich than of any real desire to improve the world, the latter being a much weaker emotion than the former. If the rich could be deprived of their wealth, even if no one else benefited thereby, I think many people would want it.

Even if the money hidden offshore were paid in taxation,

it does not follow that public services such as schools would improve proportionately. After all, it cannot be for lack of expenditure that a significant proportion of British children are semi-literate after 11 years of compulsory attendance at school. Every country has its bottomless pits.

As for Vladimir Putin’s illicit fortune,

anyone who supposes that, were the Russian state to recover it, the Russian people would benefit…well, they are not very well versed in Russian history.

Extraterritorial Molenbeek

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 09.18.29The jihad capital of Europe

Brussels is slightly more than a quarter Muslim, Dalrymple points out, and nearly all Molenbeek residents are Muslims of North African background. The place, he writes, is

virtually extraterritorial as far as the Belgian state is concerned—apart from the collection of social security, of course.

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 09.16.08

A popular bar in the quarter. Mine host: Ibrahim Abdeslam

Dalrymple lists some of the features of the terrorist haven:

  • all women wear headscarves
  • young men dress like American rap music fans
  • police rarely enter and are far more concerned not to offend Muslim sensibilities—for example, by not being seen to eat during Ramadan—than to find or capture miscreants who make the area dangerously crime-ridden
  • businesses pay no taxes but are not investigated for evasion by the tax authorities: it is the tax authorities who do the evading
  • Islamist preaching and plotting is rife, but nothing is done to stop it, in order to keep the tense and fragile peace going as long as possible
  • sympathy for terrorism is the norm—or, it would be more correct to say, no one dares publicly voice opposition to it

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 09.18.01Incubator of Islamist evil

Molenbeek, Dalrymple explains, is thus

the perfect place for psychopaths with an illusion of purpose to flourish and make plans undisturbed by the authorities, while being supported by the welfare state.

The Belgian prime minister, Dalrymple reports,

The young people of Molenbeek warmly welcome you

The young people of Molenbeek

has virtually admitted that the area was extraterritorial to Belgium, and out of all control. The time had come ‘to focus more on repression’, he said.

But

whether the determination or sufficient political unity necessary to carry it out will last is doubtful. Repression requires discrimination; we live in a regime in which murderers may come and go, but social security goes on forever.

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Molenbeek folk

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Molenbeek: a vibrant community

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Molenbeek as it was

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Molenbeek past

Terribly, frighteningly sincere

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 09.00.03Who would have thought, writes Dalrymple,

that a ridiculous little house painter could have become the leader of the best-educated nation in Europe? Why, then, should an absurd, intellectually limited, puritanical ideologue not become prime minister of one of the most ill-educated nations in Europe?

Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory in the election for the leadership of Britain’s Labour party

shows how little the political class knows even of its own parties’ activist membership, let alone of the country as a whole.

If you dislike Hamas and Hezbollah, Corbyn

is not going to change his opinion or stance merely to canvass or capture your vote. He is sincere, terribly and frighteningly sincere.

He gets some things right, for example in the matter of High Speed 2, the railway to be built between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. This is

so patently an unnecessary, uneconomic, ecologically destructive, vastly expensive and regressive project (regressive in the tax sense, a subsidy both to the companies that will build it and to the passengers who will use it, for it will never pay for itself), that almost everyone suspects large-scale corruption.

Corbyn’s

ruling passion is political self-righteousness.

This is

refreshing in a way, for many people are tired of the patently ersatz or carefully crafted presentation of most other prominent politicians, who seem not to be able to utter a word or appear in public for a moment without having first sought the opinion of focus groups. The next election haunts them like a Doppelgänger, and mostly being of infirm principle or opinion, they live in a state of constant anxiety not to offend.

Corbyn is

  • a wearer of sandals
  • a supporter of Palestinian terrorists
  • a supporter of Irish republican terrorists
  • vegetarian
  • a teetotaller
  • pacifist (except where foreign terrorists are concerned)
  • an abolitionist (concerning the British monarchy)

He is not intrinsically unelectable.

It would take only a few disasters, whether the government was responsible for them or not, for the electorate to conclude that anything, even Mr Corbyn, was better than it. People tend to vote against rather than for someone. The resentment to which Mr Corbyn’s socialism appeals, already quite widespread, could spread yet further if there were a deepening of Britain’s economic problems.

Certain eminently defensible subsidies

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 08.40.33The best city for cinema, Dalrymple points out, is Paris.

You have only to go round the corner to see an intelligent and unusual film. In other places it takes a special effort to do so, if it is possible at all. Even the commercial cinemas in Paris show better films than elsewhere, reflecting the more elevated taste of the Parisian public.

Dalrymple once spent a week in Paris seeing two or three films a day from exotic places.

They often showed at tiny cinemas at odd times in the morning, and sometimes I was the only viewer. If there was anyone else present he or she was usually a peculiar person, even a psychiatrically disturbed one.

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 08.49.31This

of course stimulated in me a certain amount of self-examination. The cinemas must have been subsidised by the city, for the seats were very cheap, and while I am in general and on principle opposed to subsidies I am, of course, in favour of them for the things that I am interested in and benefit from. Those subsidies seem to me eminently defensible, and it always gives me a certain wicked pleasure to know that each time I travel on the TGV the French taxpayer is contributing to my fare. The pleasure, I should imagine, is not reciprocal.

Welcome to Yugoslavia

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Boches beware

The old hatreds are stirring

At the end of his book Bismarck Herring: The German Poison, MEP and Parti de Gauche co-leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who was a presidential candidate in 2012 (he got 11.1% of the vote), points out that France retains independent military power, with, observes Dalrymple,

the clear implied message that Germany does not.

It was, says Dalrymple,

in the highest degree irresponsible

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 08.03.43to cobble together in a monetary union

two large countries – two large blocs of countries – with such different attitudes and interests. One of the justifications trotted out for the European Union is that it brings peace, as if, without it, Slovenia would attack Spain. In fact, by making neither living together nor divorce feasible, it is fostering a conflict such as that of the former Yugoslavia.

Notes on Germany and France

The Germans, Dalrymple explains,

have, or want to have, faith in their currency. The folk memory of inflations is still strong in Germany. Inflation is their bugbear and fiscal rectitude their policy, irrespective of who is in power. The rebuilding of the country and the achievement of monetary stability is their source of national pride. Financial rectitude is visible in their private lives: the Germans use credit cards far less than the French, let alone the British. When the German banks joined in the financial debauchery of the 1990s and 2000s, afraid of missing out, it turned out that they were no good at it. Speculation was not their forte.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 08.11.30As for the French, they

receive good value for their taxation. The country is conspicuously well-administered, as anyone who has driven through it will attest; and, in my experience, French bureaucrats, however much their onerous and Byzantine exactions may be detested, are much more intelligent and efficient than British ones. The French have a faith in their state which is in part justified. Its benefits are obvious every day; its stultifying effects are less evident except to the smaller proportion of the population that attempts something new.

The French duty to cheat the fiscal tyrants

In France there is, Dalrymple discerns,

a cultural predisposition to assume that while private profit is reprehensible, public expenditure paid for by tax is inherently good. This does not preclude a private avidity for money or a belief that cheating or deceiving the taxman is a proper sport, like cycling or swimming.

British taxpayers are sheep to be sheared

Tony Blair, Dalrymple writes, 'is to Churchill as the Emperor Bokassa is to Napoleon'. (It has emerged that the British taxpayer is shelling out £16,000 a week to help  Blair build his business empire.)

Tony Blair, Dalrymple writes, ‘is to Churchill as the Emperor Bokassa is to Napoleon’. (It has emerged that British taxpayers are shelling out £16,000 a week to help Blair build his business empire.)