The Hiss of the Money-Gobbling Anaconda

Yesterday the BBC reported that the U.K. Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander has launched a 'ruthless' tax evasion clampdown. He talks about the desire to avoid taxes being "morally indefensible."

What is morally indefensible is government officials squandering taxpayers' money and running up huge deficits on spurious wars, demagogic entitlement programmes, and bankster bailouts.

What is morally indefensible is government officials robbing people of their wealth by printing money every time they promise more than they can deliver.

What is morally indefensible is government officials helping themselves to the public purse to fund their lifestyles, as was so egregiously found last year in what became known as the Parliamentary Expenses Scandal.

Is it any surprise, then, against such a backdrop, that hard-working citizens would rather conceal their assets than hand it over to an incompetent, wasteful, irresponsible gang of government officials? Is it any surprise that businesses would rather pay professional tax advisors than allow themselves to be suffocated and swallowed whole by the money-gobbling government anaconda?

Okay -- perhaps the Liberal Democrats opposed the war in Iraq; but they support the war in Afghanistan, if critically; they support redistributive taxes and entitlements; and they support regulation and red tape. If they have supported the Conservative-led cuts in spending, it has been only because the fiscal situation inherited from Labour was so dire that absent immediate action there would have been hell to pay. We should not have had to wait until the economy had fallen off a cliff.

Even more disturbing is Danny Alexander's wording:

Just as it is right to ensure that every benefit is fully justified, so we must ensure that every tax bill is paid in full. There are some people who believe that not paying their fair share of tax is a lifestyle choice that is socially acceptable. Just like the benefit cheats, they take the resources from those who need them most. Tax avoidance and evasion are unacceptable in the best of times but in today's times it is morally indefensible.

Never mind that "those who need them most" tends to be governmentspeak for "those who deserve them the least but whose vote we seek to purchase through government handouts"; Alexander conflates avoidance, which is legal, with evasion, which is illegal.

Tax avoidance being the use of legal means to minimise tax liabilities; evasion being to 'cheat' the system in order not to pay tax.

In my novel, Mister, I have a confrontation on this same issue between the money- and status-obsessed Mister and the corrupt police inspector, 'Obama'. Of course, Obama claims the two are one and the same, and that the money collected through taxes is 'owed' to the government, because it is money that "belongs to the government."

The government, in fact, does not own anything -- at least, in theory. In theory it uses money given to it by the citizens for the purposes of running and maintaining public services for and on the citizens' behalf. In theory, the government needs the consent and approval of the citizens before they can take and spend any money of theirs. In practice the government extorts, willy-nilly, any amount of money it sees fit by means of intimidation and violence in order to perpetuate itself and extend its power -- if the citizen occasionally benefits, it is purely incidental. When is the last time your objections to how your tax money is being spent were noted?

Phrases like "paying their fair share", therefore, sound intolerably specious -- particularly from a politician known to practice tax avoidance himself and who only three years ago was investigated for non-payment of capital gains tax.