Thursday, 4 February 2016

Leave Google Alone!

Are you one of those getting all purple-faced over Google not paying what is rightfully your money? Corporation Tax? You know, the tax that corporations pay. You need to hear me out on this. Get to the end of this post before you begin shooting from your hip. Someone has to tell you.

So where was I? Ah yes, Corporation Tax. You know, the tax that Corporations pay. Nameless, faceless corporations - conspiracy theorists will have you believe in conjured images of a middle-aged white men, a la Mr Burns from the Simpsons. Those scheming, devious corporations, cornering every bit of the market, obliterating competition by unscrupulous practices, funding corrupt politicians into power so they can screw us poor vulnerable folk for every penny we earn.

While that imagery may be true for some organisations, it is NOT true for the vast number of businesses. Not the little taxi firm you buy a £16 ride from, not the little neighborhood mom-and-pop shop that sells you bread, eggs, milk, clothes, loo brushes and cheap toilet paper; not your local off-licence and cigarette shop; not the DJ that ekes out a living performing at your wedding, your birthday or your anniversary, or your precious kitty party, and nor is it the little company that offers life-changing careers' advice.

Thing is, we shouldn't be taxing companies in the first place. A company is simply a legal construct, composed of people – people who own it and people who work for it. Any tax or levy on their economic output is a tax on those people. Those people are usually someone like you. These are the people who bear the burden through lower wages, or through lower returns on the investments they make, and you, through higher prices.

Less corporation or no corporation tax means more income for the the business owners. That income is subject to personal taxes, at a much higher rate than corporation tax. That income is also subject to National Insurance contributions, and pretty much every Pound spent from what remains is subject to further denudation through VAT. Somehow in your rage at a service you choose to use, for free - you fail to see how baying at Google, and Facebook and Amazon and your misplaced campaigns hurt the little business owner being you did not have the guts to be.

You did not have the guts to be. Chew on that for a bit. If you'd known about what it takes to put your credibility, your life's savings, your social and personal life, and pretty much your entire being on the line for your enterprise - you will probably not wail so much. You don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. You care for it, and you nurture it.

Going on about Google, YOU make Google what is it. The government doesn't. Aliens don't. Google are an American company offering a service we all want. For free. Think about that for a bit - FOR FREE. They cost nothing. They cost you nothing, the cost your neighbour nothing, and they cost your government nothing. They can operate in ANY country WITHOUT any government funded, sponsored or, subsidised patronage. 

They're online, they're everywhere and they pay taxes on their earnings wherever they choose to be headquartered. The law allows that. Common sense allows that. 

You could use Bing, or AltaVista, or Dogpile, or Yahoo. They're ALL free.

But, but, Google can only work and be successful because of the security and infrastructure provided by government! You know, telephone wires, satellite link ups, electricity, road networks, police...

Erm no. That's nonsense. You can get Google in Somalia. Somalia doesn't even have a functioning government.

None of these were built to serve Google. You pay for connectivity. You pay to be online, what you do with that is nobody's business. The government charged internet companies over £22 billion in license fees, despite the fact the airwaves cost the government nothing. Eventually of course it was you that bore the cost the internet companies had to pay to buy bandwidth. You can now get a superfast broadband connection for under the price of two pints and a packet of crisps.

Asking Google and the likes of Amazon to pay taxes in the UK over and above what is legally required of them is akin to DEMANDING an artisan exporting handcrafted stonework in Agra or model Mallards from Tennessee or brass Hindu Goddesses from Muradabad to be taxed in UK, even after their own countries have battered them with their own taxes. Despite it meaning it might render their businesses unsustainable or the fact that in the end YOU'RE the one who'll pay through raised prices.

I mean, do we want free trade or not? Who the hell are we supposed to protect: those who can, or those who won't? Surely, we can't protect those who can't, if we don't empower those who can to help pay for it. How about we try and encourage them instead of trying to strangle them?

What we need to do, is level the playing field. Google shouldn't be paying the same rate of corporation tax as everyone else. Google shouldn't be paying a penny. And neither should anyone else.

People invest in business because they expect returns. Returns that they will pay tax on. Why do we need to kill the corner shop because we want to take a swipe at a business that costs us nothing and one we CHOOSE to use?

What will really bake your noodle is that fact that substantial chunks of most large companies' shares are held by pension funds. Yep, your pension fund. You know when the tell you things can go up as well down. Hounding the likes of Google is doing the down. 
Another substantial chunk of shares in most companies are owned by millions and millions of little people.

Corporation Tax is wrong and it must go.

While we're at it, we should chuck out inheritance tax too. It is the single most immoral levy I can think of. It's like vultures descending on your corpse, to pry out your gold teeth, your rings, your wallet, your belt buckle and anything that could hold a monetary value, like the home you want to leave your children, - that little piece of property you spent your entire life paying for -AFTER you have paid your taxes and your enforced debt to society.

Your moral high ground is a fraud, and as you read this, you know it to be true...

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