Yep, he sure is. This post is going to start with talking about Trump but move to a comment on the wider issue at hand. If you can stick with me through the Trump stuff to get to the juicy point I’m making, that’d be swell. If you can’t, then oh well, at least you tried right?
So during last night’s presidential debate, Trump dropped a “that makes me smart” bomb in response to Hillary Clinton referring to his tax avoidance efforts in the past. At first I thought this was just the usual Trump posturing, trying to sneak one-liners in to he can be quoted time and time again. Hell, look at what I’m doing right now as I quote him. But no, not so lucky. See, I took too long to think about something Trump has said, and it got to me, you know?
He’s a businessman, and he’s right, avoiding tax is great for business if you can get away with it. It makes absolute sense to do so. It’s immoral, but business isn’t about morality. It’s about maximising your profits. There is no way to argue that this isn’t a smart business move, and that’s kind of the problem.
Because if Trump thinks like that, and we can all logically see how it would make sense. Then what is actually stopping people from evading and avoiding tax?
In theory, the law. But that’s really not the case, loop holes, off-shore accounts, and so forth. There are many known ways to avoid tax, and there are many people who are known to be doing it. It would be unfair to say Governments aren’t trying to clamp down on it, but as Trump himself said – there’s a fear that it will drive businesses and their money away. Which could kill jobs, the economy, and make countries far poorer… but could it really?
In the UK everyone is well aware of Starbucks avoiding paying tax in the UK, but nobody is doing a single thing about it. If we took action, and Starbucks decided to bailout of the UK, would this destroy our economy and ruin jobs? Nobody really knows, but what it would be is a huge benefit to the small businesses. The kind who do pay their taxes, who are struggling to get by in the wake of giants like Starbucks. The market share for coffee shops won’t disappear just because Starbucks has, but the gap can then be filled by companies who will pay taxes, and play by the rules.
This whole idea of “the big corporations will get scared away and take their money with them!” is a bold face lie to keep the status quo going. The money Starbucks have wasn’t theirs to begin with, it was the consumer’s. The consumer is what keeps the economy ticking over, by spending. As long as there are strong consumers, spending money on things, then we’ll have a pretty decent economy. We don’t need the The Bank of Starbucks to hold onto our cash to keep our economy afloat. We just need a place to go buy coffee sometimes, and I’ll take the tax paying small businesses’ coffee over the mega corporation’s any day.
As it stands, with tax avoiding & evading we have the problem of big businesses having a lot of money and giving us none of it. Yet we still snub the small businesses who have comparatively little money, but give their fair share all the same. Starbucks and all those big corporations started out as small businesses before the consumer gave them money, year in year out. Why can’t we just do the same with companies who will actually pay tax?
If the mega-corporations we have now are refusing to pay tax, then lets get to work on building some new big businesses that will. Instead of going to Starbucks, find a quiet little independent coffee shop, and give them your money instead.