Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bono tries to claim he's a business person, not an arsehole

Having previously attempted to explain his 'do as I say, not as I do' line on tax as being somehow an obligation, high priest of the tax weasels Bono is now suggesting he's merely being sensible:

Asked about his position on tax, he told Sky News that just because he had campaigned for a fairer society it did not mean he had to be “stupid” in business.

Bono said: “It’s just some smart people we have working for us trying to be sensible about the way we’re taxed. And that’s just one of our companies, by the way. There’s loads of companies.”
They're just being sensible. Because minimising your tax bill - or minimisering, if you'd prefer - is sensible.

The trouble with this line is that if you accept it, there's not really any way to object to a UKIP spokesperson saying that foreign aid is expensive, and if we stopped paying any foreign aid we could reduce everyone's tax burden. Because that, too, is a sensible statement. It's also fucking selfish.

When Bono said "it’s just some smart people we have working for us trying to be sensible about the way we’re taxed", what he means is "it’s just some fucking selfish people we have working for us trying to be fucking sensible about the way we’re taxed."

Because you'll note those "smart people". This isn't Bono turning up at a tax place, with one box saying '20% tax' and one saying '80% tax' and choosing the smaller figure. It is people who are working to come up with "smart" ways to avoid paying tax. Bono and U2 are actively trying to avoid paying tax. It's not sensible, it's deliberate. Different thing.

Hang about, The Edge is also keen to not be seen as some sort of rich arsehole avoid taxes:
U2’s lead guitarist, The Edge – real name David Evans – said: “So much of our business is outside Ireland. It’s ridiculous to sort of make a big deal about the fact that we operate outside of Ireland.”
Yes, that's true. A lot of your business is outside Ireland. In a huge part because you channel a lot of your business outside Ireland to avoid paying tax in Ireland. That's not a defence against the charge of tax avoiding, it's the methodology you use to avoid tax:
[T]he Rolling Stones and U2 also channel royalties through the country, and that both bands have an office on Amsterdam’s Herengracht.
It's hard to imagine how U2 could make this any more insulting to our intelligence, but Bono manages it:
Bono added: “And we pay a fortune in tax. Just so people know, we pay a fortune in tax; and we’re happy to pay a fortune in tax, people should."
Bono, when you're discussing how you sensibly avoid paying a fair share of taxes, that might not be the best time to tell people that they should be paying their taxes.

And you might pay a lot in taxes, but don't you dare come round trying to argue that you're doing the right thing by making that amount as small as possible and expect thanks for paying that smallest possible amount.

Your behaviour is legal. Your behaviour is rational.

Your behaviour is selfish.

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