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Is Vincent Browne One of Us?

category international | anti-capitalism | opinion/analysis author Wednesday May 22, 2013 18:03author by Brian Clarke - AllVoices Report this post to the editors

Ireland’s Wild West Tax Haven

Occasionally I find an article in the Irish Times that is worth reading, sometimes written by Vincent Browne, which makes me wonder is Vincent one of us ? What do you think?
"Government zealously protects the wealthy in Ireland’s Wild West tax haven
Column: There is a determination not to disturb the contentedness of the wealthy by even a modest increase in income tax
Trickle Down Republic
Trickle Down Republic

Occasionally I find an article in the Irish Times that is worth reading, sometimes written by Vincent Browne, which makes me wonder is Vincent one of us ? What do you think?

"Government zealously protects the wealthy in Ireland’s Wild West tax haven
Column: There is a determination not to disturb the contentedness of the wealthy by even a modest increase in income tax

Vincent Browne

The deference to financial and corporate power that impelled Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan to give the blanket guarantee to the financial institutions on September 30th, 2008, speaks again in the obsequious secret deals done with multinational companies on tax and in the fastidious avoidance of taxing high earners.
We now know that one of the largest multinational corporations operating here, Apple, pays a derisory 2 per cent in corporation tax and, according to a US congressional report, this is done by way of a deal with the Irish Government. Whatever the truth of that – more probably it was done by way of an unspoken understanding – Ireland now features among the “wild west” tax havens of our time. So much so that an ingenious tax scheme called the “Double Irish”, based on Irish tax regulatory policy, permits the wholesale avoidance of billions in tax revenue to US, UK, Irish and other coffers.
About the only promise this Government made before the last election by which it still stands is to refuse to raise the Irish corporation tax rate of 12.5 per cent. As it happens, the promise is meaningless.
According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the effective corporation profits tax rate in Ireland is 4.2 per cent. The rate in France, by comparison, is 26.8 per cent (this is quoted in Corporation Tax: How Important is the 12.5% Corporate Tax Rate in Ireland? by Jim Stewart of TCD school of business).

Complicity of State
Now new information has emerged about tax devices and Ireland, courtesy of the Economic and Social Research Institute. In an article in the current quarterly review of the economy published last Thursday, John FitzGerald shows that there has been an influx over the last few years of company headquarters from abroad, notably Britain, and the effect of this has been to boost Ireland’s gross national product by about €7.4 billion.
This has seriously distorted the GNP measurement of the Irish economy’s performance, for these companies have no presence of any kind in Ireland and are of no value to the Irish economy. However, because our contribution to the EU is measured on our GNP performance, this means, according to John FitzGerald, that we are paying €100 million more than we should be paying to the EU annually.
Nobody, as far as I know, has made any issue of this but then, given the state of the financial crisis, what is €100 million?
Enda Kenny is off to another EU summit tomorrow and in a few weeks’ time he will be representing the EU at the G8 meeting in Fermanagh. For both these meetings the issue of tax havens is on the agenda and Ireland probably will feature in the deliberations. What will Enda Kenny say about the complicity of the Irish State in these tax structures?
New information has emerged from the Revenue Commissioners on incomes and taxation here. In a written answer to a Dáil question from Labour TD Derek Nolan on April 30th last, Michael Noonan revealed the following estimates for 2013 (married couples who submit tax returns jointly are regarded as one tax unit and the data refers to tax units):
l The total gross income is estimated at €82.5 billion for a total of nearly 2.2 million income tax payers, giving an average income of €37,962 and an average income tax payment of €5,348.
l More than half (54 per cent, nearly 1.2 million) of income tax payers earning €30,000 and less have an average gross taxable income of €14,712.
l Nearly 110,000 earners getting more than €100,000 in gross taxable income have an average income of €183,750, they pay an average of €46,695 in income tax, representing 26 per cent.
l More than 22,000 earners getting more than €200,000 have gross taxable income of €389,742 on average and pay €108,666 in income tax on average – 28 per cent.
l The 141 paid more than €2 million a year have an average gross taxable income of €4.1 million. They pay an average of €1.1 million in tax – 27 per cent.
(The Revenue Commissioners’ chart is published on the Dáil record – question 151 — the above is based on analysis of it.)
The determination not to disturb the contentedness of the wealthy by even a modest increase in income tax (say an effective tax rate of 35 per for those earning more than €100,000) almost matches the zeal to protect the inviolability of the tax haven for the most powerful multinational corporations on earth. And the Labour Party goes along with this as obediently as it supports the abuse of office by Alan Shatter.
Perhaps more depressing is the conduct of the Economic and Social Research Institute. Never once has it even adverted to the social consequences of the policies it advocates in its regular economic commentaries. Never, as far as I am aware, does it address in its economic commentaries the huge discrepancies in wealth and incomes here. It now advocates more austerity and, by implication, it counsels against income tax increases, with no acknowledgment of the inevitable social consequences.
So why bother with the “social” in its title?"

Related Link: http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/government-zealously-protects-the-wealthy-in-ireland-s-wild-west-tax-haven-1.1401752?page=2

Caption: Boomtown Rats - Banana Republic - 1980

author by grainnepublication date Wed May 22, 2013 19:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

He is by far one of the best reporters/presenters there are out there in ireland,and there is not many of them.

He has his finger closely on the pulse regardless of any topic he is addressing to the public.

author by Rational Ecologist.publication date Thu May 23, 2013 11:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I can't imagine any other(so-called) Irish journalist penning the above piece. It is succint, well written and a good precis of the attitude to wealth that prevails on our island.
Ireland is a tax haven, the IFSC is the money laundering centre.
Please see Nicholas Shaxson's 'Treasure Island', a must-read!

author by Browned offpublication date Thu May 23, 2013 12:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Admittedly Vincent Browne has energy and flair when writing penetrating articles. He has written many hard-hitting things during his prolific career. On radio several years ago he drew attention to the long waiting queues outside the government refugee office as asylum seekers sought to have their claims dealt with. That said, I have noted the pendulum of his political sympathies swinging from one enthusiasm to another over the years. He was, at UCD, a member of the FG so-called Young Tigers. Years later he enthused about Charles J. Haughey, but dimmed his ardour when Haughey turned out in power to be as 'careful' in his handling of the northern problem as Garret FitzGerald. At one stage Browne regarded FitzGerald as our great green hope, but he became bored by him.

Browne may continue to churn out sizzling attacks on business ethics, Catholic Church dithering leaders, government conservative economic policies, and whatever. In one sense his vituperative, well written pieces give the impression that somebody in mainstream journalism cares about the little people who patiently endure their daily grind while those in authority seem emotionally detached from the problems of the lower echelons. But since Browne's articles have no impact on official policies, and editors encourage most mainstream journalists to keep churning out middlebrow middle class conservative analysis, I think that objectively his articles amount to a symbolical letting off of steam.

Engaged and thought-provoking journalists might do well to review their personal privileges and lifestyles. What postal number suburb do they live in? Is their home in a 'good street' or an indifferent street? Drumcondra Road or Morehampton Road? Finglas or Foxrock? It is easy for a journalist to hint that he/she is with the disadvantaged. But where are opinion writers physically and socially?

author by Rational Ecologist.publication date Thu May 23, 2013 12:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That fact that VB resides in South County Dublin should not take from the fact that he seems very sincere in his views. His comfortable life may make that easier but doesn't take from the fact that he is one of the few journalists worthy of the title.

author by davepublication date Mon May 27, 2013 22:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors


guests include Direct Democracy Ireland's Ben Gilroy,Declan Ganley pro and anti eu campaigner and failed politician,Noel Whelan Fianna Fail wingman and political analyst and Alison O Connor.

One of the discussions will be does Ireland need a new political party?

I believe,we don't need just one new political party - we need a entire new spectrum of political parties to replace the status quo political block that had ruled this country since it's foundation as an independent state.

What we have is not a democracy although it may masquerade as a democracy,what we have is akin to a dictatorship.

We need a recall of the current government,and a mechanism in place for this to occur,otherwise we can say we do not live in a functioning democracy.

If our government doesnt function as a democracy it is not a democracy.

If it walks like a duck etc..It is a duck as the old saying goes

author by fredpublication date Tue May 28, 2013 00:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

linking to the darkside Dave? Are you one of the dark minions perchance?

Much prefer the other place myself!:

We don't need Ben Gilroy or any other dodgy people "leading" us while they steal our money and sell us out to predatory capitalists and financial terrorists. Politicians won't save us. It's been proven time and again. Wasn't it Einstein who once said "insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result"

We need to start taking responsibility for ourselves and our so called democracy at grassroots level. Community initiatives, local food co-ops, generating our own power, recycling our own waste, hacking our education, etc etc.

author by davepublication date Tue May 28, 2013 12:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Linking to the darkside,im wasn't aware politics.ie was a dark place to wander,i have been there plenty of times,and i don't see any sinister agenda.

All very well saying grow our own do this and do that etc,but if nobodys running the country,it will as sure as night is night and day is day,run itself into the ground without strong leadership.

We need somebody to keep an eye in europe.

To say DDI and other new parties are going to sell us out to capaitalists is a little too soon,you haven't seen them in a position to do that yet,and i very much doubt they will.

It is a new system that puts people at the centre of democracy,it wont get done unless the people say it will,and we have the power to call referendums,something our previous governments TOOK from us.

Dont make assumptions on what a party will or will not do especially if they are not established.

As far as new political parties go,we need to start trying something new,DDI (Direct Democracy Ireland),are interested in consulting with the people,and involving them in the political process.

For the first time in my life im actually passionate about voting because of this guy,he wants to deliver democracy direct to us,for the first time in ireland have i seen a political party like this,its not just a political party it is a whole new system that involves joe public in the political process.

What could be more exciting?

On the other hand we could still vote FF/FG/LAB,and get slashed with more taxes,more licenses for this that and the other,more red tape,and more obstacles to overcome when setting up businesses and trying to create jobs.

Is that really what we need in a recession.?

Joan burtons solution was ''jobbridge'' nullifying what could be a paid job,converting paid work into unpaid work,further suckering real jobs out of the community.

And look at that pink shirt independant lunatic Mick wallace,filing false tax returns,raiding public funds,an ''independant'' ,more like self serving rat.

We need real initiatives,new people fresh blood,not the same old boys club that delivers on nothing that they promised pre-election.

We need to be serious about voting,and kicking them out on their ear,and give a new political party with democracy at the core of it a chance.

author by fredpublication date Tue May 28, 2013 18:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you really believe that Ben Gilroy, a guy that wanted to dump his mortgage on the taxpayer while spouting some freeman shite, is ethical enough to deliver on any of these promises once he gets to the trough, then I've got some old swampland you might be interested in .

The fact is people say anything to get into office, then the bankers and financial terrorists get talking to them and convince them that it's in their own personal financial interest to sell out the country, it's people and it's resources.

and then they do.

That way has been tried again and again and every time the same result. Grassroots mobilisation is the only way to change things, not voting in yet another politician on a bunch of electoral promises that mean nothing.

However if you must vote, try sinn fein / SP / PBP /SWP if you want a real change from tweedledee and tweedledumb, labour, GP, PDs, who are effectively the same party of gombeen self serving trough slurpers

author by davepublication date Tue May 28, 2013 19:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have become over the years disillusioned with voting. As voting for the same old shower,and i will include the left and sinn fein in this too.

They are just the same,they do not want to deliver democracy and involve us in the political process.

If you must know i was a sinn fein voter and supporter,but recently i have become disillusioned,and voting for them did not yield satisfactory results.

And of late i have somewhat u turned,but given it some considerable thought,i would like to see a functioning democracy,not a communist or socialist state.

Ben Gilroy of DDI may have defaulted on his mortage,but there are plenty of people in their hunderds of thousands up and down this small island who have also ran into debt,that are being either evicted or their debts reconciled to a certain degree.

He is not the only one who has had financial difficulties,we were lied to by the banks,given irresponsibly given i might add 100% loans,the blame cannot go soley on the customer.

author by John Laganpublication date Fri May 31, 2013 00:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Vincent's dead right, this government is doggedly determined to tax low and middle income earners to protect high income earners from paying any more tax.

They apply the same dogged determination to ensure the profits of the chemical-pharmaceutical industry by paying the highest prices for drugs in Europe and refusing to end rackets such as compulsory water fluoridation.

Ireland is now the only country left in Europe medicating its citizens with fluoride. There is absolutely no rational argument for not applying the precautionary principle and ending this madness.

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