Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Defending the rich

Trevor Kavanagh has a piece in the Sun, published on Monday just gone (27/04) full of woe for Alistair Darlings budget.

It was a silly budget because now not only is everyone going to lose their jobs but all the wealth creators are going to flee:
The Budget is less than a week old and already Britain’s wealth creators are deserting the sinking ship.

The Sunday Times’ latest Rich List shows our star earners have lost hundreds of millions. Why would they stay in a hostile tax environment?

And what about those who simply aspire to be in that Rich List some day? It’s not just so-called fat cats who are leaving.

Queues are forming for visas to Australia, Canada and the USA.

Wow. I'm not much into finance myself, but that sounds like a seriously rubbish budget.
The examples that Trevor chooses to use to highlight the plight of the poor little rich boys are, erm, dubious at best: Michael Caine, actor and all round national treasure; Tony Blair, ex-Prime Minister now peace envoy to the middle east on behalf of The Quartet,palm greaser special advisor for Morgan Stanley and after dinner/public speaker; Richard Branson, industrialist and the only real wealth creator out of the three.

First off, Michael Caine:
“We’ve got three and a half million layabouts on benefits and I’m 76 and getting up at 6am to go to work to keep them,” says the star of Billion Dollar Brain.

Sir Michael will move to America rather than pay more than half his earnings in tax to bail out these scroungers.

“I will not pay the Government more than I get. No way, ever,” he says.

Does anyone care about an actor packing up his £45million fortune and leaving in a huff?

Micheal is indeed 76 and probably does get up at 6 am to go to work, but he isn't going to work to keep anybody. Trevor points out Michael has a £45 million fortune so if he is still working way past the age when ordinary people are wanting to, if not able to, retire he is doing it out of love for his profession. An actor doesn't really create employment, like a businessman might.
Michael owns and co-owns a few restaurants in Britain, about 5 I think, and a couple of other countries. So not exactly a big employer there either.

Tony Blair, is an ex PM and is not really what you could call a wealth creator either, beyond his office staff. He makes his money from advising Morgan Stanley and giving speeches. He is now an employee, not an employer.

Richard Branson is a slightly different kettle of fish. Branson is a true entrepreneur, starting with nothing and working his way to where he is now but selling and trading and starting companies and building a group of companies. The only good example here.

It's not too good overall so far, 1 good example out of 3. That score gets worse when you consider:
Sir Richard Branson has a complicated series of offshore trusts and companies that own his business empire. Branson, whose wealth is calculated at £3,065m, pays relatively little tax as his wealth is tied up in these companies.

It means that when he retires, he could move abroad — to the island he owns in the Caribbean — and liquidate his assets virtually tax-free.

and I would bet that Michael and Tony have very compentent accountants to help minimise their tax burden.

The Sun is asking the reader to i) feel sorry for rich people that can and do avoid paying their full share of tax and ii) fear for the future of the country by screaming about the flight of wealth creators by using examples of extremely wealthy people that either do not create wealth or avoid paying their taxes.
If these three do leave, their businesses won't. Michaels restaurants are profitable and Virgin isn't just going to up sticks and go and Tony will look a right arse if he turns his back on Britain.
So if these guys do go they will still employ people here who have no choice but to stay andpay their taxes.

Hmmm. I wonder what how much Trevor earns...?


Selma said...

None of these arses are wealth creators! I'm sick to the back teeth of these theiving swine being credited with either creating waelth or 'working their way up from nothing'. What utter rubbish! The wealth creators are the workers, arseholes like Branson just cream off the surplus value. As for working your way up from nothing, you couldnt be further from the truth. These people are rich on the backs of others and only ruthless profit seeking keeps them there. The sooner they up stick and leave the sooner we can all get down to creating a decent society based on production for need rather than the greed of these wankers.

usscoyote said...

Michael Caine was one of the more high-profile 1970s tax exiles, just about every interview you'd read with him in that decade mentioned how he was compelled by the then-really-high tax rates to live abroad. Eventually he moved back to the Uk and voted for John Major.

Sim-O said...

I say Branson worked his way up from nothing because he started out selling records from the boot of his car.

He was turning his labour into profit before creaming off the surplus of anyone elses, if you don't count the manufacturing etc of the records themselves.

merrick said...

It is usually illuminating to replace any incidence of the phrase 'wealth creator' with 'wealth concentrator'.