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Letters from Downunder


Submitted by Lindsay
Melbourne Australia!

Into a limbo large and broad, since called
The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown.
- John Milton, Paradise lost

(12/2017) From Panama to Paradise the trip wasn’t far, the ship the captain and crew much the same, the journey almost boring. No lights were shown, but safely steered it was. Oh, what joy we had as we watched the heavens pour their golden hoards into our waiting hands, the power over every land growing without protest. Kings to rule, posterity ours. - Extract from the diary of an unknown 21st century financier

The foundations of democracy rest on the ability of those in charge – governments, collectives, dictators, and kings - to collect taxes. Without that power there can be no order, no progress, no justice, no equality (and no wars). Originally it was only the rich who paid, then landowners, and finally when enfranchisement arrived we were all placed in the melting pot. The right to vote became synonymous with the necessity to pay tax, disobedience was treated as heinous or treason. Governments achieved much with the wealth, building infrastructure, public services and many of the things needed in a society that can grow and prosper.

Over time various means of collecting the loot were established by governments around the world, from tithes to duties, tax collectors to automatic deductions. In the case of the USA taxation was largely abandoned after the war of independence, because the British tried to impose idiotic taxes to show who was boss, (something they did over and over – the Irish, the poor, the colonies), making tax a dirty word. As the necessity of raising money by governments at all levels was still there, various laws were passed to introduce taxes by other names. States, municipalities, and the central government all did their bit, with the current outcome being a piecemeal set of laws that have created a system nigh on impossible to understand.

The idea of tax being dirty has never disappeared from the minds of many, especially the rich. While ‘ordinary’ people have no power to escape paying their due, the moneyed classes have been able to buy or suborn the clever and devious to create schemes that reduce or eliminate their taxes. At the same time, they have had enormous help from certain economists, presidents and lobbyists. It seems strange that in a democracy a president would approve reductions of tax being paid by the rich, (when the rich derive more benefit from the infrastructure that taxes pay for), while ensuring that the less well off pay a greater share - but that is the reality.

So it has become a mantra that tax will be minimised by the rich in all walks of life; sports, modelling, actors, entrepreneurs, company owners and shareholders. Not just by deducting the allowable things, but by hiding their earnings and profits in places where little or no tax is charged. This has become so widespread that it has become a growth industry, one that’s well hidden from view because while some of it is legal, much of it is not. No one is expected to be squeaky clean these days, but honesty in our dealings is the best way to ensure that society remains cohesive and progressive.

Although wealthy Americans appear to be the first who began hiding their riches this way, it has now spread to every corner of the globe, depriving governments of essential revenue and reducing the standard of living for many citizens. Coupled with the suborning of elected representatives who manage to get legislation in place that removes probes while approving more gouging, the frustration felt by citizens becomes unbearable. They then turn to anyone who promises to be different, allowing charlatans like Donald Trump to be elected. The deprivation of people across the world doesn’t matter to Paradise dwellers, because they truly don’t care. It’s not about you, it’s about them. They don’t care about democracy either, although it gave them the ability to do their tricks; in fact, they have made a mockery of our most prized method of government.

The revelations from Paradise, coming as they did 12 months after the ones from Panama, caused a three day wonder. That’s how long it took for a media blackout to be put in place, thanks to well known tax havenists like Rupert Murdoch. Will any real action ever be taken? Probably not, because when rich people control Government and the media there’s no will to achieve reform.

Not unless you are young, techno savvy, and able to capture the discontent that is growing rapidly as is the case in France, Italy and possibly Germany. Britain is well on the road to this inequality as well, but if there is any hope it may well come from the middle road of Europe. It is unlikely to come from your ballot boxes, as they too have been taken over by bots, those automatically generated messages that keep sending the same thing out to voters, generally made up news, slander, approvals and so on. Seeing about 65% of the population now rely on electronic messages as their only source of news, the chance of being able to decide on the actual worth of a candidate is quite unlikely. This means your ‘likes’ will determine the vote, and as your friends get the same propaganda you will believe you have made a rational and justified choice.

The elite are happy for you to not continue with education, and put barriers in your way to achieve it – an ignorant electorate is more easily duped, more likely to blame others for their loss of income and status. Being techno savvy is not good either unless your education also contains the ability to think logically and clearly.

Milton talked about a ‘Paradise of Fools’, and this paradise may well prove to be one, just as soon as the revolution happens. Russia will be in the news gain, this time for the parallels to their revolution, and for much the same reasons. Inaction on climate change, unbearable heat, stagnant wages and decreasing food supplies will bring the inhabitants of paradise into the same hell as we trusting citizens will be in.

In the meantime, enjoy Christmas, eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we...

Read Past Down Under Columns by Lindsay Coker