Tax Avoidance – does Cameron really mean what he says?
Tax avoidance is the hot topic in the press right now – see here for PM David Cameron’s comments on Jimmy Carr’s avoidance.
It’s definitely true that Carr’s avoidance is terrible. It’s also immensely hypocritical that he appears on the ostensibly left-wing Ten O’Clock Live whilst engaging in this kind of thing. Further note the sheer hilarity that would be a comedian trying to make standard meritocratic arguments for deserving to keep more of their income, given the massive demonstrable contingency of their success on other people’s contributions and wider societal conditions. However, that’s not what I’m most interested in.
What I’m more interested to note is a man with a family history of tax avoidance who leads a party funded, supported and numbered by tax avoiders, criticising public figures for their tax affairs. I think what’s going on here is that there’s a strata of people who earnestly feel that they and their peers pay far too much tax and privately think they’re morally justified in not paying it. What I think is telling that there are no attempts to repeat this message to the electorate. This is perhaps because the electorate is composed of plenty of people who are acutely aware of what social unfairness really is and who would be highly amused if not repulsed by the suggestion that unfairness is the “burden” of taxation which falls on the richest thousandth of the global population.
Far be it from me to suggest that Mr Cameron isn’t entirely sincere in his public position on tax avoidance, but it certainly makes one wonder.