New Internationalist

A fair economy is not radical – it’s common sense!

The Tax Justice Network has launched Taxcast, a new monthly podcast service with news and analysis on the shadow banking system, tax havens, tax avoidance and tax evasion. Naomi Fowler from the TJN explains why it’s so important...

Despite plain evidence to the contrary, there’s a disturbing consensus among our politicians that austerity is the only way to go. With a few honourable exceptions, that ‘austerity-or-broke’ agenda has been comprehensively absorbed and regurgitated by the mainstream media. Since opposition to the ‘Austerity Age’ comes largely from outside the Westminster bubble, it gets the occasional brief mention and it’s framed as quirky, naive and purely anti-capitalist in nature.

I’m pretty sure research would show that the BBC rarely uses the words ‘Occupy movement’ without prefacing it with ‘anti-capitalist’. Some people in the Occupy movement are indeed anti-capitalist, but there’s also a strong body of opinion within Occupy that wants to reform a financial system that’s clearly broken and clearly corrupt. As the recent Occupy Economics Working Group article in the Financial Times shows, they have sensible, working proposals on exactly how to do that, as does the Tax Justice Network.

So, read my lips, BBC. It is NOT radical to demand fairness. It is NOT radical to say we’re failing to collect £120 billion ($190 billion) in taxes, enough for the entire NHS budget. It is NOT radical to point out that there is no need whatever for austerity measures. It is NOT radical to compare the tax return of an ordinary person with that of Tony-3%-Blair and with transnational companies who are twisting tax laws – and in some circumstances breaking the law. It is NOT radical to point out that companies like London-based bank HSBC (being investigated under suspicion of a massive international money-laundering scheme that involves hundreds of billions of dollars) are symptomatic of a system that’s rotten through and through, a system that will continue to pull us all down if it’s not reformed by politicians who are courageous, politicians who truly represent the people.

That’s why the Taxcast is so important. There’s no mystery to why Britain is rattling at high speed towards a double-dip recession, but there’s inadequate accurate, non-politicized information about the solutions to the problems we face. Knowledge is power and tax is very, very far from boring. It’s the life-blood of any healthy society. That’s why people are downloading and listening to the Taxcast, playing it on radio stations across the world in 30 countries and beginning, at last, to demand courage from their elected representatives.



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