Tax protesters — a more encouraging kind

Protesters drew attention at a rock concert recently.  Their complaint?  Rock stars who move to tax havens to avoid paying taxes.

“‘Tax(es) nestling in the band’s bank account should be helping to keep open the hospitals, schools and libraries that are closing all over Ireland,'” Art Uncut member Charlie Dewar said ahead of the protest.

“U2, [Ireland]’s most successful band, was heavily criticised in 2006 for moving its corporate base from Ireland to the Netherlands, where royalties on music incur virtually no tax.”

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/violence-erupts-as-u2-rocks-glastonbury-20110625-1gkbg.html#ixzz1QHiR2jEM

Nonviolent protests, I’m for.

What about corporations that shift income to tax havens?  Where, as Bob Dole once asked, is the outrage?

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Extremes

Back in the 1980s President Reagan signed an income tax treaty with China in Beijing so as to prove his trip a success.  The treaty was a mess:  Treasury negotiators had orders to produce a treaty for him to sign, and they did — with huge giveaways to corporations that artificially routed transactions through China.  See http://ia600409.us.archive.org/16/items/preparedstatemen1185ogle/preparedstatemen1185ogle.pdf.

But signing does not a treaty make.  The Senate must approve it.  The most liberal Senator, Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio, put a hold on the treaty for allowing giveaways to multinational corporations;  the most conservative Senator, Jesse Helms of North Carolina, put a hold on it for being too lenient with Red China.  Those holds stopped the treaty in its tracks.  Treasury went back, renegotiated, and eliminated the loopholes.  Eventually, the repaired treaty came back to the Senate and sailed through.

Now the most liberal and the most conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives join forces against the status quo.
Barney Frank and Ron Paul propose legalizing marijuana. http://ca.news.yahoo.com/lawmakers-introduce-bill-legalize-marijuana-225335489.html.  Time will tell how this turns out.