“Centrism”, opposition : Apple Tax issue redux. August 31, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Mr Doherty argued the Government should “reach out” and collect the €13 billion as soon as possible.
“There is also an irony when we see an Irish Government challenging the EU Commission over this while we have memories of how they bowed down to the same commission during the period of austerity,” he said.
He said the net effect was that Apple paid an effective tax rate of 0.05 per cent on its global profits.
Interesting. In addition to SP and PBP, the SDs, GP are also saying the ruling should not be appealed.
The cacophony of demands to grab the cash and spend it was entirely predictable.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett raged that the”entire political establishment have colluded over many years with Apple in an act of economic treason to rob the Irish public of €13 billion or more in desperately needed cash for public housing, the health service and other vital public services.”
Sinn Féin has been waiting with some relish for the EU verdict and leaped into action. “Give us back our money,” demanded MEP Matt Carthy. For good measure, Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty also called for a public inquiry into Apple’s tax arrangements.
The best can be said of all this is that at least the people doing it know its just political grandstanding. Well, this is one of the luxuries of Opposition.
But hold on. Boyd Barrett is absolutely correct. And it should be a cause for anger. Doherty is absolutely correct too to call for a public inquiry. Leahy though is dismissive even as he then writes;
For all that, even a cursory reading of the commission’s findings demonstrate that it is clear that Apple – like other multinationals presumably – has constructed a series of contrived structures designed to pay as little tax as possible. All the tech giant’s platitudes about paying the tax it owes are simply public relations guff. They are not meant to be taken seriously except by the gullible. The point at issue is not whether Apple has these structures, it is whether they constituted illegal State aid or not. That will now be decided in the European courts.
What does Leahy expect politicians to do in light of that? And there’s a sense of having his cake and eating it too for earlier he wrote:
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has long since said the Government would appeal an adverse finding by the commission on Apple’s tax arrangements. That was one thing when everyone thought the bill would be a few hundred million, or – at most – a few billion euro.
And just on that, why so dismissive of a ‘few billion euro’? We’ve had budgets where a ‘few billion euro’ would make a considerable difference. Leahy at the SBP and many others were quite clear about the negative impacts as they saw it of increasing taxation or expenditure.
Educative to see how rapidly matters change.
And this is educative too.
The furious debate thrown up by the decision exposes again one of the principal fault lines of Irish politics – between the (roughly) two-thirds of voters who vote for mainstream, centrist parties and Independents, who feel they have a stake in the country and its prosperity on the one hand, and those who vote for parties of the radical left, anti-establishment Independents and Sinn Féin on the other, who feel the State often conspires against them, and that politics ignores those like them. Political debate is between these two sides; but political and electoral competition is more usually within them.
Does Leahy genuinely believe that the critique put forward by SF, PBP, the SDs, GP etc isn’t shared more widely? Does he think that ‘centrism’ will lead to a supine acceptance of what is a frankly disgraceful situation, one which it has taken – of all entities, the EU Commission to point up to an Irish government and establishment and its outliers who, as we see here, put forward a remarkably cynical view of the world and of the way they should and do operate within it?
For it appears Leahy in a way feels it appropriate to understate the importance of what this represents, almost but not quite a ‘nothing to see here folks’ line.
Doherty couldn’t have put it better when we read Leahy’s analysis. Clearly taxation is fine when levied on citizens where all are expected to pay in full but quite a different matter when levied on multinational corporations. Where now one wonders the earnest articles which we’ve been subjected to on how withdrawing from the water charges would undermine the authority of the state to impose its writ up the citizenry. How the government loses ‘moral authority’ not doing so. Etcetera. Etcetera.