December 13, 2012

Corporation tax sleight of hand will turn us into world pariahs

Posted in Irish Independent · 143 comments ·
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Can a reasonably well-behaved country with few, if any, enemies, become an international pariah? Can a country that has pursued neutrality, contributed much to the UN and taken diplomatic political correctness to asphyxiating heights, come crashing down and become shorthand for mendacity, evasiveness and intercontinental tax avoidance?

These are questions we should ask ourselves as the international backlash against the likes of Starbucks, Google and Amazon’s tax avoidance policies spilled over in Britain last week.

The ubiquitous Starbucks was forced into a very public climbdown on how it operates its tax affairs. This was particularly galling for a company whose PR machine appears almost “happy clappy” in its efforts to appear on the side of the angels when it is, in fact, a large franchising conglomerate going about the entirely reasonable capitalist business of gaining market share relentlessly.

The carefully crafted image became somewhat tarnished when it was revealed that since 1998, Starbucks has only paid £8.6m in tax to the UK government in the 14 years it’s been operating in Britain.

This derisory figure amounts to about a fortnight’s turnover of its 800 outlets there. Its executives made fools of themselves in front of a parliamentary subcommittee the other week and, after that, it was only a matter of time before the company did something.

The public’s mind had, consequently, begun to focus on something rarely discussed in the UK: the tax affairs of large companies. According to the ‘Financial Times’ “activism against tax avoidance is on the rise across Europe”.

Yesterday, in the US, two huge UK banks, HSBC and Standard Chartered, were fined $2.6bn for breaching money-laundering rules by moving money around their various affiliates. Granted, these two cases are very different but what they reflect is the impact of public pressure on the behaviour of tax authorities.

The Starbucks case is about winning the battle for the public’s mind. The corporates and their shareholders will want to have as much latitude to avoid tax as possible. Pro-business politicians will line up behind this position, terrified to point out that the richest corporations pay a rate of tax that is far less than the poorest employee of that corporation for fear that the corporation will get upset.

In the case of Starbucks — given that it is selling coffee to thousands of employees and if it hasn’t a retail presence it has no business — the notion of it upping sticks and going to cheaper destinations is out.

Therefore, the nub of the issue is what it does with its money once it has sold you a coffee, where does it send it, where is it registered and why is it leaving the country where it generated the turnover. In terms of morality, it is clear that the company should pay tax in the country where it raises the revenue which, in this case, is the UK.

The debate was played out on BBC’s ‘Newsnight’ last week. It pitted a woman from a small NGO and a pastor against a corporate economist and a tax expert. In terms of optics, which are all-important to the spin doctors who try to massage the message and are paid handsomely by the tax-avoiding corporates, the notion of an articulate young woman from an NGO and a committed Christian talking morality is precisely the conversation the media manipulators didn’t want to hear.

Starbucks opted to cough up a little, but when its UK chief executive said it did this because “Starbucks listens to its customers”, after the puke bucket passed to your left, you could see the battle lines drawn again.

What it is failing to realise is that the world has changed since the global financial crisis. It is not business as usual. Great events change perceptions and one of those perceptions is that companies — particularly multinationals — have got to be respectable corporate citizens, and part of that is paying a fair share of tax.

Now the theatre of this new conflict, between the interests of citizens and the interests of corporations, focuses on the behaviour of corporations — but this will change. In time, the focus will shift to those jurisdictions that facilitate tax avoidance. This is where Ireland comes in.

What sort of global citizen is the country that actively markets an aggressive beggar-my-neighbour tax policy as its main plank of industrial policy? Up to now, in an era of as little regulation as possible, this may have been seen as a victimless policy. But, now, governments all over Europe — in France and Germany in particular — are responding to public pressure and beginning to agitate for common tax policies.

In the US — the country that arguably loses most from our tax loopholes — the left of the Democratic Party have for years urged their legislators to police the tax activities of its multinationals more closely. In a world of the “fiscal cliff” when the US will be looking to raise revenue to close its budget deficit, do you not think a newly liberated, second-term President Obama will examine this area?

In short, the Starbucks case could be the tip of the iceberg. We may be witnessing the beginning of a mass social movement against large corporations’ tax ambivalence. This is the type of moral outrage that tips into a movement. If it takes hold, the first in the firing line will be the companies and their shareholders. Next up will be the countries that give refuge to such tax fugitives and where will we be then? Pariah or great little country?

David McWilliams’ new book ‘The Good Room’ is out now


  1. Adam Byrne

    subscribe.

  2. We should stop pretending in this country that our low rate of corporate tax represents any sort of ‘plank of industrial policy’ or strategy where job creation is concerned. It highlights the absence of any strategy, not to mention the absence of any real bargaining power. What it underlines is that Ireland is merely a prop in the strategy of corporations to avoid paying tax – and not vice versa.

    Furthermore, the fact that ‘defending our low rate of corporation tax’ has become a mantra in political and media circles further highlights the absence of any strategy. Because a mantra can no more be regarded as a strategy than the bleating of sheep or the cackling of hens.

    It may have represented a strategy in the past but as any strategic thinker will tell you, you have to be able to alter your strategy to meet new realities. Nothing is set in stone.

    How many jobs will be created in the next six months, twelve months, five years, as a result of our low rate of corporation tax? Never mind the jobs it created in the past because these too will come under threat in due course. What impact will it have in overall employment terms? These are the questions you never hear being asked, let alone addressed.

    • Damn, I was hoping to get in ahead of Adam too. Next time I’ll keep my posts shorter.

    • mixtwitch

      +1

      Technically, it’s a “cost leadership” strategy, according to Porter. However, this kind of strategy is simply a race to the bottom.

      Perhaps they’re going to use The Gathering to push some “workforce differentiation strategy” in the future, but I’m not holding my breath.

  3. miec

    I have never been a fan of Starbucks, my eyes were thankfully opened by Naoimi Klein’s excellent book ‘No Logo’. Starbucks in effect has driven out the smaller coffee shop with its cluster business model so its tax avoidance tactics comes as no surprise.

    David what has been interesting with the corporation tax issue here is that the Irish government have remained steadfast to it despite massive pressure from France and Germany, etc, ironic really that they can take a stance on this issue but not in dealing with the colossal debt issues.

    • tomahawk

      Excellent point there miec and it begs the question as who is providing the steel in the Governments rubbery backbone when it comes to holding the line on the corp tax rate???? (no prizes)
      Theres a bunch of ontrap ineers in Abbeyfeale this weekend who might serve us very well on our ‘negotiating’ team.

  4. Being a resident in the UK (but an Irish citizen), I definitely agree that activism against tax avoidance is on the rise and even now in conversations with my British colleagues, the Irish corporation tax rate enters the conversation. I usually respond by saying that such a tax rate is needed in order for Ireland to compete on an internation stage. Otherwise, there is little incentive for much international business to take place in Ireland and it would be mostly centred in the UK, Benelux, Germany or France. If such countries want Ireland to introduce a higher corporation tax rate they will have to put up with continuing to give Ireland substantial funding into the future, otherwise we will continuously lag behind the rest of Europe.

    I believe that the key is to strike a balance between a corporation tax rate that gives Ireland a chance to compete on the international stage, but not allowing corporations such as Starbucks to rip other citizens off by not paying any tax in the countries where they generate revenue. Does the 12.5 percent corporation tax rate strike the appropriate balance, perhaps it is, perhaps not. I leave that one open to debate.

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  6. Philip

    Excellent development. Might start to disrupt lazy thinking for a change and start to get our “leaders” to understand that wealth comes from local companies who need tax breaks ratther than PAYE derived fluff of fly by night MNCs.

    Lots of empty buildings to fill. Let;s get cracking lads!

  7. Thats a really rather good point David.

    A friend here in Berlin works for a US company that has its EMEA HQ in Dublin, purely for tax purposes. There are hundreds of companies like this I believe. He didn’t understand why the corporation tax was so low, given that the country was up the creek financially, until I explained to him that the Irish economic model is all about extracting value, not creating it.

    People in Ireland like to go on about having Google, Microsoft Facebook, Paypal etc etc based in Ireland and “sure aren’t we great” and “sure isn’t it grand all together” (more Good Room-type talk I’d say… )And what have we done with it? Fuck-all. Microsoft Research is in Cambridge and Google’s European R&D is done in Zurich.

    If there was an idea (not even a policy, not even a plan) to build meaningful relationships between these companies and, say a few of the top universities here, maybe some native companies that have complimentary technologies or interests, then maybe its worth the effort, but my experience is that the Irish in Ireland are utterly incapable of building on the presence of these companies in a meaningful way, mainly because of a jaded lack of interest and in a few cases a complete lack of understanding, because creating value, not extracting it is just alien and weird…

    So bollocks to the low corporation tax, its useless in any case.

    • Philip

      You know, the MNCs are not entirely to blame. The top management in Ireland saw the game for what it was and indeed were not that interested in activity that would take management time from “volume” of transactions particularly if the majority of same were to be made abroad.

      R&D and other meaningful leveraging of local uniqueness (be it climate, proximity to sea, political stability etc) is just too much “hard” work. And you can see that with the wining and dining of local TDs/ Councillors and the like, the thinking would be replicated.

      In recent years, MNCs now do not even buy locally. Local service suppliers are brushed aside in favour of global supply deals. You name it, Telecoms, Stationary, IT etc. None is locally sourced. So we loose doubly. No Corp tax and no value for local industry except from PAYE adding bits to their consumer lifestyle and for now…monopolies for Power/ Health etc – see the pattern?

      Look, it is easy to tumble into cynical rant. We need to refocus. The reason MNCs should be coming here is to make wealth here that is more difficult anywhere else. Tax breaks can be retweaked if they buy locally (as they do in Germany and France). We need these guys – not just to make PAYE – but to make / stimulate local industrail fabric which we sorely lack.

    • transitionman

      Starbucks UK how about our great FDI Google
      ” The Internet search giant has avoided billions of dollars in income taxes around the world using a pair of tax shelter strategies known as the Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich”
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-10/google-revenues-sheltered-in-no-tax-bermuda-soar-to-10-billion.html

  8. I have been saying for years, long before it became fashionable, that low corporation tax attracts the worst sort of foreign-owned corporations and encourages the most contemptible corporate practices.

    I’d compare it to the prostitute who resorts to the most grotesque ‘tricks’ (like eating excrement) to pull the clients.

  9. Cauldron of Macbeth

    Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

    Oh Dear ……this article is provocative like the bits and pieces that form the taste of the witches cauldron. Such a Bad Taste ….yak.

    I am referring to the mixing of inappropriate words in this article that are shown on the same pedestal and give out all the wrong messages that is detrimental to what should be the real policy of the successive Irish Governments .

    Lets look at them …’ interest of citizens morality’…’what it does with your money once it has sold you a cup of coffee’ …’money laundering’……..’corporation sleight of hands will turn into World Pariah’.

    All the above cannot be said in the same breath as David has done in this article because it is untrue .He is ‘fabricating’ a ‘Christmas Cracker’.

    And the Reason why are :

    1 Corporation Tax of 10% exist for Manufacturing Companies that are value added and do not sell to you the customer .These are usually exported driven companies in value terms.

    2 Zero rate applies in certain cases ‘with limited restrictions’ and again in value terms are not sold to you .

    3 Low Corporation Tax Rates originally began in Shannon Free Airport Zone under a regulated area and with its own custom low rates and again all export driven .

    4 Tax planning is usually applied to manufactured goods for export mainly and are not sold to you so home profits are a separate issue.

    5 Morality may have issues in a narrower context but in an Irish context a Stabucks issue may not arise as shown in this article .I am open to criticism here as I do not have their Irish facts .

    6 Money Laundering and Low CT rates are not related and should not be said in the same breath .

    My take on this is I believe is that the Irish Government should revert back to designated ‘ Free Zones ‘ as in Shannon and regulated it properly as it once did before they de-robbed this classic practice that was then the envy of the world .CT needs to ADAPT and can do and with approval of EU . Otherwise the Irish Gov will lose everything for all the wrong reasons.

  10. DavidIreland

    Remember when our political elite amadans and their developer cheerleaders used to sneer at the Europeans because we here in Ireland were doing it so well and they, the Europeans, really needed to learn from us.
    The Irish establishment was like a boy-band who started to believe they actually had some talent, started to tell the management how it should be done, and eventually started to feel they didn’t need the management at all.
    The Europeans tolerated our low tax rate for years because we were small, we were poor, we had a difficult history, we didn’t rock too many boats, we were a bit of craic. Then we became rich, we started to throw our weight around, we lost the run of ourselves, we became deluded, we started lecturing them. We went on to ruin our banking system and economy.
    Now, there’s no more tolerance for any more crap from us. In fact, we better start getting ready for the day they impose corporation tax at the point of sale. That last shower of eejits – the ones silhouetted against the sunset with their massive bellies and pensions – burned all our bridges in Europe.
    For the rest of us: we need some great new ideas or it’s back to the living standards of the 60′s I think.

  11. Goatstown

    Would we have all the companies in that we have now, with the employment they bring, if it we didn’t have a low corporation tax level?

    Realistically, we’d have plenty of Starbucks probably; there are enough D4s who need their daily hit of pretentachinos. The domestic market is there, certainly in south Dublin.

    Would we have larger companies though? Google? Facebook? We would not, and that’s the simple truth of it.

    Maybe there could be two rates of corporation taxes for multi-national companies depending on how many people they employ here?

    No company would ever choose Ireland over a central European country if the corporation tax rates were the same though, let’s be honest.

    • Or what about different rates of corporation tax (disguised as incentivisation perhaps) depending on the type of business and economic activity engaged in?

      Companies like Starbucks have no choice – they have to bring their produce to the marketplace. The option of closing operations and re-locating simply doesn’t apply if they want to tap into the Irish market. Same applies to agricultural and extractive industries. It all comes down to the type of business that they are engaged in – whether or not it is location based.

      So raise taxes on these type of industries. What can they do about it? They could create a mighty big stink I’m sure, possibly even make life very difficult for certain people. They won’t like it, that much is certain.

      But the reality is that the Irish state is at a point in its history where it is either going to stand or fall. If somebody somewhere doesn’t grow a pair soon, they are going to be cast into oblivion. They are facing increasing irrelevance to be followed by extinction. They can’t even be certain that their pay and pensions are secured.

  12. cianireland

    Corporation Tax compares to rent or paying for a room in a hotel. You pay for what you get- cheap and cheerful vs luxury.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, corporations that setup in Ireland get relatively less in terms of location, talent, infrastructure and so on. Ultimately our headline tax rate and a corporations capacity to take advantage of it is what is attractive. Shareholders love cheap and cheerful.

    According to broad figures quoted (by Mr.Noonan-interpret yourself), foreign multi-nationals directly employ 200,000 people in Ireland. Indirectly they create a further c.400,000. That is 600,000 jobs on this small rock, a massive proportion of our working population and major positive for our pathetic GNP and distracting GDP figures.

    The anti-tax avoidance storm is brewing and the repercussions will be negative for Ireland, probably very. I seriously hope our politicians, policy makers, spin doctors and journalists begin devloping a coherent rationalisation of our position. We will need it.

  13. The MNCs setting up in Ireland do not pay VAT either!

  14. john Cowley

    I often wonder if our corporation tax needs to be quite as low as 12.5%. David would you feel there would be much elasticity in investment drop for Ireland if it increased to say 15%? Would it make foreign HQs pull out or break new deals?

    • cianireland

      Corporate boards are most concerned with stability and a degree of certainty; they hate shocks and like to plan.

      I’ve heard from source that it isn’t necessarily the increase that would bother them, more the way it is delivered. For example if they were told there would be an x% per year increase in the rate, for x years but with a guaranteed cap of x, it wouldn’t be that big an issue. Thankfully our govt’s integrity is intact enough (in the business community) that such a statement would be believed.

      That said, given our government can’t spend to stimulate jobs surely it would be lunacy to pro-actively threaten further losses by frightening off new investment and driving existing business out of the country. Is foreign investment not one of the few options they have to keep and create jobs?

      I would rather see the cost of the public sector addressed before anymore taxing of the private sector. If we’re not careful this country will revert to the Ireland we had a generation ago; where your options were to farm, join the public sector or emigrate.

      The tax rate has been one of the primary drivers for private sector job creation in Ireland for decades. Unfortunately building roads and shoe box apartments on credit and EU handouts doesn’t provide sustainable jobs. I bet a survey would show that all our nice ideas about being ‘a gateway to Europe/highly educated/English speaking/nice for US execs’ would pale into significance relative to the tax rate in terms of numbers of jobs created.

      • cianireland

        Of course demanding a cut to the 60bn plus that we borrowed to bail out central European bond holders should be Plan A. Goes without saying I hope. Its offensive that Greece can riot for writedowns while we play the game and get crushed.

        We need to cut our public sector costs, get rid of the grossly unjust bank bailout burden and continue to court international investment.

        The more we establish the agri/smart foods, funds industry, gaming/IT and pharmaceutical sectors, the more they will cluster and develop spin-off services. This will anchor those industries here and give us competetive advantage beyond a cheap tax rate. We need to aspire to more and we need to invest and drive these initiatives now and fast. If the tax incentive disappears before we have done so the ship will have sailed…

        (possibly to France, where lets remind ourselves they have a lower effective corpo tax rate than Ireland as it is! Joke- no business would want to set-up in France)

        • paddythepig

          Between 2008 and end 2010, taking Anglo Irish bank, 16.7 billion euros was paid out to bond holders, and 46.3 billion euros was paid out to depositors. In Anglo, the depositor bailout was nearly 3 times the size of the bondholders bailout.

          • bonbon

            Who and what are the “depositors” and “bond holders” ? Likely the same. And with the Glass-Steagall laws splitting off “investment” from deposit banking, having been repealed in 2000, the monetary flows between have caused the entire disaster since Lehmann.

            Instead of splitting up the banks along Glass-Steagall lines, some attempt to split hairs.

  15. Deco

    Well, I reckon that this is a case of “let him who has not sinned, cast the first stone”.

    The Netherlands, has facilitated pop stars U2 in avoiding the Revenue.

    France bounced Ireland and Greece into taxpayer funded bailouts to prop up it’s insurance companies.

    Frankfurt is by no means clean.

    Neither is the City of London.

    Then we have all the chicannery that comes from the NYSE.

    Of course, because we are small we are expected to yield to the hypocrisy of the bogger boys.

    Ever think that a power monopolizer like the EU is always going to screw you ?

  16. Deco

    David, be careful concening the issue of legally acceptable tax avoidance. A certain highly public Irish billionaire is trying to get control over large parts of the Irish media. The FG party are doing nothing about this.

    Then we have the SiteServ deal. Personally, I don’t like this because SITESERV is a supplier to the state.

    In he interim, his rivals (like the current boss of INM) (and like a tax obedient CEO from Westmeath) will continue to make swipes at him.

  17. gizzy

    A low corporation tax is not a strategy for employment it is a tactic and is unmeasured in its effectiveness. As someone earlier said it is just a mantra. We preach at people who pay over 50% if an effective tax rate that the 12.5% to large companies is sacroscant and not for changing. We actually had politicians getting animated in Europe over this and only this issue.

    A strategy would be an education system that fosters languages, sciences, electronices and computing from an early age but you would have to take on the INTO for that so bugger that a low tax rate is easier.

  18. Bryan Kavanagh

    And if everyone paid their land rent to the public purse, you could have a zero income tax rate on both labour and capital. Of course, I guess it would still be open for crooked companies like Starbucks to take all the land they occupy overseas?

  19. george

    David what you have said is very courageous!
    .
    1) First let me deal with a practical thing. I never went to Starbucks, and after the latest revelation I’m very glad that I never gave them a penny. Most of the time I go to an Irish own coffee shop, because it sells a great product, and the prices are very reasonable. I saw the owner several times on TV, and I really like him. But one day in which I was in three different shops of that chain around Dublin, I asked myself… how Irish is it? In the first branch I went there were 5 employees, in the second three, and in the last one two, and none were Irish. And really I wonder why. Is it because in the age bracket there are none available for work? Is it because the nature of the work is part time, and people is getting more in social welfare, and the only ones ready to do the work are foreigners?
    .
    2) The worst aspect of the Irish Corporation Tax, is to have to hear the politicians repeating this mantra, “we are not going to increase the Corporation Tax”, when in the midst of this economic crisis, half of one per cent, or even one per cent, will make a huge difference for the Country. And the Corporations are not going to go away because it, when the Corporation Tax is several digits below, of any other European Country.

    I voted no in all the European referendums, because I never believed one word, the main Political Parties in the yes camp were saying. I went along with Mr. Crotty, Patricia McKenna, and even Sinn Fein, but most of the Irish People voted Yes. And now most of them cry foul, because the big Countries in the EU are putting pressure on us, to increase the Corporation Tax. Well guys federalism was a big part of the yes vote, even if you didn’t know what you were signing for. Now it’s to late, and we cannot have an EU a la carte. And be ready, because eventually federal Europe will not only ask for the same tax system for all, but the same welfare system for all, regarding rates and conditions. And we are the most indebted Country in the Western World, and not very self dependant. For the time being, the big shots in the EU make us believe we can pull out of our economic debacle, only because we are paying the bondholders. But eventually they will tighten the nuts, and we’ll be crying like little kids in the dark!

    3) The expansion of the EU, and the Globalisation process, went the wrong way, mainly to benefit big Corporations, who saw in Communist China the best ally. Most of the products made in Asia, that we consume in Europe, are manufactured under conditions that wouldn’t be tolerated in the EU, and would be unlawful. Ten years ago when we started to buy all this goods, we were delighted it were so cheap. But in reality it was like a cancer, that now has destroyed most of the native productive infrastructure, in many European Countries, and has increased unemployment and debt dramatically. More or less the same thing happened when the EU had expanded to the East, without requiring form the new Countries, a proper Social Welfare System, and after it the floodgates to cheap labour were opened. Now young people from Ireland emigrates to find work and rear their family abroad, and young people from other Countries come to work here, and to have babies. In the meantime we are very happy ( as when we voted yes for Europe and for jobs as the slogan went), we still have the highest birth rate in the EU, even if we are running out of classrooms for them, and probably they’ll have to emigrate too. A total mess we could have avoided with the right policies. But nobody wants to think hard and long, not only politicians but the electorate as well. Responsibly thinking takes a big effort, and few are ready to do it.
    In many ways we have signed over the doted without bodering, and now it’s a bit to late to cry foul!

    .

  20. SMOKEY

    Botom line here is, firstly the title of the article should be “The Gathering” secondly, uh ,….R.I.P. OFF IRELAND.
    Nuff said. David I know you dont write the article titles.

  21. Clare Leonard

    Baltic Dry Index plunge. The idea peddled by the government that Ireland can
    grow our way out of this depression through multi national exports is more than a little fanciful, I believe our future is in Irish agribusiness. Clare.
    ———————————————
    see report below.-

    Amid growing concern that the global economy is teetering on the edge of a total collapse, governments in Europe, China and the United States continue to manipulate statistics in an effort to paint a picture of recovery and a return to normalcy.

    But despite their best efforts to fabricate positive employment numbers, GDP growth, currency stability and stock market health, the stark reality is that the global economy is at a standstill, and has been since before the crash of 2008.

    Economic growth is measured by how much we produce and consume, and before the bursting of the bubble there was an unprecedented level of consumption in America and throughout the rest of the world. But when credit markets and lending froze in response to a loss of confidence in the financial system following the collapse of investment giants Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch, the economy as we had come to know it fell apart.

    Consumption fell off a cliff and left America in its deepest recessionary environment since the 1930′s.

    For those paying attention to the Baltic Dry Index, a global measure of the costs to transport raw materials, this collapse was reflected several months before panic gripped investors and led to stock market crashes around the world.

    Introduced in 1985, the Baltic Dry Index first and foremost is a measure of the global shipping rates of dry bulk goods, mostly consisting of vital raw materials used in the creation of other products. However, it is also a measure of demand for said materials in comparison to previous months and years.

    Source: Alt Market

    In essence, the price of transporting goods collapsed — to its lowest levels ever. That old theory of supply and demand was the culprit. You see, when there is no money to buy goods, there is no demand for said goods. This puts pressure on transportation companies who make a living moving products from port to port around the world. But because no one was able to consume, there was no need to ship anything. This forced transportation companies to reduce their freight rates in an effort to stay competitive.

    As the chart above demonstrates, there was a massive drop-off in prices during the summer of 2008, at right about the time Americans were getting wind a recession was looming. There was a slight bounce in response to the multi-trillion dollar bailouts promised by Congress and Presidents Bush and Obama, but the bubble created on cheap borrowing and negligent lending couldn’t be blown back up.

    Four years on, with literally tens of trillions of dollars infused into the system by central banks all over the world, transportation rates for goods remain at near all time lows, suggesting that our governments’ best efforts have failed miserably.

    And rather than the economic improvement touted by the best and brightest of our politicians, economists and financial gurus, we are nowhere near where we were before the crash.

    In fact, it’s getting worse, as evidenced by the latest Baltic Dry Index report, which this morning experienced its biggest single day drop since 2008:

    It has been a while since we looked at the Baltic Dry Index, which when normalizing for the excess glut in dry container ship supply (such as right now — 5 years after all the excess supply in the industry — has long been normalized), continues to be one of the best concurrent indicators of global shipping and trade. We look at it today, moments ago it just posted an epic 8.2% plunge, crashing from 900 to 826, or the biggest drop since 2008! Of course, conisdering the collapse in global trade confirmed in past days by both Chinese and US data, this should not come as a surprise, although we are certain it will merely bring out the BDIY apologists who tell us that supply and demand here (like in every other Fed-supported market) are completely uncorrelated.

    Source: Zero Hedge

    The bottom line is that American consumers are broke (and hungry). But not only are we broke, we owe more than we can ever hope to make to pay back the loans we took on during ‘the boom times.’

    The notion that we are somehow in an economic recovery while 100 million Americas are classified as poor, with hundreds of thousands entering poverty on a monthly basis is ridiculous on its face.

    We are in serious trouble folks.

    Had you asked Americans in the Spring of 2008 if they were ready for the coming real estate bubble collapse and stock market crash that would see 40% of their wealth wiped out they would have laughed in your face.

    They’ll laugh in your face today, too, should you tell them things are only going to get worse. But the numbers don’t lie.

    We are in what many have referred to as America’s next great depression.

    Laugh if you want, but reality will soon take that smile right off your face.

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    Author: Mac Slavo
    Views:Read by 10,384 people
    Date: December 12th, 2012
    Website:www.SHTFplan.com

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    • cooldude

      Interesting article Clare. Only a couple of months ago DMcW was telling all of us how the US had turned a corner and was heading back to growth. Well it would seem that the only growth going on is in the number of people on foodstamps (the modern equivalent of soup kitchens) and is up one million in the last two months alone. That brings the total number of Americans on foodstamps to 47.7 million. Printing money has never and never will create prosperity. This policy of endless competitive devaluation of currencies WILL end very badly and will eventually lead to extreme inflation and destruction of this current experiment in unbacked currencies. Ben Bernanke’s policies are not working and he is going to learn some real life lessons soon in that excessive money printing does create jobs but it does create misery for millions of people.
      http://www.mybudget360.com/food-stamp-economic-recovery-2012-21-million-food-stamp-adds-recession-employment-ratio/

  22. ian22

    here we are debating the merits of the low corporation tax when we have the highest paid gobshite…ooops i mean leader in the world.we probably have the highest paid people in all areas of public office than any other eu country and all we can debate is the tax take from google et al!!!wake up people…as long as this farce continues then the moral authority is non existent and we will be forever seen as the basket case that we are.we have buffoons and spoofers running the country.anyone see max keiser lambasting noonan on his tv show?now theres a guy id like to elect to dail eireann.

  23. France is a Registered Enemy of The Irish Corporation Tax Rate and Tax System

    Ryanair has more regional airports in France than any other country …well almost. However it does not have any Hub Centers like it does elsewhere .Neither does it employ ground staff as it does in other countries .Why ? Because the French Enarchs make that very difficult to do so .If not impossible.

    Despite many attempts by Ryanair to ‘develope’ a normal business plan in France , it failed.

    The French Courts are a common place for Ryanair to do their battle ground in their effort ‘to reform’ , alas in vain.

    Simply the French will not accept the ‘Systeme Fiscale D’Irlande’ in France . No Matter .It refuses to recognise any French national working in France for Ryanair to be taxed under an Irish Tax System like other countries do .So much for EU Common Market….except when you are in France …beware.

    Yes there is an increasing hostility in other countries to a perceived immoral tax system and as I have said above The Finance Acts ( Irish )need to ADAPT to a new level and re-inforce the original principles of the late Brendan O’Reagan from Cratloe Co. Clare who created this low CT rate initially .

    • Deco

      France is on an ongoing trajectory to Marxist failure. And France will not cease until the failure occurs.

      http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.de/2012/12/france-unemployment-rate-hits-103-youth.html

      The ethos of the spoiled brat revolution has been growing in popularity. It needs an opportunity to “experiment”.

      My only advice, is that if you know anybody who owns property in France to get out. And there are Irish people who own real estate in France.

      A state that is going to regulate the labour market even more, even though this is undermining the labour market. This will feed through to the real estate market. And this will crash real estate in France.

      I expect you to see this in the next 12 months.

      The left are in control in France. The French Left have the Presidency, the Assembly, and the Senate. They have several large cities also.

      They are in power, and they are feeling unconstrained by any of the constraints that may have limited them before. Now, they will implement policies that they have been longing to implement for decades.

      France, has turned energetically, enthusiastically, and emphatically to the left. There will be left wing commentators in TASC and in the Irish media who will look on approvingly, even if they are afraid of offending IBEC.

      This is unavoidable. But is it is not inescapable.

      • France has always been Marxist that is not new and very successful at that too .What is new is that it wants to piggy back out of its financial woes like it did when they changed from the French Franc to the Euro .That is why the love affair with Merkel has always been ‘paramount’ maybe ‘paramour echangiste ‘ among the ‘fonctionnaires’.

        Now in the Abyss of Despair it does not know where to turn because it considers this fiscal crisis to be ‘ebolique de orifices ‘ a cure that cannot be found.

        How about more ‘foie gras’ ?

      • Eireannach

        I don’t know why Deco, but you have always been, and remain to this day, in denial not only about the power of France in Europe, but more specifically about the prominent role that France MUST play in the future of Ireland.

        Starting, first of all, with the end of our predatory 12.5% corp tax rate.

        Whether Deco likes it, or not.

        • Deco

          I am not in denial. I simply want nothing to do with the nonsense that has been dominating France, since the fall of de Gaulle.

          France has figured out a complex, solidly thought out road to failure. Well, let them on their way then. See how that works out. But we don’t want any part of it.

          France does not have a “right” to cause rot in other countries. But if France feels that it has a “right” to cause rot in their own country, and that France has a “right” to proclaim it the way forward, then that really is their own business.

  24. Dorothy Jones

    David…see Karl Whelan’s just tweeted that Irish Pictorial Weekly might be stealing your material!

    You’d better watch out……He’s making a list and checking it twice … :)

  25. tony_murphy

    David,

    how about no one pays tax!

    where does most of tax money go?

    globalist bankers.. to hell with them

  26. Tony Brogan

    chaff blowing in the wind while the money masters clean up.
    read who really is in control then set your policies.
    most are in denial

    http://www.gold-eagle.com/gold_digest/markus112297.html.

  27. cianireland

    Today’s Financial Times p 24- Henderson (Global Investors asset management group) returns to London from Dublin.

    The FTSE 250 listed company that manages 65bn only moved to Dublin in 2008 and is already leaving. Proof that our MNC’s are not that entrenched and are highly mobile.

    Why? Because the UK reduced their tax rates. Yes it is a race to the bottom, but it is a race and unfortunately it is pretty much the only race in this town! We don’t have the infrastructure/location etc.

    Global advertising group WPP are also to announce plans to leave Dublin for London.

    Can we raise the rate from 12.5%? How about we reduce it and go rogue? If we’re all set to be pariahs we may as well make the most of it… joking.

    But these departures clearly highlight how easy it is for the corporations to move and how willing they are to do so to protect the bottom line.

    The foreign MNC canary is looking woozy in the proverbial mine. Irelands GDP and employment figures are under threat.

  28. Lord Jimbo

    There is something of a irony as the writer mentions the capitalist game and the way companies play it in a way which at times comes across as ‘all is fair in love and war’ and yet is a tad exercised when a CEO uses PR spin in an effort to dampen the fallout over the efforts that go into limiting a company’s tax exposure, a major aspect of the capitalist game.

    For me at least, it is one and the same, the system is the problem and ‘movements’ fighting this beast have been around for decades, like the global social justice movement and activists like Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky who the writer has interviewed. It is not as if the corporate world has been working in splendid isolation, there are many who have been long challenging the appalling practices that have been going on with the recent revelations about one particular bank laundering drug money being particularly despicable.

  29. DarraghD

    You only need to look at the ease of access that the multinational corporations that based here, would appear to have to our government, the strength of which was revealed in the media this week, to be able to see the very obvious connection between this absolute obsession at government level, with our 12.5 Corporate Tax rate, and this open door policy for our MNC’s in this state.

    Just like how our government painted themselves into a corner with the property bubble of the day, our complete reliance now on the multinational corporations based here, particularly when we take into account that our current government do not believe we can create employment for ourselves, the only plan for jobs in this country is now based totally on attracting FDI, this monster that we have grown here, is now dictating our taxation policy to us, growling back to us the ever present threat that “we’ll walk if you increase Corporation Tax”.

    We’ve tolerated this sacred beast now, just like we’ve let another sacred cow, the public sector, growl at us that they will not be touched, so we proceed to re-anoint the sacred cow status upon them, and we turn around and cut a respite grant for carers. We are truly a SICK country.

    • gizzy

      Sacred Cows is an apt description Darragh for Corpration tax,Croke Park Agreement and Cap. Everything else is fair game for slash and burn.

      Sacred cows equal power to lobby MNCs, public service and farmers. Other parties too disparate to influence policy.

  30. Paris75013

    Hi Deco,

    Interesting advice you’ve given to Irish property owners in France!

    The only problem is that there is no way out because it is now very difficult to sell up. There have been major changes recently regarding capital gains on property in France. In early 2012, Sarkozy extended the relief on capital gains for second homes from 15 years to 30 years! This has really impacted the second homes market.

    But worse still, a few weeks ago, Hollande has introduced a special clause on capital gains relating to your main home ‘domicile’ (up to now, you didn’t pay capital gains tax on your main home). If you sell your home, and invest the sum in a new home, no capital gains tax to be paid. But if you sell up, and decide to invest the sum in something else (a business venture), you do pay capital gains tax. If you want to downgrade (and live in a smaller home, because your children are grown up), you pay capital gains tax on the price difference.

    My neighbour who is 80 yrs old is selling her home to live in a nursing home, and is now liable for capital gains tax (35%!).

    If I want to sell my home in Paris and move to another country, even though prices have doubled in the last 10 years, I will end up paying most of that in capital gains. The only way to avoid it is to invest the same sum in another main home in France (within a 2-year period).

    Gérard Depardieu is the latest in the long list of ‘rich’ French people to have left France (moved to Belgium just one km from the French border).

    France is really going nowhere but it’s not that easy to get up and go.

    • There is still hope to avoid CGT in France Paris .Have you heard of ‘Viager’….it still works.

      • Do you know why Gerard Depardieu and Michael O Leary will never meet ?

        Because O Leary pees standing up ( no seats on the plane) and Depardieu pees in his seat .

        ———————————————-

        Actually Depardieu is a shady character of late with his recent choice of filming with issues from the despots of the wild cat Russians in the Balkans and partying to their philosophies of death and destruction. Also his recent court appearances for careless scootering in Paris

        He is a displacement and now displaced and will not be missed either .

    • Deco

      France is running itself into a silly maze of complications that mess up the lives of ordinary citizens. And this is clear in the examples that you provide. They are messing with the housing market. Soon there will be lots of demand and no market.

      A lot of French money is in Geneva. A lot of private French money is in Canada, in the Quebec resource sector. A lot of French business and technology graduates are in London. Some are in New York. A lot of the best French engineers are working in San Jose, or Texas making America richer. Some of them are of them in Dublin, or in Galway. Some French technologists are in Southern Germany. Some are in Singapore. They show up everywhere. They end up where they get appreciated.

      France is a country that has produced daftness and expressed it intellectually. In real terms it makes one step towards nonsense after another.

      They have so embraced protecting people from themselves, that they have made life for people miserable.

      Disaster up ahead. I wonder will there be a De Gaulle figure who puts the common interest before all others, and who is pragmatic to a tee, instead of being perfectly clueless like all the rulers since 1979.

      Will common sense prevail ? The real problem most French people who have left will tell you, is that there is too much prevalent nonsense going around, for common sense to prevail.

      • Well now. I remember you saying the same about Ireland about 4 years ago Deco. The only difference being we’re ever so slightly smaller than La Belle
        France.
        The French I work with are really worried that they will turn into us. At least those with perception are. Those maintaining the old arrogances persevere with the aura of denial typical of post war liberationists.
        It can all happen again and God help us, it is well on the road.
        I seldom disagree with our host but on the issue of corporation tax , I think this is a red herring. The Irish rate of corporation tax is an elite tax. Elite insofar as only a select cabal need worry about it. I would be delighted to have this burden to deal with. But like the “Gathered”, because you have to be “Gathered”to have a Gathering, my taxes are paid abroad. Because I can’t get into the club that pays the 12 percent. I can’t get work here. Look at most of the sensible commentators on this site. We are all expats who would love to be in a position to pay this 12 percent but can’t. Ireland’s “disappeared”.
        Having said that, I’m doing very well elsewhere, thanks be to God. I’ve helped and advised many to find viable employment elsewhere while this neo con right wing regime we call a democracy infests this country like a sciortán.
        I don’t think we will be held up as a financial pariah. David always says the markets have no memory. Quite right. But neither have they nor their mutated organs, sovereign governments, any moral compass. This country is now a convenient, ostensibly respectable Vehicle to process funds for the globalised few.
        To totally misquote the finest drinker in history ” Never in the field of economic opportunism, has so much been owed by so few to so many”.

        I would like to take this opportunity to wish our host and all who take the time to contribute here a Happy, Peaceful and worry free Christmas.
        At the end of the day, we’ve seen the back of another shocking year. With Gods help, it won’t go on forever.
        Dia Dhuit a chairde go léir.
        Joe

        • bonbon

          And that drinker, if he had his way, would have fed the war with the entire Irish population. His Operation Unthinkable, to use the just defeated Wehrmacht to attack the Soviets shows the sheer blood lust of the drinker and smoker. He managed to take Truman over when FDR (his arch enemy) died, and Nagasaki was the result.
          It is said Fat Man was named after that Drinker.

        • A worry free Christmas to you too furrylugs

          I enjoyed your post

  31. Paris75013

    There have always been plenty of ‘viager’ offers around but it’s a risky business. Jeanne Calment was 122 yrs old when she died (she outlived those who had bought her home). French people generally have a healthy livestyle and a varied diet, and they do really do live long very long lives!

    Another neighbour of mine (about 82 yrs old) sold her apartment as a viager about 7 years ago (and my sister in Ireland was sort of interested, but didn’t buy it in the end). It was probably a good thing, as I can’t tell you how much this 82 yr-old neighbour is the life and soul of the party when we have our summer ‘fête des voisins’ in the courtyard.

  32. Paris75013

    All depends on where you want to buy. The Paris intra muros property market is a different market to the rest of France (prices start at €8500 m2). The risk isn’t the same if you’re buying a little house in a village in the middle of nowhere & hard to get to place for about €100k (for this sort of property, it’s a buyer’s market at the moment).

    • I understand ….but there is an expertise in all of this and its a matter of striking the value venal , bouquet , rente , and a realistic age …..and orientation . It can be so easy if you know the tricks.

    • Eireannach

      Paris75013,

      T’es toujours au 13e arrondissement? Dire que Paris coûte chère, n’est pas le mot juste. Fou, plutôt.

      Look, it’s simple.

      Every single city in Europe is too expensive in a Europe without borders. If Paris costs €8500/m2, whereas Berlin cost a fraction of that, and Vilnius, Bucharest and Minsk a fraction of Berlin, then eventually, by the law of gravity, Paris must fall to a more stable level.

      It may not happen in 2013, but the long term trend is for prices in East Europe to rise, and West Europe to fall.

      This is the simple rule of thumb to understand the macro-trand of the next decade or two or three.

      Rural France, and nowadays rural Ireland, are good places to buy because the conditions for bubbles don’t obtain anymore.

    • Paris 75013

      Here is a viager near you for sale currently:

      NATURE :Rue GLACIERE 75013 (GLACIERE) dans un immeuble de 1975, 2 pièces 45m², 7ème ascenseur + parking et cave. Occupé homme 71 ans, prix: 50.000€ + 1.000€ par mois
      Valeur libre : 400.000 Euros
      Prix:50.000€ + 1.000€ par mois
      Nombre de pièces : 2 pièces
      Surface : 45 m²

      SITUATION
      Adresse : rue de la GLACIERE
      Code postal : 75013
      Ville : PARIS
      Quartier : GOBELINS, ARAGO
      Métro : GLACIERE

      CONSTRUCTION
      Année : 1975
      Matériaux : moderne
      Nombre d’étages : 9

      CONFORT
      Numéro d’étage : 7ème
      Vue : rue
      petit balcon
      Exposition : ouest
      Chauffage : central immeuble radiateur
      Ascenseur : oui
      Gardienne :oui

      DESIGNATION Entrée, cuisine, salon, chambre, salle de bains, w-c séparé, placards, cave , parking.
      Parking : oui
      Chambre de service : non
      Cave : oui

      ETAT
      Etat : état moyen
      Toiture : bon état
      Ravalement : bon état
      Cage d’escalier : bon état

      REMARQUES
      Charges : 524€ par trimestre
      Impôt foncier : 711€ par an

  33. Stiofan

    David, the business of accounting is rather different to that of economics. That perhaps explains why you would have done very little (possibly none) accounting in your studies and that accountants do little (possibly none) economics in theirs. The two are similar only in the fact that they deal with money, and yet economists don’t do much of that either. Simply speak to Steve Keen briefly to get an idea of what economists generally understand about money.

    Given economists’ very poor level of knowledge it’s hard to believe that they know about tax either. Therefore, all the emotional MSM uproar around which company pays tax where, and how much, and when, and where they get their revenues, and what part of their profits that may (or may not) constitute, and where those profits are accounted, and repatriated … none of that makes sense to your average economist. There is a certain logic in there. It’s not very important, or relevant, or likely to influence our society or republic. The tax affairs of large companies that are not incorporated in Ireland are not the business of Ireland. Simply consider where one might expect the ‘tax’ on their bottle of Coke to end up. It’s quite difficult to get any idea. I’d say that Coca Cola is not a ‘tax avoider’ and attempts to smear it are not fair.

    I feel that you are incorrect to declare that ‘it is clear that the company should pay tax in the country where it raises the revenue’. The state extracts a high VAT on the transaction. The state extracts tax from the wages of the local staff, and from all the other goods and services, licenses and logistics that the company uses in Ireland. Why do you bang on about corporate profits? They are taxed elsewhere. If an Irish subsidiary exists it is taxed on profits at the same rate as all Irish companies. I am personally opposed to a uniform corporate tax rate across the EU, including Ireland. If Irish companies pay over 30 percent tax on profits they should get something for it, such as would occur in a non-basket-case country. At present all Irish tax disappears into the fiscal black hole created illegally by Lenihan and Cowan. Irish companies paying tax in Ireland get the same as the rest of the population for their tax: nothing at all.

    In this country the corporate tax rate reflects the relationship with the state: low tax — low services. Why pay 35 percent and get nothing?

  34. StephenKenny

    I don’t understand any of this. The UK I can understand, as the UK is, in fact, just a 60 million person TV advert.

    But for everyone else, I’m amazed: If the government says “You only have to pay 10% tax if, at 4pm each day, you stand on your head and count to ten slowly”, then the country would be full of people, at 4pm, standing on their heads and so on.

    The international argument simply means that somewhere else there are people standing on their heads.
    If you want to tax big companies, then introduce a tax that “looks through” avoidance techniques, and taxes big turnover on the basis of international profits, or whatever.

    All this absurd theatrics with CEOs “squirming’ is 100% for the cameras, and all those taking part know it.

  35. StephenKenny

    and so what if rich people leave? How many people would lose their jobs if a rich person moved country. Really.
    Would they shut down a complex operation (i.e. one employing lots of people), with all the costs that entails, and then start the same thing up somewhere else, even if that made economic sense, with all the extra costs at that end? It would be an act of pure, silly, spite – and rich people didn’t get rich by being silly.

    This is just rich people doing to us exactly what the banks did to the politicians in 2008 – threatening the end of the world unless they get their way. Nothing more. It wasn’t true then, and it’s not true now.

  36. StephenKenny

    and finally, one of the implications of the worry of rich people leaving is that they are the only people who can set up and run successful businesses.
    If this is correct, then we may as well all pack up and go an live in Iceland, where they’re clearly far, far, better at this than anyone in Ireland/UK/France/wherever-else-is-complaining.

    It isn’t true. Clearly.

  37. george

    MONEY AS DEBT by Paul Grignon. Nobody should miss it!-Look at it in the corresponding order, and you’ll have two hour of fascinating analysis. You’ll clearly understand the magnitude of the scam, and the terrible evil that Private Banks represent for the humanity.

    Wikipedia: Money as Debt is a short animated documentary film by Canadian artist[1] and filmmaker Paul Grignon about the monetary systems practiced through modern banking.[2] The film presents Grignon’s view of the process of money creation by banks and its historical background, and warns of his belief in its subsequent unsustainability.[3]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=jqvKjsIxT_8&NR=1
    (MONEY IS DEBT PART 1)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsmbWBpnCNk (MONEY AS DEBT PART 2)

  38. Paris75013

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your ‘viager’ advert. It just seems so expensive especially if the guy lives for another 20 years or more! And it’s only a 45m2 one bedroom apartment! And not even a Haussmanian building!

    How come you know so much about ‘viagers’? Have you spent a lot of time here at some stage?

    Eireannach,

    Yes, I’m still hanging out here in the 13ème. 12 years in fact!

  39. nh1999

    Ireland is a very confused country that lacks policy direction. In the private sector we portray the attributes of true capitalists. support entrepreneurs, low corporate tax rates, low unit labour costs. yet on the public side we have a public sector pay & welfare problem that is typical of a socialist country. it seems the private sector has raced ahead into the modern age yet the public sector has been left behind wallowing in cronyism and the way things use to be done. we need to address the latter. sadly, we don’t have the political leadership in place. it seems we will compromise and send out confusing signals. come here and set up your business, but we are going to tax you if you make money. hhhmmm. how does that work. sadly, the only solutions to the countries woes is growth, more jobs which ultimately result in a higher tax take. not higher tax rates and penalising the wealthy. people seem to forget that every bean that gets paid into any ones bank account has its origins in enterprise. if you are a public sector servant you are getting paid out of tax revenue from the private sector. in modern society business & the private sector last. the problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other prople’s money.

    • Deco

      Ireland is policy mayhem.

      Richard Bruton flying around the world looking for jobs, and local authorities putting businesses out of business. In fact we have local authorities who are pre-occuppied with sucking the last penny out of businesses that are in existence and that employ people.

      And all so that lcoal authority workers can spend three weeks a year in Spain getting suntan, and spend the rest of the year talking about their holidays.

      • george

        “Richard Bruton flying around the world looking for jobs, and local authorities putting businesses out of business. In fact we have local authorities who are pre-occupied with sucking the last penny out of businesses that are in existence and that employ people.”

        Deco the best practical analysis I’ve heard in long time!

        The contradiction of their actions is so clear, and the nonsense so obvious that leave us absolutely hopeless. In the meantime they keep hammering the message that the Croke Park Agreement is delivering, and that going back to the markets for funding is a clear sign that the Country is recovering!

        • Deco

          George,

          The current government policy is a trajectory that will arrive at a destination called Bailout 2.0. They are not fixing the state finances. They are wasting money. They are sustaining an unsustainable expenditure level.

          It will end in another bankruptcy. And the EU response will be the same as it was for Greece.

  40. Tony Brogan

    Nigel Farage
    Over the last 10-12 years clever governments have been buying gold while idiots have been selling.

    http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2012/12/14_Nigel_Farage_On_The_Queens_Tour_of_Britains_Gold_Vault.html

    • Deco

      [ But I’m just struck that if you look over the last 10 to 15 years, the clever governments have been buying gold, and the idiots have been selling gold. And those that buy gold don’t just buy paper, they make sure they’ve physically got the stuff.” ]

      Was the term “idiot” a refernce to Gordon Brown perhaps ? Or to Tony Blair ?

      [
      "Well, for the moment Mario Draghi has told the world that everything is fine in Europe and there isn’t going to be a problem.”
      ]

      How could somebody with so much responsibilty be that clueless ?

      • Tony Brogan

        They are not clue less. They get their paycheque from the money masters. They do as they are told.
        just like we will see no change in DMW as he gets his paycheque from the Irish establishment media.

        • Bit of a low swipe there Tony.

          • Tony Brogan

            Yes and no, but to recognise the presures put on those that wish to or are capable of reform.

            There are those that call on David to lead but he has to eat and to feed his family. I expect no changes.
            DMW is a brilliant man but will not deliver a solution, only observation. He is providing outlets for discussion, for which we are thankful.

            Changes have to come from the people.
            There is an option offered in the idea of Direct Democrocy Ireland but there is a lot of negative feedback even on here, the home of the enlightened, and so the people are not ready for change. A few are willing to try.

            Restore the governing process to the people and restore a proper banking system are two esentials and a third is to revoke the odious debt to remove theyoke from the people.

            David explores around the edges but not the basic issues.
            This blog is now talking about the debt based money system because of the posting of a u-tube series.
            I have been hammering that theme for months to no avail. Credibility is key.

            We will see no discussion in the mainstream press on these issues as the establishment like the status quo.
            DMW will be published while attracting readership but “don’t rock the boat” is the maxim or he will not be published.

            There is no free press, it is controlled tightly as to what we read and see.
            That is the reason the alternative media is flourishing as people search for the truth.
            Russia Today and Al Jazeera are a couple of examples and there are the numerous blog sites including this one. The internet is the key to freedom of information.

            “He who pays the piper calls the tune” is as true today as it ever was.
            Just an observation of the likely truth open to rebuttle not a low blow.

          • bonbon

            The “Austrian School” does not provide a solution. It postures as “the holders” of (golden) truth with an extreme monetarist POV. A rigid “statist” monophonic reading of finance betrays the lack of economic principle, which is not unique to the Austrian School. Real reform means Glass-Steagall, and massive reconstruction immediately, losing no step, with Public Credit for this urgent necessity. A polyphonic approach is far more musical than a chant.

          • StephenKenny

            I agree with Furrylugs on this, it is a low swipe.

            DMW brings a degree of reality to a world which is otherwise dominated by the party line. Not only do 99% want to believe that everything is in safe hands, and that those in charge know what they’re doing, but there is a media who almsot totally refuses to consider anything else.

            DMW walks the fine line between these people and reality.

            Being a Cassandra is only impressive, or useful, after the event. Being correct is the easy bit, persuading the majority is quite another matter.

          • Dorothy Jones

            Was a low swipe Tony. You use David’s blog to spread your message and leave your messages!

          • Tony Brogan

            I apoligize to those who are offended, including David himself.
            I agree with Stephen Kenny.
            “DMW walks the fine line between these people and reality.”

            In recognising the difficulty of David’s position in “the real world” I am surprised he has achieved what he has. But I do not expect miracles as “David has to feed his family” and he does so by getting a regular publication that is widely read. I have also a great deal of admiration for DMW as he “walks the fine line”.

          • Dorothy Jones

            Big of you indeed

          • Realist

            Bonbon,

            > The “Austrian School” does not provide a solution.
            How do you know when you did not read 1 book about them?

            Of course Austrians have the solution across all economic problems.

        • Dorothy Jones

          You seem to have a lot to say; why not start your own blog?

          David’s done a great job over a long period of time.

          Anyone can be a flat racer. It takes integrity and strength to be a steeplechaser.

          • Tony Brogan

            True enough, that David has done a great job;
            but he is not God to be set on a pedistal and worshipped by the great unwashed. With praise and recognition also comes criticism.

            Flat racers are stallions while steeplchasers are geldings. Given the option there I’d prefer to remain a flat racer. You seem to prefer steeplechasers.

          • bonbon

            Let’s not worship gold.

            It is a polyphonic world, chants are not what it takes.

          • Dorothy Jones

            well you make up your mind about what other people think. good luck with that.

          • Dorothy Jones

            and by the way tony; i make my own mind up about what i think. do yo understand exactly what i am saying to you.D

          • Realist

            I agree with Tony here.

            We are free to discuss on open public forums.
            We do not need our own blogs to do so.
            David never responded to any criticism, so we can always say he is not a proper blogger neither.

            I think we all came here to hear something interesting.
            David is delivering some interesting stuff, from time to time, but not enough.
            He is not expressing any hard opinions neither.
            I did not see he wants changes to be honest.
            He is also flip-flopping between government support and opposition.

            As Tony is saying this is no good to change anything.

  41. Deco

    Contrary to all the nonsense we have heard from the Irish media since the early 1990s, we really are a one trick pony show in this country.

    We depend on taxation policy. Without that we would be Scotland without sterling subsidies or oil.

    And to think that we spent most of the past fifteen years spending like crazy, in “celebration” (as we were instructed) of exactly what I have not yet figured out.

    Beware the herd effect in Ireland. It always precedes disaster.

  42. The charges levelled at HSBC warranted serious jail time but it was impressed upon the judge that putting these guys behind bars would be letting the side down and ‘undermine confidence’. Just not cricket you see. But! …. you get 6 years for smuggling garlic!

    This monty python movie has been going on for years now and the waking world has realised that the majority of humanity is living under tyranny. Perhaps it is this mass awakening the Mayans were predicting. It sounds more likely than us being wiped out by HAL or a nuclear war on Mid Winters day

    This case is a good example of where the square and compass comes in. It was not as bad as Stasi GDR but I saw the power of queer handshakes at work and it left me with a chill. It is everywhere and if you are not in the club then you can buy any favour you like provided you have the readies

    Well that’s ok. Why didn’t they just say? Sure we would have understood they were doing it for our own good

    Starbucks listens to its customers. And so does FF, FG, LAB and all the others who have thick wedges to spend on image consultants. Sure even Hitler liked to put on a good front hah ha

    • bonbon

      The regulators and prosecutors, in a press conference in New York City, defended the Obama Administration decision by saying that prosecuting HSBC or lifting its banking license “would have had too much collateral damage.”

      In other words, the threat of bank panic was again the excuse for allowing the banksters to avoid any consequences for their speculations and crimes, TBTF financial blackmail. In such cases “cooperation with the authorities”, spilling the beans, is likely going on. Other big banks are likely now deleting emails!

      • If emails are archived and undeletable it would not make any difference. Plus it is computer systems administrators who have ultimate control over data

        Any politically active sys admin could be watching every move in an organisation. If he or she is the sort who never discusses politics then they are he will be even more difficult to detect. It is a world of power and extreme paranioa. That is why I never became a sys admin

        Everything is a sham and we are suffering from information overload today HAL. The net has lifted the lid on how the whole world operates and the system has openly gone rogue

        The people who create the systems are not cutting the mustard

  43. george

    In part 3 of MONEY AS DEBT Mr. Grignon makes the most comprehensive analysis, of the greed and corruption that Governments and Banks wants to perpetuate, through the inflexibility of the monetary system, and the foul idea of perpetual cycle of growth and debt. And Mr. Grignon give us most of the answers we are looking for. He agrees with David’s idea of debt forgiveness, and the impossibility of paying an imposed and extortive debt. So what credible argument do most of our unimaginative political class and their advisors have left?

    The links for part 1 and 2 are in my previous comment. If you are interested, you can find “part 3″ in the web, because although I’ve the link, the system doesn’t seem to accept it.

  44. Napoleon has been known to win many wars and was Emperor at age 35 but he is remembered for only the loss of one war namely Waterloo where he was defeated by an Irishman the Duke of Wellington .

    What is not known about him outside of France is he creation of ‘ Code Civile ‘ that currently forms everything that France really is and especially its leaders in Industry ,Politics, and Civil Service.

    No English speaking country in the world can boast of such a strong centralised management structure with strength and endurance as this legacy given to the French.

    Even Ml ~O’Leary cannot open a door with this Enarchy he finds surrounding him. It is so powerful , strong , centralised ( Jacobin) and a clique that cannot be repeated elsewhere .

    What relevance has the ‘Enarchy’ on Ireland ? A LOT . Its current ignorance is a whitewash to the Irish Media and Politics . Its lack of visibility on everything NOW that is happening in this country and is astonishing ….except to a few….and Noonan is not one of those.So this is where Noonan and O’Leary have failed and only now you know that .

    Lets tease your minds now a little deeper and ask :

    Who approved the Budget ?

    Who decides the next payment or non- payment on march 31st ( Bonds) ?

    How many in the ECB, IMF , World Bank ,European Commission , French Presidents and senior Ministers etc are members of the Enarchy ? They are a clique and an Elite class above anybody from Ireland .

    Why so many senior posts were approved to take early retirement in the ivil service ? Who has replaced them ?

    The tentacles of Code Civil or Code Napoleon are NOW upon us in other ways we are only now learning …alas…too late.

    Enarchy has already consumed Industry in Ireland as follows:

    Guinness & Whiskey Diageo), Veoilia , Danone , JC Decaux ( Advertising ) , Connex ( Luas Transport) , BNP , etc

    Alors….alors…..garcon…encore de foie gras s’il vous plait ..merci.

    • bonbon

      Lets not whitewash Napoleon, he was the protofascist. Hitler said it.

      Napoleon was actually defeated at Borodino. Waterloo was a mopping up affair. Russia has not forgotten this. Some apparently here have.

      Napoleon’s mentor, de Maistre, of the Synarchist reactionary movement against the US successful defeat of the British Empire, created the Napoleon beast project. There you will find answers to all the questions. The key is deMaistre.

      • Dick Cheneys reading on deMaistre :

        Unhappily, history proves that war is, in a certain sense, the habitual state of mankind, which is to say that human blood must flow without interruption somewhere or other on the globe, and that for every nation, peace is only a respite…. If you … examine people in all possible conditions from the state of barbarism to the most advanced civilization, you always find war….

        Yet there is room to doubt whether this violent destruction is, in general, such a great evil as is believed…. First, when the human soul has lost its strength through laziness, incredulity, and the gangrenous vices that follow an excess of civilization, it can be retempered only in blood…. Mankind may be considered as a tree which an invisible hand is continually pruning and which often profits from the operation. In truth the tree may perish if the trunk is cut or if the tree is overpruned; but who knows the limits of the human tree? What we do know is that excessive carnage is often allied with excessive population…. Now the real fruits of human nature–the arts, sciences, great enterprises, lofty conceptions, manly virtues–are due especially to the state of war. We know that nations have never achieved the highest point of the greatness of which they are capable except after long and bloody wars. [emphasis in the original][17]

        • bonbon

          These are deMaistre’s own words as the link shows. deMaistre is claimed as a Christian authority by conservatives such as Cheney recently. Martinism.

          The “better law”, Synarchism, means dissolution of nation states under the night of a bankers dictatorship. Exactly what’s going on. Coudenhove-Kalergi’s EU is just that.

      • Deco

        I am with Bonbon on this issue.

        Napoleon Bonaparte was a tyrant with a secret police, an army of conscripts, and client regimes all over Europe to do his bidding.

        He was responsible for wholescale murder, theft and rape carried out by his armies. When Wellington went to Spain and Portugal, the peasants did everything to help him, because he bought his supplies, and paid for them in silver. He did not rob them from the people. He flogged soldiers who raped or stole from the locals. Boneparte’s soldiers robbed and pillaged as they pleased.

        The Russians knew what to expect and made sure that nothing was left to the enemy. Never underestimate the strategic deliberaions of the Russians. Or their determination to preserve their freedom.

        • Napoleon formed the Enarchy that currently rules Ireland by the pen and the law and soon by the flesh.

          • bonbon

            Not true. Napoleon was formed from clay by the Martinists later termed Synarchists. These were the Vichy Regime molders, the Banque de Worms (now Lazard Freres) being one key player. The beast project of the oligarchies counter-attack on the successful American Revolution produced Napoleon, and the current insane EU bankers dictatorship. The destruction of all transatlantic nations including the USA, is precisely this, Napoleon being merely one protofascist – Hitlers Vorgänger. I wonder who is Primes inter Pares of this oligarchy, hmm?

          • Napoleon was a brillient Statesman

            During Napoleons exile on the island of St. Helen he said: ‘ My true Glory is not to have won forty battles , the defeat of Waterloo will erase this . But what can’t be erased , what will be remembered forever , is my Civil Code ‘.

            DeGaule admired Napoleon and spoke highly of him and was inspired by his achievements .

          • So what has Napoleon got to do with Irish tax ?

            Well as Paris75013 has said Hollande has brought in CGT on sale of private homes .

            However I pointed out that this does not happen to Viagers .

            As it so happens Viagers were introduced to Civil Code by Napoleon for the benefit of his wretched soldiers after battles.

            Next year 2013 Budget Noonan will repeat what Hollande did unfortunately Napoleon never came to Ireland and maybe Noonan will have to think out the positive benefits of Napoleons Ideals in Tax.

          • bonbon

            Napoleon could not face that he was defeated in Russia. And the Code did not help those frozen soldiers he was forced to march over on the way back. A MONSTER, beast-man, protofascist, later idolized as Nietzsche’s Superman. General Hoche did try to land in Ireland, but his France decapitated itself under British tutelage of the Terror.
            So back to reality. The EU of Coudenhove-Kalergy (Mont Pelerin Society) has nothing to do with deGaulle’s Europe of the fatherlands from the Atlantic to the Urals.

          • bonbon

            But perhaps you have got a bit of truth there. Napoleon was an attempt at Pan-Europe, which is after all the Coudenhove-Kalergi objective. Brussels then appears like the Directorate. Greece like Borodino, the beginning of its defeat (with great loss of life).

            Certain French circles of course still have a Napoleonic bent. The Paris banking circles I am sure know of Necklar, Talleyrand, Philipe Egalite.

          • bonbon

            But perhaps you have got a bit of truth there. Napoleon was an attempt at Pan-Europe, which is after all the Coudenhove-Kalergi objective. Brussels then appears like the Directorate, Greece is Borodino, the beginning of its defeat (with great loss of life).

            Certain French circles of course still have a Napoleonic bent. The Paris banking circles I am sure know of Necklar, Talleyrand, Philipe Egalite.

          • Enarchy was a legacy of Napoleon and and that is what is Controls Ireland Now

  45. bonbon

    Massive raid (500 police) on Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. This follows closely the HSBC ruling. Dossier: Tax Evasion, Carbon Hoax, Derivatives Fraud

    Dec. 14, 2012 (EIRNS)–Five senior officials of the bank were arrested, in the context of the massive police raid on the two bank towers in Frankfurt, two days ago: one of them is an IT expert, who is said to have ordered extensive erasing of data, particularly e-mails, from the bank computers, which were seized in the raid. Apparently, the bank was tipped off before the raid, in time to erase data.
    He is to be interrogated, as is the money laundering expert of the bank, who probably tried to escape, because police stopped his car on the highway and handcuffed him there right away, it is reported. The latter expert is charged with covering up money laundering activities of clients of the bank, instead of informing the police, as would have been his obligation on that job.
    Germany’s leading business daily {Handelsblatt} dedicates five pages of its issue today to the case of Deutsche Bank, the most explosive page focussing on the charges brought forward against the bank by Eric Ben-Artzi, a former derivatives trader for the bank who has turned whistle-blower for investigators. Ben-Artzi says that, according to his estimate, the bank forged its derivatives listings during 2008, thereby concealing losses in the two digit billions range in its portfolio of EU100 billion. Had it not done so, the bank would have had to go to the government’s national banking rescue fund SOFFIN to get bailout money. But the bank did not want to do that, asserting that its balance sheet was sound. In fact, it wanted to prevent some outsider from taking a look at its derivatives branch, which would have been necessary had the losses there been properly declared.
    The other main track of investigation, collaboration in tax evasion (at least EU300 million) in connection with carbon certificates trading, should, if pursued seriously by investigators, provide leads into what a giant investment fraud the carbon certificates are: a speculative bubble that absorbs trillions of dollars for genocidal crimes, in the final analysis. It cannot be ruled out that the inspiration for the entire investigation and Dec. 12 raid in Frankfurt with 500 policemen taking part, actually came from the United States, where money laundering has become a main focus of investigation.

    • bonbon

      These moves against the international banks are what we need, not some “moral outrage” against some straw dogs. Populism to divert attention from the catastrophic banking system and the City of London, is exactly what Goldman Sachs and Co. would like right now.

      The disgusting fact that any tax will go anyway to pay off promissory notes to international banks is perfectly well understood by any competent finance unit.

      The MNC’s are all close to international banks – why should they pay twice?

    • Lets hope a white hat IT expert was one step ahead of him and has a copy of all the data. Slime ball

  46. bonbon

    The report on Deutsche Bank should reset priorities – tax policy is a joke compared to these numbers. It may be convenient for some to hit on coffee or the web while the British Empire’s Dope, Inc HSBC is caught red-handed, and protected by Obama’s DoJ.

    Just to clear up any illusions of what “money laundering” really is, have a look at this report rarely ever touched by the media, often dismissed as “rumor”.
    Drug Trafficking and The Financial Crisis shows the inverted pyramid where the banking sector voraciously seeks drug money. Victor Ivanov, head of the Russian
    Federal Drug Control Service (FDCS) in Boston this week, says that instead of acting on the pyramid point (production), efforts are spread thin over the global banking system. Better to focus on the duck’s egg of Koshchey the Deathless [a Russian fairy tale monster who can only be killed by accessing his 'death', which resides in a needle inside a duck's egg]. FDCS and USDE are cooperating, and one wonders if finally a crackdown on financial drug-laundering by the like of HSBC just for example, is the result. Afghanistan alone produces $100 billion’s worth which must be laundered.

    Koshchey the Deathless can be defeated!

  47. bonbon

    HSBC Backlash: Oregon Sen. Merkeley Accuses DoJ of Violating Congress’s Laws Against Terrorism; British Role Exposed.

    HSBC, Hong Kong Schanghai Bank Corp, Standard Chartered, RBS, Barclays (LIBOR), all inveghed in major scandals.

    The British Empire is Too Big to Jail?

  48. Harper66

    With all this talk of wealthy organisations paying little or no tax and France perhaps we should also consider what happened Louis XVI…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XVI_of_France

    • bonbon

      The Jacobin mob of Philipe Egalite destroyed France. The King was defended in court by Thomas Paine who argued the best punishment were exile to a progressing republic to see for himself what France could do. The sans-coulottes, Jacobin’s went a different way producing the beast-man Napoleon, so praised by the witless.

      • Harper66

        Bonbon,

        I was attempting to make reference to the fact the wealthiest in french society of the time (the first and second estates) paid no taxes and were the only ones permitted to hold positions of power.

        Even when facing bankruptcy these estates refused to acknowledge reality and blindly clung to power.

        I think there are strong similarities with modern day Ireland.

        • bonbon

          And I tried to point out the reaction of the Jacobin’s. To this day the French Terror is praised as a “revolution”. France still has not recovered. The Tennis Court Constitutional Assembly on June 26 1789 is totally forgotten and Bastille Day July 14 is celebrated.

          I hope nobody attempts such a populist upheaval again. The Jacobin’s were enraged to storm a prison with 4 occupants, and carry the Marquis de Sade in a parade. Britain’s determination to prevent a repeat of the American Revolution in France was underway. Is Britain now looking for convenient “Bastille’s” to stroke the mob as their financial empire collapses?

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