Class Warfare: people are out for blood

by Simon Black, Sovereign Man:

Roughly two thousand years ago, the government of ancient Rome was facing a serious problem.

The tributium capitus, or poll tax, they had imposed across their provinces was becoming unpopular.

And there was a growing minority of Roman subjects who felt they were being forced to pay an overly burdensome and disproportionately high tax bill.

Things got so bad that there were small revolts, especially in one of Rome’s critical eastern provinces where many simply refused to pay.

Eventually the authorities were able to round up the leader of the movement– a youthful, charismatic local artisan who was brought before the provincial prefecture.

After reviewing the evidence, though, the prefecture found that the leader had actually done nothing illegal… and according to ancient texts, announced to the public:

“I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. . .”

But the crowd was out for blood. They thought the resistance leader was arrogant and disrespectful of their values. And they wanted him put down for good.

Plus, the central government in Rome wanted to send a strong message to strike fear in those subverting their authority and not paying tax.

So in the end the prefecture bowed to pressure, and the resistance leader was sentenced to death.

His name was Jesus Christ.

Two thousand years later, people are out for blood again.

Over the weekend, we witnessed the release of the “Paradise Papers.” This was another gigantic leak of financial records (similar to last year’s “Panama Papers”) which shows how clients of a Bermuda law firm have legally used foreign corporate and trust structures for privacy and tax mitigation.

Among the names unearthed so far are Madonna, U2’s Bono, actress Keira Knightley, Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton, Queen Elizabeth II, and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

And the public is outraged.

The basis of this outrage is that rich and powerful people are ‘hiding’ trillions of dollars in offshore tax havens like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

Journalists estimate the size of this offshore treasure trove to be between $10 trillion and $32 trillion.

Yet there’s absolutely no rational basis to support these assertions whatsoever.

Consider that the ENTIRE banking system in Switzerland holds just $1.5 trillion in customer deposits.

In the Cayman Islands, non-resident customers hold less than $100 billion in deposits.

Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, has only $60 billion from non-resident depositors.

Bermuda, at the center of the most recent data leak, has an entire banking system worth just $19.2 billion.

And despite all the whining about Ireland as an offshore tax haven (despite a corporate rate of 12.5%), the country’s entire banking system has less than $200 billion.

Point is– even if you assume that literally ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the deposits in these countries are tied to tax evasion (which is obviously ridiculous), it doesn’t come anywhere close to the estimates the media keep reciting.

But no one ever questions the premise.

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