Do you remember Clint Eastwood in the ‘Dirty Harry’ movies of the 1970s where Harry would greet what in his eyes was a most ludicrous and laughable situation – drawing a firearm on a San Francisco detective – with the entreat to the ‘punk’ to go ahead and make his day?
Having watched the re-runs countless times, that’s exactly what came to mind when I saw the tweets suggesting a twitter boycott because it declared taxable income in the UK of just over £92,000 in the last year; while estimating its value at over $11 billion in time for a possible stock floatation in New York.
How incredibly misguided is it to try to drum up support for a twitter boycott because you believe that there is a correlation between the value of a company – real or perceived – and what it should be paying in corporation taxes.
Here’s a quote which I found instructive:
“Stock markets are forward looking organisms. They’re interested in how much Twitter will (or might, could) make in the years to come. That’s where that £7 billion (around $10/11 billion) valuation comes from: how much will the company make in 2015 to 2025 sort of timescale? How much it made, or did not make, in one single foreign subsidiary last year is near irrelevant to this valuation.”
Seriously?? Has the world gone mad?
It goes on:
“they’re committing the nasty economic sin of confusing a stock (the valuation) with the flow (the profit in any one period) and you can get into the most awful problems confusing wealth and income in that manner.”
Has the anti-tax haven/tax fairness lobby lost it compass?
I think we get that your moral indignation is about companies using lawful means to save taxes; we get that you hate specialisation, particularly countries who have chosen to specialise in financial services and have proven to be very good at it; we get that you have repackaged what is essentially an issue of competitiveness in a free market economy to a question of starving children and corruption in government; we get that you refuse to differentiate between income taxes and wealth taxes; and we even get that you believe that every small palm-fringed sovereign state ought to retreat to agricultural pursuits or possible re-colonisation,but to boycott twitter because you don’t appreciate the difference between profits and stock valuation, well…that really is a bridge too far!
Call your own bluff and boycott the estimated 500 million registered twitter users. That way the 340 million daily tweets won’t include the mis-information that is peddled in support of the ’cause’ and can be replaced with a more reasoned debate on the real issues; like domestic tax reform and the fact that the worth of a company to society and government is not measured only by how much money can be squeezed or ‘shamed’ out of them.
Boycott twitter why don’t you…and make the day for all of us!
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