Only Little People Pay Taxes Corporate Welfare Bums Do Not
Farouk Martins Aresa
Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana came before Bernie Sanders in United States. But between both was Canadian David Lewis, NDP Leader from 1971 to 1975. In 1972 Lewis published one of the most insightful book called Corporate Welfare Bums on how the system is rigged against people that really carry the society by working for less while paying more taxes. The rich and powerful are called job creators. Yet, without purchasing demands of working class, little jobs will be created.
Lagos State tax collectors have demonstrated how taxes from little people and small businesses can be harnessed into mega pool while the powerful politicians collect their percentage, salary and allowance. All the public projects built by our taxes are publicized and propagated as favors for the working-class. When other Nigerians and Africans come to Lagos, it is so easy to fall into the same trap; asking Lagosians to be grateful. Since their own governors achieved far less.
Donald Trump gave African politicians a boast recently when it was discovered why he would not release his taxes for years. He is an astute businessman alright, indeed he is called a genius for writing off almost a billion dollars in taxes in 1995, so that he would not pay a kobo for the next 15 to 20 years. How could a genius businessman lose almost a billion in business in 1 year?
Like African politicians, Mr. Trump shafted his Government, workers, suppliers, contractors and even those that contributed to his charity. It is called Other Peoples’ Money! He admitted that the system is crooked and rigged against the little people and just like Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, he is the one in the best position to fix it. After all, cyber hackers are so respected today, you need them to prevent others from hawking into government and banking systems!
In other words, the rich and the powerful at the top are trained formally or informally in some of the best schools around the world on how to tweak the tax system so that most of the hard work of the working class flow to them in terms of profits, deductions, special land concessions, tax-free zones, credits for employing some workers and outright stealing!
European Union EU claimed that the tax deal with Ireland allowed Apple to pay almost zero tax on European profits between 2003 and 2014. As if these are not enough, they learn how to hide their money outside the country, out of reach of the taxman. Does Panama Papers ring a bell?
Since they call themselves job-creators, they blackmailed governments to give them the lion share of forex, otherwise they would close factories. They intentionally source raw materials far from home so that they could take money out of the country. In other cases, they source their factory where they can get the cheapest labor. As productivity goes up, they refuse to share the returns with the workers and reap off the profits, setting workers angers at the wrong place.
It gets to a point where the working class has been sucked dry after losing the only jobs they are used to. Instead of leveling with them that technology and innovation have replaced their jobs, they blame it on politics as a way to get elected; promising to create more of the jobs they know, no longer existed. Instead of encouraging these working class to train for new technology in free community colleges they rail against, keep them ignorant as their best source of votes.
What is more annoying is all the projections from Corporate Welfare Bums on the working class and the poor. They get labelled as welfare queen and bums if they steal more than the welfare checks, got more than their little paychecks and how easy they get blamed for the mistake and in many cases for intentional misappropriation by the chief executives. If anything goes wrong, banks and other corporate firms lay off their lowest workers first while they retain fat bonuses.
We saw these foreign practices in Nigerian banks like Society General of the Saraki(s) and old banks like that of Akinbola of the defunct Intercontinental Bank. Like many others, they got away scot-free after some legal akabradoes. Young ladies in the bank were crying for years that executives were basically prostituting them to bring in customers with big deposits. Many of them could only get paid tiny percentage of the money the moneybags deposited. Is that a job?
Deutsche Bank's is under investigation. Wells Fargo executives in United States were similarly exposed during Committee hearing by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. They forced bank tellers to open fake multiple accounts for their customers so that they could increase their shares and take large bonuses at the top. When malpractices came into open, the executives blamed the bank tellers for what they ordered their workers to do and fired them.
Now you know where African politicians, bankers and other business men and women learned their trade secrets from. Since these people get away with it in countries where there are so called law and order, you can imagine how they have squeezed the hell out of us in developing countries when they partnered up with our local politicians as foreign portfolio investors. They of course, give us all types of economic theories about the need for foreign investments.
Politicians love the ignorant and the uneducated people because they can be easily swayed and often vote against their own interests. As long as they receive crumbs in form of “free” bags of rice, garri and corn, they are happy. They give them as little as possible to keep them on leach so that they can come back for more. They keep their salary low, so that they do not get too comfortable. It is the way to keep them coming back looking for more.
Nigerian politicians make more money in salaries and allowances than other politicians in the world. Yet nobody asks or query them about how much they pay in taxes. Ask anyone of them how they accumulate so much money, they usually claim their wealth is from their businesses. If business is so good and profitable, we wonder why the country has not shared their prosperity. The fact is most of them only give honest business men and women a bad name.
This is why David Lewis called them Corporate Welfare Bums. People that know how to milk and manipulate the system to their advantages. If ordinary folks try to follow their footsteps, most of us would land in jail. There is nothing miraculous or ingenious about the rich and the privileged, They are simply allowed to milk the system unchecked. This is why another Real Estate magnate Leona Helmsley said Only Little People Pay tax.