Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cronies, henchmen and the future

It's 21 weeks before the BC provincial election and the government's hired guns are working overtime, adding to the pile of IOU's Liberals expect to settle by further payments of public assets. RossK, The Gazeteer, knows the inevitable result; the one not talked about in the media echo chamber:
"In fact, now that the debts are starting to come due it is becoming increasingly clear that things will very likely get much worse for we who will be forced to pay the massive bill (see BC Hydro and its commitments, in the tens of billions, to the cronies' and henchmans' gargantuan IPP guarantees, for example)."
It's a script followed across the western world. With hands deep in the treasure chests of government-supplied benefits, the real takers complain about our aims for a clean world and a just society or when truly needy people hold out hands for a small share of the nation's wealth.

The echo chamber asks where advocates would find money for social programs but they mean the question to be a rhetorical one, attached to the conclusion that there is no money to be found. The cupboards are bare. Yet, how often have media analysts asked why government revenues from natural resources are declining while production and prices escalate?

The numbers to remember, lifted from annual reports of public accounts, are these:

  BC Government revenue from natural resources:
  • 2001 =  $3,975,000,000
  • 2012 =  $2,699,000,000
In addition to taking less revenue in the form of fees and royalties, government earns less from big business through consumption and corporate income taxes. Today's multinationals simply don't regard taxes as a moral responsibility.

In Britain, controversy rages around companies like Starbucks, Amazon and Google that pay little or no incomes tax.

Despite sales of more than £1 billion in the last three years, Starbucks paid zero UK corporation tax. It paid just £8.6 million on over £3 billion in sales since launching in 1998.

Amazon reports European sales through a Luxembourg-based unit and pays less than half the average corporate income tax rate in its major markets.

While enjoying a profit margin of 33%, Google's main UK unit had a tax charge of about 1.5% of sales. It avoids tax by routing revenues to offshore tax shelters.

Anyone wonder about the situation in Canada? Good luck in finding the information; it's largely unavailable.
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  1. I've always found it surprising that the discussions on public debt and inflated public contracts such as Hydro's never mention debt repudiation or cancellation of corrupt contract terms. To my mind they are just proceeds of crime, with one arm of the crime family (a few politicians which I won't name) getting elected in order to benefit the other arm of the family. I saw it repeatedly when I worked at Vancouver City Hall in the mid-90s with slates of pro-development councilors rubber-stamping their brethren's projects. (The only group to get free meeting space at City Hall was the developer's lobby group, the Urban Development Institute. And if the chair asked a City Hall staffer to jump, it was made clear to us by our bosses that the only appropriate response was "How high?")

    If we had a police force in BC that wasn't sworn to protect their cut of the action, then the players could be easily identified. With Fintrac, banking privacy is a myth. I can guarantee you the bribes have been recorded and the players are well known. It's just not in la famiglia's interests to out one of their own out of the corruption closet.

  2. Questionable claims about the benefits of LNG:

    1. They speak of "careful and consistent regulatory approach to support the long-term economic viability..."

      Translated, that means don't expect royalties or careful regulations ensuring safe production and transport of gas.

  3. Get these clowns out of office, before they do anymore damage. In fact go after the party, for the damage they have caused...if any one "entity" is responsible, it is the party and the backroom clowns...



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