Taxation honesty

EDITOR, The Tribune.

We live in a funny country. We are so immune to irony that even our news reporters don’t call it out when a man accused by the Department of Customs of underpaying duties can appear in the newspaper calling for more consequences for fiscal irresponsibility among civil servants and elected officials. That the failure to pay one’s taxes is one of the more common issues impeding fiscal performance seems not to occur to many of us.

Of course, the issue that Robert Myers and his fellow self-styled “governance reformers” always seem to skirt, avoid or miss is that, in a country that collects a mere 18 percent of GDP in revenues annually (the world average is upward of 30 percent, even in such socialist beacons as Thatcherite Britain and Reagan’s USA), “fiscal woes” are inevitable if you expect normal outcomes in terms of national development. To blame all of our fiscal pressures on supposed wastage or theft is therefore either dishonest or ignorant (not to mention hypocritical, in this case!).

Until the highest income groups begin contributing their fair share to the national treasury (via taxes on personal and corporate income), we will always have unnecessary difficulty running this country in line with the legitimate expectations of its people. And we will continue having one of the most unequal societies in the region. Mr Myers’ ‘governance reformers’ would do well to concentrate their minds on finding solutions to that. They won’t.



July 6, 2018.