Err, No Ms. Orr, No

They let big business run riot, as neoliberalism demanded,

Letting big business run riot is corporatism, not neoliberalism. We neoliberals are all about taming big business through ensuring competition and a level playing field.

We don\’t say there should be no regulation: we just differ on who regulates and how. Thinking that, most of the time in most situations, it should be the consumer through their spending and actions.

Except when they cannot.

Imagine the implications of accepting that some multinationals will always opt out of paying their taxes, and that if they do choose that, then the cost of everything the state provides – from the packaging (eventually garbage) they generate, to the state-educated people they employ, to the judicial system they need to conduct their business, will be billed to them directly.

Yes, let us imagine that. Given that the majority of what government spends money on is redistribution of incomes plus the health service that companies do not, by definition, use it would more than halve their bills, wouldn\’t it? Can\’t see them objecting really.

15 thoughts on “Err, No Ms. Orr, No”

  1. “the health service that companies do not, by definition, use”

    There are definitely no productivity advantages to companies in having workers who have been treated and cured compared to workers who are sick and untreated.

    There are also no advantages to companies in the UK in not having to pay the vast medical insurance fees that are essential for any job other than the most basic in countries without state healthcare.

    Absolutely not.

  2. “plus the health service that companies do not, by definition, use”

    What a crazy statement. Do you also think companies don’t use education services and that educated employees just turn up out of thin air.

    You’re right about Ms Orr’s wilful misunderstanding of neo-liberalism and corporatism though.

    Tim adds: When was the last time you say a corporation in A&E?

    Further, anyone want to try and publicly defend the NHS on the grounds that it’s all for the benefit of companies not people?

  3. Further, anyone want to try and publicly defend the NHS on the grounds that it’s all for the benefit of companies not people?

    Well, I’ll give it a go….

    In a heavily urbanised country with dense population some kind of subsidised health service is essential to prevent the spread of disease and to avoid the sight of sick and destitute (though illness) on the streets – sights that the vast majority of the population would not be able to ignore.

    That would bring all sorts of social problems, all sorts of scapegoating (No, of course no one would blame evil capitalist corporations) and a very very bad climate for stable business dealings.

    So of course forcing all tax payers (not just business – notice that even the poor must pay) to fund a health service is for the benefit for business, and of course it is marketed differently (compassion, sick kiddies etc).

    Your mission, Tim, should you choose to accept it, is to convince the Guardinistas that the NHS is an evil capitalist plot. Then you’d definitely win the internet.

  4. How does one opt out of paying one’s taxes? I’d love to know.

    Tim adds: Leave the country.

  5. Doug, you entirely missed the “not people”. Corporations themselves don’t benefit really, it’s the people who benefit, otherwise one must anthropomorphosize the corporation rather too much.

    My suggestion is simple, tax corporate profits if you must, but provide a full imputation credit to shareholders on the dividends for the tax paid by the company. Taxes should only be paid by those benefiting, and those are the people themselves. Corporates really are legal fictions, useful, but don’t over use the parallels. Corporate tax is simply am means for greedy politicians to grab money for their own aggrandizement, and nothing more.

    Apply withholding taxes against foreign shareholders, fine, if you must, but you’ll lose (if fairness applies) to other states applying the same to your citizens owning shares in companies domiciled with them.

  6. I enjoyed this comment from someone on twitter the other day:

    “I won’t believe a corporation is a person until the State of Texas executes one”.

  7. Since Orr includes education as one of the things companies should be billed for, it’s obvious that she means to include healthcare too. Though perhaps not healthcare for retired people, which is the expensive part.

    ES: I take the opposite view. Tax corporate profits lightly, to reflect the direct costs imposed on the state by corporations, but tax dividend income exactly the same as earned income.

  8. Pretty much all of these government costs – healthcare, education, pensions, etc. – are all about living people, not corporations.

    We can argue over whether it’s trying to get healthy, educated happy people for their own benefit, or to get a fit, capable, productive workforce (and about whether it achieves any of those aims anyway), but it’s still all aimed at living people.

    And how do businesses pay for the cost of the people whose labour they want? Through wages.

    So in some way, the cost of those living people (the healthcare, education, whatever) is related back to those wages, to the useful work that they do to cover their costs.

    If there are no (or no good) State services then we pay for our own healthcare out of our wages. Or (if the employer wants to be controlling and make sure we stay healthy) they provide it as a benefit in kind, a non-cash wage.

    If the State provides, then it can be paid for out of income tax or employees’ NI, which is wage related.

    Or it can be paid for through employers’ NI, which as we all know is just another bit of wage.

    All those cases seem to put the cost in the right place – directly or indirectly it’s linked back to the wages. It’s a cost of looking after the living person, and if the employer wants to benefit from that living person’s work then this is all part of the cost of employing them.

    Same with pensions – that’s just whole-of-life costing.

    But paying for it through taxing corporate profits doesn’t have that same philosophical balance. That’s taxing profits, which are unrelated to the labour input, in order to cover costs that are part of that labour input.

  9. @Doug Young

    You fall for the Faalacy that if there was no NHS there would be no healthcare. This is notvthe case in other european countries that don’t have an NHS.

    Furthermore appear to think that those who argue against the NHS don’t believe in health care being free at the point of delivery. Not true.
    .

  10. @SimonF ‘You fall for the Faalacy that if there was no NHS there would be no healthcare. ‘

    Beat me to it. Obviously, if the NHS disappeared we’d all die of cholera.

  11. Meant to add: the NHS is not provided for the benefit of corporations, or patitents. It’s provided for the benfit of (in some sort of order): politicans, civil servants, bureaucrats, other NHS employees.

  12. If there was no NHS, there would probably be healthcare that isn’t *free at the point of delivery* though. Which essentially means if you’re poor and you get ill, just fuck off and die as you’re no use to our reserve army of labour force.

  13. @ Seth
    There was healthcare free at the point of delivery for more than a millennium prior to Bevan’s nationalisation of healthcare in 1948.
    You have not yet answered my challenge on July 20th. Until you do so you have ZERO credibility, which is appropriate since you seem to have no knowledge whatsoever about what you are talking about. The mediaeval church provided free healthcare following the example of its founder and subsequently many hospitals and almshouses were founded by charitable persons/companies.
    Why don’t you go to a library and learn something before spouting vile nonsense?

  14. Can’t help but feel you’re all shooting up an odd alley on the “do corporations benefit from the NHS” bit myself.

    Surely the bigger problem with that sentiment, as she expresses it, is the assumption that corporations don’t pay tax.

    I mean, I ASSUME she’s talking about the supposed epidmeic of tax avoidance (which Tim regularly exposes for the rot that is), but tax avoidance is definitionally legal. So, what, the reveune gets to start sending itemised bills to any company that it (or Mrs Orr?) feels isn’t paying enough tax? Or is this predicated on the assumption of ritchies “general non-avoidance principle” and all the glorious insanity that entails? I mean, if they’re actually breaking a legal standard then we can nail them under the rules as they are.

    Or is she actually adovacting that companies could wholly opt out of UK tax in favour of a payment for services rendered type deal? Which would operqate how, exactly? Would they be exempt from paying NICs on behalf of employees? Would employees be exempt from income tax, or would their IT payments be offset against the companies bills? And why the fuck would anyone want such a system?

    Also, surely the money supply is under the control of a respected (well…) public insititution? Or has the BoE been done away with while I was sailing yesterday?

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