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Eric Schmidt: Google Will Continue Investing In UK Even If Taxes Raised

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the kinder-side-of-globalization dept.

United Kingdom 122

DavidGilbert99 writes "Eric Schmidt hasn't changed his stance on Google's tax policies in the UK but has said that even if the tax legislation changes in the UK it will continue to invest in the country because 'we love the UK.' Gushing about its relationship with the UK, Schmidt said: 'Google will invest in the UK no matter what you guys do, because the UK is just too important for us. The citizens are too important for us and in our view we provide too much good.'" (Beware the auto-playing video advertisements). This after writing an Op-Ed lamenting the complexity of international taxes.

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Principles (-1, Troll)

buy35 (2929843) | about a year ago | (#43794797)

Schmidt said: 'Google will invest in the UK no matter what you guys do, because the UK is just too important for us.

When Google left China they said it was because of their disagreements with the government. However, Google only had a minor market share in China; in fact, Baidu beats all the others easily. It was much easier for Google to leave Chinese market, even though Chinese market is absolutely HUGE.

But there you have it - Google has no principles, and they even lie about their true reasons of leaving from markets.

Re:Principles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43794979)

Translation: We want people to think we're the good guys who love all you datasources in the UK but the evil bad government is trying to stop us, besides we have lots of other tax loopholes we can still use.

Context matters (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#43794991)

You know, in discussing things, people often discount possibilities that are considered to have an extremely low probability that are also irrelevant to the context of the conversation, so when the context is questions about Google response to potential tax increases in the UK, "Google will invest in the UK no matter what you guys do" doesn't, to a reasonable listener, equate to a commitment to staying engaged in the UK if the UK suddenly, rather than raising taxes that Google would have to pay, instead adopts Chinese-style massive political censorship that Google would have to actively cooperate with the authorities to enforce in order to be allowed to continue operating in the UK.

Re:Context matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795397)

That or they know we'll bend over and give our privacy away because anyone who doesn't must be up to no good (that seems to be the general consensus) I think its more to do with the fact that privacy hides how vulnerable we really are, which we've become so ignorant too (at least in the UK)

Re:Context matters (0)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#43795535)

I am more inclined to believe that Google will do for Google, what is best for Google. Should that be sucking an economy dry, ignoring community, hording its wealth then moving on, then they will.

I see no proof to think otherwise.

Re:Context matters (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795891)

How exactly are they sucking an economy dry? What are they removing from the British (or any) economy? Why should a company pay attention to "community", whatever that means?

Re:Context matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795889)

Regardless, it's a stupid thing to say. A company like Google threatening to leave is a good way to shape tax policy in its favor. But coming right out and saying that they won't leave makes it a lot easier for the UK government to raise their taxes.

Re:Context matters (3, Insightful)

manicb (1633645) | about a year ago | (#43796593)

Regardless, it's a stupid thing to say. A company like Google threatening to leave is a good way to shape tax policy in its favor. But coming right out and saying that they won't leave makes it a lot easier for the UK government to raise their taxes.

That's a very simplistic take on things. The fact is that government is very used to people threatening to take their business away if they don't get their own way, and it's pretty obvious that it doesn't happen in practice. It's not a good way to shape tax policy, it's a transparent and dishonest way. Perhaps as a government you'd actually rather work with companies that don't just routinely lie and throw temper tantrums?

Re:Principles (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795057)

Google has no chance in China, because they're not Chinese.

Either via corruption through access to local govts, or outright protectionism from the national govt, Google will never get a far chance in China. Google has no incentive to keep up the nice, polite coating of public lies required to do business in PRC controlled territory. They just told the world how it really is, what it really is like to do business in China. (Which should be of no surprise to anyone who's had an even passing business relationship in China)

Re:Principles (2)

polar red (215081) | about a year ago | (#43795145)

excuse me, but do you really think the 'market' is fair ? The invisible hand of the market is attached to a lunatic, wielding a large bloody axe.

Re:Principles (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#43795641)

Curiious, I've always invisioned a plauge of locus. I think your description is more generous.

Re:Principles (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about a year ago | (#43795393)

Not a universal rule. GM is doing exceptionally well in China.

Re:Principles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795977)

That is because there is no local equivalent of GM.

The Chinese can make online services. They can make consumer goods.

They can't make high quality, reliable cars. Joke all you want about the quality of American autos, they're light years ahead of their equivalent local Chinese counterparts.

Once they catch up, the situation will change a bit.

Re:Principles (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#43796359)

True enough. The Chinese model has been, we'll license from you, but only if you build it here and have at least have half of the people working on it at all levels be Chinese. Then those trained PRC citizens are moved into local and/or state-run operations with their experience and they simply start doing whatever it was they previously licensed themselves and closing out external competition in that segment as well.

If GM is doing okay, it's because China needs to learn something from them. They'll be shut out as soon as the Chinese companies have duplicated their expertise and processes in their own businesses.

Re:Principles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43798221)

"Joke all you want about the quality of American autos, they're light years ahead of their equivalent local Chinese counterpart"
Damn them with faint praise , thats not exactly a high bar to beat is it.

The more to snoop on you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43794841)

The citizens are too important for us

Yes, because they are a rich target audience. You need to work there to snoop on them, because without snooping on them you lose your competitive advantage in advertising to them through your various ad banner companies.

Eric Schmidt == 'wanker' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43794863)

...

Re:Eric Schmidt == 'wanker' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795183)

he's a tosser, u wanker.

bull fucking shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43794883)

they'll just move operations across the channel or to isle of man or something.

where taxes are present, google won't be.

Can't move if the UK(or other) claims you first. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year ago | (#43795967)

Those places exist at the pleasure of larger countries that could just take them out and end their status as tax domiciles.

How long until those places end up with a surprise loss of connectivity that is complete, followed by a takeover of the area? This could apply even moreso to places that are near the US given the overwhelming weight of the military.

Apple interview (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43794907)

I like google. Unlike Apple boss who confessed he does not want to pay taxes : Apple [youtube.com]

Re:Apple interview (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43794959)

I don't want to pay taxes either. What does that have to do with anything? No one wants to pay them. And the people that tell you they're fine with it are liars or up to something. Pretty sure this guy is both.

Re:Apple interview (4, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43795177)

Some people have what is called "Enlightened Self Interest". For that reason I do not lie when I say I am fine with paying taxes. I derive direct benefit from them. Not a month after I paid my property tax the county used that money to fix the roads I travel on to my home. I have no trouble paying for the civilization I enjoy.

You are projecting your short sighted greed onto others.

Re:Apple interview (2)

MrLeap (1014911) | about a year ago | (#43795273)

Interestingly enough, I'm fine with income tax, but property tax bugs me to know end. It makes it feel like there's no way to ever completely "own" a house or a car.

Re:Apple interview (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43795373)

I would be fine with that change as well.

Property tax on a car sounds very regressive, since those with lower incomes will often need to have two cars just to have one functional.

Re:Apple interview (1)

berashith (222128) | about a year ago | (#43795503)

A tax on a car in this manner is usually pegged to the value of the car, so even if someone were to need multiple cars becuase they were afraid that one crappy car is unreliable, the value of multiple really crappy cars would be very low. I have had beaters that I paid $15 on my ad valorum, I have had newer cars that cost $500 ( for ~$30000 car) .

Re:Apple interview (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43795541)

Ah, that makes some sense.
Do companies also pay this tax? Or is this just a tax that the middle class end up paying?

Re:Apple interview (1)

berashith (222128) | about a year ago | (#43795679)

haha, companies dont pay shit. They depreciate assets.

My state is changing away from this ad valorum to a new system where you pay a one time tax at purchase of a vehicle. It will end up working out that people who frequently buy cars will pay a substantial amount more than people who tend to drive one vehicle for a long time. This is also pegged to value, so the more expensive cars will have a higher associated tax. It is most likely that this will then be deductible on itemization from federal taxes, so 30% of the exise ad valorum wont count as income. Then if this pretend person is in the alternative minimum bracket they wont be allowed the deduction.

Re:Apple interview (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#43796535)

I dislike that idea too. You want people to buy more new cars, because those new cars move more money around and the relatively recent used car market gets a nice influx of decent used cars to choose from for people with less money when the people who have more money flip their cars. The fewer new cars turned over, the more expensive it gets to buy something decent in the second-hand market.

Further, if you want to get gas guzzlers and low tech vehicles off the road faster, you need to encourage turn over. Better emissions standards, fuel economy, and safety features cannot easily be retrofitted into existing vehicles, and most people won't bother trying. Encouraging people to run their existing cars longer only creates a longer tail, not only for supply of parts, but also for sub-standard vehicles.

Personally, I think income tax and business tax is just fine, if you clean up the tax laws and remove the loopholes and the complexity. If you must take people's money, take it in one portion and then do your best to avoid impeding the movement of money otherwise.

Re:Apple interview (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43796739)

I agree.

A far simpler tax system is going to be killed by those who work in that field and those who take advantage of the current one.

My simple answer would be to exclude the first X of income from tax, let X equal the median income. Then tax the rest at some set rate. No deductions of any kind shape or form and all money in is income. The source matters not at all, a gift is income in the same way that found money would be or investments or a paycheck.

Re:Apple interview (1)

Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) | about a year ago | (#43796085)

The question is whether a particular tax at a particular level causes inappropriate economic disruption or hardship. Ultimately we need to tax where the money is, while balancing the degree of inevitable disruption and hardship with wisdom.

Of course, people avoid saying that out loud -- in America, surely it will be only a few nanoseconds before some whiner equates the federal gov't with a famous bank robber. Really the wise should not fear for being emulated by bank robbers, even if fools will insist every single thing a bank robber ever did cannot contain wisdom.

Whether you really "own" a house or car is an emotional factor that is a distraction. Should someone less well off than you pay higher taxes, so that you can enjoy a more perfected perception of your personal relationship with a housing unit? Would it be okay if someone else got driven out of their own home with other taxes, when hardship could be shared equitably between you two without great harm?

Re:Apple interview (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43796559)

Property taxes on real estate are a form of pressure to make people think how much of the stuff people own they actually NEED. Without that certain people would just keep acquiring more and more property and let it fall in disrepair for the lack of maintenance. This is exactly what happened in various countries that did not have property tax on real-estate.

Property tax on cars is just plain government money grab, considering there is already plenty of pressure on car owners anyway (need to register, insure, and so on). Normally the government would just tax gas and get their money that way, but since that would kill logistics, there is a strong corporate lobby against that, so instead they tax cars where the lobby is more limited.

Re:Apple interview (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#43796601)

People want something to call their own. This provides a sense of security and pride that no government program can provide.

I don't want to get down on programs, there is certainly a need for cooperative programs of some form, but I think that ownership gives people a personal stake in their country and their society in general. If everything I have is simply on some sort of loan or rent from someone else, there's much less incentive to improve things on a personal level.

I see this every day in my own community. Renters don't care for properties, and landlords do as little as possible to maintain those properties at a minimal level. If you want a country that really works well, you want to have as few landlords as possible, and to do that, you need fewer renters.

Re:Apple interview (-1, Flamebait)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#43795281)

If you don't mind paying taxes, then why not simply abolish taxation and then you can voluntarily donate your money to the government?

If you derive a direct benefit from them, why don't you continue to pay your taxes (voluntarily) and let those of us who receive little to no benefit from them not pay them, instead of condoning violence to force people to pay for things that you want?

Re:Apple interview (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43795331)

Because then we would have freeloaders, like you.

Little to no benefit? So how is it that your posts are getting here again?

You do not drive? You do not have property to protect from fire or theft? You do not benefit from an orderly society? You gain nothing from an educated society?

I think you are a liar, since that is just the far simpler explanation.

Re:Apple interview (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43795387)

If you can actually say no to all these questions then please feel free to move to a country that provides none of those.

Don't worry about making more than $90k/year and the IRS coming for their share since you don't need to come back they can't force you to pay.

Re:Apple interview (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#43796707)

My observation during the past decade in the US is that those clamoring for higher taxation generally fall into 3 categories: 1) Already so wealthy that higher income taxes won't hurt a bit-this group is also usually very dishonest about the situation; 2) already taking more out than they are putting in so higher taxes won't affect them one bit - you called them freeloaders; 3) those who will get hurt but believe that the increase will only affect group 1 and then can't figure out why it also affect themselves.

Group 1 is where Warren Buffet sits and is proud to say that he supports increases on income taxes and proclaims that he won't mind paying more in income taxes. Of course he won't. He can live the rest of his life with no income and not change his lifestyle at all.

Re:Apple interview (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43796895)

I fit in none of those.

Increase taxation would hurt me, but that is ok. I am totally fine with that outcome so long as our civilization can do what it must. I just voted for a property tax increase that will impact me directly. My towns schools need the money and as they spend about 80% of it on instruction I can't see how they are wasting it. Things I like cost money, and I don't mind paying for them.

It matters not if it impacts his life or not, Mr.Buffet is correct in that he should pay a higher percentage than he does. Instead since most of his income is investment he gets an unfair advantage.

Re:Apple interview (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#43797741)

If Buffet wanted to pay more in taxes he could, he could declare his investment income as regular income or he could simply overpay every year. He doesn't because he doesn't really want to. He is smart enough to realize that taxing the income of the 1%er at 100% won't solve the spending issues in DC. He also knows that every time we raise taxes on "the wealthy" everybody gets included as well.

And by "instruction", do you mean faculty salary or faculty and staff salary? Are benefits included? Is that covering the pensions of retired faculty and staff? Those pension benefits frequently get lumped in with teacher pay but it is most definitely not helping little Johnny learn anything today. So I think you are blinidng yourself as to the necessity of the tax increase.

Re:Apple interview (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year ago | (#43796761)

Damned straight. You rock.

Re:Apple interview (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43796927)

I would not go that far, but thanks for agreeing.

Slashdot has too many small minded folks who can't see how we all benefit from these things. A big one that people forget is why you can hire someone who can read and write for $9/hr. That is because we made that education free to the person being educated and our businesses all benefit by being able to hire those educated workers for very little.

Re:Apple interview (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | about a year ago | (#43795457)

If you don't mind paying taxes, then why not simply abolish taxation and then you can voluntarily donate your money to the government? If you derive a direct benefit from them, why don't you continue to pay your taxes (voluntarily) and let those of us who receive little to no benefit from them not pay them, instead of condoning violence to force people to pay for things that you want?

It's extremely hard for me to believe that you don't derive any benefits from... 1. Living in a relatively stable society. 2. Public sanitation 3. Police and Fire protection. 4. The activities of agencies such as those devoted to environmental protection, automobile safety, and so on. The fact that you are able to post on the Internet means that you're reaping benefits from society whether you choose to acknowledge them or not.

Re:Apple interview (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795963)

" 1. Living in a relatively stable society. 2. Public sanitation 3. Police and Fire protection. 4. The activities of agencies such as those devoted to environmental protection, automobile safety, and so on."

1 and 3 are the same, local taxes pay for those.
2 is billed directly
4, nope I can do without a lot of those nanny state agencies.

Re:Apple interview (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43796017)

1 and 3 are not the same thing at all.
2. is only partially billed directly. Much of public sanitation is clean streets and enforcement of dumping/sewage laws.
4 you cannot live without. You would likely already be dead or maimed without or have family in that situation.

In short, grow up kiddo.

Re:Apple interview (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#43796783)

I don't know. You really have to specify which program you're talking about.

People didn't die in the streets before many of these programs, although progress has made some of them a lot more important due to industrial scale pollution, for instance. As for the rest, it's arguable. Equal opportunity programs are nice and all, but again, no one was dying without them. Scientific research is a personal favorite of mine, but again, while it might contribute to extending my life, the lack wasn't ending my life. And that goes for not just me, but everyone else as well.

There are different judgments of value out there for things like that and even public roads. I think people take the way the world works now for granted. It is anything but. There are certainly niches out there that need to be filled, and the government tends to expand to fill them with mediocre solutions, but sometimes there is the distinct feeling that it might be better if it didn't expand to fill everything before someone had a shot at making something else.

Re:Apple interview (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43796991)

People very well were being killed by employers when we lacked any sort of regulation for working conditions. The Jungle was not about where you meat comes from.

Government can do a great job, this insistance that it can only do mediocre work is why it does mediocre work. People who elect those who say things like this are insane, would you hire a worker who stated your company could only do mediocre work? If you want to see an excellent job being done by government go to places where they expect that from government. They do pay more in taxes though.

Public road alternatives all suck. They end up being like the toll roads in Texas. Built with taxpayer money, sold to some politically connected jerk, and never repaired. Once the road is unusable the company that owns that single road folds and goes into bankruptcy leaving the government to again fix the road.

Re:Apple interview (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#43797343)

I fail to see how insisting that the government is mediocre actually makes it become mediocre. The government is mediocre because it works based on politics and because it attempts to be a default and generic provider of all services that people demand of them.

You might blame the failure of certain government services on politics and shift the blame to political parties. "The Republicans are breaking Obamacare, or the Tories are going to destroy the NHS,". However, political parties ARE the government system. They weren't established as part of the government, they arise out of the natural ecosystem that government provides. The fact that a party, any party, can be elected to cause a program to fail is exactly the same thing as a government failing to operate a program properly. There is no difference.

As for alternatives, I understand where you are coming from, but the fact is that by admitting that the "private" roads take taxpayer money, you are indicating that what is supposedly private is actually public. Don't be confused by con men who push what I would call "incomplete privatization" measures. That sort of thing is something that government also enables by giving up control, but at the same time, still believing that it is still the ultimate and default service provider, so it cleans up after the mess of the "private businesses".

Those businesses aren't private businesses, they're parasites that can only exist when people expect the government to "solve the problem". They *count* on the government to save their bacon. That's why they can act like fools and people let them. It's the same thing as a public business, only the people administering the project are not government employees or officials. The worst of all possible worlds.

Until we remove the idea that the government has a place "stepping in" to solve problems, then you will never have an actual private entity doing anything.

As for The Jungle, I think there has always been confusion between the effects of revolutionary change with the public/private divide. The Industrial Revolution was a revolution in much the same way the French Revolution was one. Blood is expected when you have them. In the French or even American Revolution blood was spilled in the fight to reform governments, in the Industrial Revolution, blood was spilled to achieve rapid progress and to also fight against the horrendous effects of progress. In short, it would have happened no matter what you did, if you still wanted to achieve that progress. The same happened with programs to achieve industrial progress even in communist countries, and there is no way you can blame a private element for those excesses.

If you look at the Gilded Age, you actually see a lot of the excesses made possible by government. Under the watch of a corrupted government, strikes were broken and backs were turned when private armies were used against organizing workers. Without government intervention, the very unions that people attribute to government intervention would probably have come to pass anyway, if not sooner, because union power is based on the power of the massed workers which is independent of the power of government. The Gilded Age was the age of the political machine, the solid control of governments of all levels by those who were beholden to specific interests and constituencies. A populist government was no more than an opportunistic shift to obtain advantage by appealing to popular issues, but make no mistake, if power switched to the rich or the industrialists, the government would proceed to become just as ineffective and even more enabling of those future abuses.

Re:Apple interview (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43797471)

You get the outcome you expect. Government is not exempted from that.

The government is always the insurer of last resort. That means companies will try to exploit that. This is how those private roads operate. There is no getting around it. We must have roads. You can't simply accept that there are no roads. It just is not an option.

Re:Apple interview (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#43797907)

That's the issue. You think there will be no roads if the government doesn't make them happen. I'd argue that is simply a mindset where you aren't truly considering how the world would work without the government involved, you're simply assuming it can't work.

Roads happen because they are needed. Humanity isn't just going to sit down and not create roads. People need to go places, and if someone didn't build a road, someone else would. People don't expect the government to build them driveways for their cars. If they need one, they build it themselves. If they don't need one, they do without or they band together with like minded people to help each other build them.

Yes, there needs to be coordination, and standards, and agreements. Particularly in the realm of maintaining contracts, the government has a role even in a libertarian world. However, coordination, standards, and decision-making don't require a government. They are activities that we can manage with simple free association and mutual benefit.

I do agree that, if we suddenly just said, "government doesn't do roads", it would cause more than a small problem. However, that would be a revolutionary change, and with those come blood. Obviously, any realistic change would have to take time to make sure that the switchover was smooth and handled according to the right principles. If, and only if, that course happened, I honestly think a different, specialized institution or entity would do a significantly better job than any government at maintaining roads, with the side benefit of not consolidating power in the hands a government entity that can then put an incredible amount of power in the hands of those who manage to hold the reins.

Re:Apple interview (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43798261)

oh good I can open my toxic waste incinerator next door to your property then?

Re:Apple interview (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#43795597)

I don't want to pay taxes either. What does that have to do with anything? No one wants to pay them. And the people that tell you they're fine with it are liars or up to something. Pretty sure this guy is both.

Well, while I think the majority of people in the world would prefer to pay as little tax as possible, you'd not get that impression from a seemingly large (or at least vocal) contingent of slashdot users. Some of them seem to think that the government can do MUCH better with your money than you can, better deeds, more efficiently,etc.

While I don't advocate for not paying any tax at all (sure it would be nice, but not realistic), I am in full favor of:

1. On the country/federal level, pay the minimum possible to only fund the things it is best at at that level, defense and a few other things for the most part, but I find it to be limited, and not as responsive to the actual needs of a country, especially if it is a very large spread out country, like the US.

2. Most taxation being taken at the local level, since it is more sensitive to the users votes, and needs which often are very regional due to climate, location, population, etc. This is where the majority should come from and STAY, for roads, schools, police, etc.

3. That taxation should ONLY be for funding needed govt services, that it should never in any way, be used to try to guide human behavior, hence I'm for revamping the tax code to take out ALL deductions/incentives that give you breaks for doing X or Y behavior. The govt should be responsive to me the citizenry, not use doing what the govt wants. I'd personally prefer some type of flat or fair tax....something that does not tax the necessities of life, food, shelter, health needs....but hits on everything else, and the forms should be simple enough to fit on one single page of paper. If on income, basically "You made A, pay %B". Or maybe a national sales tax, which I think would be more effective in catching almost all taxable transactions, and would catch money from people currently working under the radar for ca$h. Again, excluding food and possibly a couple other things so as not to put too much pressure on the truly poor.

I think all of the above would be fair...if we cut govt to the basic services it really should provide to allow for people to guide their own lives, and do the pursuit of happiness thing with proper infrastructure, and lawful protection, I think most people could get along with it. And, we might get more people in the workforce doing stuff rather than sitting on their asses collecting entitlements, eveyone able to work should be working.

Re:Apple interview (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#43795671)

Some of them seem to think that the government can do MUCH better with your money than you can, better deeds, more efficiently,etc.

I love how you translate: "country needs government and therefore taxes to operate" to "these people believe that the government can do much better with your money than you can".

Re:Apple interview (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#43795787)

I love how you translate: "country needs government and therefore taxes to operate" to "these people believe that the government can do much better with your money than you can".

Please read my ENTIRE post, I didn't say that.

I was posting this section of it, more in part to threads yesterday and other times how people were saying it was somehow MORAL to pay as much tax as you can. Often they were in favor of making people pay more than was needed to operate on a basic level of common services everyone needs.

They also were promoting beyond govt funding needs, to basically redistribution to others that weren't as lucky or talented or hard working as the rest....or that the govt could decide better to give my money to deserving people better than they could themselves by doing charity work themselves or donating directly to people and causes they think are worthy and efficient with their monies.

Read my original post, I didn't say anything about paying NO taxes realistically. There ARE some basic things we need on govt levels...mostly on the local and state levels, which more directly addresses their citizenry's needs, and then to a lessor extent to the federal level which needs to do things (in the US) like national defense and other constitutionally, enumerated responsibilities.

Re:Apple interview (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#43795871)

Please read my ENTIRE post, I didn't say that.

Well, I did. The rest of the post seemed to be about how you thought taxes should work. That didn't seem to have any bearing on the first bit.

They also were promoting beyond govt funding needs, to basically redistribution to others that weren't as lucky or talented or hard working as the rest.

Some degree of redistribution is required. Some people are simply not capable of looking after themselves. If you don't basically hand money to them you'll have to hand more to the police (to catch them when they turn to crime) and more to the prison for when they get caught.

Either way you spend the money. The former makes more people happier and costs considerably less.

Re:Apple interview (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#43797639)

Some degree of redistribution is required. Some people are simply not capable of looking after themselves. If you don't basically hand money to them you'll have to hand more to the police (to catch them when they turn to crime) and more to the prison for when they get caught.

To the truly infirmed/disabled or elderly, sure I'm good for a safety net.

I don't call that redistribution of wealth, caring for the disabled or elderly.

But anyone else that is able-bodied, if they don't want to work and, instead, commit crimes, then fuck'em....that's what prisons are for.

Re:Apple interview (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#43797029)

I don't think he said that at all.

If you define the government by a set number of services that it was created specifically to manage, then you can say that the taxes are something that we simply have to deal with to have those services operate properly.

If, on the other hand, you state that every problem you come across should be fixed with a government program, even if there are other options, then you most certainly are stating, in effect, "the government is better at spending your money than you are."

No one is going to argue that the police need taxes to operate. Or that taxes or fees are needed to maintain roads or sewers or water supplies. However, one could easily argue that deciding to nationalize health care, or education, or subsidize other social programs is not something that the government was necessarily created to manage. Not all government expenditures are created equal, and they don't all have the same character as being basic services.

There are people out there who believe that the government is there to provide services, and people who instead believe that the government is granted a monopoly on force to simply mediate between people and maintain relations between individuals and states within certain rules. The people who believe that the government's role is merely mediation and use of force to maintain order do not have the same idea of government that you do. They don't hate the poor, or think that the rich are better, they just don't like the idea of the government telling you how to run your life. Presumably, they believe there is a better way to do it.

Those who believe the government is some sort of default service provider have a different, and certainly valid viewpoint, but fail to understand what the other side is actually saying. That is the part of the argument that I think causes the most recriminations. A libertarian may still be altruistic, but feel that allowing the government to expand to provide all services is extremely dangerous in the long term given that it is the same organization that is responsible for administering the laws and fighting wars.

Re:Apple interview (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#43797113)

You've repeated the same thing!

If, on the other hand, you state that every problem you come across should be fixed with a government program, even if there are other options, then you most certainly are stating, in effect, "the government is better at spending your money than you are."

There is a whole continuum between limited, pre-defined services and fixing every problem.

Some problems are best solved by individuals and the free market. Other problems are best solved by the government because the whole system falls apart if individuals don't want to opt in (e.g. fire service, garbage collection and so on).

Likewise some other systems (education) are sufficiently important that even if parents don't want to pay to have educated kids, having an educated population is sufficiently important that the country cannot run without it and therefore it is best provided by the government.

Likewise, the free market and charitable donations will not solve large scale social problems. To a limited extent the government can, or at least mitigate them to the extent that significant amounts of the population do not need to be in gaol.

To repeat:

there is a continum between "government provides limited serivices" and "government is better at spending money so should solve all problems".

Your world, while appealingly simple, is just too simple to adequately reflect reality.

Yeah, no shit! (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#43794949)

So, google isn't going to throw a hissy fit and back out of a 2.5 trillion dollar economy. Say it ain't so!

Remember all this stuff is on taxes on profit! This is the stuff they get to keep after all expenses come out. So it's merely a question of pocketing a bit less of a vast amount of money.

Amazing they're not thinking of leaving, really.

Re:Yeah, no shit! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43795147)

That's not the point. UK politicians claim to be scared shitless of big companies like Google leaving if we dare to make them pay their taxes, but not Google is basically inviting us to take their (or rather our) cash. This excuse is no longer valid.

Re:Yeah, no shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795647)

No they don't. These tax dodging behomouths add very little to the economy and will always find loopholes to avoid paying their share. If Google, Amazon and Apple all stopped trading in Europe tonight, the vast majority of people would spend their money elsewhere within minutes.

Re:Yeah, no shit! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43795649)

Not inviting, but being honest about corporate behaviors. In the vast majority of cases, taxes for companies come entirely out of profit. If they make a profit in a region, taxes don't change that. And since taxes hit competitors(well, not apple apparently) too, it doesn't affect the marketplace dramatically. It gets a little fuzzy when stock markets, par values, and yield ratios come in, but the best understanding I've got is that taxes still play second fiddle to consumer habits for most industries.

Silly people and their profit! (1)

necro351 (593591) | about a year ago | (#43795461)

Yes. Everyone knows that all rich people liquidate their profit into cash and immediately burn it all in large heaps on golden-plated yachts. These Richie-Richersons! They just cannot help polluting our skies with their filthy money can they?

Re:Silly people and their profit! (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#43795545)

I hope I speak for more than just me when I say: "huh?".

Re:Silly people and their profit! (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#43795581)

easily explained by a bad search result on medication interaction...!!

When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (2)

Rougement (975188) | about a year ago | (#43794989)

If corporations are people then, as a person, I too have decided only to pay the amount of tax I see fit. Seriously, pay the full rate on income to the nation that income was earned in or GTFO. Same goes for Apple, Exxon, GE and the rest.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795131)

If corporations are people then, as a person, I too have decided only to pay the amount of tax I see fit.

You'll have to move your wife to Ireland and kids to Cayman Islands first, tho.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43795181)

Well, to be fair, they don't tax 100% of your income, at least not where I come from (Canada). The first $10,000 is untaxed, then if I buy some RRSPs (retirement savings) that goes untaxed. I can get deductions for some medical expenses, bus passes, sports for the kids, and countless other deductions. If your spouse doesn't work, you don't pay tax on their $10,000 of untaxable income either. I've heard that in the US, the interest on your mortgage is deductible. That can be a pretty large sum of money right there. The corporations may have lots of ways to hide from paying taxes, but it's not as though human people can't play a few tax games as well.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795317)

The difference between people and corporations(though, some individuals make enough money to employ staff and join in) is the way they play the 'tax games.' The vast majority of individuals and small companies play by a single set of rules, those of whatever country they are in. In general, those rules are all designed to work together somewhat well. There are deductions that can be made, but they are mostly there because at some point it was decided that was a behavior we wanted to support. The mortgage interest deduction, for example, was to encourage people to become home owners and add to the local community.

Once you have enough money you can play by an expanded rule set. Sometimes it is because you have enough money to lobby for specific tax breaks just for yourself or for your industry. Other times it is because you can play different national rule books against each other. That's how we get things like the Dutch Sandwich. Each country has differing rules, but by creating shell corporations you can use both to form a combination to convert regular income into un-taxed or less taxed income.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

Rougement (975188) | about a year ago | (#43795467)

Stack up your "tax games" against the claim that Mitt Romney didn't pay any income tax for 10 years. That claim may or may not be true but it certainly isn't outside of the realms of possibility, given the way the tax code is.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

Malc (1751) | about a year ago | (#43795529)

then if I buy some RRSPs (retirement savings) that goes untaxed

That's not true. You're just delaying when you pay tax, and hoping that you will be in a lower tax bracket by then to see the benefit of saving in the programme.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

stymy (1223496) | about a year ago | (#43798401)

In Canada, you can write off 3% of your house's value as an expense due to depreciation. If you do this, the CRA will hate you, they'll flag your account and they will check everything you submit, but it is legal. I know this from a fairly high-ranking friend in the CRA, and I've been filing this for over 5 years now. No trouble yet, and my accountant also assures me it's legal.
The reason they flag the account is that if you sell your house for more than
(original value) - (depreciation you filed)
you'll need to pay back taxes on all that depreciation. However, the CRA only keeps records for 5 years maximum, and in practice about 3, and the worst-case is in essence having gotten an interest-free loan from the Government of Canada (assuming you got enough money to foot the bill if you sell).

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#43795203)

Good! Just renounce your citizenship in the US/Canada/UK/etc. and get a passport and citizenship in a place that actually -wants- you like Paraguay, The Dominican Republic, St. Kitts or Dominica, generally just takes some $$$$$ and/or time depending on what you want. Get a citizenship in one place, live in another and incorporate your business in a good jurisdiction with minimal regulations and next to no taxes and you can have a better life and never pay income tax again!

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795225)

You also have the option of paying more tax than you are legally required to. Obviously you'll be doing that right?

If you don't exploit all the loopholes you can then you're a fool and your shareholders will crucify you. Politicians need to stop huffing and puffing about how terrible these greedy corporations are and just simplify the tax legislation and remove all the dodges.

Of course that might have a negative impact on the companies that they have financial interests in, so they'll have to decide whether they want to serve their country, or serve themselves (hah!)

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | about a year ago | (#43797633)

> If you don't exploit all the loopholes you can then you're a fool and your shareholders will crucify you.

And yet somehow it's okay to pay lobbyists

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (2, Interesting)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year ago | (#43795355)

CEO's don't dictate taxes, politicians dictate taxes. This isn't a new problem, it has always been a problem, its just that now, the governments are going broke from lower tax revenues, and they are squawking for more money.

Corporations do not pay taxes at any level. Raise taxes on a corp, and they raise their prices. That is why countries should get rid of income taxes, corporate taxes and the like. Go to a universal sales tax. Don't tax food and other necessities (what constitutes a necessity can be debated). Figure out what your GDP is, make an amendment that the nation budget can only be X% of the GDP, and that should be the sales tax rate nationally.

Don't want to pay taxes, don't buy shit. A company buys $1,000,000 worth of servers in the US, they pay US sales tax. A company buys same servers in the UK, they UK sales tax. No more (at least in the US, sorry I'm too lazy to look up the relevant European tax divisions) IRS. This should help avoid some of the tax haven problems.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (2)

Rougement (975188) | about a year ago | (#43795443)

That's an awful idea. Poor people will spend every cent they earn and pay sales tax on that expenditure. Rich people will not spend every cent, and so will pay a lower rate of tax than the poor. Dreadful. As for the idea that food, etc would be tax exempt - do you really trust politicians, especially on the right, to look out for the needs of the less well off? They've been doing an awful job in that regard for generations.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year ago | (#43795549)

No I don't trust politicans at all, that's why I implied a Constitutional Amendment in my post. (I'm not sure how that works in any country but the US, which is why I didn't state it that way). An amendment to the Consitution would be very hard for the politicians to break, and if it received the popular support that it would require to make it the law of the land, no politician in his/her right mind would attempt to break it in our generation. They would be hopefully be kicked out of office so quick, they wouldn't no what hit them.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

Rougement (975188) | about a year ago | (#43795607)

The sticking point is the question of what is tax exempt, I don't see how that can be taken care of with an amendment. Do you list everything exempt? All food? How about chocolate? What about fuel oil? Gasoline? Utilities? Cars? Health care? Don't think for a second that there aren't politicians in the US who would push hard for the only tax exempt things to be one raw potato per week and maybe some drinking water, if the claimant has proof that all local puddles have dried up.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year ago | (#43795749)

Any food (excluding alcohol, acutally I don't care about this one. I drink a six pack a week, and a bottle of crown twice a year, I'll pay taxes on that) is tax exempt, gas, utilities, health care is all tax-free. Cars up to a certain amount are tax free (say 30k?, we can let the politicans argue over that value, they need something to argue about). Internet should probably be tax free. Set different limits based on the broad category it's in. Any computer over 2k, tax it. Any motorcycle, boat, four-wheeler tax it. Software (I think I'm okay with taxes on that, but I'm sure some could be tax exempt.) Again let the politicians argue over some of that.

But yes basic necessities, like food (any food, including chocolate, put an exclusion limit on that if the item is less than X% of national average salary, make it tax free, charge the tax if you spend a 1k on caviar or a 2k bottle of wine), gas, healthcare, internet, clothing (again to a certain limit, if I can afford to spend 10k on a suit, I can afford to pay 10% sales tax on it), utilities (not sure we need to ever charge tax on this whether you are Google/Microsoft/Apple running a datacenter, or a McDonalds employee making minimum wage).

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

RalphWigum (519738) | about a year ago | (#43798109)

There is actually an even easier way to do this:

1) Make the Tax flat.. no exceptions for any "type" including food, health.

2) Only tax new goods and services: used car-> no tax

3) At a local level figure out what a family/person pays for the bare necessities: enough food, rent, basic healthcare, transportation costs etc.. every month (Have them publish the formula). Then figure the amount of tax there would be on that. Electronically transfer that amount every month in the form of a prebate to everyone.

Keep in mind that at this point you are taxing consumption, and not income so the idea of "wealthier" people paying a lower effective tax rate only applies if you reintroduce income (or somehow "wealth") into the equation. (Remember: income != wealth != consumption)

Poorer people are less likely to buy a BRAND NEW house, or car and so pay no tax on it. They are less likely to buy that $18 bowl of granola or $50 t-shirts. If someone wants to buy caviar for all there meals... they pay tax on it and the prebate probably won't cover even a slight bit of it. Politicians can still monkey with the prebate amounts, but as it would be law/amendment I cannot see how to permanently and in perpetuity fix the law as untouchable. However, once you stop taxing income, it becomes harder to track income (I think this is a good thing)

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#43795699)

That's an awful idea. Poor people will spend every cent they earn and pay sales tax on that expenditure. Rich people will not spend every cent, and so will pay a lower rate of tax than the poor. Dreadful. As for the idea that food, etc would be tax exempt - do you really trust politicians, especially on the right, to look out for the needs of the less well off?

It is not a bad idea.

How would the poor be taxed to death on everything they owed, I mean, if they only have enough money for food (and I say I'd also have none or limited tax on the basics in life, housing/medical expenses)...but if the poor are only paying for things they need, then they would not be taxes. Any extra funds, they could save just like the rich people and not pay taxes until it was spent.

I'm sorry, but no one has a 'right' to a bit TV set, nor a 'right' to any luxuries in life, which is basically anything outside of the basic necessities of life. Anything spent outside of what you need to live, should be subject to tax.

Everyone should have some skin in the game when it comes to taxation and supporting the basic services the govt needs to provide.

And yes, I think if we went to a national sales tax (make sure to completely do away with other taxes), and ingrain this into law, likely on a constitutional level as suggested previously by another poster, then yes, I think we'd be safe from the politicians.

Hell, doing it that way would take a great deal of power AWAY from politicians, and put more of it back to the people I'd think, and I have no problem with that.

I have no need to elected politicians to try to guide my behavior, I want them there to make sure basic services are provided to allow me to go about my life in the way I best see fit. The should not be able to use taxation as a method to drive behavior, I do not wish to be controlled (hence freedom)...so, take away their ability to have deductions for doing this or that....just take care of the roads, police, schools and defense of the nation, and leave us the fuck alone otherwise.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

manicb (1633645) | about a year ago | (#43796621)

Anything spent outside of what you need to live, should be subject to tax.

Everyone should have some skin in the game when it comes to taxation and supporting the basic services the govt needs to provide.

"what you need to live" is a surprisingly subjective term. After all, do people really *need* to live? What quality of life justifies such a need? Basic sustenance may not provide such a quality of life.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#43797731)

"what you need to live" is a surprisingly subjective term. After all, do people really *need* to live? What quality of life justifies such a need? Basic sustenance may not provide such a quality of life.

It is quite simple.

1. What do people need to live? - Food and shelter are the basics to allow someone to live and be a part of society. Some may argue freely provided medical tx, I'm not on that bandwagon, but that is an arguable point of contention.

2. What quality of life juistifies such a need? - What does quality of life have to do with it? That is up the the INDIVIDUAL to take care of that. If things like nice cars, tennis shoes, large flat screen TVs make someone's quality of life better, when those are luxuries, and they go above and beyond necessities of life.

Your quality of life is not guaranteed, nor is it a 'right' that others are required to pay for and bestow upon you if you can't figure how to earn it yourself.

The best we can do (and should do) in the US, is provide the opportunity out there to work, hustle and succeed. The opportunities are out there.

Does everyone start at the same starting blocks? Does everyone have equal genes? Is everyone lucky?

No.

Everyone has to start with the cards they are dealt in life, you are not guaranteed happiness....but you are guaranteed the pursuit of happiness. Aside from that, you are owned NOTHING by the world at all. It is up to YOU, to do things like appreciate and fight for (if needed) a good education, the stamina and determination to find a job you do well, and do your best to excel and make a good living.

The world owes no one "quality of life", you are given a quantity of it, use it to its full extent and the individual is responsible for their own quality of life.

Any specific level of quality of life is not a right you have...not at the expense of others.

So, anything luxury, is up for taxation. You get a break for things allowing you to maintain biological life (food, water), and a place to sleep at night out of the elements.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (0)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43795805)

That's an awful idea. Poor people will spend every cent they earn and pay sales tax on that expenditure.

Since poor people get most of the benefits the government hands out, it's only fair that they should pay for them.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43796067)

I think I'll share some of my money with the poors so they don't burn down my house and stab at me with sharp things. Either that or I'm going to have to pay to lock them up after they do.

Pay me now or pay me later (after we've turned the poors into felons that can't possibly pay for their services now that they've been guaranteed the bottom rung at the job ladder)

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | about a year ago | (#43797671)

> Since poor people get most of the benefits the government hands out, it's only fair that they should pay for them.

Yes indeed it makes lots of sense to give people money and then take it back from them!

Would it not be much less hassle and paperwork to simply not give them the money that they would have paid in taxes?

Or perhaps you like the idea of big government churn?

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about a year ago | (#43796889)

I want that stuff you smoke to dream about "no IRS" world of yours. Really.

Or you must be libertarian :) That explains everything (no offense).

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year ago | (#43797083)

I don't subscribe to any particular political idealogy, I admit the idea might be far-fetched, but there is no better way to work out problems than posting on Slashdot, and having the hell beat out of them.

It needs a lot of refining.

So refine it, and get it made into law.

Re:When did CEOs get to dictate tax policy? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#43798097)

Corporations aren't people.

Corporate personhood is an American concept and only applies to certain situations.

Misprint (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | about a year ago | (#43795031)

That should be: "Eric Schmidt: Google Will Continue Investing In UK Especially If Taxes Razed".

(Beware the auto-playing video advertisements) (1)

Qwavel (733416) | about a year ago | (#43795141)

Thanks for the warning, but the solution is very simple: stop linking to IBTimes.

To the best of my knowledge it is just IBTimes that does this (if you stop the video they wait a little bit and then resume it), and yet slashdot has recently become very fond of promoting IBTimes by linking them in their story summaries.

Of course... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#43795157)

Of course a large corporation like Google is going to continue investing in the UK and the rest of western Europe no matter how silly their tax policies are. Corporations have a responsibility to turn a profit for their shareholders and walking away from a jurisdiction that might be slightly less profitable, but still profitable is certainly not in the best interests of Google's shareholders.

Annoying Ads Disclaimer (2)

shri (17709) | about a year ago | (#43795261)

Why in gods name do you guys accept submissions from or linked to sites which play annoying ads? Yeah, I get it, most of /. users browse with adblockers of all sorts, but it is just horrible if you have to accept a submission and then add a disclaimer to it -- makes you guys look desperate.

Re:Annoying Ads Disclaimer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43798247)

Most /. users don't RTFA, so the ads don't bother them until someone like you lets the side down by clicking the link and tells them about it.

As a UK citizen I would like to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43795721)

Fuck off you patronising cunt, and pay your taxes.

Good. Now try without loopholes (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year ago | (#43795897)

If the UK is so important, then perhaps it's time for them to consider penalties for creative accounting that does not provide the full amount of revenue.

The more hidden and convoluted it is, the higher the penalty.

Re:Good. Now try without loopholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43797401)

But then the bleating politicians wouldn't be able to use the loopholes too.

God Bless Google (1)

joseph90 (193138) | about a year ago | (#43796391)

Aww bless,
Eric is willing to consider paying taxes like the rest of us. The man is a saint.

Translation (2)

200_success (623160) | about a year ago | (#43797833)

What he means is, "The UK can raise its tax rate all it wants. It makes no difference to Google, since we will structure our business deals [independent.ie] so that they are not subject to UK tax anyway."
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