A Biblical way to tackle world's financial crises
International tax justice expert, Richard Murphy, from West Norfolk, suggests an alternative Biblical, way to tackle some of the world’s financial crises.
When a lawyer asked Jesus whether a Jew had to pay tax to the Roman empire or not he was setting a trap. But Jesus outsmarted him. He asked for a coin and asked whose head was on it. It was, of course, the Roman Emperor's and as a result Jesus was able to answer that the lawyer should pay the tax that was due to Rome using the coin issued by Rome.
It was a smart reply, but the fact is that the question has not gone away. Around Europe we have a financial crisis that is threatening us all with a lower standard of living, the threat or reality of unemployment, reduced pensions and worse public services than we have been used to. What we are told by most of our politicians is that we have to cut our deficits and these cuts are the only way to do it. That however is not the whole truth.
At least one pound in every eight in the UK is untaxed because it's paid in the 'black', cash in hand, economy. The UK government does in my estimate lose £70 billion a year as a result. It also loses, again in my estimate, £25 billion to tax avoidance each year, that mainly being done by large companies and wealthy people. Add those together and we get £95 billion lost tax a year. That is more than three quarters of the government's total borrowing this year. It's also enough to pay for three quarters of the NHS.
The Jewish lawyer thought he was being smart when he asked whether he should pay tax, but the reality is that if only more people did pay the tax they woe, as Jesus advised was the right thing to do, the n right now we would hardly have an economic crisis at all.
So the next time you offer or are offered the chance to get something done for £50 in cash what will you do? It's your NHS, pension, kid's education or job you're threatening if you do the deal. And that's not smart at all.
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