miriam_e: from my drawing MoonGirl (Default)
[personal profile] miriam_e
I'm doing a cartooning job for a book due to be published soon. It is a pretty amazing book and I heartily recommend it (I won't get paid any differently whether millions buy it or none do... I hope I get paid). The writer explains how to protect your assets now that Australia has followed the USA into becoming a highly litigious culture, with people suing each other over absurd things at the drop of a hat. She also explains something I've been curious about for a long time. I've often heard it said that rich people are able to get away with paying no tax or absolutely minimal tax. This has always angered me because tax is supposed to be a way to help maintain our society by funding public amenities like roads, and paying for public schooling and public health to enable some degree of an open society. Without those things we rapidly degenerate into a feudal society where the rich have everything, the poor have nothing, unrest, sickness and violence are common and the rich spend their lives having to look over their shoulders.

Anyway, this book outlines clear examples of how to avoid paying full tax. An example is given of how someone earning enough money to put them into paying a third of their income as tax is able to easily reduce their tax to below the rate of someone living on poverty wages. The author speaks of this escape from social duty as a good thing! I find this bewildering. It shows the need to tighten up tax laws and educate people to the obligations of getting vast benefits from society. We all need to give something back. It helps the rich in the long run, and their children, by making a more peaceful and just society, where if someone loses everything they can still have a good shot at life. Likewise, if a brilliant genius is born into deep poverty in such a society they can still go on to do great things.

Date: 2006-05-01 06:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greylock.livejournal.com
As a matter of interest, how can I pay less tax? :)

No, basically are the methods of tax avoidance things like property and negative gearing?

Date: 2006-05-01 07:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miriam-e.livejournal.com
I'm only a third of the way through the book, but the technique she describes, that I was upset about (there are others), runs a business through a trust. The trust pays the husband (the main earner) a much smaller taxable amount than he would normally earn, and another similar amount to the wife, a slightly smaller amount gets put into superannuation with negligible tax, and another slightly smaller amount gets paid to the son. By carving it all up like this the final tax is reduced from about a third of income to less than a fifth.

I find it quite annoying. I hope that one day such loopholes will get closed up. I haven't got anything against being rich (I would like to be rich myself) but it disgusts me that wealth gets used in such a sociopathic manner.

Date: 2006-05-01 08:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greylock.livejournal.com
Setting up a trust isn't a bad idea - we'd do it to protect our house if we could afford the stamp duty to do it.

That said, I am suprised such an obvious loophole exists, however I believe the sting in that comes out when you try to distribute assets from the trust.

Date: 2006-05-01 10:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miriam-e.livejournal.com
Protecting your home and other assets against frivolous law suits is the main purpose of the book. I don't have a great interest in money so a lot of what is said goes in one ear and out the other (though I love to read heavy technical manuals on microprocessors and digital electronics and retain most of what I read in those).

Date: 2006-05-01 07:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aliciaf.livejournal.com
I am wondering....why are you illustrating a book that is advocating people getting out of their social responsibility?

Date: 2006-05-01 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miriam-e.livejournal.com
Heheheheh :)
An excellent question.

The first answer is that I have bills (phone, electricity, rent, car registration...) stacking up to about $700 and have nothing to pay them with.

The second answer is that the book is primarily about protecting the things you own from frivolous law suits and I've had a number of experiences recently that have made me very conscious of the terrible effect they have on society.
• I was a member of a gay & lesbian science fiction club in Melbourne and we had to pay enormous amounts to insure ourselves against potential law suits. It was just plain stupid.
• Here in Queensland I'm a member of a writing group and we have to do a whole lot of ridiculous bookkeeping and minutes-taking and payment of fees because of the same thing... we don't pay insurance but we are able to meet where we do because of the local arts group who do pay insurance, and in order to satisfy laws so that everybody is covered we have to do all this other dumb stuff just so we can get together over a cup of tea and chat about our writing, reading our stuff out to each other.
• The local town council removed all the wonderful toys (swings, slides, see-saws, flying fox, merry-go-round, etc) from the town park because of the risk of frivolous law suits. This seems to be happening all over the country now.

It is getting so that people are afraid to meet because of the legal vultures. This is a bad thing. If this book can help to reverse that a little then I'm in favor of it.

Of course I realise that a lot of the techniques suggested by the book will be too expensive for those of us with few funds and may be most useful for wealthy people to avoid paying their debts, but there is a bad side to everything. :(

I just hope the need for money dwindles before too much damage is done to society by these trends.

Date: 2006-05-01 11:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aliciaf.livejournal.com
I understand. The need to eat, drive and live in something other than a cardboard box is understandable. :D

Affluenza

Date: 2014-09-26 07:39 am (UTC)
ext_1745879: (Default)
From: [identity profile] tp69.wordpress.com
"...the inability to understand the consequences of one's actions because of financial privilege..."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affluenza
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