In defence of Starbucks

There are few groupings more ignorant, deluded and wrongheaded as Labour Party front organisation, UK Uncut.  On Saturday this bunch of Fabian virtue farmers, whose mindset is if a person or company is successful and has some money it is only ‘fair’ they should have it taken of them by the state to use on others who all too often are not vulnerable but simply can’t be bothered to earn for themselves, plan to protest at Starbucks shops up and down the UK.

Starbucks have structured their business to maximise the return for its owners and investors.  That is what a business exists for.  They are being outrageously and unfairly maligned by groups like UK Uncut and Westminster’s money grubbing politicians who are blackmailing Starbucks into not using legal taxation structures in Europe so they pay tax to the UK exchequer regardless of whether the company structure means laid down royalty payments to the European HQ results in a trading loss.  As Helen observes, the £20m over two years Starbucks have volunteered to pay, is protection money.

Starbucks, which is working within the rules devised and handed down by the same European Union most of the UK Uncut bedwetters adore so much, have headquartered their European operations in the Netherlands to take advantage of an advantageous corporation tax deal that was offered to them by the Dutch.  The Netherlands exchequer therefore benefits from offering a competitive lower rate instead of going out of its way to treat the business as a cash cow and snatch as much of its money as possible.

There’s a lesson in that for the UK’s politicians who, so used to troughing from the public purse for their expenses, believe the state should do the same only from the bank balances of companies.  Fairness is not a one-way street that only runs in the state’s favour.  But then, how could we expect any sort of common sense from politicians when the likes of Lib Dem Treasury Spokesman, Stephen Williams, opines:

Tax is something that is a legal obligation that you should pay according to the tax rules of a particular country.

Which, FFS, is exactly what Starbucks have been doing.  So what’s this troughing moron’s problem?  Like the rest of the political class, he doesn’t like the rules he signed up to when desperately licking the EU’s arse.  So instead of taking issue with the rules he no doubt agreed with, or didn’t read, he chooses to shift blame on the law abiding company which is based in the Netherlands and pays its corporation tax there.  I’m sure he wouldn’t mind, say, HSBC paying its corporation tax here where it is based, but not in another country.

So on Saturday, while the protesters who always seem to have so much time on their hands, doss around at a Starbucks near me, I will take some time out from earning some money and spend some of it in the shop.  Not because I’m a fan of Starbucks, I have visited their shops twice; but to mark the principle that a government shouldn’t blackmail any company into paying money it does not owe by inciting rent-a-mob state clients to launch boycotts and protests to damage that company’s revenues.

If UK Uncut and the Guardianistas who fawn over their little Fabian friends want to protest about unfairness, they should start by demonstrating against the politicians who squander money and then come back to raid individuals and companies for even more.  If the government was ‘fair’ and only took the bare minimum needed to provide essential services and infrastructure, all working individuals and companies would be able to pay less – resulting in a reduced appetite for minimising their tax liabilities.

Indeed, if the system was truly fair the people would actually be asked for approval by the government to spend money.  If they didn’t want, for example, £2 billion of our hard earned being sent overseas to Colombian cattle farmers and companies installing wind turbines in Africa, they could block the expenditure.  If people wanted more money spent on services for the elderly, or money put into hospice provision, then the government as our servants would have to do that.  But of course the reality is the corrupt gerrymandering we see where successive governments buy off voters by diverting some of our cash to those people whose votes they want to secure, then spending the rest as they see fit without any form of accountability.

This state of affairs isn’t the fault of Starbucks, Amazon or Google.  And the current harrassment of them – and the barely known small businesses being made to feel like criminals for making use of legal tax reliefs – by some of the biggest hypocrites on the face of the planet is a crass smokescreen.

8 Responses to “In defence of Starbucks”

  1. 1 permex 08/12/2012 at 12:04 am

    I remember the late Harry Browne describing government as a legal Mafia.
    He was correct then but couldn’t possibly have even wildly guessed the extent to which it would expand, It will eventually destroy us all.

  2. 2 theeconomicproblem 08/12/2012 at 12:28 am

    You may a really good point which I agree with. What corporations like Starbucks were doing was in fact legal! In a post on the situation a couple of weeks ago I tried to highlight a similar point-that we all would like to keep as much money as we can rather than it being taxed away.

  3. 3 James Morrison 08/12/2012 at 11:42 am

    Let us not forget the various tricks the hypocrites at the Guardian (and their owners) and our dear friends at the BBC employ to do exactly the same.

    In my book it is everyone’s obligation to do everything in their power to (legally) pay the least amount of tax they possibly can!

  4. 4 Andy Baxter 08/12/2012 at 2:27 pm

    James: what about Lawfully? Taxation remember is but a tool that gives them, the executive be it kings of old or Parliament who has replaced such today, the means and POWER to pursue its own agenda.

    There is no lawful basis for taxation only a legal one via legislation; Again a tool of the executive to give a veneer of legitimacy to what is basically theft!

    I have never realy objected to being subjected to taxation (until now) in fact I saw it as a privilege to support those less able (not willing) and to help towards providing infrastructure for a harmonious and ordered society.

    However the worm has turned too far now and my objection is one based on the principles that we have come to label as ‘Referism’, and as defined in demand 5 of the Harrogate Agenda; Namely having a say in how much is taken and what it is spent on.

    How can anyone possibly object to such a perfectly reasonable core moral value?

    There is a lesson here however in what is happening regarding Starbucks et al, for those of us committed to The Harrogate Agenda: namely the use of propoganda and the psychology associated with it to garner the support TPTB have in turning a perfectly ‘legal’ deed into one that is seen as ‘immoral’

    We should take heed and learn.

  5. 5 Andy Baxter 08/12/2012 at 5:44 pm

    was your coffee and nibbles at Starbuck today hassle free? or did you encounter hostility….do please let us know AM

  6. 6 Hengist McStone (@hengistmcstone) 09/12/2012 at 10:44 am

    You could have trotted out much the same arguments a couple of months ago in defence of Jimmy Carr. I suppose you didn’t cos he’s a leftie.

  7. 7 Autonomous Mind 09/12/2012 at 12:08 pm

    No, I didn’t because I hardly blogged in June due to focus on my new baby. Not that it’s any of your business.

    I completely respected and supported Jimmy Carr’s tax position. Good luck to him, was my thinking as the story was played out time and again over the radio and TV.

    But then he decided to state he had ‘made a terrible error of judgement’ and was withdrawing from the perfectly legal and reported K2 scheme. I didn’t bother bringing it up after that, not because he’s a leftie as you put it, but because he’s a spineless chickenshit suck up. OK?

  8. 8 Ted Davison 09/12/2012 at 9:38 pm

    And the worst of it is yet to come…

    ‘And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
    But we’ve proved it again and again,
    That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
    You never get rid of the Dane.’

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