> So just because taxes should be overall lower is not an excuse for them to have so many loopholes to exploit
I kinda take issue with the general idea, which normally goes unquestioned, that just because a company makes a lot of money, they should pay a lot of tax.
There are at least two reasons that I can think of to justify it:
1) The company uses a lot of government provided resources, so they should be paying proportionately for them.
2) Big companies have a lot of money, so if they pay a lot of money, they are effectively subsidising others with less.
I'm not sure that I'm morally in tune with 2). 1) may be relevant here but a lot of the "soft" companies like Google don't use much in the way of resources that they aren't directly paying for anyway. They use a lot of power, but they pay for that, which presumably pays their share of the power grid infrastructure to support it.
The furore has a lot to do with perception. They're making a ton of money so I *think* they should pay a ton of taxes like we assume rich people should. However, I think we should be really clear *why* we think this. Is it jealousy, do we really think they are consuming a disproportionate amount of government resources that they are not covering in the taxes that they pay, or do we think they should pay more tax because we want to pay less?
Let's not forget that tax is not a punishment for success. It is a necessary evil to cover services that we all need. All too often, governments forget this. It pays for:
- fighting other peoples wars (hugely expensive)
- punishing those that are successful
- subsidising poor people (don't misunderstand me, I make no moral judgement here) ( massively expensive)
- subsidising an ever increasing bureaucracy that feeds into itself.
Personally, I think the world would be a much better place if governments would just stop and think before they spend our money.