back to article Activist investors try forcing Google to pay more taxes

A group of Google investors has called on the firm to stop "undermining democracy and the rule of law" and start paying as much tax as possible in the countries it operates in. The stockholders have put forward a proposal, to be voted on at the annual general meeting today, which would force Google to adopt a set of principles …

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Anonymous Coward

You know something's wrong when shareholders start complaining the compagny they own isn't paying enough taxes.

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That's not wrong. That's called public ownership and that means you can't stop any odd nutcase from buying a share in a company and do something stupid with it.

Oh, sorry, you actually mean that you approve of what these shareholders are doing? In that case both you and them are barking up the wrong tree - you want a company to pay more tax than they currently legally do? Address your complaint to the lawmakers.

Of course, you will find that the lawmakers will not be very keen on being too hard on these companies as that would possibly lead to the lawmakers' own companies having to pay more tax...

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Holmes

Yep, it means the progressive doublethink that says "more taxes == something good occurs" can even be found where it shouldn't be found. "Something good" should probably be something different than bombs dropping on brown people, although recently, checking on Hillary, the Rices and Samantha make me think that this also counted as "good" by the progressives. So let's just say "something good" is not bridges to nowhere, roach motel hospitals, lavish resorts for Congressmen or a USPTO that hands out patents for confusing cats.

It's not like problem childs of a similar kind aren't already convinced that the public debt is not a problem because you can always print more money, so I fails to see what the hurry is in destroying wealthpaying more taxes. I guess when you don't have a model on how an economy works in the first place, anything goes.

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Most shareholders don't get voting rights, that's a very common misconception. Common shares almost never come with voting rights, or if they do the conversion ratio for voting purposes is effectively meaningless.

As for the rest, you're just deluded and/or grossly misinformed. Those 'mission statements' companies always seem to have? Those have legal bearing, if a company does not follow its own philosophies then investors have every right to sue, and they'll win. See, you don't have to put 'maximize shareholder value' in there, but most companies do, because that's what investors like to hear. But the fact of the matter is that it's there, Google has to do their best to deliver on that.

This investment group bought in, knowing that, and now they want to change everything because they've got an agenda. They give zero fucks if Google pays more taxes or not, they want Google to vote the motion down so they can go to their pet politicians and get subsidies. Go check them out. They've got a wish list 85 meters long and it's nearly all self serving pigshit that politicians say they can't pay for. You're simply out of your depth. Baby steps, things are not nearly what people would have you believe.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think what Google is doing with their tax shenanigans is bullshit. Somebody needs to put a stop to all that crap, but that's not a shareholders problem. It's especially not the problem of a shareholder that likes to big up their savvy investments and who distribute bonuses based on the returns from their investments...

Politicians need to do their fucking jobs. End of story. Companies can no more leave a profitable market than they can refuse to make regulatory filings. It's illegal as shit. They're not going to do anything that threatens revenue. Eric Schmidt is very intelligent, as are all the others playing these games.

What we've got are bent politicians, just being bent, and stupid politicians being leaned on by small minded, business oriented middle size fish who all need a good old fashioned ass whooping. Maybe that will happen, maybe it won't. But I am absolutely certain that any change needs to come from the public, who might see some benefit from increased tax revenue. Change should not come from an organization who already has plans for all that increased tax revenue.

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Google requires an ordered society to make money for its shareholders. If Google does not support the ordered society then Google is acting against its interests. Ducking out of paying tax is also morally reprehensible perhaps it could be described as "doing evil". Now where have you heard that phrase before? Oh, some large corporation beginning with G used it in the corporate ethos.

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@Don Jefe

You are misinformed.

Any idiot can by voting shares of Google, if they know what to look for. The ticker symbol is GOOGL (as opposed to GOOG). GOOGL is Class A shares which have 1 vote per share, GOOG are Class C share with no voting rights. Google also has Class B shares which are not publicly traded, those have 10 votes per share.

So, you are not going to take over the company with your GOOGL shares, but you DO get the right to be an "odd nut case" and do "something stupid" with a share.

Honestly, 9/10s of the time, voting shares are a PITA. You get a proxy form, but you are almost always going to vote along-side what the board is doing, because if you didn't like them you wouldn't have bought/retained the stock in the first place. (A few "odd nut cases" exempted)

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Thumb Up

Cue the usual (mis-informed) post...

...about how they legally have to maximise profits.

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Re: Cue the usual (mis-informed) post...

Indeed. The only one condemned to succeed is YOU - when the taxman rings you up.

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Re: Cue the usual (mis-informed) post...

The only mis-informed post is yours.

How Can A Fiduciary Duty Be Broken?

A fiduciary duty consists of two equal parts: duty of loyalty and duty of care. The duty of loyalty means that the agent must be loyal to the client above all others, [emphasis mine] including the agent’s own. As such, a fiduciary cannot have more than one fiduciary relationship if the fiduciary duties would conflict with one another. This is why, for example, an attorney cannot represent both the plaintiff and the defendant. Keeping a portion of the profits or engaging in insider trading also violates the fiduciary duty of loyalty.

The duty of care means that the agent must provide the best possible service or advice that the agent can provide. Negligence is a common way of breaching the duty of care that the fiduciary owes the principal. Fiduciary failure to disclose information necessary for the principal to make an informed decision also constitutes as an infringement of the duty of care.

http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/suing-a-business-for-breach-of-fiduciary-duty.html

In this case the duty of the corporate directors is to make money for the shareholders. That does mean maximizing profits. There can be some variance on business methodology to maximize the profits, but it certainly isn't to pay the most taxes possible. Which as an earlier poster pointed out would be ALL of them for the US.

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Re: Cue the usual (mis-informed) post...

How many times? Their duty is to act in the best interests of the shareholders. That does not necessarily mean maximising profits especially if that is achieved by pissing off every Western Government in existence through tax structuring as that sort of behaviour will blow back and that isn't in the shareholder's best interests.

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JDX
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start paying as much tax as possible

Both UK and US governments allow you to pay additional tax if you wish so "as much as possible" would be "all of it".

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Re: start paying as much tax as possible

There's something wrong when a company pays just 38 million dollars on incomes of over 21 billion dollars. That's less than 2/10 of a cent per dollar.

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Re: start paying as much tax as possible

Nothing wrong with that at all. If the law permits it, why not? Oh morals? Ethics? Screw those those, this is business.

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Only one way to get multinationals to change their behaviour...

... and that's to hit them in their pocket. Not too straightforward to do with Google, but Starbucks showed how effective that can be in the right circumstances - amazing how quickly they decided to move their European HQ to the UK when their bad reputation over tax translated into reduced profits.

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Interesting

This is obviously an issue between the investors and google but I cant imagine a great number are supporting this (as a share of the company). The key word to look for is 'legal' which it is and the fire and pitchfork lynch mob who would love to get their grubby mitts on someone elses money should be sent back to school and see if they can be taught something. Where does the money for their pensions, jobs and indirect wealth come from?

I agree with a fair level of tax. But then I agree with small government and low tax for all. When it is wasted on pet projects and bribing voters I can understand the reluctance to pay tax. When the public system arrives with the begging bowl (and a big stick) it is the same system which panders to the unthinking lynch mob and vilifies the tax payer. Our tax's now pay for very little (probably contributes to the cost of pens) while the great earners are fleeced for our police, health, education, etc.

If you were paying much more to support a group of people and that group of people turned on you because they want more (more more!) would you be happy? I dont know many who would.

We need a sensible solution which the rich pay more, but the rest have some education of how this works. And maybe kick the gov to stop wasting money and screwing up tax laws. Then maybe we can all be better off.

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Happy

Re: Interesting

Right on cue.

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Re: Interesting

Your argument seems to imply that paying taxes is a burden on the wealthy, but ignores the fact that they wouldn't be wealthy without taxation, as universal education wouldn't exist, the infrastructure that they use to ship products wouldn't exist, etc...

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Re: Interesting

It would be legal for Disney to find a country where the age of consent was 12 and run special peado adventure holidays - but it is unlikely to have a net positive benefit to their profitability.

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@ localzuk

"Your argument seems to imply that paying taxes is a burden on the wealthy"

Not quite. It is a burden on the earning. Some people are bound to read my comment and assume I am some google apologist because it is lazy and easy to think that. There is plenty to rip into google about but tax is something that affects all of us.

We have a lot of tax money taken from all of us yet the unthinking cries can be heard regularly. "Dont take it from me, take it from him. He has more than me!!!". All the complaints about our public services ignore that the money was taken.... so where did it go? How badly mismanaged are the countries finances (in a few big countries!)? Why must the earning suffer while the taking spend the earned money?

There is an important and often forgotten fact. A private entity (business, person, etc) aims to keep its costs down and earn more to afford its survival. A public entity aims to spend all its money to prove it needs it and to grow its kingdom to increase its power to survive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting

"A private entity (business, person, etc) aims to keep its costs down and earn more to afford its survival."

No. A private entity seeks to externalise costs (e.g. shift them to a public entity), create barriers to entry and thus maximise the price charged.

"A public entity aims to spend all its money to prove it needs it and to grow its kingdom to increase its power to survive."

This is certainly true of some, but a public entity would be better seen as something that keeps the private entities honest and provides the services they are unwilling to (e.g. free-at-point-of-use health care, public transport etc)

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Stop

Re: "Dont take it from me, take it from him. He has more than me!!!".

I've always preferred "Take it from me, but please also ensure that a fair proportion is taken from him also. He may have more or less than me, so some sort of banded arrangment will probably be appropriate." I think this way, as I'm in favour of a sufficiently large state apparatus that is able to provide essential services (health, education, refuse collection, roads, and so on), ensuring that they are available to all, not just those with the means to pay for them at the point of need.

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Re: "Dont take it from me, take it from him. He has more than me!!!".

@ Lamont Cranston

The argument usually centres around the word 'fair'. For some it is very fair to rob others to enjoy themselves. The behaviour which vilifies the banks is taken proud by those who want to receive. The clearest demonstration being the electorate and the bribes offered to win the votes.

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Re: "Dont take it from me, take it from him. He has more than me!!!".

No. People take the word 'equal' and try to apply an ad hoc redefinition of 'fair'. Equal and fair are entirely different things.

Equal is a word, like freedom, that ceases to have any meaning if you apply exceptions and caveats to it. The word becomes incorrectly used if 50 for me is not 50 for you. Full stop.

A flat tax is the only way to have equality, but I guaranfuckingtee you it won't be the electorate screaming that isn't 'fair'. It'll be people with limited understanding of economics and medium wealthy people and companies crying the big crocodile tears.

Would I prefer to pay fewer taxes? Yes. I'm not going to throw money at the government to subsidize the purchase of another BMW for some bankers son (which is where LOTS of taxes go you know, the poor don't get dick). But at the same time I'm not going to dither about the money either. I've got plenty of money and you'd be surprised at how many individuals with money don't begrudge their fellow man by bitching about taxes. You pay them and move on.

Now, you get those individuals and have them running companies for others and fuck yes they are going to bitch about taxes. It's the #1 thing you learn as an executive at a big company, you can always point the finger at the tax man and blame him for shareholders not having more money. It's a fucking game and small minded sorts don't see it. You run around for decades foisting everything possible off on someone else, then go home and give negative nine fucks about any of it. It will have absolutely no impact in my ginormous salary if the company has to pay more taxes. Taxes are lawful compliance and no board and no shareholder will raise their voice a single db if you're obeying the law.

The answer lies with the law. Change them. Everybody will bitch, but that's all it is, bitching. If you can't handle being bitched at then neither politics nor business is the place for you. The bitching won't stop if there are no taxes. Because the taxes are nothing more than a resonate whipping post for everybody involved. You are being tricked and treated like a bitch if you buy into any single part of the 'taxes limit investment' bullshit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Dont take it from me, take it from him. He has more than me!!!".

"A flat tax is the only way to have equality"

It's also a great way for the rich to punish the poor.

Proportional taxation is the best way, being based on the equality of ability to pay, Not that it matters, the rich live tax free anyway.

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Re: "Dont take it from me, take it from him. He has more than me!!!".

I didn't say it was fair, I said equal.

Regardless, I'm curious to see how the poor could be punished any more than they already are. It's pretty fucked up that you have to have a bank account to get things like electricity and water, but if you don't have an average minimum monthly balance of $1000 you pay a $25 penalty. That's pretty awful.

I can't stop it, but I can go to a different bank for the $17M in short term loans I took out last year for raw materials purchases. That's exactly what I did too. Fuck them.

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Re: Interesting

@codejunky - you're still seeing taxation as a burden though. It isn't a burden, it is a responsibility and should actually be a point of pride to be honest. If I were rich, I would be doing as much as I could to give as much back to society as possible - be it through taxes or charity. But then, maybe that's just my way of thinking. I see hoarding of money and possessions as an entirely pointless endeavour...

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Joke

Re: "Dont take it from me, take it from him. He has more than me!!!".

Hey, there's an election, next week, and I haven't received my bribe. Could you let them know that I've been missed out?

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Re: Interesting

@ localzuk

"you're still seeing taxation as a burden though. It isn't a burden, it is a responsibility and should actually be a point of pride to be honest."

Really? Rubbish. Most people are happy to contribute to police, defence, etc. It gets murky at foreign aid, extent of healthcare, etc. There is a conflict over education which people are happy to pay tax for but generally think it is shoddy run (especially teachers seem to think that).

The source of pride comes from funding that list somewhat. But what about 6 layers of management and consultants of consultants for consultants to organise a desk? Are you proud to give money away to people for nothing? Dont believe it happens? I have seen it and I do see it. Government bodies having to spend every penny to demand more the next year!

So for all you downvoters I would like to know how many of you proud tax payers (earning only please!) volunteer to pay more than your legal requirement. Obviously it rules out anyone with an ISA too. Who throws their money at the gov saying here... dont add more debt.... take it from me.... I want to be proud.

I actually agree with charities more than I do with increased taxation. But that is a different discussion.

"I see hoarding of money and possessions as an entirely pointless endeavour..."

What about providing for your children? We have a money issue in this country currently which could easily get worse. Can you rely on the state to care for you and be there for your kids when they have spent your money on their toys and bribes? Or is accumulating power and wealth a good way to secure your families future? Or will you die happy with no money after the state robs you blind to pay for another quango/ID scheme/Eurofighter/wind turbine? At what point does your pride fade and your common sense kick in?

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@localzuk

Absolutely. There's a small but well regarded hospital near here called the Ellen Badger. Long story short, rich wine merchant immortalized his beloved wife by establishing a hospital trust in her name ...

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Re: Interesting

Really? You pulled a 'think of the children' to justify mooching off the State? That's classic. I know how you can solve your money problems, become a politician. You've got the necessary gaps in the logic centers of your brain. You'd do well.

Regardless, I'll tell you the same thing I tell every new batch of my interns and the CEO's of the startups our VC group funds, you don't stand a chance if your mentality begins with blaming anyone but yourself for your failures to (whatever it is you want).

I'm not sure how you think things work, but there's no room here for anyone who can't be responsible for their own successes, and their own failures. It's too bad I don't have your mailing address, I would send you one of my 'Ask yourself, who's responsible?' decals for your bathroom mirror.

It's hilarious that you can't see your attitude is the very same as those who you think are out to get you. You're willing to take from others, what's to stop me, for example, from taking from you? It sure as hell isn't you. You've proven you've got no self reliance. Proper manners and preferring to earn my own keep is what prevents 'me' from simply taking what I want from you. Not the law, not any pointless bluster from you, I am responsible for not taking from you.

But you can't say the same can you? You're all about taking from someone else. That's a dangerous road to travel my friend. You're outclassed and underfunded for that kind of attitude. Somebody is likely to come along and squeeze the shit out of you for everything you've got, and there's fuck all you're going to be able to do about it.

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Re: Interesting

@codejunky You seemed to have missed the middleground between "earn all the money and horde it for myself" and "do f*ck all and expect the state to care for me". I think most of us prefer to live there, but "fatcat bankers" and "benefit scroungers" make better news copy, so we get forgotten about.

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@ Lamont Cranston

You seemed to have missed the middleground between "earn all the money and horde it for myself" and "do f*ck all and expect the state to care for me". I think most of us prefer to live there, but "fatcat bankers" and "benefit scroungers" make better news copy, so we get forgotten about.

Actually it is the middle ground I am trying to explain here. Google legally paid what it must in tax and that was it. Funnily many people do this (e.g. ISA) and I know of nobody who pays more than they should (by choice). There is even the cash in hand people who do all they can to actively avoid paying tax (Tax which is being argued here as 'fair' and to be 'proud' of). Yet people are focusing on google who did what we all do.

Basically to vilify google requires vilifying ourselves and demanding that we should be paying more. Except the blindness of stupidity seems to convince these protesters that they are arguing only against what they call 'rich'. Rich is a dangerous term because the vast majority of us are.... depending where you would like to put the benchmark. The benchmark is subjective and ignorant of the facts.

Which comes back to pensions, jobs and general wealth. All these wonderful things we assume from the state and private dealings come from earning. Which comes back to the important fact that people miss- business and people are private entities. We try to spend less and earn more to survive. Compare that with the public systems which exist to spend the maximum and grow their kingdom.

The people advocating more tax (people down voting) have yet to shout up how they choose to contribute more in tax than they need (obviously no ISA and must be earning). How many of these people spend every penny they earn to prove to their employer they need that much again next month and push for a pay rise? Waste the money in any way they can think of on purpose to prove they should be given that money again and more next time? How many successful businesses do that?

We need a responsible social system with tax. That is not the same as taking as much as possible to throw at anyone and anything to prove they need more money. It is an unsustainable system. And because of that there is a lack of funding for the actual reasons people have stated that they do agree with tax. And instead of blaming those who waste the money (over many years and govs) they blame google. For doing exactly what they are doing.

The middle ground isnt going after the lawmakers. It isnt going after the wasters who spend all the money. They are going after themselves (and the rest of us) and the sensible who save, work, earn and are responsible (yes I am in there) get shafted by the unthinking mob. The mob who think they are opposing the fatcats and scroungers but instead are lynching themselves.

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@codejunky

Every organisation has inefficiencies. They are part of life, as they are ran by us, fallible humans. Am I happy to pay for all the services I and others use? Absolutely. Am I thrilled by the waste? No, but I do have faith that the actual purpose of the organisation will happen. Its not perfect, but its pretty good...

Working in a school, I will say that I agree that education is currently not running in the best fashion, but you know what? It isn't the end of the world. A different government will come in at some point and change things again.

Government bodies don't "spend every penny to demand more the next year". They spend every penny to do the most they can with it. In this school, we spend every penny absolutely. We spend it on educating our kids the best we can, to provide the best resources we can, and to get the best staff we can. Should we be leaving some at the end for some reason?

Voluntary tax payment is a nice concept, but I can't currently afford to, I don't get paid enough. If I do have spare, I generally give it to charities though.

Currently? I don't have children. If I did have children, I would expect them to learn about working hard and earning their own way. I would not be putting my wealth aside for them to live a fancy life when I die - there's better uses for it than that. Can I rely on the state to care for me? If I get to a state where I have no job, I have options, based on my willingness to work. I'd move to wherever there was a job. But yes, I would hope the state would support me enough to feed and house me until I found that job.

Common sense in this case doesn't seem to be very common... We decide upon our spending in this country (UK) by voting for people. If we don't like things they do, we vote for someone else...

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@ localzuk

"Working in a school, I will say that I agree that education is currently not running in the best fashion, but you know what? It isn't the end of the world. A different government will come in at some point and change things again."

And how much are we willing to spend on 'not running in the best fashion'? Another body to say the last one sucked but we will do it right (rinse and repeat). How is that improvement? It increases in cost but where is the result? And note that the people who pay for it are the rich as our contributions are so tiny, and they tend to send their kids to the private schools. So take money from the rich to pay for mediocre (depending on the yardstick used)?

"Government bodies don't "spend every penny to demand more the next year". They spend every penny to do the most they can with it."

We obviously have different experiences. I have been asked directly to take the money because it needed to go so they could get the same back again. This is a common experience I hear from anyone who works with the public sector. If the money aint spent it is assumed not to be needed and the budget is cut.

"Voluntary tax payment is a nice concept, but I can't currently afford to, I don't get paid enough. If I do have spare, I generally give it to charities though."

So you have spare money for charity but not for tax? But we are talking about google fulfilling its tax obligation and you arguing they should pay more?

"Currently? I don't have children. If I did have children, I would expect them to learn about working hard and earning their own way. I would not be putting my wealth aside for them to live a fancy life when I die"

Who is talking about a fancy life? I am talking about actually leaving something for your kids other than debts and a funeral to pay for. I dont have kids either but even so it is my responsibility to earn what I can to look after me and my family. Like you I dont pay more tax than I legally have to. So why should google or any other law abiding private entity?

"But yes, I would hope the state would support me enough to feed and house me until I found that job."

The same mistake was made in Greece. In Cyprus peoples savings were threatened and businesses harmed. How many govs ran into such difficulties as to not be able to look after their people? Remember the state is a bunch of people looking after themselves in many layers of management with some believers in an ideology at the working fronts.

"Common sense in this case doesn't seem to be very common... We decide upon our spending in this country (UK) by voting for people. If we don't like things they do, we vote for someone else..."

And yet we are discussing activists. Not with dialogue to the lawmakers but instead attacking a private entity for behaving legally. We are discussing a private entity acting legally and doing as you do yet you say it should pay more with the minor justification that it has more money than you. And somehow you distance yourself from what they do although you too only pay as much tax as you must. Like the rest of us

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Re: Interesting

What is your suggestion for fixing education then? Eliminating public sector education? Already been shown to be a poor concept over the last 100+ years...

If I had enough money, extra tax *and* charity would go out. As I don't, I already pay some tax and therefore I give extra to charity as and when I can.

Careful financial planning will leave no debts and no cost for funeral... Doesn't mean I have to hoard anything.

Greece had a bit of a different problem - they had a *huge* black market of people not paying taxes... Same in Cyprus.

Activists telling Google to pay their fair share - which means not creating weird tax structures with subsidiaries with the sole purpose of avoiding taxation. Activists telling Google to comply with the will of the democratically elected government.

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Re: Interesting

@ localzuk

"What is your suggestion for fixing education then? Eliminating public sector education? Already been shown to be a poor concept over the last 100+ years..."

Why must the answer be extreme? Why not fix instead of throwing away?

"If I had enough money, extra tax *and* charity would go out. As I don't, I already pay some tax and therefore I give extra to charity as and when I can."

Dont google do charity and tax? You just want them to do more than they are legally obliged to.

"Careful financial planning will leave no debts and no cost for funeral... Doesn't mean I have to hoard anything."

Who is assuming hoarding? The fact is the better google do the better the investors do. Guess where our pensions are. London runs on the financial sector. Without that you have no public education, health, etc. You have a huge crash.

"Greece had a bit of a different problem - they had a *huge* black market of people not paying taxes... Same in Cyprus."

And a lot more problems. But the fact is poor gov stiffed the population. And the masses were happy until their house of cards fell.

"Activists telling Google to pay their fair share - which means not creating weird tax structures with subsidiaries with the sole purpose of avoiding taxation. Activists telling Google to comply with the will of the democratically elected government."

The will of the gov written in law. Google act within law. Google act as we do minimising how much tax we have to pay (legally). So if google is wrong then you are wrong. Pay up. If google is right then either laws need changing or the gov needs to stop wasting so much money or some combination. But complaining you want the inefficient public institutions to carry on consuming without limit at someone elses expense because they have more money than you is the same logic of most thieves.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting

@ localzuk:

"If I were rich, I would be doing as much as I could to give as much back to society as possible - be it through taxes or charity. But then, maybe that's just my way of thinking. I see hoarding of money and possessions as an entirely pointless endeavour..."

True that.

However you are addressing corporate miscreants

that quake, quiver and shake at THOSE VERY WORDS:

ETHICS and MORALITY.

To invoke those words (ETHICS and MORALITY) to a corporate miscreant,

will inevitably bring about a look into their eyes of incredibility and complete confusion.

In OTHER words, their reply would be more apt put as:

"We're Only in It For the Money".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Dont take it from me, take it from him. He has more than me!!!".

"if you don't have an average minimum monthly balance of $1000 you pay a $25 penalty"

What are you on about? Current accounts a free (unless you go for one of the fangly-dangly ones with extra services).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting

"that quake, quiver and shake at THOSE VERY WORDS:

ETHICS and MORALITY."

That didn't used to be the case - look at the founding of Barclays.

If only their recent CEOs had followed those goals.

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Re: Interesting

Interesting rant, Mr. Don Jefe.

I will describe your attitude, condition and demeanor

(AND your rant)

with one apt word:

MEGALOMANIA.

I know it when I see it, through my 62 years of travels within corporate circles,

and around all those that "believe" that they "rule the day".

Those days, however, are drawing nigh:

for you and your ilk have WELL overplayed your hand in life.

LIFE simply does NOT chart upon a straight upwards curve on a corporate rate of profit,

but rather: it runs in a full circle.

What goes around...eventually COMES around.

Today, I am quite blessed and thankful I am not YOUR arse.

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Re: Government bodies don't "spend every penny to demand more the next year".

Yes they do. In over 20 years of IT work, there's never been a year in which the company I worked for didn't receive "end of the fiscal year rush orders" so all of their allocated budget was spent before the fiscal year ended. My roommie is in government. Every year he has the same problem, in fact for some accounts they have to make sure they spend it well before the end of the fiscal year or the accounts will be frozen to recover "unused" funds, even if they need two more months of funding before they can make their expenditure.

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Re: Already been shown to be a poor concept over the last 100+ years...

No, the last 100 years prove quite the opposite. We did better educationally when schools were private than now that they are public.

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Re: Already been shown to be a poor concept over the last 100+ years...

We did better when things were private? What, you mean when anyone without money didn't get an education (unless someone took pity on them)?

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Re: Interesting

@codejunky - You earlier didn't include Education in the things you're happy to pay taxes for - saying that people think it is shoddily run. Therefore, I took that to mean that you don't think it should be government led.

Working in Education, I will say one thing - there is simply not enough money spent on it. The rationing of resources seriously holds back our children. Research shows that classes should not be larger than around 20 pupils, but most schools have classes of at least 30 in the UK. At one point, our school was stuck in a position where we had to have 34 pupils in a single class! Sure, the top level management of education is often questionable - eg. Free Schools spending, or the push for Academies in the UK, or the obsession with SATs test or the like, but the changes needed aren't in the schools themselves most of the time, they are simply a vote away from being changed.

Different levels of taxation wouldn't affect that.

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Re: Interesting

@ localzuk

"You earlier didn't include Education in the things you're happy to pay taxes for - saying that people think it is shoddily run. Therefore, I took that to mean that you don't think it should be government led."

It wasnt intentional to leave out education and it is a great example poor policy as well as recently being in the spotlight (and easier for us to discuss as you are in that environment). Personally I am not convinced it should be government led because it is a political football which brought about the wonders that you have called questionable. As for my family it was Blairs academies which ruined my brothers results from A's to E's in 2 years. In my case it was more the absolute detachment from university education and the real world requiring both a degree AND experience because a degree didnt actually teach you the varying aspects of IT. This was a problem for everyone I knew, I was lucky to work for free to gain experience part time for a while so I was the only one of our class to get an IT job on leaving uni. The grades were so badly devalued that even the ones who easily passed through uni couldnt get employed.

"Working in Education, I will say one thing - there is simply not enough money spent on it. The rationing of resources seriously holds back our children."

Very true. But robbing a more from a select few who you deem deserve to have money stolen because (back to the thief's justification) 'they can afford it', why not get business into a more active role? Give them the ability to contribute (resources, money, time, etc) to the education system and hopefully get the kids learning something useful. Your fantastic education system wrote me off because they didnt realise I am dyslexic. Money was wasted on a mass production conveyor belt in what I considered (and still do) a prison. Instead of these prisons where academics are praised and everyone else discarded I would prefer not to be robbed by a smiling thief who tells me its for the good of the children.

"Sure, the top level management of education is often questionable - eg. Free Schools spending, or the push for Academies in the UK, or the obsession with SATs test or the like, but the changes needed aren't in the schools themselves most of the time, they are simply a vote away from being changed."

This is surely an argument AGAINST paying more tax. It is abused like the alter boy of many catholic jokes. 'Vote for me and I will rob more to give you presents' is not a reason to like tax. Actually it falls back to telling the politicians we would prefer less tax, less interference for the hell of it and some actual financial awareness. Instead of wasting every penny, maybe they should actually use it where it is needed. Instead of a load of bodies for the thinking about the hypothesis of actually doing anything useful, they could fund the school/hospital/etc.

"Different levels of taxation wouldn't affect that."

So in that case we can have lower taxation. Or even (for this topic) educate the unthinking mob who are attacking google for their legal activity so they can see the truth. To argue a private entity should pay more than their legal requirement of tax is to argue that any and all private entities should pay more than their legal requirement of tax.

Maybe they should lead by example! Go ahead.

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The board don't want?

Feck the board.

If the shareholders want them to wear pink tu-tus and sing "I'm a little" teapot then that is EXACTLY what they will have to do - or leave.

The (well, some) shareholders want Goog to up their tax payments and take the revenue cut, if enough other shareholders agree then the board becomes bound by the shareholder's will.

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Re: The board don't want?

Percentage of Goolge owned by activist investors 0.000001%

Percentage owned by hedge funds/billionaires etc who don't pay tax themselves 99.9999999%

Chance of pink tutus - zero

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Re: The board don't want?

Shame really - it'd be funny.

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Re: The board don't want?

It would be hilarious, and they'd do it if backed against the wall, but that's a rare situation. There's an entire sphere of business that takes place solely at the Board level. Money isn't the coin of the realm there, it's influence and favors that are traded there and that's why the members of a company's Board are so crucial.

If you've got a loudmouth investor giving you trouble chances are you know somebody directly or somebody who knows somebody who is on the Board of the fund or bank that's giving you trouble. Favor here, favor there and all the pressure goes away. That's why company's usually don't sweat perpetual bothers like Icahn. He sure as hell isn't investing his own money in the companies he harasses and his Board will rein him in if they have received the appropriate tithes.

The world of big corporate Boards is all a great big murky jumble of immensely wealthy and powerful people who will always look out for each other first. It's like national level politics but with people who actually have power, wealth and intelligence. So it's double plus fucked up.

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