Here’s a strange but true fact. The average Croatian pays more income tax annually than the President of the United States of America. Not just a little bit more, but a lot, lot more. When new broke this week that President Trump paid a mere $750 in income tax in the year that he was voted into the White House and in ten of fifteen years from 2000 didn’t pay a cent in income taxes his Presidential campaign took a nosedive. So, yes you are paying more tax every year than Mr. Trump.
Although the revelations by The New York Times were shocking, I can’t really say I’m that surprised. There is a saying that my old boss in London told me “If you owe the bank £1,000 then that’s your problem, but if you owe the bank £1 million then that’s the bank’s problem.”
And even a global pandemic can’t stop the rich from getting even richer. Whilst 90 percent of the population is panicking about either losing their job, running out of savings, not being able to pay their mortgages or even where their next meal is coming from, the other 10 percent are seeing the perfect time to make money.
Just open Njuškalo (the Croatian version of eBay) and search for Mercedes and BMW cars and vans for sale across Croatia. Whereas once these vehicles would have transported tourists up and down the Adriatic this year they have just been gathering dust and expense. If you have money now is the time to buy.
Now that’s down at the low end of the world’s global financial market, but the same thinking and indeed theory is true for the top end. Airlines, real estate, cruise companies and car manufacturers are all standing on the edge of a cliff, a Covid-19 cliff, and the view down is a long way. And as their stock market values plummets like a pebble in the Adriatic investment funds in tax havens around the world are seeing the carpe diem moment.
I’m not really a conspiracy theorist, but this is getting more and more suspicious. During the pandemic the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, has seen his fortune increase by almost $50 billion, the owner of Zoom pocketed $2.5 billion in the same time. And these billionaires are as likely to avoid paying taxes as Trump. Now this could just be a happy coincidence, it could be taking advantage of the situation, being in the right place at the right time, or it could be something much more sinister.
Countries around the world are busily printing more money to save their economies whilst at the same time driving interest rates down and of course causing inflation. But what is the point of low interest rates if the banks aren’t lending money to the average person to buy a home, using Covid-19 as an excuse. However, the ten percent, the super-rich, aren’t your average person looking to put a roof over their heads. Whilst governments are promising to do “whatever it takes” to save their economies they are conversely aiding the rich.
The Covid-19 pandemic can be stopped from resurging in two ways, either sixty percent of the world’s population have been infected and therefore have built up an immune system, or a vaccine is created and the global population is inoculated.
The second scenario would mean billions of vaccinations, roughly 7 billion, which would in turn lead to trillions of profits for pharmaceutical companies. Maybe the Swedish model of herd immunity doesn’t look so radical now. So whilst some rich are only paying peanuts annually in taxes, or avoiding paying taxes at all, the 90 percent is worrying about paying their electricity bill on time. And all this is happening in when we have yet again more corruption cases and the two most powerful politicians in the country fighting like school boys in the playground about who cares what!
I have a felling it is not only going to be a long winter, but also a long few years before some form of reality, whatever that may look like is returned, and in the meantime the rich will continue getting richer and the poor will get poorer.