Saturday, June 25, 2011

U2 Can Pay More Taxes...

But they choose not to:
U2 and its frontman Bono, known for their global poverty-fighting efforts, were accused of dodging taxes in Ireland by activists who crashed their performance at England's Glastonbury festival.

The anti-capitalist group Art Uncut inflated a 6-metre balloon emblazoned with the message "U Pay Your Tax 2." Security guards wrestled them to the ground before deflating the balloon and taking it away. About 30 people were involved in the angry clash. "I love U2 but I think everyone should pay their taxes. The campaigners have a right to voice their opinion," he said.

Art Uncut argues that while Bono campaigns against poverty in the developing world, his group has avoided paying Irish taxes at a time when his austerity-hit country desperately needs money.

Ireland, which has already accepted an international bailout, is suffering through deep spending cuts, tax hikes and rising unemployment as it tries to pull the debt-burdened economy back from brink of bankruptcy."...U2, the country's most successful band, was heavily criticised in 2006 for moving its corporate base from Ireland to the Netherlands, where royalties on music incur virtually no tax.
I'm of two minds here.  First of all, I believe in Freedom so I think Bono and U2 have the right to conduct their business affairs as they choose, provided they are within the law.  No one here is accusing them of doing anything illegal, merely working the system to their advantage.

What they are being accused of is an odd from of hypocrisy, where they are charged with not putting sufficient money back into the system, while they urge other people (mostly corporations and the rich) to donate more to the causes of their choosing.  They have also been criticized recently for the nature of their "charity:

U2: Great music in the service of dubious charity 
Last year, Bono's nonprofit ONE foundation was at the center of semi-scandal when it was revealed that in 2008 the organization raised $14,993,873 in public donations — of which only $184,732 (or just over ONE percent) was distributed to charities. Where did the rest go? Well, more than $8 million went to salaries for executives and employees at ONE. In response to the fusillade of criticism following these revelations, ONE spokesman Oliver Buston explained, "We don't provide programs on the ground. We're an advocacy and campaigning organization."
So, they get other rich people and businesses to donate the their charity, and spend that money advocating for their own personal causes.

A good gig, if you can get it.

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