Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Utter, vicious nonsense.

The actual article - which provides the detail which Noah fails to supply - namely, that U2 was relocating to a country which *doesn't* impose an arbitrary and obnoxious windfall tax on royalties, in addition to the usual income taxes. Furthermore, Bono and the rest of the band will continue to pay their normal income taxes within Ireland proper. Nothing illegal or even particularly immoral is going on here, by rational standards.

Noah's predicate - that if someone crusades against poverty, then he can't have his own self-interests at heart when conducting his own private business in a tax-minimizing fashion - is utter, miserable, ill-thought-out horse radish. Real anti-poverty activists - from the early Victorian bourgeois to Carnegie to Melinda & Bill Gates - have traditionally been wealthy, canny capitalists with a perfectly rational commitment to not wasting their private resources on non-tax-optimal behavior.

Bono is merely the latest in a long string of wealthy evangelical Christian do-gooders. To denounce him as a hypocrite for not behaving as an economic martyr is just foul.

On another level, U2 is just the latest rock band to become tax emigres due to confiscatory European taxation policies. Were all of those hedonistic Seventies hard-rock outfits like Led Zeppelin hypocritical for bailing on Laborite England's obscenely high top tax rates, even though that money theoretically financed the era's progressive permissiveness in some sort of roundabout fashion? Of course not.

I wonder how much of this is just a push to tar Bono as a nasty, hypocritical evangelical neocon. He's said a few too many nice things about American Republicans recently. Time to cauterize the wound, soldier! Burn him!

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