Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Me Too?

I have not ever been a fan of U2. I like their LP "Boy" well enough, but nothing after that ever interested me. I find their music pedestrian and their live performance predictable.

I am impressed by Bono's international efforts on behalf of the world's disenfranchised, and because of his hard-work, I have always been his fan.

His acts seem heroic and gargantuan, and they are. He tirelessly advocates on behalf of the have-nots.

There are chinks in the armor:

>> Re-branding Bono <<
Charity doesn't always begin at home

Vanity Fair have invited "pop-humanitarian" Bono to be guest editor of the July issue, to try and "rebrand Africa". Some magazines have been sharing some other facts about Bono:

* In the year since it was founded, his Red campaign (licensed to Gap, Motorola, Apple etc) has raised $18 million - but companies have spent $100 million to market it.

* Bono doesn't invest his own money in Red.

* Apple sells a Special Edition U2 iPod. Its profits are not donated to Red.

* U2 made $389m from the recent Vertigo tour. Its revenue was then funnelled through
companies mostly registered in Ireland and structured to minimize taxes.

* U2 moved its music publishing company to the Netherlands from Ireland in June 2006, six months before Ireland ended a tax exemption on musicians' royalty income.

* Richard Murphy, adviser to lobbying group the Tax Justice Network, says "This is somebody who's exceptionally rich taking the opportunity to shift his tax burden to somebody else, but then asking governments around the world to spend that tax take in the way that he would like."


I think the last statement speaks volumes. It is imperative that all members of a free society pay their share of taxes. Freedom is expensive, and freedom requires that the citizenry be taxed.

Each according to his means, and each according to his needs can work effectively in capitalism.

If the rich pay their fair share while the poor pay their fair share and those in the middle pay their fair share, then there is plenty of money to defend our nations, feed our hungry, clothe our naked, care for our sick, teach our illiterate, and maintain an infrastructure for commerce. None of these things need be exclusive of each other. And there will be plenty left over to ease the suffering of those less fortunate who suffer around the world.

How much of the $100,000,000 Red Campaign has made its way to Bono? How much of what he receives has been sheltered off-shore?

Bono has wonderful visions about helping the undeveloped and developing world. He wants first-world nations to pitch in. I agree.

But, Bono has to pitch-in, too. Seeking tax shelters and abandoning your nation for tax breaks is loathsome.

Bono, get on board and support your own nation if you want them to support your projects! Don't shirk your responsibility as a citizen.

So, when I ask "Me, too?" The answer is "Yes."

Read more:

Bono, Who Preaches Charity, Profits From Buyouts, Tax Breaks

1 comment:

Liz T said...

In Bono's defence - his band formed in Dublin and stayed there. Building studios, employing only locals, buying a hotel, putting a tremendous amount, including their taxes, into the local community. They could have based their band in NYC or London but they wanted to stay at home. As you say, Bono campaigns tirelessly, daily, for those who need help. Edge has his own charity, Music Rising, which raises funds to put on gigs and buy instruments for all the musicians devastated by Katrina in NO. This band have the UN Declaration of Human Rights read to their audience at every gig.

After 31 years they've moved some business interests to other countries. I don't feel like begrudging them!