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Solving Poverty Bono Style - Tax Breaks for the Rich

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By Ben Cohen

A great piece by Marina Hyde on the hypocrisy of Bono style poverty solutions:

And so to our old friend Bono, who this week announced he is displeased

at being called a hypocrite for moving his tax affairs to the

Netherlands, all the while lobbying the Irish government to increase

its aid budget. As you may recall, the Tax Justice Network estimates

that if tax was paid on the money the world's rich have protected in

tax havens, it would raise enough to finance those millennium

development goals five times over.

It seems to me that people are fed up with rich people congratulating themselves for all their efforts to reduce poverty. The noxious book by Bill Clinton called 'Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World' exemplified this type of faux solution to structural poverty. I turn to the brilliant Chris Hedges:

His book is the political equivalent of

“Marley & Me”

It is filled with a lot of vapid, feel-good stories about ordinary and

wealthy Americans setting out to make the world a better place. It

smacks of the philanthropy-as-publicity that characterized the largesse

of the robber barons—the Mellons and the Rockefellers—and has become a

pastime for our own oligarchic elite. Clinton’s call for charity is

the equivalent of well-scrubbed prep school students spending a day in

a soup kitchen, doling out food to the people whose jobs were

outsourced by their mommies and daddies. It does little to alleviate

suffering. But it is a balm to the conscience of the oligarchic class

that profits handsomely from the impoverishment of the working class,

globalization and our anti-democratic corporate state. The rich love

to dine out on their own goodness.

Hopefully the banking crisis will underscore how crucial government is in redistributing wealth as the minimal charity the rich doles out begins to dry up. Philanthropy is all well and good, but certainly no long term solution to the poverty created by neo liberalism.