Death and taxes are NOT the only certainties in life

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Benjamin Franklin said there are only two certainties in life - death and taxes.

Why does this not extend to big companies when it comes to paying tax? This week Apple was ordered to pay £11 billion to the Irish government by the EU for a dodgy tax deal they say was illegal.

Global firms not paying their share of taxes is a common theme these days and it’s something that really troubles me. One rule for the rich and another for us. If we didn’t pay our taxes we’d soon bear the brunt of the state for it.

But there’s another issue that’s really bothering me about our modern capitalist system and it has been having an effect right here in Falkirk.

According to journalist Owen Jones in his book, The Establishment And How they Get Away With It, he argues that free market capitalism is based on a con and that the ideology behind it is “often little more than a front for placing public assets in private hands at the expense of society”.

If you look at the local bus service which was privatised in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher’s government.

What’s happening these days is that, on the one hand, you have a large private company cutting services that communities rely on because they aren’t profitable.

On the other, you have a skint local authority, operating under austerity, which is left to provide the services discarded by the company – at the taxpayer’s expense.

Due to a lack of finances, the council can’t now afford some of these services.

So looking at our local example of free market enterprise, it’s hard to disagree with Mr Jones when he says privatisation is costing the taxpayer more than it should.