Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) Meets Bernie Sanders and Charles Dickens
One of the greatest works of English literature is Charles Dickens‘ A Tale of Two Cities. Very briefly it is a story of individual people caught up in the French Revolution. Some of the characters are extremely noble and others are despicable. Dickens does not spare the nobility nor the organizers of the revolution, revealing their deplorable deeds before and during the French Revolution.
Under the pressure of this momentous event, some characters achieve feats of heroism. In particular, Charles Darnay, epitomized by the famous lines, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done,” as he offers himself up to be guillotined for a friend.
What does this have to do with international tax structures, what our firm terms, Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). More than you think.
Here are a few direct quotes from this video.
The Paradise Papers opened the door on a “major problem not just for the US but for governments throughout the world.”
“The major issue of our time is the rapid movement toward international oligarchy in which a handful of billionaires own and control a significant part of the global economy. The Paradise Papers shows how these billionaires and multinational corporations get richer by hiding their wealth and profits and avoid paying their fair share of taxes,”
“In recent years we have witnessed the emergence of a different sort of ‘investigative journalism’ that largely includes the public dumping of private information, oftentimes in the absence of analysis, context or verification. It is journalism most foul.”
The vague innuendos that Bernie Sanders uses to decry the so-called revelations of the Paradise Papers is exactly what is described in the above quote.
Now coming back to Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. A main point of the novel is how people act under great pressure. Dickens was interested in how some people used this startling event, and despite the hardships and the atrocious conditions, made themselves better people through a personal transformation of character. Most of the characters in the novel are in a sense used by the events, and become worse characters.
Bernie Sanders is a politician and in his video, he uses the material to make political points. If one is on the other side of the political spectrum, one could use the same material of the Paradise Papers to arrive at very different political conclusions.
Where does this leave us in the world of EWP? Those involved in the practice of international tax planning use existing tax law to achieve the best possible outcome for their clients. It is not a political process.
Politics by nature paints a picture in very broad brushstrokes.
Those who practice EWP are more like miniature painters, who must follow all the intricacies of international tax law. Ultimately, all the details of the law give our clients the result we set out to achieve. We attempt to use international tax law for the betterment of our clients, and not blindly follow the dictates of the political world, be they on the right or the left.
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