I don’t know if you had a chance to watch “The Big Fella – The Extraordinary Life of Kerry Packer” on Channel 9 last night. It was an insightful look at a truly Rebellious Entrepreneur. I mean, after all, anyone that chooses to take on the English Cricketing establishment is a true rebel. The way he thought and acted, was also an insightful look at how Kerry Packer saw his social responsibilities and obligation to pay taxes.
A strong insight as to how he viewed his obligations was during the questioning by the Costigan Royal Commission. When questioned about the amount of tax he paid, or lack of it, he responded with a firm blast that went something like this… “Any Australian who doesn’t take measures to minimise the amount of tax he pays is an idiot, and besides, politicians aren’t doing a terribly wonderful job with spending it.”
So what are the tax responsibilities of a Rebellious Entrepreneur? After all, there are segments of society who are legitimately handicapped in one way or another (and I don’t mean physically) who are permanently going to be less fortunate and arguably we as a society need to take care of. I do think however the average percentage of the population that we are compelled to care for is far greater than the percentage of the population that needs to be cared for.
The popular belief that is presented to the public by the media and politicians is that successful people pay too little tax. But the reality is a very different thing. In the US for example, somewhere around 35% to 37% of income tax collected by the government comes from the wealthiest 1%. That’s 1% shouldering more than a third of the burden. The taxes paid are not always direct tax but a combination of indirect tax culminating from doing and being in business.
The argument that is never presented is the proposition of the total tab being paid and that the affluent are paying a very hefty portion of that total tab. Truth be told, there is more benefit to society from the affluent philanthropy of a man like Kerry Packer, the giving of money that builds hospital wings and universities. The affluent’s investment that winds up developing businesses, medical research, the building of another ‘Trump Tower’ – jobs created by that, the change in the property market values in the surrounding area, the materials supplied by vendors who collect and pay tax and employ people who now buy property and invest in society themselves… Seems to me you’re actually better off not direct taxing these Rebellious Entrepreneurs at all, instead they should encourage them to “build another building”. Better for society than paying higher taxes.
As you can see the Rebellious affluent entrepreneur is already paying more tax than most and has no obligation to kick in any more than is legally required, because someone is always trying to figure out new ways to extract it from us.
Prime Minister Kerry Packer. I for one would have given it a try, but we’ll never know. Anyway, a very emotional James Packer handled himself very well and obviously loved and is missing his father, and here’s his response to the final question posed to him by the interviewer.
“I asked him not so long ago what he was most proud of – helping to provide thousands of good, stable jobs to decent people was his answer,” James said. “He was acutely aware of his own good fortune and equally aware of the obligations that went with that.”
If you want to see the complete interview with James Packer it’s this Sunday on Channel 9, 9am.