Rum times indeed

Rum times indeed

My stimulus package
My stimulus package

If you've been criticising U2 for using standard business practices to increase their profits, then you have to ask yourself some pretty hard questions.

If U2 are morally bound to pay the maximum taxes here in Ireland, why exactly should that be the case? To help our poor old Ireland? As anyone who has visited Africa, South America or the Indian sub-continent will be aware, we know nothing of real poverty here.

Should they pay their taxes in Malawi or Somalia instead? (Actually, that's not such a bad idea. They'd probably get a great deal, and who could criticise that!)

Technically a true Christian should give away all their worldly possessions and help the poor. Of course, the possibility still remains that Jesus himself was far from a bedraggled itinerant preacher and was actually minted.

He was a friend of the taxman's after all.

Anyway, what with all this belated furore over Bono's tax affairs (that was 2006 folks!), perhaps the new sheriff over in D.C. saw a welcome opportunity for some housecleaning of his own.

The U.S. is finally cottoning on to the corporate tax-cheats who squirrel billions away in offshore accounts and shelter companies, thus shedding millions from their tax bills. Over here we've known about it for many years as the Ansbacher Diet. They're only getting the memo now?

Steven Musher of the Internal Revenue Service speaks softly but carries a truckload of lumber with which to smite potential evaders.

Musher said the IRS does not want changes to be burdensome for banks and financial institutions

God knows they have enough to deal with just redecorating their offices–look at poor old John Thain, ex-CEO of Merrill Lynch.

CNBC said Thursday that Thain spent $1.22 million redesigning his office — including $35,115 for a “commode on legs” and $1,405 on a parchment waste can

Personally I want to see those curtains that cost $28,091. Those were a tax write-off naturally.

But who is actually guilty of the backroom bookkeeping shenanigans of which the I.R.S. has suddenly become aware? Why, mainly those companies who took a golden shower in the enormous bailout/stimulus packages of course.

Can I really call them guilty? Well I'm not one to judge on hearsay but just try answering this question: Why does major bailout recipient Morgan Stanley require no less than 158 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands?

Pure Dodge City.

And speaking of the Caribbean, we learnt last year that our own favourite price gougers (and Irish national pint exploiters) Diageo are happily guzzling down $2.1BN of U.S. taxpayers money to help them produce and sell more overpriced rum.

So is Captain Morgan really too big to fail? Definitely, since he had operating profits of $4.2BN last year! Oh, he really needs a hand out.

Avast behind! There be pirates galore, mateys! Arrrr is for Rum and for the Royal Rogering Received by Real taxpayers. (Apologies to Purple).