Column: Capitalism, Taxes & Income Inequality

July 1, 2019

[Opinion column written by BPSU President Jason Hayward]

There is more money in circulation, more billionaires and more millionaires in the world today than in any other period in history. According to Oxfam’s 2018 annual report on world wealth distribution, the 26 richest people in the world had the same net worth as the poorest half of the world’s population, some 3.8 billion people.

The report also asserts that 2,200 billionaires worldwide saw their wealth grow by 12% while in contrast, the poorest half experienced a 11% decline in their wealth. This is also the trend experienced in Bermuda. The 2016 Population and Housing Census Report revealed that the median annual personal income for Blacks experienced a 13% decline over the intercensal period from the 2010 census.

We must ask ourselves: Why is the world experiencing greater levels of income inequality? The answer is not complex; it is evident that the current capitalist system is not designed to ensure that all rise with the tides.

Capitalism itself is not the enemy. Capitalism sparks innovation, creates jobs and is responsible for ensuring goods and services are distributed throughout the world. However, it has it many downfalls including fueling the slave trade and contributing to the exploitation of people worldwide. Capitalism also creates economic inequalities, fuels environmental exploitation, reduces competition and corporatises democracy. The current system is best described as one that places profits over people.

While corporations and the business community profit from capitalism, the working class and the poor often find themselves struggling to benefit. Wages have not progressed at the same rate as the cost of living and as a result, an outcome of capitalism is the working poor. With the perpetual reduction in their purchasing power, many individuals find themselves living below the poverty line. Employees who have worked hard to ensure that businesses meet their profit targets, do not have viable pensions or access to healthcare benefits beyond retirement.

The Government has a critical role to play in the redistribution of wealth and the regulation of private enterprises. The Oxfam report highlighted that many governments were making inequality worse by failing to invest enough in public services. There can be no debate that the current distribution of wealth is not just failing us but it is literary killing us. It is, therefore, essential for both governments and unions act as interventionists to ensure that that people come first.

The Government must ensure:

  • its tax system is designed to ensure that corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes while at the same time, reduce the tax burden on those that can least afford to pay,
  • critical public services remain out of the hands of private enterprises,
  • quality public services such as healthcare, education and social protections are provided for the people that rely on them most,
  • consumers are protected from profit-driven, unfair price gouging and price deception,
  • it supports competition in the economy, and
  • it puts in place adequate protections to ensure workers receive just and decent remuneration, benefits and rights within the workplace.

Unfortunately, the private sector uses their extensive financial resources and economic leverage to back governments that supports corporate interests over the interest of the people. The result is the corporatising democracy. When governments do not support the corporate agenda, the wealthy, in conjunction with their media allies, work to dismantle the government by using the narrative that governments are corrupt and incompetent.

This is why the role that unions fill is so important; unions are the vessels best poised to challenge the interest of private enterprise head-on and to hold governments accountable for the social contract they have with their citizenry.

Unions have been leading the global fight against corporate, neoliberal and capitalist interest and as social justice warriors, unions have been unabated in their advocacy for workers rights, tax justice and social protections. Unions extended their work well beyond workplace collective bargaining and have taken up the mantel for all to ensure that we have a future that leaves no one behind.

- Jason Hayward


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Comments (29)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    “..There is more money in circulation…”

    Stopped reading right there…there isn’t Jason. There’s less money in circulation in Bermuda. Because there’s less people. Don’t you clowns get it?

    • Thumbs up says:

      He was talking about the world…duh…

      • sandgrownan says:

        Bermuda is what matters here.

        • sandgrownan says:

          And if there is more money circulation elsewhere, then why isn’t any of it here? He’s so close to figuring it out on his own. Do you think he could manage it?

  2. The real Terry says:

    I guess some of them are not as lucky as you. They are not able to arbitrarily give themselves a 40% raise. Two Bermuda’s?

    • wahoo says:

      That’s a point. His simplified explanation seems to want to justify increasing CS which can only be done by increasing taxes. Also sounds like an argument against privatization. The wealthy already contribute quite heavily to the tax base (at least they did before we chased them away)….this sort of talk will only ensure the rest leave or move their money away. Wonder if unions fall under the term “corporations”.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        It appears that Mr. Hayward either does not understand the very foundation of economic theory (at both a macro and micro level) or he refuses to accept the gerenally accepted basic tenets of economic theory.

        Either, way it makes for some unfortunate opinions from him.

  3. socialist drivel says:

    next topic….as Bermuda’s economy goes down the toilet–

    The GVt’s mismanagement of the tax payers money is what is causing the negative impact on the working class not capitalism

    Sir, mind the Unions–leave the analysis of economics to the grown ups please….

  4. David says:

    “The 2016 Population and Housing Census Report revealed that the median annual personal income for Blacks experienced a 13% decline over the intercensal period from the 2010 census.”

    Around the same time as the exodus of wealthy expats. And why did they leave again?

    C’mon Jason, you’re almost there buddy. See d forest shru d trees! :)

    • sandgrownan says:

      He’s so close to figuring out….but he can’t bring himself to do it..! LOL

  5. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Unions extended their work well beyond workplace collective bargaining and have taken up the mantel for all to ensure that we have a future that leaves no one behind.”

    Excellent, Mr. Hayward. Now what do you propose to do about the crushing debt Bermuda incurred more than a decade ago? If we didn’t have that debt we could do a lot more with the taxes we currently collect in.

    Taxing the rich to elevate the poor will not work. It will only drive the wealth, if not the wealthy, away from Bermuda. Where will the poor be then?

  6. Anbu says:

    There is no way this guy is actually this stupid. Jason mah bie, you are too young for your position. Pls be quiet. Gotta hand it to u tho, u are an expert boot licker.

  7. Bs says:

    The award for most BS in a single online Bernews article goes to Jason Hayward who also received the award for best fictional story and the award for lead actor in a PLP play! Jason told Bernews that he would like to thank his PLP writers for yet again spinning BS for the sheep

  8. Rotten Onion says:

    Another PLP person trying to be relevant

  9. aceboy says:

    Has this guy ever had a real job or owned an actual business?

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      He is a career civil servant and politician as far as I can tell.

  10. Mike says:

    “Why is the world experiencing greater levels of income inequality? The answer is not complex; it is evident that the current capitalist system is not designed to ensure that all rise with the tides”.

    But Jason – that is why you earn more than some others.

    • wahoo says:

      ….but some are more equal than others…..

  11. Kevin says:

    Talk about trying to justify a job…that was a sell job and not very good at that….we need unions …do we ? do unions actually benefit the employees or do the unions benefit from the employees ? Capitalism is what drives innovation people take risks and sometimes they work and guess what sometimes they don’t and for taking risk there should rewards for those that make it. Most companies aren’t out to get every dollar and deny their employees a good living …and those that do will soon find it very difficult to recruit good staff and eventually seal their fate
    you think about it who benefits the most

  12. Slipnut says:

    The reality is here in Bermuda, as we speak, there is no money being spent on the scale needed to support our economy. SAL has been the busiest Company between the three ongoing major projects; St. Regis, Airport and Morgan’s Point. Yet the SAL workers were not provided with safe vehicles to do the jobs and haven’t had a pay raise in 7 years. This government had better put forth a viable plan to attract outside investment. The potential is here, what’s missing is the understanding to create an environment that attracts them. More attention is needed in understanding why corporations and our countrymen are moving away. Our population has been decreasing for decades and the Civil Services is bloated. An entire School closed and no staff was made redundant? You cannot tax your way out, not at $600,000.00 in interest payments every 24hrs.

  13. Question says:

    He quotes Oxfam. Not exactly the leading light of good ethical behaviour these days. In fact, if Oxfam says something, it’s usually wrong or made up.

  14. Dready says:

    More dream talk for de sheeple

    • Hmmm says:

      Your nightmare is a day and night ritual with Jetgate Craig as your leader lololol.

      • question says:

        That’s really all you’ve got isn’t it. Tired old irrelevant nonsense.

        • lav says:

          25 – 11
          they won!….but don’t know what to do next…2 years in, still waiting…….

        • Double S says:

          Well in all fairness he/she/it can’t exactly post about the wonderful PLP accomplishments to date.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        That’s the last thing anyone with half a brain is worried about. Right now it’s the total lack of confidence in Bermuda under a PLP government clearly demonstrated by the new recession we’re in since the last election .

  15. DrDre says:

    You lot are going to be sorted out.