The John Oliver show: why it works

   0   0 Blog
John Oliver

John Oliver at Occupy Wall Street, 2011

We’re not going out on a limb to write a blog about the world-famous U.S./British satirist John Oliver, former sidekick of the Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart. There’s a good tax justice angle, as you will see. An article in Radio Times begins:

“Fifty-two million. That’s the current figure for the total number of views on YouTube for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – an HBO political comedy hosted by a Brit. Not bad for a show that airs at 11pm on Sunday nights on cable, and only started three months ago.”

His new winning formula has been to dare to take on serious subjects, get angry about them, analyse them in new ways, and produce the hilarious – yet devastating – analogy, to make a point.

And in this context, the tax justice angle.

“These gags don’t just sugar the pill: they’re always pressed into hard service, helping to ram Oliver’s point home. Take, for example, his explanation of why citizens and corporations can’t reasonably withhold tax dollars in protest at a single piece of government expenditure: it’s a salad bar. You can’t demand a discount because you have a moral objection to beets. “Of course you do! They’re an abomination of a root vegetable. Their bland flavour and slimy texture is an affront unto the Lord. And if you can persuade enough people of that, you can have a referendum to remove beets from the salad bar in the future. But until such time, you’re paying for those f***ing beets.”

Yes, democracy is messy, and our leaders never make all the choices we like. But pay your taxes. Otherwise someone else is going to have to pay them for you. And that’s not the way to a healthy society.

And for something similar but different, if you can see it in your region: Jon Stewart on tax-fueled corporate inversions.

 

 


Related Posts

Launch of international research collaboration, #AltAusterity

alt austerityToday is the launch of #AltAusterity, a new, international research collaboration of which Tax Justice Network is a partner.  The project aims to stimulate public debate on the subject of austerity though high quality research. It is a response to the lack of evidence which has underpinned the current policy agenda on austerity. The project […]

READ MORE →

RB tax avoidance – company calls for public country by country reporting after Oxfam report reveals profit shifting

pictureOxfam has today released a report on tax dodging by RB, the company formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser and the maker of thousands of well known household products. The report looks at the 2012 restructuring of the company which saw it set up ‘hubs’ in the Netherlands, Dubai and Singapore, all well known corporate tax […]

READ MORE →

Half measures mean Mauritius will continue to be a tax haven for the developing world

MauritiusThere was news this week that Mauritius has signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI). This is an initiative from the OECD to allow countries to take measures designed to stop tax avoidance by multinational companies and put them into their existing network of […]

READ MORE →

G20: Pressure rising on tax haven USA

HamburgWhilst the eyes of the world focused on the isolation of the US from the ‘G19’ position on climate change, something remarkable played out elsewhere in the process. Following closely the common EU position that we highlighted a few days ago, the G20 communique devotes important space to tax justice. It’s so good we quote […]

READ MORE →

Will the G20 ever end the global problem of tax avoidance and tax evasion?

HamburgAhead of the G20 Summit in Hamburg this week our own George Turner has published this op-ed in the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung today. The article discusses why, despite sustained political engagement from world leaders, we are still some way from solving the problem of tax avoidance and tax evasion. Here’s an English translation of the article:

READ MORE →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top