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Monday, September 24, 2012

Romney's Taxes

1 comment:

jimf said...

An amusing passage from Iain M. Banks' 2009
_Transitions_, which I've finally gotten around
to reading. It's SF, but not Culture.

Made more money. . . Me and half a dozen other guys broke
away from Tangible Topiary (that was the name of the hedge
fund) and started up a new one a few doors down from our
old office. We called it FMS. It was registered at Companies
House and in the Cayman Islands as just FMS Ltd with no further
detail, though we told people who insisted on knowing that
the letters stood for Financial Merchant Securities or
Future Market Superstars or some such tosh, but really it
stood for Fuck Me Sideways. As in Fuck Me Sideways, Look At
The Amount Of Money We're Making.

Our Mayfair office was even grander than TT's, deliberately.
We had a pool put in the basement, a gym in the attic, and a
games room with wraparound monitors for driving and shoot-'em-up
games. Oh, and a flotation pod each. All tax-deductible, as
you'd expect. Even the computer games were there to help us
work off all that testosterone and aggression, weren't they?
The place usually contained more people there to advise us or
tutor us on stuff than it did us actual hedgies. We had
personal trainers, an in-house masseur, fine-wine advisers,
bespoke personal-scent consultants, grooming and presentational
experts, lifestyle and diet gurus, yacht brokers, fencing
instructors, and personal shoppers arriving from Harrods or
Jermyn Street every couple of hours or so with stuff they
thought would suit us (no time or inclination to actually go
to the shops or mix with the plebs).

Not to mention an account with a very discreet top-of-the-range
escort service based a couple of streets away for when all that
testosterone needed another sort of outlet. . . I was slow
to start using that particular service. Never paid for it before,
so it was a pride thing? Only there'd be times when you'd
be sitting there in front of the screens and feeling suddenly
horny and knowing a fabulous-looking girl who needed absolutely
no chatting up or dining or alcoholic lubrication or talk of
'Where do we think this is going?' or even cuddling was only
a phone call and maybe ten minutes away, and even though
it was a week's wages for some wanker it was only petty cash
given what we were making. . .

Lot of toot taken too. Not so much by yours truly, but the
other guys got wired into it. I was like the sommelier of the
office, though, know what I mean? . . .

And we had our own financial advisers, believe it or not. . .
I mean, obviously we had a pretty good idea what to do with
the loot, hundred times better than your average Joe Mug in
the street, but there were people who specialised in that
sort of stuff, so you listened to them. Tax-shelters, write-offs,
offshoring all you could, putting stuff in trusts which in theory
were controlled elsewhere and just doled out what you needed
if you asked nicely (ha ha). Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Channel
Islands, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Switzerland. . .

In the end we were paying less tax than our Paki cleaners. I'd
drive through the clogged and teeming streets of west London
and look at all those passing faces thinking, **You mugs, you
fucking mugs.**