Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

That Rule Of Law And Democracy Shtick

Unilever has been mulling moving its domicile from Holland (OK, the United Kingdom of Holland and the Netherlands) to the United Kingdom – you know, the real one that doesn’t have to be specified by the geography, as with not needing the country name on the stamps. The proper place that is, where God’s language is spoken for ain’t the Bible in it?

OK, pretty cool. And some Dutch politicians have decided that vast taxation should apply to this move. And why not, that’s democracy, right? The people elect the politicians and they get to decide who gains the cash.

Unilever has vowed to proceed with plans to cancel its Dutch listing, even as lawmakers in the Netherlands threaten it with an €11 billion tax bill.

The maker of Marmite, Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is aiming to unify its stock market listings by the end of next month in a move intended to make it easier for the group to buy and sell businesses.

Groenlinks, a Dutch opposition party, has put a hurdle in its path and has drawn up a bill that would impose an “exit” penalty on Unilever.

The thing being no, you can’t do that.

Yesterday the Dutch Council of State, which advises the country’s parliament on the legality of bills, said that the proposal would violate basic principles of the rule of law. If enacted, “the chance that this proposal will turn out to be not legally sustainable is so great that (we) consider introducing it irresponsible”, it said. The parliament is not bound to follow the council’s advice, but it usually does.

Groenlinks, which stands for Green Left, responded by modifying its proposed legislation. “Unilever is threatening to leave the Netherlands with its pockets full so that shareholders can avoid taxes,” it said.

Maybe it is but the rule of law beats democracy. Which is how it should be too of course.

Oh, sure, democracy can be used to change what the law is. Except here it can’t because it’s European Union law that determines no exit taxes, not Dutch. And as we all know there’s no democracy in the EU, you’ve got to have Hollexit to gain that.

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Spike
Spike
6 months ago

How dare anyone contemplate action in his own benefit “with pockets full”?!

Likewise, nations enforce border control on entry and not exit. The proposed law might be unconstitutional in the US as a “bill of attainder,” but only for having a single victim in mind. The Obama admin. enacted penalties against renouncing US citizenship, such as having capital gains tax immediately due.

TD
TD
6 months ago

The biggest impediment to implementing the progressives’ goals is voting with your feet. They’ll never pull their plans off on the scale they desire unless they can first restrict movement.

Boganboy
Boganboy
6 months ago

Surely the EU would change the law like a shot if they were only asked.

Brian, follower of Deornoth
Brian, follower of Deornoth
6 months ago

So this is part of the economic devastation that was to happen when Britain left the Eurine Union?

Addolff
Addolff
6 months ago

They’re copying Gavin Newsome in California. Or vice versa……

Spike
Spike
6 months ago
Reply to  Addolff

Meaning the proposed California income-tax changes with declining rates for emigres covering the years after they move out?

NY/NJ/Mass have a softer version, auditors that follow you to your new state and demand detailed proof that you actually live there.

The prototype was Russia with its “exit tax” to compensate the motherland for one’s schooling and the other benefits of Soviet rule.

TD
TD
6 months ago
Reply to  Spike

what is actually proposed is an annual wealth tax on very rich residents with such taxes still being due for a decade even if you leave the states. As I commented above, mobility is a problem for progressives, but “once a Californian always a Californian” is one proposed solution. Internal passports and permissions to shift residences may eventually become another. You can’t have a progressive state so long as people can vote with their feet, so perhaps cutting off feet may also be suggested.

Spike
Spike
6 months ago
Reply to  TD

That was it. And the Privileges and Immunities Clause would be our defense, along with a 6-3 conservative Supreme Court to assert it, unless we elect Clueless Joe and the Court is expanded in order to be 6-7 leftie, the most important issue on which the nominee and our legislators all have no comment. The continual incivility of Trump’s tweets seem to pale in significance.

Boganboy
Boganboy
6 months ago
Reply to  TD

I have this suspicion that, although it might start with very rich residents, the wicked tax avoiders who didn’t have quite enough money would soon be included.

Jim
Jim
6 months ago

Its amusing (in a dark sort of way) that only a few weeks ago breaking international law was considered utterly beyond the pale when the UK accused of doing so over the Internal Markets Bill. Yet breaking national laws is now considered utterly desirable and morally correct……..

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