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What the Taxman Wrought. How Confiscatory Taxes Broke up the Beatles.
National Review ^ | 04/15/2011 | George Cassidy

Posted on 04/15/2011 6:56:51 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

On April 29, 1909 — 102 years almost to the day before the Congressional Progressive Caucus proposed its “People’s Budget” – the British chancellor of the exchequer, David Lloyd George, introduced his own “People’s Budget” in Parliament. This budget included something called the “super tax,” designed specifically to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor.

Half a century later, in his famous 1966 song “Taxman,” George Harrison, singing in the guise of a sardonic tax collector, warns listeners that he will keep 19 of every 20 pounds they earn, and concludes his advice with the reminder that “you’re working for no one but me.” “Taxman” was inspired by the fact that during their heyday, the Beatles were subject to the super tax, meaning that their earnings were taxed at marginal rates of up to 95 percent

That’s not a misprint. And if the story ended there — with a song — that would be one thing. But the oppressive British tax regime had real and dire consequences for the Beatles.

In 1967, the Beatles were informed that they would need to invest the large pile of cash they had amassed if they wished to avoid a major haircut from Her Majesty’s tax collectors. In late 1967 and early 1968, the Beatles duly started the ill-starred Apple group of companies — Apple Records, Apple Electronics, Apple Films, Apple Publishing, and the Apple Boutique.

Most of the companies under the Apple umbrella began losing money extravagantly and quickly. The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, had died in August 1967, and they had no idea how to stanch the bleeding. John Lennon, after fearing publicly that he would be broke in another six months, brought in Allen Klein, a divisive figure who affected a gangster’s air of bluntness, to take an axe to the Apple tree. Over McCartney’s objections — he was outvoted 3 to 1 — Klein began to manage the Beatles’ affairs.

Klein was on a collision course with McCartney from day one. Klein’s laser focus on money often slighted artistic goals — witness the doctored Let It Be tapes, released without McCartney’s consent. McCartney, finding the prospect of continuing with Klein unacceptable, ultimately enraged the other Beatles by suing them to dissolve their partnership in 1970.

This story is widely known. But what often gets overlooked is the fact that without the potent tax dilemma, it is doubtful that the Apple group of companies would ever have been founded in the first place. In other words, no super tax, no Apple fiasco. No Apple fiasco, no Allen Klein. No Allen Klein, no lawsuit.

In fact, from beyond the grave, Lloyd George had forced the Beatles to spend more time figuring out how to shelter their wealth than making music. It is hard to believe that they would not have behaved more rationally, and stayed together longer as a working band, under a milder tax policy.

The Beatles were not an isolated case. These same tax pressures eventually drove the Rolling Stones to become expatriates in order to continue working, famously living in the south of France in 1971 while recording their masterpiece, Exile on Main Street. While the Stones survived as a working unit, they bore the pain of literal exiles — for some of them, permanent exiles — from their homeland.

Creative ruin. Litigation. Exile. Lloyd George unintentionally, but quite effectively, all but destroyed London’s status as the musical and artistic hub of the world as the 1960s gave way to the 1970s.

On this tax day, it is worth noting the lessons the Beatles and the Stones offer to today’s architects of tax policy about the possible unintended consequences of their “spending reductions in the tax code.”

They may be laying traps for artists and musicians yet unborn. As the song has it, tomorrow never knows.

— George Cassidy is co-author, with Richard Courtney, of Come Together: The Business Wisdom of The Beatles.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: beatles; taxes; taxman

1 posted on 04/15/2011 6:57:01 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: OKSooner

Read tonite.


2 posted on 04/15/2011 6:57:42 AM PDT by OKSooner (Obama confessed "his muslim faith" on the George Stephanopolous show on September 7th, 2008.)
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To: SeekAndFind

How the British destroyed their own great country and their most famous artists. I seem to remember reading that the Rolling Stones, too, at one point had to go live in France, of all outlandish places, to avoid being bankrupted.


3 posted on 04/15/2011 7:00:56 AM PDT by La Lydia ("California: When the parasites outnumber the hosts, it's all over.")
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To: SeekAndFind

Well, THERE’S a whole lot of it wasn’t Yoko.


4 posted on 04/15/2011 7:01:13 AM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true.)
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To: SeekAndFind

“Spending reductions in the tax code”

“Kinetic military action”

And many more. It’s as if people (excluding most Freepers) don’t understand the implications of a government that uses such blatant newspeak and doublethink...


5 posted on 04/15/2011 7:08:00 AM PDT by piytar (Godwin's rule is null and void. If you don't know what I mean, you aren't paying attention...)
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To: piytar

Freepthinkers doubleplussunbellyfeel Obamasoc.


6 posted on 04/15/2011 7:10:25 AM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: knarf

You learn a lot by reading. I just learned today that TAXMAN was written by George Harrison and not Lennon/McCartney.

But if Paul sang that piece with the Beatles, why is he still supporting strongly, the ultimate Taxman himself — Barack Obama?


7 posted on 04/15/2011 7:10:25 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: La Lydia

“I seem to remember reading that the Rolling Stones, too, at one point had to go live in France, of all outlandish places, to avoid being bankrupted.”

You may have read it in the article that is posted.


8 posted on 04/15/2011 7:16:37 AM PDT by caver (Obama: Home of the Whopper)
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To: SeekAndFind
But if Paul sang that piece with the Beatles, why is he still supporting strongly, the ultimate Taxman himself — Barack Obama?

Because he's a typical limousine liberal, a leftist hypocrite who believes in "taxes for thee but not for me".

9 posted on 04/15/2011 7:23:01 AM PDT by Spirochete (Sic transit gloria mundi)
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To: piytar

See my tagline.


10 posted on 04/15/2011 7:25:01 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Didn’t McCartney claim Tuscon as his home? Lennon claimed NYC & Starr claim L.A?


11 posted on 04/15/2011 7:27:30 AM PDT by dmam2011
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To: SeekAndFind
The reason John Lennon fought so hard to get a green card to live here was to escape the excessive taxation in the UK. He ended up in NYC and we know what happened to him. Ringo Starr found refuge in LA.

It became a regular cottage industry in the UK to help wealthy folks, show biz types especially, find other places to live. Roger Moore ended up in Switzerland. Mick Jagger got a nice place in Jamaica. Others flew the coop for places like Spain, France, and South America.

So much for "soaking the rich". They just leave. They've got the money to do it. So who gets stuck with the tax bill then? Same ones as always, the ordinary working schmucks. Why don't people ever call these lousy demagogue politicians when they start spouting their "tax the rich" crap?

12 posted on 04/15/2011 7:32:10 AM PDT by chimera
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To: SeekAndFind

the Congressional Progressive Caucus proposed its “People’s Budget”

People’s Budget?! Sounds like something Mao Zedong or the Soviet Politburo would have come up with.


13 posted on 04/15/2011 7:33:13 AM PDT by all the best
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To: SeekAndFind

Bump for later.


14 posted on 04/15/2011 7:38:08 AM PDT by arderkrag (Georgia is God's Country.----------In the same way Rush is balance, I am consensus.)
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To: dmam2011

RE: Didn’t McCartney claim Tuscon as his home?

Who is Jo Jo?

As in the song GET BACK :

“Jo Jo left his home in Tucson, Arizona, for some California grass”

Since Ringo chose in California, my guess is, he’s singing about the Beatle Drummer :)


15 posted on 04/15/2011 7:42:56 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

“Half a century later, in his famous 1966 song “Taxman,” George Harrison, singing in the guise of a sardonic tax collector, warns listeners that he will keep 19 of every 20 pounds they earn,”

this isn’t quite right, the reason it’s “one for you, nineteen for me” is because at the time a pound was made up of 20 shillings, each shilling being 12 pennies. 19 shillings would be 95%. I still have a bag of silver shillings kicking around the place somewhere. the money system was changed when I was in junior school, circa 1972 to the 100 pence system they still use today.


16 posted on 04/15/2011 7:47:54 AM PDT by henry_reardon
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To: SeekAndFind

McCartney didn’t sing Taxman, Harrison did.


17 posted on 04/15/2011 8:01:20 AM PDT by HerrBlucher ("It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." G.K. Chesterton)
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To: chimera
So much for "soaking the rich". They just leave. They've got the money to do it. So who gets stuck with the tax bill then? Same ones as always, the ordinary working schmucks. Why don't people ever call these lousy demagogue politicians when they start spouting their "tax the rich" crap?

I have been "exercising the mind," so to speak, on how to bring true accountability to those that cause these problems and use government force to do damage to the individual. We have a means of recompense through the legal system (I know but it's all we have) so would it be possible to directly sue congressmen for damages such as being forced into defacto exile or being bankrupted by overzealous taxing authorities. I don't think it would be likely to directly sue any elected official because you get into the problem of making any controversial vote becoming nothing more than lawyer bait on both sides (Although I'd love to see Frank & Dodd on the stand having to justify their power to force banks into bad business practices.) Perhaps the individual agents of the government could be directly sued though. Should the local IRS office send one of their minions around to a the clients of a business and tell them they had better not do business with them because there is an investigation coming and they don't want to be involved, then, that particular agent could be sued for damages and quite possibly the chain of command in that IRS office as well.

This is something that would need a better legal mind than mine to work out the details but it would at least bring accountability to the insulated bureaucrats we have now.

18 posted on 04/15/2011 8:02:53 AM PDT by Cowman (How can the IRS seize property without a warrant if the 4th amendment still stands?)
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To: La Lydia

Ginkgo Biloba; I’ve heard it helps.


19 posted on 04/15/2011 8:04:14 AM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: SeekAndFind
But if Paul sang that piece with the Beatles, why is he still supporting strongly, the ultimate Taxman himself — Barack Obama?

Paul didn't sing it. George did.

20 posted on 04/15/2011 8:15:18 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: Cowman
Perhaps the individual agents of the government could be directly sued though. Should the local IRS office send one of their minions around to a the clients of a business and tell them they had better not do business with them because there is an investigation coming and they don't want to be involved, then, that particular agent could be sued for damages and quite possibly the chain of command in that IRS office as well.

What you suggest is possible and I believe it is referred to as a "Bivens Action". I don't know how probable a favorable outcome generally is in these cases, but federal agents have been sued for individual culpability in Unconstitutional actions. It may be worth a look for some legal types. I have just lost a lot of faith in the judicial system in this country in recent years. Ideology often seems to trump any concept of justice, and corruption is quite common.

21 posted on 04/15/2011 8:19:16 AM PDT by chimera
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To: SeekAndFind

Not a big Beatles fan but Taxman is the best:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWAl5V-SiKQ


22 posted on 04/15/2011 8:22:51 AM PDT by Free Vulcan (Vote Republican! You can vote Democrat when you're dead.)
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To: all the best

I am the walrus, I am a Kenyan, I am a Marxist...koo koo ca choo...


23 posted on 04/15/2011 8:50:12 AM PDT by WOBBLY BOB ( "I don't want the majority if we don't stand for something"- Jim Demint)
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To: dmam2011

McCartney Road is at Casa Grande, which is South of Phoenix, about a third of the way to Tucson.


24 posted on 04/15/2011 9:13:51 AM PDT by FrogMom (There is no such thing as an honest democrat!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Because he’s generous with other people’s money, and an idiot.


25 posted on 04/15/2011 4:01:41 PM PDT by OKSooner (Obama confessed "his muslim faith" on the George Stephanopolous show on September 7th, 2008.)
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To: knarf

I think it’s safe to assume that Yoko didn’t exactly help matters.


26 posted on 04/15/2011 4:02:55 PM PDT by OKSooner (Obama confessed "his muslim faith" on the George Stephanopolous show on September 7th, 2008.)
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To: La Lydia
"I'll squander it myself."

- Mick Jagger on moving to France because of high marginal tax rates.

27 posted on 04/15/2011 4:04:17 PM PDT by OKSooner (Obama confessed "his muslim faith" on the George Stephanopolous show on September 7th, 2008.)
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To: SeekAndFind; sitetest

Interesting!

“This story is widely known. But what often gets overlooked is the fact that without the potent tax dilemma, it is doubtful that the Apple group of companies would ever have been founded in the first place. In other words, no super tax, no Apple fiasco. No Apple fiasco, no Allen Klein. No Allen Klein, no lawsuit.”

In fact, from beyond the grave, Lloyd George had forced the Beatles to spend more time figuring out how to shelter their wealth than making music. It is hard to believe that they would not have behaved more rationally, and stayed together longer as a working band, under a milder tax policy.


28 posted on 05/20/2013 7:36:13 AM PDT by TEXOKIE (We must surrender only to our Holy God and never to the evil that has befallen us.)
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To: SeekAndFind

bttt


29 posted on 05/20/2013 7:46:20 AM PDT by bmwcyle (People who do not study history are destine to believe really ignorant statements.)
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