Why a 1960s’ Beatles Protest Song is Still Relevant

Have you ever wondered why British groups like The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Beatles spent so much time touring abroad? To sell music for sure, but there’s another reason.

The reason is best explained in a 1960s’ protest song written by George Harrison. The tune was the opening track of The Beatles’ LP album, “Revolver.” It was Billboard Magazine’s No. 1 album starting in Aug. 1966 for six weeks.

Entitled, “Taxman,” the song ridiculed progressives — in particular, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson — for passing outrageous English tax laws.

England has always imposed high taxes but in 1966 the Beatles were viciously abused – led by the liberal Labour Party, the government super-taxed away 95 percent of their earnings. Yes, all but five percent.

“…though we had started earning money, we were actually giving most of it away in taxes,” complained the musician.

Hence, his song you can hear in this YouTube video:

Fellow Beatle Paul McCartney further explained the reason for the Taxman in a 1984 interview with Playboy.

“George wrote that and I played guitar on it,” said Mr. McCartney. “He wrote it in anger at finding out what the taxman did. He had never known before then what he’ll do with your money.”

Broken Promises of U.S. governors

Now in America, at least two liberal Democrats haven’t kept campaign promises about taxes.

For instance, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee reneged on his no-tax-increase pledge in order to increase government spending by $1.2 billion.

In another blue state, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy trashed Republican and Democrats’ budget plans in favor of a $1.5 billion increase in taxes and fees.

Both governors were elected after they promised no new taxes.

But they don’t understand the consequences.

Such public policies drive away businesses, which leads to less revenue. This means higher taxes on the businesspeople and individuals who can’t leave. The CEOs of Aetna and General Electric have complained bitterly about Connecticut’s imprudence.

GE “has assembled an exploratory team to look into the company’s options to relocate HQ to another state with a more pro-business environment,” CEO, Jeffrey Immelt was quoted in published reports.

OECD call for higher taxes

In another slap at American taxpayers, Congress has been funding an international organization that actually lobbies governments to increase taxes.

“If you’re overweight, I’ll tax your fat.”

-George Harrison

Founded in 1961 to research and publish economic data, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) appears determined to destroy economic liberty. Why?

OECD, with a branding slogan of “Better Policies for Better Lives” is domiciled in Paris, France.

But Richard W. Rahn – a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth – challenges OECD’s current mission.

In a June, 2015 article entitled, OECD would destroy prosperity, he wrote:

Competition is usually seen as desirable – whether it is in sports, business or tax and economic policies among governments. High-tax countries such as France hate the idea that other countries have lower taxes – which enables lower-tax countries to grow faster, provide more jobs at higher wages, and greatly improve the lives of their people.

France and other high-tax countries decided to use the OECD as their tool to prevent what they called “harmful tax competition.” Other things being equal, global businesses, quite understandably, are attracted to countries that have lower rather than higher taxes.

In the United States, there is a similar migration of both businesses and individuals from higher-tax states, such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, to lower-tax states, such as Texas and Florida. Most economists see such competition as healthy because it serves as a brake on bloated governments that have become inefficient and corrupt.

It isn’t surprising that OECD is headquartered in Paris. France has avoidable, severe economic problems.

French President Francois Hollande campaigned on a promise to tax salaries of wealthy French individuals who earn more than one million euros (£830,000) at 75 percent. His scheme drew fire from the rich.

In 2012, the courts over-ruled him but he came back with a scheme to force the employers to pay the tax.

Naturally, tax rates can vary dramatically in different countries. Plus, it’s important to compare the threshold where the rates start.

So, here’s a question: Are you paying too much?

To give you a sense of global tax rates, below is a 2015 infographic: “Tax Rates around the World.” (It’s courtesy of Ayers, a payroll and contractor management business based in Australia.)

From the Coach’s Corner, for Washington residents, it’s worth considering the research of Washington Policy Center, a free-market think tank.

The organization also brings noteworthy speakers to Washington state and once feted Dr. Ben Carson where I met him. See this article: Q&A with Dr. Ben Carson – The Full Meal Deal with Solutions.

“If you’re overweight, I’ll tax your fat.”

-George Harrison


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.