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22 Feb, 2016 15:27

Pot or kettle? IMF's Lagarde calls for ‘Robin Hood tax’ on super-rich

Pot or kettle? IMF's Lagarde calls for ‘Robin Hood tax’ on super-rich

Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has called for a revolutionary “Robin Hood” tax system in which multinational companies and wealthy individuals actually pay a fair share of tax.

Lagarde tweeted her groundbreaking idea Monday, linking to an IMF speech she gave in Abu Dhabi, UAE, which has a zero percent corporation tax.

“We need a tax system where multinational companies and wealthy individuals contribute a fair share to the public purse,” she said.

One skeptical reply on Twitter asked Lagarde who would run such a system, which could cause the “new world order” (NWO) crowd to freak out.

Lagarde spoke to finance ministers at the Arab Fiscal Forum about taxation in Gulf states.

In her speech, she discussed the need for “a tax system in which ordinary citizens are convinced that multinational companies and wealthy individuals are contributing a fair share to the public purse, to the common good.”

Lagarde’s whiff of hypocrisy did not go unnoticed on social media, particularly the fact that she enjoys a tax-free salary of almost half a million US dollars from the IMF, with an additional tax-free allowance of $83,760.

Lagarde then shared how the IMF can help countries achieve “the best possible form of government financing”, telling the room to charge VAT and give greater emphasis to corporate and property taxes.

Many human rights activists believe the IMF operates like a global loan shark, bailing out countries with emergency loans to cover disasters and crises caused by capitalism.

Those loans come with limits on how much a country can spend on education, health, and other critical services. Greece, for instance, was forced to cut wages, pensions, and spending in return for IMF help.

They believe the IMF strategy allows multinationals to exploit workers and the environment - as was the case of the palm oil industry in Indonesia, and has been accused of increasing inequality.

Rich nations have more power in the IMF as votes are determined based on the amount of money the country contributes. It works on a one dollar, one vote basis.

Recent decisions to change the rules about not lending to countries that have outstanding debts to other nations, like in the case of Ukraine, has shown a double standard within the IMF. The fund is not subject to oversight and the organization has resisted calls for scrutiny.

Lagarde was recently offered a second term as head of the IMF, a position she has held since 2011.

The former French finance minister will stand trial in France on negligence charges over a €400 million payout to corrupt businessman and former owner of the football club Olympique Marseille, Bernard Tapie.

The case centres on the accusation that Tapie was offered a deal to support Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election and whether Lagarde referred the case to arbitration on orders of Sarkozy.