• The Beatles "Taxman"

      Today marks the release of the entire remastered Beatles catalog, and a Beatles version of the popular Rock Band video game series.
      In 1966, the Beatles came out with the song “Taxman”.  According to George Harrison’s autobiography, Harrison wrote the song when he realized that the Beatles were losing most of their new income to high British “super-taxes.”  In the Beatles Anthology documentary, Harrison said: “In those days, we paid 19 shillings and 6 pence out of every £1.”  That translates to 97.5% of their income.  “A heavy penalty to pay for making money,” as Harrison described it.

      British taxes got so bad that wealthy elites, including the Rolling Stones, fled the country to avoid having their fortunes taxed away.  Eventually the British “super-tax” was ended, and today the top British income tax rate is 40%, going up to 50% next year. It’s not 97.5%, but the effects will be similar – some high earners are expected to flee en masse.

      Harrison’s lyrics for “Taxman” will probably never lose their relevance:

      …Should five percent appear too small,
      Be thankful I don't take it all.
      'Cause I'm the Taxman.
      …If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
      If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat,
      If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat,
      If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
      'Cause I'm the Taxman
      …Now my advice for those who die,
      Declare the pennies on your eyes.
      'Cause I'm the Taxman.
      Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
      And you're working for no one but me.

      Pre-October 2009