They are making one of their regular fusses about smuggling again.
"Fuel laundering, tobacco smuggling costing €1bn annually" screams the dramatic headline.
Now on the face of it, that is quite alarming, except for one little factor that they have conveniently overlooked – fuel laundering and tobacco smuggling don't cost us anything. We have not paid a single cent except for the salaries of those who go chasing the smugglers.
This is the old sleight of hand they love to use. They reckon they are owed tax, VAT and excise duty on the diesel and fags, and because they are not getting it they are calling it a cost, which it isn't. It's a loss of potential revenue. Granted tobacco retailers will be hit as they will lose custom, but that is their loss and not ours. Again – they will lose an expectation of income but not any income itself.
I don't have much sympathy for the diesel smugglers for the simple reason that they stuff they produce is shit and will fuck up your car within a few miles, so I suppose there is a cost to the unfortunate motorist who has to fork out for a new engine, but hardly to the tune of €1bn.
Smuggling cigarettes on the other hand harms no one except the greedy tentacles of the gubmint money grabbing machine.
I know there are those who will scream about smuggling benefiting organised crime and in particular the IRA but that is a side issue. If the gubmint wants to stop these people making a fortune, there is a blindingly simple solution – cut the tax on fuel and fags. That way smuggling ceases to be so profitable and will not be such an attractive proposition for the smugglers.
The gubmint should get it into its think fucking head that loss of revenue is NOT a cost. If my employer refuses to give me overtime, that is not a cost to me – it is a loss of potential revenue. I am not out of pocket at all. It is a very simple principle. The gubmint though seems to think it is entitled to all these tax streams, and when that stream gets diverted they start hollering.
Now if you want to see a real cost to the state – and I mean something that we will actually have to pay for in real hard cash, I suggest you look here.
That is not just an imaginary loss of income.
That is a cost.