I really never thought I’d see the day when I had to go to the foreign press to find out what’s going on in my country but such would appear to be the case these days what with our still being defined Ministry of Propaganda having replaced the Fourth Estate and “infotainment” having supplanted information as its prime reason for existence. The following is sourced from a July 21st article by Heather Stewart, business editor for The Observer. So far, my search of major American media sources has turned up exactly zip on the subject.
According to Ms. Stewart:
A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.
Now just think about that for a minute. That’s 21 TRILLION US Dollars. There’s a whole other economy out there which is solely for the elite and that you and I don’t share in. It’s only for people for whom money stopped being a simple medium of exchange decades, even centuries ago and became instead a simple measure of power over the masses. And this secret economy exceeds the combined Gross Domestic Products… defined by InvestorWords as the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year, equal to total consumer, investment and government spending, plus the value of exports, minus the value of imports. of the United States and Japan. I don’t know if there’s anybody alive who could quote you exact figures but let’s just assume that the combined GDPs of the US and Japan add up to one humongous amount of money yet it is still less than the amount the rich have squirreled away to avoid paying taxes on it.
Not only is every dollar tucked away in some off shore tax haven a dollar on which our government collects no taxes, it’s also is a dollar that has been effectively lost to the US economy. That dollar isn’t being used to create jobs or bolster American manufacturing or provide infrastructure improvements or social safety nets. It’s not being used to patronize main street businesses or buy food clothing or shelter. It’s as if that dollar had ceased to exist which, in effect, it has except as a measure of power for whoever salted it away.
James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.
He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn (That would be about 32 trillion US) – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, “protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy“. According to Henry’s research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.
So are we finally beginning to understand that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer is more than just a cute lyric or slogan but is an actual agenda and that there are definite formulas by which the process is driven? We’re not getting poorer because of mistakes or ineptness on the part of our financial sector. We’re getting poorer because modern American style Capitalism… which has nothing left to exploit but the American people themselves… demands that the masses get poorer in order to make the elite richer and it’s arguably been going on since long before that damned song was written in 1921 and in fact has been alluded to as early as 1832 when President Jackson used similar phrases to explain his veto of the Second Bank’s charter renewal. Again from Ms. Stewart:
“These estimates reveal a staggering failure: inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people,” said John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. “People on the street have no illusions about how unfair the situation has become.”
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Countries around the world are under intense pressure to reduce their deficits and governments cannot afford to let so much wealth slip past into tax havens.
“Closing down the tax loopholes exploited by multinationals and the super-rich to avoid paying their fair share will reduce the deficit. This way the government can focus on stimulating the economy, rather than squeezing the life out of it with cuts and tax rises for the 99% of people who aren’t rich enough to avoid paying their taxes.”
Assuming the £13tn mountain of assets earned an average 3% a year for its owners, and governments were able to tax that income at 30%, it would generate a bumper £121bn in revenues – more than rich countries spend on aid to the developing world each year.
Lots more cool facts and figures at the link including info on how this situation affects the situation described by that word that no Republican politician ever wants to talk about or even hear mentioned… inequality. Too bad some of my friends from the right who don’t want to be bothered with links to information that might challenge their world view will never see them, let alone have any understanding of what they mean. They managed to get through the Bush years blaming Clinton and even Carter for everything that ever went wrong and they’re making it through Obama’s first term basically by finding ways to blame him for everything that’s happened at least back to 2006 and some would take it all the way back to 2000 if they thought they could get away with it. Which, considering their base, might not be beyond the realm of possibility.