Featured Post

The #Compassion #Project, Only #Compassion #Defeats #Dehumanization

Different from empathy and sympathy compassion is the strength to be willing to try and ease someone's suffering, to help them ho...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tax Havens: Ripping-off Entire Countries

You ever wonder why we have large deficits that "require" billions in cutbacks? Two words - Tax Havens.

Harper's so-called low tax regime is a lie. Only the rich and large corporations pay low taxes. The common citizens pay an average of 35%. This doesn't even take into account tax havens which Harper has made even easier to use. Thus those who benefit most from our courty's economy pay the least, or nothing at all. They are allowed to store vast sums offshore to hide profits and then bring the money back into the country without paying a cent in taxes. What does this cost the country? Billions in taxes. They claim they are the job creators and drivers of the economy when actually they are destroying it, just like Harper.

There are no legitimate reasons for tax havens. They are a form of money laundering and tax evasion, but when the government goes after tax cheats it goes after hairdressers who owe a few thousand, not the rich and corporations who are hiding billions. So they say we must cut services. What we must do is make the rich and corporations pay their fair share. Why does the governement not go after them? Because once out of office, most politicians end up working for these same companies. You scratch my back and I'll let you rip off an entire country.

Starting in the 1960s, the Canadian government helped set up most of the tax havens. Banks like RBC and Scotiabank were allowed to go into these countries and pretty much set up the country the way they wanted. At one time the leader of one of these countries sat on the bank board. As a result Canada, and many other nations have been losing billions each year in revenue. That's BILLIONS.

You think with that money we might be able to lower tax for the majority of taxpayers? You think we might be able to properly fund social services, science, education, and healthcare if we had those billions that are owed?

If you'd like a more detailed look at the subject start with the recent piece on CBC's The Current about Offshore Bank Accounts.

Once that has pissed you off there's more, a lot more, in the book by Alain Deneault called Offshore: Tax Havens, Criminal Enterprise, and the Growing Global Threat to Our Democracy  

Here's a sample from the Current's website:

According to a new report, the amount of money hiding in off-shore tax havens is staggering -- between 20 and 30 Trillion dollars -- or about 10 per cent of all the money in the world.
The study also found all that money is held by just 1.4 per cent of the world's population. Since they pay no tax on it, governments all over the world -- including Canada's -- lose out as much as 280-Billion dollars in lost revenues.
Chana Joffe Walt from National Public Radio's Planet Money team spent some time digging into the world of off-shore tax havens. She found registering a company offshore required no heavy lifting, no closed door meetings, no secret handshakes -- just a phone call.
Chana Joffe Walt was told that once you have the company registered, these financial institutions can open up a perfectly legal bank account for that shell company ... confidential, tax-free and offshore.
James Henry believes he knows just how much money is hiding -- tax-free -- in off-shore accounts. He's a former Chief Economist at the consultancy firm McKinsey and Company and the author of a new study (PDF) for the Tax Justice Network. James Henry was in Sag Harbor, New York

Looking at these figures, it's not hard to figure out why the US is trillions of dollars in debt and Europe's economy is in shambles. It's not about overspending, although that plays a small role. It's about crooks stealing the funds of entire countries.

The rich and large corporations are successful alright, successful tax cheats and money launderers.

The obvious corruption that we've seen in the financial system is only the small tip of a very large iceberg. Governments talk about underground economies. This is the biggest underground economy in the world. Proper economies can't function when vast amounts of capital (that thing that capitalism requires) is being hidden away.

They say that raising taxes on corporations and the rich wouldn't bring in that much money. I think that if it included abolishing tax havens, you might find that it could solve the problem of national debt. Of course, the banks benefit the most from both.

We don't need a military revolution. We need a moral and financial one. Democracy can't function when some folks are more equal than others, particularly when those '"folks" are corporations.

It's time to call Harper and his like on their lies and get the money we're owed.

Evil benefits the few. Good benefits the many.