by Alex Symington…….
As the sit-com distraction of presidential candidates and their campaigns heat up absurdly early (stumping now for primaries starting January 2016 and torturing us through June 2016 and the general election still fifteen months away!) I thought it might be a good time to look and see what we are being distracted from. In my search I came across a short Forbes Magazine article titled “Super Rich Hide $21 Trillion Offshore”. Staff writer, Frederick E. Allen informs us (while we have been focusing our attention on the meaningless smoke and mirrors of The Donald and Megyn Kelly) there is at least 21 Trillion dollars in off shore tax havens and the figure could be as high as 31 Trillion! That is more than the GDP of the US and Japan combined!
Allen’s article then led me to business editor of The Guardian, Heather Stewart’s more in depth report. The figures are staggering and near incomprehensible. In her piece she quotes James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, “The sheer size of the cash pile sitting out of reach of tax authorities is so great that it suggests standard measures of inequality radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor.”
According to Henry’s calculations, £6.3tn ($9.8tn) of assets is owned by only 92,000 people, or 0.001% of the world’s population – a tiny class of the mega-rich who have more in common with each other than those at the bottom of the income scale in their own societies.
Countries of business origin and loyalties to the same seem to be quaint notions from the past, like decent retirement, gold watches and company to employee (and vice versa) responsibility. The mega money makers feel no allegiance or obligation to support, in any way the people, infrastructure and governments that are the source of their un-Godly super wealth. This behavior is unsustainable and inevitably fiscally suicidal. Common sense would tell us it is only a matter of time before a great crash and burn.
The UK’s Trades Union Congress (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.”
Predictably, the mega rich and corporate billionaire class have no intention of voluntarily slowing or altering their modus operandi (tax evasion) and to further exacerbate the harm done by these stateless corporate fiefdoms they have introduced the Trans Pacific Partnership. The TPP as “final solution” will erase borders and sovereign nation’s self rule as hyper-capitalist sociopaths make the final grab for EVERYTHING that is left to exploit at the expense of the 99% and the global environment. The TPP is designed to allow corporation’s profits to have priority in any conflict between the participating TPP trade partner’s national laws and said profit.
For example Phillip Morris Tobacco has filed suits against the governments of Uruguay and Australia claiming the two countries cigarette packaging regulations are hurting the tobacco giant’s bottom line in that the packaging has disturbing images of diseased body parts caused by cigarette smoking.
If the TPP passes, this type of lawsuit will be common place and per the TPP agreement, arbitration panels will be predominantly stacked with corporate representation. At the risk of sounding dramatic, the TPP would usher in the final phase of global corporate rule virtually nullifying sovereign laws and boundaries and imposing rule by boardroom and shareholders. One doesn’t have to look far to see the “benefit” of unregulated hyper-capitalism. The purist capitalist’s wet dream, China, has given us poison dog food, poison baby food even poison sheet rock.
The most recent example of Chinese style zero regulation capitalism was the massive chemical explosion at Tianjin where the death toll is at 114, 70 missing, seven hundred injured and little is known of the long term effect of the “unidentified” seasoning of chemicals dusting the densely populated area for miles.
The TPP would usher in global Chinese style, unregulated corporate power that would be next to impossible to counter. The only way to avoid this dystopian future is to kill the TPP, honor sovereign nation’s laws and borders and close all tax loopholes making sure these billionaire free loaders and corporations pay their fair share. In the long run it will save them, the rest of us and the planet from extinction.
And now, back to our show.
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