When the Panama Papers came out recently, we found out that a lot of filthy rich individuals are trying to weasel out of paying their taxes. Famous people, world leaders, friends of world leaders. We heard all about how they have been stashing their big bucks in places like Panama where specialized banks can protect them from being taxed in their home countries.
Now the Guardian has a new report to help us start screaming in rage. The report was written by Oxfam, the international antipoverty charity. It looked at 50 top US Corporations and how they have taken advantage of tax havens. The report, entitled “Broken At the Top,” looked at how these huge companies managed to suck money out of the US between the years 2008-2014.
The report shows that the 50 biggest US Corporations, including Microsoft, Apple and General Electric, paid only $1 in taxes for every $27 they got in tax breaks and “incentives”. So right off the top, they are skimming from the taxpayers.
At the same time the same megacorporations paid $ 2.6 billion in lobbying fees while receiving $11.2 trillion in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts. Do you GET that? WE are paying for these crooks to make the laws even better for them. And so much worse for us.
Looking at the amount of money being hidden in tax havens like Bermuda, the report cites Apple Computer as the worst offender with $181 billion held offshore. General Electric came in second with $119 billion parked offshore. Third place went to Microsoft Corp. which has $108 billion hidden away from the tax collectors.
These tax evasions are not only hurting the US taxpayer. They are hurting poor countries around the globe as well. Robbie Silverman, senior tax adviser at Oxfam says:
“Yet again we have evidence of a massive systematic abuse of the global tax system. We can’t go on with a situation where the rich and powerful are not paying their fair share of tax, leaving the rest of us to foot the bill. Governments across the globe must come together now to end the era of tax havens.”
This report should be the top story on every media outlet. What do you think the chances are of it getting any real coverage?