Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous: The Paradise Papers.

Earlier this week documents acquired by the German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, which detailed the secret offshore investment and tax havens of the world’s super wealthy were made public. The documents contained the names of more than 120,000 people and companies, including 31,000 Americans. A New York Times review of the paradise papers has concluded that over $120 billion dollars has been stashed in offshore shelters.

Included in the document dump, Wilbur Ross current U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Economic Council Gary Cohn, Billionaire George Soros and some of the world’s biggest corporations like Facebook, Apple, Disney, Nike and Walmart.

Wealthy individuals and companies have set up shell companies in countries with no taxes and lax incorporation laws. They run their money through untraceable bank accounts. The money comes out on the other end tax free and it’s all legal. It’s time to make it illegal. These tax avoidance schemes are only available to the world’s richest individuals. A working-class family is not able to set up shell companies in the Bahamas to funnel their wages through.

What is the utility in having people and companies that are so rich that they have to stash their money in places where no one can see? How does that benefit the economy? The answer is there is no utility and it doesn’t benefit the economy, in fact in hurts the economy. It takes money out of the economy. It benefits no one except the greedy individuals and the firms they hire to stash their wealth.

Last month Joe Biden asserted in a speech at an Alabama Rally, the “rich are as patriotic as the poor”. There is nothing patriotic about the 31,000 Americans and companies hiding money in foreign tax havens and bribing politicians to keep these loopholes open. For the good of the economy, for the good of our country. It is time to end these tax havens. Make offshore tax havens illegal and the use of one a punishable criminal offense. Unfortunately, the same people who are stashing their money in tax havens are the same ‘donors’ who fund our elections.

The first step is campaign finance reform. 


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