Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Oxfam Report Brings the Outrage Home With Exposé on U.S. Companies’ Offshore Adventures

After reviewing the material released in the recently published Panama Papers, a new Oxfam report connects the 50 biggest U.S.-based corporations to the widely condemned hidden tax sanctuaries that allow companies to hide profits and avoid paying taxes.

These corporations have been receiving benefits, and in some cases, U.S. taxpayers’ money, and stashing away $1.4 trillion in tax havens. The report found that General Electric, which receives $28 billion in taxpayer money, has $119 billion stored away in tax haven subsidiaries.

The Guardian relayed details about Oxfam’s report Thursday:

    Oxfam contrasted the $1.4tn held offshore with the $1tn paid in tax by the top 50 US firms between 2008 and 2014.

    It pointed out that the companies had also enjoyed a combined $11.2tn in federal loans, bailouts and loan guarantees during the same period.

    Overall, the use of tax havens allowed the US firms to reduce their effective tax rate on $4tn of profits from the US headline rate of 35% to an average of 26.5% between 2008 and 2014.

    The charity said this had helped firms spend billions on an “army” of lobbyists calling for greater state support in the form of loans, bailouts and guarantees, funded by taxpayers.

    The top 50 US firms spent $2.6bn between 2008 and 2014 on lobbying the US government, Oxfam said.

    “For every $1 spent on lobbying, these 50 companies collectively received $130 in tax breaks and more than $4,000 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts,” said Oxfam.

Not only do the corporations’ actions impact the U.S. economy, but according to the report, they also drain $100 billion from some of the world’s poorest countries.

To put the numbers in perspective, Borgen magazine noted: “According to a 1998 United Nations estimate, providing education, water, sanitation, nutrition and basic health care to the entire population of every developing country would cost $40 billion. Adjusted for inflation, the cost to end global poverty would be approximately $58 billion today.”

Read the complete Oxfam report.

Original Article
Author: Donald Kaufman

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