Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Alan Rusbridger — Panama: The Hidden Trillions

In a seminar room in Oxford, one of the reporters who worked on the Panama Papers is describing the main conclusion he drew from his months of delving into millions of leaked documents about tax evasion. “Basically, we’re the dupes in this story,” he says. “Previously, we thought that the offshore world was a shadowy, but minor, part of our economic system. What we learned from the Panama Papers is that it is the economic system.” 
Luke Harding, a former Moscow correspondent for The Guardian, was in Oxford to talk about his work as one of four hundred–odd journalists around the world who had access to the 2.6 terabytes of information about tax havens—the so-called Panama Papers—that were revealed to the world in simultaneous publication in eighty countries this spring. “The economic system is, basically, that the rich and the powerful exited long ago from the messy business of paying tax,” Harding told an audience of academics and research students. “They don’t pay tax anymore, and they haven’t paid tax for quite a long time. We pay tax, but they don’t pay tax. The burden of taxation has moved inexorably away from multinational companies and rich people to ordinary people.”
One of the chief objectives of neoliberalism is to remove taxes from capital and put them on labor, while simultaneously increasing capital share over labor share through other institutional arrangements in collusion with politicians on the make and take. The result is populist revolt that the establishment has pulled out all stops to confront.

New York Review of Books
Panama: The Hidden Trillions
Alan Rusbridger
ht Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism

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