Monday, August 31, 2015

Chris Hedges — The Great Unraveling

The ideological and physical hold of American imperial power, buttressed by the utopian ideology of neoliberalism and global capitalism, is unraveling. Most, including many of those at the heart of the American empire, recognize that every promise made by the proponents of neoliberalism is a lie. Global wealth, rather than being spread equitably, as neoliberal proponents promised, has been funneled upward into the hands of a rapacious, oligarchic elite, creating vast economic inequality. The working poor, whose unions and rights have been taken from them and whose wages have stagnated or declined over the past 40 years, have been thrust into chronic poverty and underemployment, making their lives one long, stress-ridden emergency. The middle class is evaporating. Cities that once manufactured products and offered factory jobs are boarded up-wastelands. Prisons are overflowing. Corporations have orchestrated the destruction of trade barriers, allowing them to stash $2.1 trillion in profits in overseas banks to avoid paying taxes. And the neoliberal order, despite its promise to build and spread democracy, has hollowed out democratic systems to turn them into corporate leviathans.

Democracy, especially in the United States, is a farce, vomiting up right-wing demagogues such as Donald Trump, who has a chance to become the Republican presidential nominee and perhaps even president, or slick, dishonest corporate stooges such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and, if he follows through on his promise to support the Democratic nominee, even Bernie Sanders. The labels “liberal” and “conservative” are meaningless in the neoliberal order. Political elites, Democrat or Republican, serve the demands of corporations and empire. They are facilitators, along with most of the media and most of academia, of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of “inverted totalitarianism.”
How could I not post a link to an article with a lede like that?

The Great Unraveling
Chris Hedges
ht Don Quijones at Naked Bull-Shit


Matt Franko said...

"stash $2.1 trillion in profits in overseas banks"

How can $2.1T be "stashed in an overseas bank" ??????

Peter Pan said...

Is that number too big?

Vintage Hedges... would make one helluva speech.

Peter Pan said...

This article is saying that the logic of violence will soon be unavoidable.

Tom Hickey said...

Matt, it is possible to have dollar accounts at foreign banks in those countries, in which case I believe that the USD are not counted in US monetary aggregates. These deposits can also be exchanged for cash and spend in foreign countries. These are called eurodollars because this is were they initially proliferated. Now eurodollars are an international phenomenon.

Some countries like Ecuador are on a dollar standard and must obtain dollars from the currency issuer like all other users of the currency.

Unknown said...

I believe the author's choice of words are somewhat misleading.

"stash $2.1 trillion in profits in overseas banks"

The $2.1 trillion is net of taxes already paid from taxable income in foreign (non-US) jurisdictions. Generally speaking, these are foreign subsidiaries of a US parent company domiciled in the US for tax purposes.

The bank accounts that hold this money are legally owned by the foreign subsidiaries of US parent companies and may well be at BoA in Manhattan or not. The physical location of the actual bank account isn't important. Also, the $2.1 trillion is an aggregate translation of all the local currencies to US dollars, It is not physical US dollars or US dollar bank balances.

The US parent company (domiciled in the US for tax purposes) would very much like to dividend the cash from the subs to the parent and then use that $2.1 trillion for shareholder dividends, share repurchases, bonuses, investments etc.

However, if they do so, the US tax code will tax them on that cash dividend from the subsidiary to the parent -- hence the phrase "allowing them to stash $2.1 trillion in profits in overseas banks to avoid paying taxes"

The US multinational corporations are lobbying and playing a waiting game hoping for another tax holiday ( such as in 2004) allowing them to repatriate foreign profits to the United States without tax consequences.

The phrase stash $2.1 trillion in profits in overseas banks is a loaded one.