A shocking revelation yesterday was an estimation of the amount of cash the wealthy have hidden away in offshore tax havens. Potentially some $21 trillion dollars (or up to £13 trillion) has been taken off the grid. That’s the equivalent of the entire US and Japanese economy combined!
This merely serves to highlight a point I’ve long been making, a good deal of our deficit problems could be solved, by getting the super rich to pay more tax….or perhaps more to the point, actually paying they’re taxes! It beggars belief that some of the super rich can pay less to the Inland Revenue that the maid who vacuums their living room.
And if there’s one thing that infuriates me, it is these right wing faux patriots (see my article on the patriot tax from last year), who seem to be quite happy to wrap themselves up in the US or UK flag, be made “lords” or knights of the realm or appointed government adviser’s, yet they seem unwilling to put they’re money where they’re mouth is and pay their taxes. Now in a different era such behaviour would be considered tantamount to treason. Indeed Edward Longshanks, in the built up to his crusade, threatened to emasculate any noble who failed to pay his dues. So perhaps by me just asking the nouveau-nobles too pay they’re fair share I’m being too kind.
There is also a capitalist element to all this also. Much of this hoard of cash is essentially dead money. It’s money that isn’t being invested in businesses here in the UK (or US) and helping to pull the world out its current recession. This serves to yet further undermine the argument of the conservatives. They argue that we shouldn’t go after tax cheats because they’d punish us by not investing the money in the country….that’s exactly what their doing right now! Clearly there is an urgent need of governments to crack down hard on this form of aggressive tax avoidance.
Now as I’ve also pointed out before, yes it is not possible to just tax the rich and that alone will magically solve all the world’s financial problems. But it will certainly help a lot more than the current policy of aggressive austerity, which all the indicators are is actually stifling growth and pushing up borrowing costs.