Tax havens hold $7.6 trillion; 8% of world's total wealth


#1

[Read the post]


#2

My gut reaction: 8% seems low.


#3

Gut reaction:


#4

It does, doesn’t it? How is wealth being measured? Liquid assets? Minus debt or ignoring debt? What about non-currency holdings such as metals or commodities? Real estate? IOU’s? Hawala?


#5

The issue isn’t really the dollars being spent on private jets. Those dollars are visible and accounted, and eventually they actually will trickle down into the economy. The real issue is the dollars that aren’t being spent, except on buying companies and dismantling them, and buying governments. Those dollars have a velocity near zero, and they’re a big part of the cause of the recent recessions. Taxing them is one solution; shrinking them through inflation is another.


#6

Quite right. Operating a private jet is actually a pretty good way to put money away from the rich and into the skilled middle class – there’s a lot of skilled tradecraft that goes into those things and, as it turns out, if you put a bucket under the fuel tanks, they actually leak $50 bills.


#7

That’s like that joke about ocean yacht racing - you can simulate it perfectly by standing under a cold shower tearing up high denomination banknotes.


#8

Dollah bills! Dollah bills!


#9

It’s as if that money doesn’t actually exist any longer.

I don’t see this problem going away, as the folks with the gold make the rules. It’s best to live life as if that money doesn’t exist.


#10

Huh. That’s way lower than other estimates I’ve seen, both in terms of total worldwide assets, and the amount hidden in tax havens.

I have to second @awjt’s question on how it’s being measured, because the current global economic output (a.k.a. Gross World Product, and isn’t that an awesome term?) annually is just under one hundred trillion dollars but the total global assets is in the area of 1 to 1.5 quadrillion dollars, depending on accounting and valuation.

I think what’s being stated here is that about 8% of the present GWP is being squirreled away in tax havens, to join the giant mounds of assets already sequestered away from the economy (previous estimates on the size of that pile I’ve seen range between $20 to $60 trillion).


#11

how about don’t declare it - lose it


#12

The theory there is nice, but the implementation is a bitch.


#13

It seems like we are taking the wrong approach. Since most government spending is wasteful/ineffective, we should be looking to reduce everyone’s tax burden as much as possible rather than singling out any one group to “pay up”. Rather than hating on the rich, can’t we look at what they’ve achieved as a goal/demand on behalf of the other 99%?


#14

These tax havens do not hold these trillions in huge bundles of dollar notes - these are digital entries. Instead, the banks from these tax havens re-invest the money in the same US and EU. If you stop the banks of these countries from investing in the US markets, nobody would stash their money in these tax havens. Instead, US of A is kicking Iran out of the SWIFT, not these banks.


#15

You libertarian, bro?


#16

Are Rand Paul fans Libertarian?


#17

Actually, most government spending is highly efficient and effective. The only way to argue against this is to pretend the public good is worthless. The founders of this nation, and every other nation, would disagree. Also, pretending to reduce “everybody’s tax burden” has always resulted in a net wealth transfer from the poor to the rich. Every time, without exception. Also, it has always resulted in excessive borrowing and deficit spending - every time, without exception. Also, I’ve only seen one comment up above about eating the rich, most of this thread has been pretty rational and grounded in economics.

I would recommend an introductory economics course at an accredited university. It’s really interesting, and sometimes useful.


#18

I’m a big fan of having a guaranteed decent standard of living and having expiring currency and providing ‘refreshes’ whenever it’s spent on things that are tied to strong multipliers (food, etc.) with allowances for long term public good investments.

This whole ‘old people have to save forever to not have a crappy standard of living’ system is pretty crappy and demeaning…and patently unfair to a lot of people.


#19

What a nice quaint thought. Too bad it is entirely unworkable.

US tax law is so convoluted and filled with loopholes which benefit the wealthy that i would take a major overhaul to even begin to deal with what is going on. For example, I am a US citizen currently living in Canada. Even though I make my primary residence here, I still have to worry about US taxes. Now approximately the first $100k of income is exempt from US taxes, but if my income goes over that, I have to pay taxes on it in the US. If the aggregate total of all my bank accounts (including savings, life insurance, etc.,) ever goes above $10k, I am taxed on that amount in the US. If I buy a house here and I were to die, my estate would have to pay capital gains tax on that home – even if a spouse or family is still living in it. If I start a business here, I have to pay SS and Medicare taxes in the US on the gross income of the business. The list goes on. So, I can’t have a home, retirement account, savings of any significance, a business, etc. without paying a tax penalty in the US. However, the wealthy can establish tax havens and shield their money… even though they are still residents of the US. But someone like me has to be financially foolish and not save or put away for retirement or even try to get on a solid financial footing. Otherwise, I’m taxed. If I wanted to renounce my US citizenship, I would have to pay $2500 and the State Dept can deny the renunciation if they and the IRS think that I’m renouncing to avoid paying taxes. The entire US tax code is designed to keep a middle class taxpayer like me locked in a financial prison.

The idea that we could get all governments to share this information freely is ludicrous. However, if Congress would revise loopholes that protect the wealthy; if the government wouldn’t sign agreements like CAFTA (which actually exacerbate the problem of tax havens); if we actually had fairer tax laws, then perhaps this wouldnt be such a problem. According to estimates I’ve seen, the US loses an estimated $1 trillion per year from tax havens. But don’t look for Congress to solve or address this problem. We do, as Will Rogers said, have “the best Congress money can buy.”


#20

Since most government spending is wasteful/ineffective

[citation needed]