You’ve heard about those offshore accounts the wealthy use as tax shelters, right? The Cayman Islands, Switzerland, the Bank of Evil from Despicable Me…The super-rich have been funneling their assets away from their respective countries and into these havens for decades, avoiding paying their fair share while the middle and working class watch recessions happen and markets crash, powerless to save even their retirement funds.
While it’s impossible to know exactly to the dime how much money the greedy feel they need to hide, a study was conducted by James Henry, former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey and a leading authority on tax havens and offshoring. It was commissioned by Tax Justice Network, a British activist group.
Buckle up, you’re about to hit a wall of “are you f*cking kidding me?!?”
According to the study, one-thousandth of the world’s population are hiding $21 trillion from being taxed, an amount equal to the gross domestic product of the United States and Japan combined. Those numbers have almost certainly increased, as the study was performed in 2012. Henry estimated that if the sum of those accounts earned a simple 3 percent interest rate, they are saving the wealthy nearly $200 billion per year in taxes just on that interest income.
What’s more disturbing is that the cash itself is enough to rid the world of debt. “The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments,” said the report. 92,000 people hold the bulk of the wealth for all 7.4 billion of us, and they aren’t going to be sharing anytime soon.
Their wealth is, as Henry states, “protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy.”