Luxembourg Leaks Reveal Global Corporate Tax Crisis.

Posted on December 4, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

ocean55The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has produced more world-shaking reports on secret, massive tax evasion schemes, this time focused on Luxembourg. The six month project – “Lux Leaks” – was undertaken by ICIJ journalists around the Earth, and has reverberated and been reported by the largest news organizations in the world. Because of the revelations a great deal of pressure has become felt by new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker – whose previous government position was as Prime Minister of Luxembourg for 19 years.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 340 of the world’s most well-known corporations have become identified for using complex accounting schemes in Luxembourg, avoiding paying taxes altogether in their home nations, while paying as little as 1/4 of 1% tax to Luxembourg on tens of millions of Euros in income.

Whether ICIJ’s second tax evasion bombshell in recent years – the first revealed massive corporate/individual tax cheating carried out in the British Virgin Islands tax haven – results in strong, concrete actions to tackle the decades-old, trillion-dollar per year, global tax avoidance/haven industry, enabled by the world’s largest accounting and legal firms, will become publicly known as this astonishing news story grows.

The following link to ICIJ’s website opens the door to a treasure of information/articles explaining in detail what their journalists around the world have uncovered so far:  http://www.icij.org/project/luxembourg-leaks

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(Thank you to TheLipTV at YouTube)

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Tax Justice Network Waiting For Queen Elizabeth’s Response.

Posted on August 24, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“Luxury and avarice – these pests have been the ruin of every state.”

– MARCUS PORCIUS CATO (234-149 B.C.) Roman statesman

aaa-20John Christensen sent a letter to Queen Elizabeth. In the letter he expressed his concerns about British crown colonies’ long-running status as “tax havens”, how tax evasion through those colonies is immoral, and suggested she do something to straighten it out. Mr. Christensen is director of the Tax Justice Network (TJN), a group of men and women focused on bringing the world’s attention to the decades-old tax evasion industry operated by the largest accounting, banking, and legal companies on Earth.

After listening to the group’s August radio program “Taxcast”, it looks like Mr. Christensen has yet to receive a reply from Queen Elizabeth to his letter. It is unfortunate that the work of men and women at Tax Justice Network is not more well-known, because the group has been successful to some extent in raising awareness on the very important topic of tax evasion – which continues to occur on a massive scale.

TJN members have taken on an entrenched, pervasive, and secretive global financial operation protected by the world’s most wealthy and powerful people. The battle they fight is truly a “David vs. Goliath” affair, one which involves accounting, finance, and legal tools/weapons that most people find difficult to understand. Tax haven jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Luxemburg, Switzerland, the state of Delaware, Hong Kong, and dozens of others around the Earth offer high net worth people and the world’s largest transnational corporations low to zero tax rates as incentive to stash money.

“Patriotic” politicians stand at podiums with rows of perfectly folded flags behind them – elected to office through the support of multi-billionaire tax evasion cheats – and continue to completely ignore tax havens while speaking publicly about the urgent need to “cut the deficit” and reduce taxes. All the while, nations around the world lose trillions of dollars in tax revenue every year, and political “lovers and defenders of their country” do absolutely nothing.

The most important facts surrounding the tax haven industry people need to become aware of is that, first, this is a global industry. Second, that any individual or family on Earth who has accumulated a large amount of wealth, along with every large corporation, most likely are involved in tax evasion through tax haven schemes. Third (as mentioned), the largest and most highly respected accounting, banking, and legal firms on the planet are deeply and intimately involved.  These firms are the “engineers” of the $multi-trillion tax haven industry.

So, while those belonging to the Occupy-coined group 99% will likely not be “stashing” any wealth into tax haven jurisdictions, the wealthiest people from all nations on Earth conduct “business as usual”. Tax evasion cheats continue on without any feelings of guilt over not “paying their fair share”, satisfied to protect and increase fortunes through complicated financial schemes, while their fellow elected-politician tax evaders remain silent.

The global tax haven/evasion industry rolls on full-steam ahead, free from any serious interference in the form of laws, sanctions, or effective blocking actions by politicians, almost “nuisance-free” but for moral economists like John Christensen and his friends at the Tax Justice Network, concerned academics in the fields of accounting, finance, and law, and politicians who’ve become aware of the industry – “the pinstripe Mafia” – and how loss of tax revenue hurts national economies and people everywhere.

So, if any person reading this sees John Christensen, please send along encouragement, words of support, and thanks for the good work and effort he and his dedicated group of men and women have undertaken. If he hasn’t received any response from Queen Elizabeth to his letter yet, pass along this suggestion. Get a group of men and women – a really big group – and pile up in cars over to her house.

Knock on the door and see if she’s home.

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For more information, please visit: taxjustice.net

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(Thank you to goingundergroundRT at YouTube)

Tax Reform Economic Science 201.

Posted April 3, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“It is wrong to say that God made rich and poor; he made only male and female; and he gave them the Earth for their inheritance… The Earth, in its natural uncultivated state was, and ever would have continued to be, the common property of the human race.”

– Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

blogger7-1By separating people from their land, the foundations of whole communities were destroyed, setting the stage for suicide bombings in London and Madrid. Perhaps suicide bombers and desperate, unemployed young people who turn to violence are not fully understood in regard to their motivations. Exclusion of historical events where outside nations killed their ancestors to confiscate land and natural resource wealth results in an incomplete analysis of reasons “terrorists” do what they do.

This is by no means meant to present an apology for people who commit violent acts, but concern that a full look at the real reasons behind certain violent acts is necessary to find solutions that end such violence.

In this post the second of a three-part documentary – “Treason” – delves into the economic history of nations where young people have come to extents of hopelessness and disillusionment leading to outbursts of violent behavior. “Treason 2: The Crucible of Terror” gives viewers the circumstances in Pakistan, a country at the frontier of the fight against terrorism and fanatics. Until independence, Pakistan had been a colony of the British Empire. The British colonial government would grant those Pakistanis who sided with them large tracts of land or its tax-free occupation and use.

Pakistan today has one of the most highly concentrated land ownership situations on Earth. The vast amount of land there is either owned or controlled by very few people. It came as a surprise to learn that Pakistan’s army controls a large fraction of the nation’s agricultural industry and farmland. Mr. Mason Gaffney of the University of California talks about recent decisions by the Obama administration to send $7.5 billion to Pakistan to “improve living standards” for poor Pakistanis. Mr. Gaffney viewed the multi-billion dollar aid as an action that “will do nothing, and could be worse than nothing”.

He describes the aid as “taking money from poor people in rich places to subsidize rich people in poor places”. The Pakistani government, instead of reforming the nation’s tax system to raise revenue through land value taxation, has taken aid from America which will result in higher rents for most Pakistanis who hold no land of their own. This degradation of the financial well-being of Pakistan’s citizens increases the possibility that dissatisfaction will lead to violence in pushback to government decisions.

Fred Harrison, who wrote, narrated, and directed “Treason”, relays a Taliban movement which took large amounts of land from landlords that was eventually taken back when Pakistan’s military drove three million people off the land. Mr. Harrison notes that many of those people ended up in Karachi in conditions that he calls “hornets nests” of drugs, money-laundering, kidnapping, and other criminal behaviors.

Another economist is heard suggesting that debt relief and land reform are necessary to improve the lives of Pakistanis, pointing to the obvious negative consequences of highly concentrated land ownership.

The film goes back in history to look at England’s Henry the VIII, who is described as the person responsible for launching predatory capitalism some 500 years ago, and which has since infected the rest of the world. Henry the VIII grew fat off the land he took and sold to fellow aristocrats, eventually owning 50 stately homes in England. Other nations followed the model provided by him to begin their marches to other regions to take land, natural resources, etc. Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and other countries joined the colonialism game, killing original residents along the way.

Africa is then discussed in the context of British-Dutch warring over land where diamonds were buried in the 1890’s. Britain gained the upper hand in the war by pushing over 100,000 Europeans into 47 concentration camps, where 250 people per week were dying – an estimated 20,000 people, including women and children died in the camps. Nobody knows, according to Mr. Harrison, how many Africans died in their concentration camps.

At any rate, DeBeers mining company owners paid 1/3 of the price of extracted diamonds for labor and capital, and pocketed the remaining 2/3.

Given the world’s history since Henry the VIII five centuries ago, including wealth inequality where 85 people have as much wealth as the world’s 3.5 billion lower half, it should come as no surprise that violence breaks out. Land value taxation, along with other beneficial reforms, offer humanity real options that can reduce violence and war while enhancing the lives of men, women, and children across the Earth.

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(Thank you to theIUorg at YouTube)

Tax Reform Economic Science 101.

Posted April 2, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. For every rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”

– Adam Smith (1723-1790) The Wealth of Nations (1776)

cumberland 1-1While researching further into the International Union for Land Value Taxation, their YouTube channel (theIU.org) features a documentary on the history of political economy which they’ve titled “Treason”. It’s a three-part documentary and the first – “Treason 1: Casino Capitalism” – has been posted here. For men and women who have great interest in how the world operates from an economic standpoint, the producers of the film have done an excellent job of conveying information to match that curiosity.

For Americans interested in the “big picture” historical facts about the birth of predatory business that has operated to this day, the film rightly begins with the first land thefts from the Native Americans. Since those times the ways in which the original inhabitants of America became victims has provided the template for similar actions in other nations for centuries that followed. Millions of human beings were killed or felt the negative consequences of greed since then in later quests for land, natural resources, and wealth.

During the years leading up to the worldwide financial crisis of 2007-8, the subprime mortgage economic atom bomb placed African-Americans, Hispanics, and poor white people in a similar place as the red man of centuries past. Subprime mortgages signed by them could be compared to the hundreds of treaties signed by the red man with the U.S. government that were then broken by the government. The people who became trapped in mortgages that began with small monthly payments – because the loans were variable-interest – faced very high monthly payments when the high interest kicked in and were innocently part of a massive fraud – perhaps the great financial fraud in history.

Perhaps men and women can gain a better understanding of the subprime mortgage fraud through imagining they were the bankers who carried out the frauds. Because the fraud is already planned from beginning to end. You loan to any person who breathes no matter their ability to repay the loan, because the subprimes already have the planned destination of complex financial securities bundled with all other subprimes. You will falsely enter the customers’ financial information, close the deals, find a friendly company to rate the securities “AAA”, sell those securities to fooled investors, then pocket the money that you first created out of thin air.

Charles Ferguson won an Academy Award for “Inside Job”, his documentary which gave viewers the truth about the massive frauds. He walked up before billions of television viewers in 2011 to accept the award, and made sure to let the world know that no bank executive facing prosecution three years after the crisis “is wrong”.

Western governments refuse to take the steps which will result in sharing of the Earth’s resources equally. Basing the tax system on income earned by landlords earning “in their sleep” would have a number of positive benefits compared to the present tax setup. Governments would no longer have to tax wages, they wouldn’t have to apply sales tax, and wouldn’t have to collect business taxes. The massive, multi-trillion dollar per year industry of tax evasion enabled by the world’s largest accounting, legal, and banking firms would evaporate.

Raising more revenue from land value taxes – and less from work, sales, production, etc. – would place more money in the hands of citizens, resulting in a much more prosperous economy. The concerns of John Perkins, author of “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”, regarding income inequality increased in nations falling into debt traps set by the World Bank, IMF, and associated institutions, would be addressed. The concerns of Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, with regard to the “unlevel playing field” where Wall Street has five lobbyists for every member of Congress, would be addressed.

Fred Harrison, the man who hosts Part 1 of “Treason”, says solving the problems of the 21st century begins with reforms to the way governments raise revenue. He shares a quote from Adam Smith – considered the “father of political economy” – where Smith said: “to achieve efficiency and fairness, a modern economy needed to tax land.” Instead, the parliament invented income tax.

Mr. Harrison then presents a quote from Henry George (1839-1897): “poverty and unemployment were inevitable when people were deprived of their fair share of the rent of land”. The book “Poverty and Progress” by Henry George sold more copies than any other book of the time but the Bible.

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(Thank you to theIU.org at YouTube)