Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The Guardian reports on the Tax Justice Network's study on offshoring which finds tens of trillions of dollars to have been funneled to tax havens:
Using the BIS's measure of "offshore deposits" – cash held outside the depositor's home country – and scaling it up according to the proportion of their portfolio large investors usually hold in cash, he estimates that between $21tn (£13tn) and $32tn (£20tn) in financial assets has been hidden from the world's tax authorities.

"These estimates reveal a staggering failure," says John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. "Inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people.

"This new data shows the exact opposite has happened: for three decades extraordinary wealth has been cascading into the offshore accounts of a tiny number of super-rich."

In total, 10 million individuals around the world hold assets offshore, according to Henry's analysis; but almost half of the minimum estimate of $21tn – $9.8tn – is owned by just 92,000 people. And that does not include the non-financial assets – art, yachts, mansions in Kensington – that many of the world's movers and shakers like to use as homes for their immense riches.
- Meanwhile, Travis Waldron catches a major corporation which is currently enjoying a negative tax rate complaining that it pays too much in taxes. All of which suggests it's no accident that the U.S. has finally reached the point where its poverty rates are worse than they were just under 50 years ago.

- There's at least some good news on the local level however: workers at the Regina Public Library finally have a new contract which looks to have avoided the most offensive of the library board's demands.

- Finally, Marni Soupcoff highlights how the Harper Cons' continued Robocon spin is only encouraging Canadians to see them as completely lacking credibility:
(W)hat might have happened if the Conservatives had thrown sound litigation strategy out the window, and decided instead to take the high road? What if their court filings had granted the need for a review of the electoral results to restore the public’s confidence in the electoral process, and argued only that the outcome of the election would not have changed absent the Robocalls?

The optics of the whole thing would be so much better. The party would be saying: “Hey, we understand why voters want to be sure that their elected officials won their seats fairly, and we do too. We have nothing to hide. We will prove to you that the right people are sitting in Ottawa.”

Instead, the Conservatives have now come out on the losing end of a court decision that makes them sound like they think democracy is a bothersome trifle to be brushed aside when it gets in the way.

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