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Foreign tax havens shelter rich from paying due taxes

The Editor: At the recent World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, Oxfam’s report on the “economy for the one per cent” noted that 62 of the world’s richest people hold as much wealth as half the planet. It has also been noted that the inequality between the wealthiest and the poorest is still growing in favour of the world’s top one per cent.

In the industrialized countries of the world, the U.S. has the greatest disparity between the rich and the poor. It also has sustained the greatest losses from tax evasion, in some cases with the help of their banks, in order to move profits into foreign tax havens.

James Henry, senior adviser to the Tax Justice System, has stated that “the world’s super rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least U.S. $21 trillion, and possibly $32 trillion, from their home countries and hide it abroad. Data from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service suggests that, globally, U.S. non-financial companies hold about $U.S. 5 trillion in cash. Canadian companies are reported to be holding $685 billion, equal to one-third of the Canadian economy.

Tax evasion is a crime. It is even a greater crime when one thinks about what that wealth could have done to create programs to enable the world’s poor and oppressed families to have a better standard of living.

That will change only if we — the millions of voters, particularly in the the industrialized countries — elect politicians who are prepared to regulate the greed and abuses of capitalism. — Leo Kurtenbach, Saskatoon