Bernie Sanders: We Must End Global Oligarchy

Posted by on June 23, 2018 in Government, Politics with 0 Comments

Image via CNN

By Bernie Sanders | CNN

One of the major, untold stories of our time is the rapid movement toward global oligarchy, in which just a handful of billionaires now own and control a significant part of the world economy.

Here in the United States, the top one-tenth of 1% owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%. Incredibly, according to a recent report from the Institute for Policy Studies, three of the richest people in America — Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett — now own more wealth than bottom 160 million people in our country.
But this is clearly not just an American issue. It is a global issue. While millions of people throughout the world live in dire poverty, without clean drinking water, adequate health care, decent housing, or education for their kids, the six wealthiest people in the world as ranked by Forbes Magazine own more wealth, according to Oxfam, than the bottom half of the world's population, 3.6 billion people.
This massive level of wealth and income inequality, and the political power associated with that wealth, is an issue that cannot continue be ignored. We must fight back.
Thanks to the so-called Paradise Papers, a trove of millions of documents analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its collaborating news outlets, we now have a better understanding of how the largest corporations and wealthiest people in the world avoid paying their taxes and hide ownership of assets. Needless to say, these billionaires are all strong supporters of our military, our veterans, our infrastructure, our schools and other government services. They would just prefer that you pay for those activities, not them.
According to the ICIJ's investigative reporting, the Americans listed as having offshore accounts in the Paradise Papers, (which have not been independently reviewed by CNN), are a who's who of billionaires, some of whom are the very same officials who have led the effort to promote the Republican tax plan, which would provide even more tax-avoiding opportunities to the very rich.
Even before these revelations, we knew that tax dodging by the wealthy and large corporations, not just in the US but globally, was taking place on a massive scale. In 2012, the Tax Justice Network, a British advocacy group, estimated that at least $21 trillion was stashed in offshore tax havens around the world. In other words, while governments enact austerity budgets, which lower the standard of living of working people, the super-rich avoid their taxes.
According to Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman, individuals in the US are avoiding $36 billion through offshore tax schemes and US corporations are avoiding more than $130 billion through these schemes. The situation has become so absurd that one five-story office building in the Caymans is now the “home” of nearly 20,000 corporations — and that is just one of many tax havens operating across the globe.

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