Truthdig: Oxfam Report Brings the Outrage Home With Exposé on U.S. Companies’ Offshore Adventures

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After reviewing the material released in the recently published Panama Papers, a new Oxfam report connects the 50 biggest U.S.-based corporations to the widely condemned hidden tax sanctuaries that allow companies to hide profits and avoid paying taxes.

These corporations have been receiving benefits, and in some cases, U.S. taxpayers’ money, and stashing away $1.4 trillion in tax havens. The report found that General Electric, which receives $28 billion in taxpayer money, has $119 billion stored away in tax haven subsidiaries.

The Guardian relayed details about Oxfam’s report Thursday:

Oxfam contrasted the $1.4tn held offshore with the $1tn paid in tax by the top 50 US firms between 2008 and 2014.

It pointed out that the companies had also enjoyed a combined $11.2tn in federal loans, bailouts and loan guarantees during the same period.

Overall, the use of tax havens allowed the US firms to reduce their effective tax rate on $4tn of profits from the US headline rate of 35% to an average of 26.5% between 2008 and 2014.

The charity said this had helped firms spend billions on an “army” of lobbyists calling for greater state support in the form of loans, bailouts and guarantees, funded by taxpayers.

The top 50 US firms spent $2.6bn between 2008 and 2014 on lobbying the US government, Oxfam said.

“For every $1 spent on lobbying, these 50 companies collectively received $130 in tax breaks and more than $4,000 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts,” said Oxfam.

Not only do the corporations’ actions impact the U.S. economy, but according to the report, they also drain $100 billion from some of the world’s poorest countries.

To put the numbers in perspective, Borgen magazine noted: “According to a 1998 United Nations estimate, providing education, water, sanitation, nutrition and basic health care to the entire population of every developing country would cost $40 billion. Adjusted for inflation, the cost to end global poverty would be approximately $58 billion today.”

— Posted by Donald Kaufman.

 

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