Occupy the Tax Havens!

Note: This blog uses humor to discuss serious issues, but don’t ever take it too literally.

I thought it was time to turn our attention to tax evasion, which is a big factor in the accumulation of the richest 1% worldwide. As Leona Hemsley (1920-2007) once memorably said to her housekeeper: ‘We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.‘ Though she only served a small part of her 19 year sentence:

Scale of the Problem

In March 2005, Tax Justice Network published The Price of Offshore, based on data from Boston Consulting Group; McKinsey’s; Merrill Lynch/Cap Gemini, and the Bank for International Settlements. This document estimated that the world’s High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) held around $11.5 trillion of assets offshore, which would generate a return of about $860 billion a year at a 7.5% rate of return, and a consequent tax loss of $255 billion (let’s call it $250 billion as it’s hard to be precise on this secret data) as a result of it being held offshore. In addition, there are estimated cross-border flows of global dirty money in a range between $1.1-1.6 trillion annually, about half from developing and transitional economies, and two thirds of which is commercial dirty money. So its big money and we the ordinary tax payer/aka ‘the little people’ pick up the resulting bill either through paying higher taxes than we need to or running a larger fiscal deficit. And these numbers are very conservative.

See the excellent blog: http://taxjustice.blogspot.com/

Location of the Problem

No two commentators can generally agree on a “list of tax havens”, but the following countries are commonly cited as falling within the “classic” perception of a sovereign tax haven.

  1. Andorra
  2. The Bahamas
  3. Cyprus
  4. Liechtenstein
  5. Luxembourg
  6. Mauritius
  7. Monaco
  8. Panama
  9. San Marino
  10. Seychelles
  11. Bermuda
  12. Cayman Islands
And there are few we should probably stay clear of:
  • City of London (OK maybe leave that one out as the island it is on is just too big)
  • Delaware (OK let the FBI handle that one)
  • Switzerland (too far from the sea)
  • Ireland (hmm bad for Irish-American vote, leave well alone)
Solution to the Problem

Well, we invadedIraqfor non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction, so why not invade the tax havens, which represent known very real Weapons of Mass Financial Destruction via their tax evasion, and throughput of criminal, hot money. How on earth could we do that?

Well some far sighted Senior Officer in the US Marines had the amazing foresight to foresee the problem and as a result commissioned the Tarawa and Wasp Classes of amphibious assault ships that are almost perfectly designed to seize undefended tax havens (most of which are on small islands or close to the sea) and there are 8 of each class, so 16 to go round the tax havens, and four to spare, so we could invade them all at once! This is surely the most impressive piece of value for money anticipatory defense procurement ever and the amount of undeclared wealth seized should pay for the ships many times over. Like $11 trillion dollars would pay off the deficit. 🙂 QED.

The USS Bataan a Wasp Class Amphibious Assault Ship:
File:US Navy 070221-N-6482W-221 A CH-53E Super Stallion, assigned to Medium Marine Helicopter Squadron Two Six Four (HMM-264) (Reinforced), lifts palettes of Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MRE) from amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5).jpg

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Humor, Conflict Processes, Conflict Statistics, Economic Conflict, Uncategorized, US Political Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Occupy the Tax Havens!

  1. Tony Gee says:

    Sure it would bring in much needed revenue but would not solve the spending issue which is the bigger problem. To many self absorbed politicians (on the left and right side of the isle) promising “stuff” just to get a vote. That “stuff” is entitlements and they can range from tax brakes to free healthcare and the like.

    Invading a county holding these off shore moneys, sounds cool but what would happen to their economy? My guess we would end up propping them up with US currency adding back to the deficit.

    • @ Tony Gee. There is of course plenty of waste in government spending that needs addressing. Lots of pork, and from my time working with the US military, lots of waste in defense procurement which often becomes a form of pork. And such waste is making us less safe because we pay too much for weapon systems etc.

      But Social Security is something we have all contributed to, and America is the only country in the developed world without a state health care system for all. So I don’t see these two as’ entitlement’ programs so much as ‘civilization programs’. That said, there is huge waste in the medical industry, and from litigation over medical matters, and that needs addressing as other countries do: by government pressure as some US states already do with bulk purchase of generic drug prescriptions. That’s one form of big government I am all for.

      As for the invading tax havens, I was not serious about it, so much as finding a dramatic way to draw attention to them. The real answer is to cut them off from the world economy until they mend their ways, which is happening slowly, but I suspect many politicians have funds there, so are dragging their feet.. The tax havens are all small and have tourism and could still do some banking. They just shouldn’t be the conduit for drug and tax evasion money, not to mention money that funds terrorism of the political and narcotics kinds.

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