President Obama has announced that in response to the revelations of the Panama Papers, he will be issuing a series of executive orders cracking down on tax evasion and force multinational corporations operating within the United States to be more transparent and accountable to their actions.
“The Panama Papers underscore the importance of the efforts the United States has taken domestically, and the efforts we have undertaken with our international partners, to address these shared challenges” said the White House in a statement. Treasury
Secretary Jacob Lew followed up by saying that “illicit financial activity is a critical concern for the United States and our partners around the world. Additional statutory authority is necessary to put the United States in the strongest position to combat bad actors who seek to hide their financial dealings and evade their tax responsibilities.”
Multinational corporations are believed to hold as much as $2 trillion dollars in offshore tax havens, depriving the US government and our economy at large of vital tax revenue that simply sits in foreign islands, where it is used for nothing – creating no jobs, paying no salaries, but merely accruing interest for the wealthy to enjoy. It’s more money than any one human could possibly spend in ten lifetimes.
To add insult to injury, corporate lobbyists pour millions into the war-chests of Republican politicians in exchange for even more tax cuts, dangling the threat of outsourcing jobs overseas to bully our legislators – and then outsourcing overseas anyways. These corporations hold no loyalty to anything but the pursuit of wealth as an end to itself, and it is disgraceful that we’ve allowed ourselves to be extorted by wealthy oligarchs in such a fashion.
We applaud President Obama for his efforts to rein in the flagrant abuses of the corporations, but he cannot stop there. The wealth and income inequality in this country has never been so high, and it is strangling the American middle class – and stunting the socioeconomic growth of the global economy as a whole. The excesses of global capitalism are taking a toll on us all, and we cannot keep allowing billions of people to suffer so that a few may enjoy obscene luxury.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.