16 June 2017   Leave a comment

There have been numerous studies documenting the growth of income and wealth inequality in the world.  The conclusions from these studies are dramatic: both income and wealth are being increasingly concentrated in a smaller group of people.  Yet these studies may underestimate the concentration of income and wealth because they rely on tax records.   We know that a lot of money is hidden in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands, but estimating how much money is hidden is very difficult.  A pioneering study by a group of researchers with access to information leaked from some of these tax havens came to this startling conclusion, summarized by The Guardian:

“So what are the consequences for inequality? At the very top of the pyramid, it is much greater than previously estimated. In Norway, where the available wealth data is particularly detailed, the super-wealthy appear to be 30% wealthier than previously thought, when all the wealth hidden in tax havens is taken into account. The share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% increases from 8% to 10%”.

More action must be taken to dismantle the laws that allow people to avoid taxation if we expect taxes to be paid fairly.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Trump Administration is planning to send 4,000 additional soldiers to Afghanistan.  This deployment is the largest yet of the Trump Administration.  At its peak in 2011, NATO forces were about 140,000 in 2011 but those levels were drawn down by President Obama to about 9,800 in 2015.  The mission of the new troops remains unclear at this point, but it is hard to see how additional soldiers can accomplish what so many more failed to accomplish earlier.

US President Trump gave a speech in Miami declaring that, in his words, “I am canceling the previous administration’s completely one-sided deal”.  He did not, however, revoke the decision to place a US Embassy in Cuba.  He did restore the embargo on Cuba which will cause a certain degree of misery to the Cuban people but which did not, over its entire history since 1962 produced no changes in Cuban policy toward the US.  Mr. Trump claims that this reversal in policy is due to the authoritarian aspects of the Cuban government.  This exercise in futility stands in strong contrast to the US embrace of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, Russia, and the Philippines.

 

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Posted June 17, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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