Sometimes connecting the dots is a saddening experience. In seemingly unrelated news bits, I managed to create a pathway for significant frustration and possible tragedy. I used two sources: The Wall Street Journal and World Clock. I hope you enjoy the correlations and will help do something about them.
I read the Wall Street Journal of June 16, 2010, the auricle of corporate America, and found some illuminating information.
The Swiss bank, USB AG, has decided to cooperate with the U.S.’s IRS by exposing as many as 4,450 tax evaders. The amount of tax avoiding assets amounts to about $20 billion. If one uses the top tax rate of 35% from the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that amounts to $7 billion in unpaid tax revenues, or $1,573,033.70 per evader. This is from just one (1) bank! There are another 20 Swiss banks that aren’t participating in this investigation...yet. If the other 20 banks have similar numbers of U.S. tax evaders, that amounts to somewhere around $140 billion in uncollected tax revenues, never mind the interest. We haven’t even begun to note similar situations in the Bahamas.
What bothers me most is the obvious conservative canard that lower taxes on the wealthy create jobs through investment. Here we have thousands of "investors" investing in Swiss banks, not American businesses or industries that create those promised jobs. In November, as you enter the voting booth, ask yourself why this money is there instead of here. Ask yourself who allowed this to happen when you vote for your next representative at every level. Remember the iconic line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, "Who are those guys?"
On another topic: Someone sent me www.worldclock.swf. This website keeps a running tally of several interesting and pertinent bits of data. The human population at 9:35 this morning, June 17th, was 6,828,755,251. I timed it for 5 minutes and calculated that the increase was 877 people. This is the net number, because they also trend deaths. This becomes significant when we understand that there are almost 526,000 minutes in a year. At a net increase of 146 people per minute we can expect another 76,796,000 mouths to feed by the end of this year. I double checked my math.
In 1954, I remember my geography teacher telling me there were just over 3 billion people on Earth. In 2000 I taught my biology classes that we just passed 6 billion. In the 10 years since, we’ve added over 800 million more people....and this is with all sorts of wars and killing going on around the world. In a related bit of data, Worldclock also shows the amount of oil we produce and the rate at which we consume it. They predict that the depletion date is scheduled for 39.5 years. What is equally astounding is that the known and suspected oil reserves around the world amount to 1.2 trillion barrels. With China and India ramping up their industrial bases and pledging to their citizens that they will obtain and drive more motor vehicles than the rest of the industrialized world combined, we can appreciate what 39.5 years means...if it takes that long to deplete the oil reserves.
Irrespective of the veracity of 39.5 years, the message is clear: We had better start preparing for alternate energy sources and figure out how to replace our plastic with something that has a renewable label attached.
There is a company in northern California that is getting ready to market its $100,000+ electric sports car. This vehicle is powered by lithium batteries. The company says it will produce a standard sedan in 2012. In a related bit, Afghanistan is said to be the Saudi Arabia of lithium. This country, in which we are embroiled in war, also is loaded with iron and copper. Now we know why we’re still fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda there.
Will our actions in Asia bring resources to this country such that jobs will become plentiful once again, or will our investors send the money to Switzerland and have India build our lithium batteries? We have 39.5 years to do what we're going to do about energy. If the oil companies have their way, I have a bit of advice: Don't sell that horse.