That's right folks. According to the Wall Street Journal (via Raw Story) 60 American corporation alone have put One Hundred and Sixty-Six Billion Dollars in off-share accounts in order to avoid paying taxes. Pretty good deal if you can get away with it:
The business newspaper said its analysis of 60 big American companies had found that they had collectively parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year.
That shielded more than 40 percent of their annual profits from US taxes, the report said. [...]
The practice is a result of US tax rules that allow companies to not pay taxes on profits earned by overseas subsidiaries if the money is not brought back to the United States, the report pointed out.
Look at it in these terms. What of you had a federal
tax credit tax law that allowed you to shield 40% of your income from taxes. Not a deduction, which reduces taxes you owe but a credit law that says 40% of what you earn cannot be taxed - period. I know I would be dancing in the street if some lawmaker proposed a bill for ordinary people that allowed me to only have to pay taxes on 60% of my family's income. But that's the problem. You and I don't get such favorable treatment from the tax code, nor can we afford the accountants and lawyers to set up such tax dodges for us. But major US companies can and do.
And the $166 Billion dollars represents just one year's worth of non-taxable income for these 60 companies. How much have they sheltered in off shore accounts over the past decade or two is not known, but I'm willing to bet we are talking about a number in excess of $1 Trillion. These are the same corporations that are likely ripping you off with higher gas prices, bigger bank fees and charges, absurdly overpriced medications and god knows what else. The same corporations that own all three branches of our government. The same corporations whose lobbyists write our laws and treat our Senators, Supreme Court Justices and Congresscritters out to dinners and golf resort vacations, while you and I get arrested if we show up outside our elected official's door uninvited when we wish to air our grievances.
Grievances such as the fact that these corporations get away with what in any sane country would be prosecuted as tax fraud. Except that it is considered tax fraud if you or I are the ones hiding 40% of our income from the IRS. So, remember this the next time you sit down to your dinner of Ramen or Mac & Cheese, or sit at your kitchen table deciding if it is better to pay your rent or mortgage this month rather than go to the doctor for that chest pain that's been bothering you, or just wondering if Social Security and Medicare will still exist when you hit 65 or 67 or whatever age our fiscal conservatives in both parties think is appropriate despite the fact that you've been looking for full time work since being laid off from your "good job" two years ago. Think about all those billions and billions of dollars sitting in some Cayman Islands bank snuggling up to billions of dollars of well laundered drug cartel money. Hey, at least the drug cartels admit they are criminals.
Money you or your descendants will never see, though some billionaire or CEO's compensation will no doubt benefit because all these corporate profits have been hidden away in these stealthy, shady, morally reprehensible tax avoidance schemes.