According to a report titled The Price of Offshore Revisited, the super-rich have used global tax havens to siphon out "at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32tn, from their home countries and hide it abroad -- a sum larger than the entire American economy."
[...] some experts believe the amount of assets being held offshore is so large that accounting for it fully would radically alter the balance of financial power between countries. The French economist Thomas Piketty, an expert on inequality who helps compile the World Top Incomes Database, says research by his colleagues has shown that "the wealth held in tax havens is probably sufficiently substantial to turn Europe into a very large net creditor with respect to the rest of the world."
In other words, even a solution to the eurozone's seemingly endless sovereign debt crisis might be within reach -- if only Europe's governments could get a grip on the wallets of their own wealthiest citizens.
This desire to maximise profits shouldn't come as a surprise. In Paul Krugman's Pathos of the Plutocraft opinion piece, he looks at the complete lack of grounding the rich have when it comes to moral behaviour.
It's no secret that, at this point, many of America's richest men -- including some former Obama supporters -- hate, just hate, President Obama. Why? Well, according to them, it's because he "demonizes" business -- or as Mitt Romney put it earlier this week, he "attacks success." Listening to them, you'd think that the president was the second coming of Huey Long, preaching class hatred and the need to soak the rich.
Needless to say, this is crazy. In fact, Mr. Obama always bends over backward to declare his support for free enterprise and his belief that getting rich is perfectly fine. All that he has done is to suggest that sometimes businesses behave badly, and that this is one reason we need things like financial regulation. No matter: even this hint that sometimes the rich aren't completely praiseworthy has been enough to drive plutocrats wild. For two years or more, Wall Street in particular has been crying: "Ma! He's looking at me funny!"
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