How Can the World's Richest Country Let Children Go Hungry? 6 Tricks Corporate Elites Use to Hoard All the Wealth
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4. The biggest corporations are sitting on a mountain of cash.
While politicians lament the debt crisis, America’s largest corporations are refusing to invest more than $1 trillion in cash because of the lack of consumer demand (resulting from high levels of unemployment caused by the Wall Street crash). That money is doing little for our economy. It’s not putting our people to work. It’s not helping to close state and local budget gaps. It’s not helping to improve our depleted infrastructure.
5. Hedge funds have over $1.917 trillion in misused investment capital.
Wall Street investment firms are loaded with investment capital looking for ways to make outsized profits while paying as little in taxes as possible. This is the money that floods Wall Street casinos and that led directly to the housing bubble and crash. The money is still there just itching to ride up and down the next bubble. Approximately 80 percent of all stock market transactions come from the manipulations of these funds. And much of the money jumps in and out of the markets in nanoseconds using high-speed automatic trading techniques that extract hidden taxes from the rest of us. Most of this speculative capital serves no broader economic or social purpose except to enrich the super-rich.
4. Many of the 1 percent cheat on their taxes.
When you have enormous sums of money, you can hire high-powered accountants and lawyers to help you avoid taxes. But these maneuvers aren’t just taking advantage of tax loopholes. It’s about cheating. Many of the super-rich hide their money in offshore tax havens. They place it in secret bank accounts without declaring it. They just pretend it doesn’t exist. How much money are we talking about? The tax revenues lost in the U.S. are estimated to be $337 billion a year according to a November report by the Tax Justice Network. This is more than enough to put America back to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.
So there hides our nation’s wealth. We are as productive as ever, but 99 percent aren’t getting their fair share. Instead the 1 percent are channeling our collective wealth away from our daily needs through investment hoarding, tax loopholes and outright tax cheating. Rather than using it to create badly needed jobs, they pocket it. And then our financial elites have the nerve to ask the rest of us to tighten our belts because the public trough is running low due to a financial crash they created! It’s an outrageous fabrication designed to shift the debate away from the obvious: Wall Street and its minions took down our economy, got bailed out and now refuse to pay anything to repair it. Instead they want us to pay for the damage they created.
This is the material basis for Occupy Wall Street and we should salute the occupiers for changing the national dialogue back to where it belongs. But we will have to go much further if we hope to create employment, alleviate rising poverty and bring a modicum of justice to our society. We will have to do nothing short of democratizing Wall Street from top to bottom so that our financial elites can no longer manipulate the economy and politics to serve their ends.
We are still the richest nation on earth, but our wealth has been captured and hidden from view. We can’t expect Occupy Wall Street to rectify this ungodly mess on its own. It’s time for the rest of us to join the fight to recapture our nation’s wealth while resurrecting our society’s fundamental decency.