Taxcast: The #LuxLeaks Tax Deals – Still No investigation? Plus Amazon’s $0 Federal Tax Payment

Originally published at Tax Justice Network

In Edition 86 of the February 2019 Tax Justice Network’s monthly podcast/radio show, the Taxcast (available on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcast platforms):

  • why hasn’t the European Commission investigated any of the secret tax deals that were exposed by the LuxLeaks whistleblowers where tax authorities gave multi-national companies outrageously low tax rates?
  • Plus ‘aid’ for whom? We discuss the financialisation of aid
  • And also: zero federal income taxes last year in the US for one of the world’s biggest monopolists: Amazon

Featuring:

Simon Bowers of the ICIJ on why the EU Commission has so far failed to investigate the LuxLeaks cases almost five years later:

…it’s a burning question…the EU’s Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager said yes, we’re looking at these documents, we will examine it, we’ll evaluate whether or not this leads to the opening of a case and we’ve not heard anything since…We all know how soft power works and there is clearly a conflict there.

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14 comments

    1. RepubAnon

      “Pelosi-crats???” Seriously?

      It wasn’t the Democrats that passed the “tax cuts for the ultra-rich” bills. It was George W Bush, and Donald Trump. When Democrats try to restore reasonable tax rates on the 0.1%, the Republicans scream “socialism” and worse.

      Not that there aren’t Democrats that receive money from Wall Street, or protect the “carried interest” loophole… but it’s not a core Democratic Party belief.

      Reply
      1. John Steinbach

        As bad as Trump’s & Bush’s tax cuts were, they don’t even begin to compare to the unprecedented transfer of wealth from the working class to the ruling class that occurred under Obama.

        Reply
          1. integer

            That’s an odd thing to project onto a comment about the huge transfer of wealth to the ruling class that took place as a result of choices that Obama made in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

            Reply
            1. Buddy Smith

              No, he is wrong. Obama never passed the wealth confiscation like Reagan,BushII or Trump have.

              The financial crisis was over by the time he was there and that was part of the problem as Joe Biden mentioned years later(and warned at the time of the AIG bailout). Its a weak argument and Yves, banning somebody on your bias is a REALLY bad way to run a website. A really BAD way.

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Bullshit. What about 9 million foreclosures don’t you understand? That is one sixth of the houses with mortgages on them. Black wealth fell under Obama as a result (see for instance https://jacobinmag.com/2017/12/obama-foreclosure-crisis-wealth-inequality)

                First, the Bush Administration courteously left $75 billion in the TARP for the Obama Administration to use for foreclosure relief. They didn’t.

                Second, Geithner was explicit about favoring banks, that the Administration was using HAMP etc merely to draw out the foreclosures to “foam the runway” for banks.

                Third, servicers on a widespread basis encouraged borrowers to default to qualify for HAMP and HARP mods, which they never got.

                Fourth, we documented that chain of title abuses gave the Administration all the leverage in the world to do mortgage modifications, which would have benefitted investors as well as borrowers and local communities. Instead, they got a “get out of liability almost free” card in the form of the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement….and nothing serious was done about mortgage servicing.

                One big reason for this was that the banks, most of all Citibank, which had VERY tight connections to the Obama Administration, had a lot of second mortgages on their books. Any mortgage modifications that were done properly would have wiped out the seconds and forced the banks to recognize yet more losses. Instead, the Administration allowed banks to get away with shallow modifications of first that actually left borrowers worse off in the long term (lowered payments but extended maturities and increased principal amount due) and not write down the second, which all day is illegal but regulators pretended it wasn’t happening. So the Administration was covering up for the insolvency of the banks, even though the losses on foreclosures were so large that even pretty deep modifications would have left everyone ahead…except the banks.

                Fifth, the Administration also announced the plans for Fannie and Freddie to do bulk sales of foreclosed homes, which led private equity to swoop in and buy a ton. They have in large measure been exploitative landlords who have done a poor job of maintaining properties.

                We haven’t even gotten to Obama nominating Bernanke to the Fed in 2010, where he had to whip personally to get him reappointed. Even then, Bernanke got an unprecedented level of “no” votes. Bernanke was aggressively pushing for a balanced budget even though the economy was weak and also earlier supported “reforming” Social Security. More important, Bernanke continued the subsidies to the well-off of the “Bernanke put” and super low rates, which economist Ed Kane estimated transferred $300 billion a year from savers like retirees to banks.

                Reply
                  1. tegnost

                    And the person complaining about bob anderson being banned, if that is the case, might remember (I think all your comment are excised in the event) some of the comments he has made recently. IMO getting banned was his goal. Go be impolite in someone else’s house. Thanks yves for the brief compendium of the failures of the Obama administration. Never Forget.

                    Reply
  1. Ford Prefect

    Proving white collar crime is just soooo hard…..especially when the laws have been written to make it very difficult to prove. Investigation of white collar crime is also very difficult – you have to actually ask for documents and then read them.

    There would be a lot less people in jail today if the prosecutor had to prove that you intended to have that bag of cocaine or marijuana in your trunk or if you had to wait for the criminals to come into the police station to confess to a crime you weren’t investigating.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      How about civil asset forfeiture? We suspect the bankers and plutocrats of crimes so why can’t we seize all their assets and sort it out after the fact?

      If it’s good enough for low level drug possession charges why not high level financial crimes?

      Reply

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