A trove of just-released leaked documents is shining some light on the shadowy world of tax avoidance. The Paradise Papers show the workarounds used by the top .01 percent to hide their wealth and dodge their tax responsibility. This investigation underscores the need to systematically confront tax avoidance, something I emphasize this week on

The timing of this investigation couldn’t be more fitting. U.S. lawmakers are considering whether to hand the ultra-wealthy another set of tax cuts, but the Paradise Papers are just another example of what we all know: when it comes to paying taxes, the rich play by their own set of rules. Why should our government help them rig the game even further?

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team

Listen to Kansas: Don't Cut Taxes on the Wealthy
Progressive lawmakers and activists gathered at the U.S. Capitol last week to rally against the Republican tax plan. One speaker, Kansas resident Sarah LaFrenz, came experienced in the devastation that extreme “trickle down” policies — along the lines of what GOP congressional leaders have proposed — make inevitable. Her message: There’s no cutting taxes without slashing public services. In Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback sold the state the lie that tax cuts lead to economic growth. They led instead to a crisis in public services that left “every single person that I know from home,” LaFrenz noted last week, “deeply affected.” co-editor Negin Owliaei has more on the impact of Brownback’s experiment and LaFrenz’s warning to the rest of America.
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An Ethically Challenged Lawmaker Eager to Cash In
The Ohio Republican lawmaker Patrick Tiberi is leaving Congress — a year early — this coming January, and he’s already disclosed his likely new employer: the Ohio Business Roundtable, a lobbying powerhouse that includes corporate heavyweights like Owens-Corning. But Tiberi has one piece of business he’d like to finish before he exits public service. A senior member of the pivotal House Ways and Means Committee, Tiberi intends to help craft the final version of the GOP tax plan, legislation that could save his future corporate employers billions. Ethics watchdogs are calling on Tiberi to recuse himself from the tax bill deliberations. He’s refusing. And why not? After all, after 17 years in Congress, why throw away an opportunity to join America’s corporate elite?
This week on, Peter Bakvis of the International Trade Union Confederation looks at a flawed new World Bank report on “business-friendliness.” The Bank appears more interested in promoting deregulation — and higher corporate profits — than reducing inequality.

In Washington, the Trump tax plan has revealed the same indifference to inequality, and Steve Quick and Lee Price, two veteran Capitol Hill budget analysts, contrast this Trump effort with America’s last big attempt to overhaul the tax code in 1986. co-editor Josh Hoxie has more details on why the new House GOP tax plan amounts to a gift to the wealthy at everyone else’s expense. And tax attorney Bob Lord adds in an analysis of what that plan means for the nation’s middle class.

Sarah Anderson wraps up this week’s tax coverage with a look at the bait-and-switch GOP lawmakers are trying to pull on CEO pay, extending corporations huge tax breaks with one stroke of the pen and eliminating a much smaller loophole with another.

Elsewhere on the web, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren team up to unpack the Trump tax plan in three don’t-miss video minutes. Philip Bump at the Washington Post tells us what we already suspect: The rich want this tax cut, not the rest of us. NYU law professor David Kamin explores how a tax cut for ordinary families can turn, over time, into a tax increase.

In non-tax news, David Callahan at Inside Philanthropy examines the growing divide between the rich and the rest of us in nonprofit donations, citing our 2016 Gilded Giving report. Marshall Steinbaum writes in the Boston Review about the link between offshore tax shelters and rising inequality. Chris Pomorski tracks the changing model of land ownership in the United States with an engaging write-up in Curbed.

In the New York Times, Noam Schreiber draws a key connection between sexual assaults and corporate greed: Too many companies have looked the other way to protect their bottom line.

The Throw-Clayton-Under-the-Bus Tax Plan
Poor Clayton Kershaw. His Dodgers just lost the World Series, and now Republicans in Congress are throwing superstar athletes like Kershaw under the bus. The new tax “reform” that House GOP leaders have just unveiled will, if ever enacted, do Kershaw no favors. GOP leaders, to be sure, have nothing personal against Kershaw and his fellow ballplayer millionaires. But billionaires come first for today’s House leaders, and advancing their interests — delivering to them the biggest tax boondoggle for the rich ever — requires these GOP pols to sacrifice mere millionaires like poor Clayton. co-editor Sam Pizzigati has the details.
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