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A lot of — maybe most — people have sort of a vague notion that the super wealthy are able squirrel away a lot of their wealth and income overseas so as to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. But, as this article reports, the size and scope of the practice has truly reached an astounding level.

“A new report by the Tax Justice Network released Sunday reveals that between $21 trillion and $31 trillion is currently tucked away in global tax havens by the global super-rich–an amount that far exceeds previous estimates. Through exploiting gaps in global tax rules, the global financial elite are managing to hide ‘as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together’ from taxation, leaving the world’s poor to carry the burden of global debt through harsh austerity measures.”

It’s always encouraging when fabulously rich people have the guts to speak the truth about their own privileged position and the disgraceful growth in American inequality. To this end, please check out this recent speech by a fellow named Nick Hanauer.  It’s reproduced below from an article in the National Journal. As the article explains, Hanauer is a Seattle venture capitalist who got rich investing in Amazon.com. Interestingly, the speech has been deemed too controversial by the folks at TED.com who commissioned it. See what you think. 

“It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies.  Consider this one.
 
If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down.  
 
This idea is an article of faith for Republicans and seldom challenged by Democrats and has shaped much of today’s economic landscape.
 
But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. Read More

It’s no secret that unions have become a much diminished economic and political force in the US over the past four decades.  Between 1973 and 2007, union membership in the private sector fell from 34 percent to 8 percent among men in the US and from 16 to 6 percent among women.

A new study by economists Bruce Western and Jake Rosenfeld demonstrates that this substantial decline in unionization in the US has played a much bigger role in growing income inequality than previously thought.  In fact, the researchers found that,

…deunionization explains a fifth of the inequality increase for women, and a third for men. The decline of organized labor among men contributes as much to rising wage inequality as the growing stratification of pay by education. Read More