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We’ve all heard the right-wing talking point so many times that we can repeat it by heart: “High state taxes are scaring off successful people (i.e rich people) and forcing them to move to lower tax states.”

The only problem with this mantra: it ain’t so.

According to a new report sponsored by the Swiss financial conglomerate UBS entitled “The World Ultra Wealth Report 2013,” Amercian higher tax states continue to attract boatloads of fat cats — what the report politely refers to as “ultra high net worth ” individuals — worth $30 million or more. Indeed, California, home to the highest taxes on rich folks in the country, saw its plutocrat population shoot up by 14.7% just last year. New York, also home to higher taxes was second overall and reported 4.1% growth. Supposedly liberal Massachusetts has the fastest-growing tycoon population of all. 

Meanwhile, here in the Old North State, where conservative think tankers continually lament the supposed deleterious impact of the state’s “high marginal income tax rates,” the über-rich population expanded by more than 20% last year – seventh fastest in the nation. More than 1,100 magnates now live in North Carolina.

Here’s a chart from the report taken from a story in The Huffington Post: Read More

Here’s an idea that would, despite being far from foolproof, seem to be worth at least considering in the U.S.: Australia’s law to require significant corporate shareholder majorities to approve CEO compensation plans.

This is from the the people at Inequality.org and their weekly newsletter Too Much:

“One of the world’s more complicated schemes to tamp down CEO pay is getting a test in Australia this fall. Since last July, Aussie corporate boards have had shareholders voting on CEO pay. But this advisory “say on pay” has a twist. A board that fails to get 25 percent of shareholders to bless its CEO pay two years in a row has to face a shareholder vote on whether to give the entire board a heave-ho and elect a new one. Last year, 108 firms failed to hit that 25 percent mark. Now boards seem anxious to avoid two-time loser status. CEO bonuses at top Australian firms have dipped 20 percent since last year. But execs, activists add, are still playing games: Aquila Resources chair Tony Poli had his most recent annual pay reported as $572,000. He actually took in $169 million.” 

 

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.”