Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Senator Obama calls time on the tax havens

The coming presidential election is being fought on economic issues, and with record budget deficits and crumbling infrastructure its not suprising that tax is right at the centre of the agenda.

A scan of Senator McCain's voting track record shows that he aligns with the incumbent's record of approving tax cuts for rich people and tax breaks for the large corporations. He has also publicly aligned himself with American companies that make extensive use of loopholes and offshore financial services provided from the tax haven of Bermuda.

Senator Obama has staked out a quite different territory. He advocates tax cuts for middle and lower income people, and closure of the loopholes used by rich people and powerful corporations to avoid tax. This is how he confronts Senator McCain on taxation:

"If he wants to defend a tax code that's more than 10,000 pages long, filled with loopholes written in by corporate lobbyists, like the ones running his campaign, he has every right. He has every right to defend offshore tax havens that allow companies to avoid paying taxes here in America. But I say its time to close offshore loopholes and shut down the tax havens and restore balance and fairness to our tax codes."

(Also take a look, if you will, at this new report from Citizens for Tax Justice in the US. It goes into details of the candidates' proposals.)

PS To all those gutless politicians and party strategists who lack the courage to confront the tax lobbyists head on (yes, Alistair, that includes you), take a look a this extract from Obama's recent speech in Indianapolis and see how strongly the public reacts to his call for tax justice. And why not follow that up with a quick scan of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, which pretty much does what is says on the tin. The zeitgeist has shifted: Obama has sensed the change of public mood and he recognises that tax havens have played a major role in promoting injustice. And he's not alone.

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