By Dave Lindorff
I mean it. Stop talking about cutting school budgets, Social Security benefits, Medicare, Veteran's pensions. Stop cutting subsidies to transit systems, to foreign aid. Stop cutting unemployment benefits. Stop it all.
There can not be any justification for budget cutting while wealthy criminals, corrupt politicians and business executives are hiding what reportedly totals between $29 trillion and $32 trillion in offshore tax havens.
A massive data dump by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) , working in conjunction with dozens of news organizations around the globe , has exposed the secret files of over 120,000 dummy offshore companies that have been used for years to hide the wealth -- much of it ill-gotten, all of it tax-dodged -- of the world's rich and mega-rich.
Before we go further, let's think about those numbers, which are really mind-boggling.
The US annual federal budget for 2012 was $3.7 trillion. The total US economy, largest in the world by far, was $15.8 trillion in 2012. That federal budget deficit that we hear so much about, which is growing by $1 trillion a year, totals about $16 trillion.
Now by comparison, the Philadelphia school system -- fifth-largest in the country -- is in crisis, with 27 schools being closed down because of a budget shortfall of $304 million. That shortfall (the direct result of tax breaks given to wealthy corporations in the city), is approximately one ten-millionth of a percent of the amount of money criminal politicians and business leaders -- many and probably the vast majority of them, Americans -- are reportedly squirreling away abroad in hidden accounts each year!