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The Pandora Papers offer a stark reminder of America’s rigged tax rules

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In response to the new Pandora Papers, Oxfam America’s Senior Advocacy Manager, Robert Silverman, issued the following statement:

“The Pandora Papers is a damning reminder that the Unites States has two separate tax systems – one for the uber rich and well-connected, and one for everyone else.

The revelations so far have not included boldface US names largely because US billionaires have no reason to stash their money overseas—they can pay obscenely low tax rates legally through a myriad of Congressionally authorized tax shelters that reward wealth, not work.

Earlier revelations by pioneering investigative journalists revealed that US billionaires like Jeff Bezos take advantage of the ‘swiss cheese’ US tax code to pay low-single tax rates. Last month the US Treasury released information confirming these findings, revealing that the richest American billionaires pay tax rates of 8%, far less than most working families in the US.

While the ultra-rich are playing wild games with their excess money—engaging in space races and buying up private islands—the tax system is failing the people most in need, here and around the world.

We are failing our children by claiming we can’t afford to invest in child care and early childhood education. We are failing women and working families by claiming adequate paid leave, safety on the job and dignity in the workplace are too expensive. Because of our broken tax system, we are failing future generations by not investing enough in climate change.

The evidence is shameful and even more shameful is refusing to act.

Congress has the opportunity right now through President Biden’s Build Back Better plan to take the first steps to reform our rigged tax system, to make it fairer and more transparent. Congress must boost tax rates on corporations and the richest Americans, remove the tax break US corporations get on their offshore profits, raise the capital gains tax rate, and pass a wealth tax that would recapture some of the $1.8 trillion US billionaires have gained just since the start of the pandemic.

To invest in working Americans, promote green jobs, fight inequality, and achieve gender and racial justice, we must tax the rich.”

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