The economist Gabriel Zucman and his colleagues have spent years estimating how much wealth is stashed in low-tax havens and what that means for government coffers. He's found that 63 percent of foreign profits made by American multinational corporations are stuffed in these subsidiaries and accounts, depriving the country of about $70 billion in tax revenue each year.


We worry a lot about the cost of social programs in this country, saying we simply can't afford many things that we know could bring big rewards. But that missing $70 billion from corporate offshore tax avoidance would go a long way... Senator Bernie Sanders's College for All Act doesn't even require the federal government to cover the entire $70 billion cost of public college tuition, but it could if this money were available to the government


None of these provisions go after wealthy individuals who keep their money in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes. Instead, the House package hands these same people a variety of giveaways: an enormous loophole via a lower tax rate on pass-through businesses; the elimination of the alternative minimum tax that ensures they have to pay at least something; and the eradication of the tax on the wealthiest estates.

The groups that are already dodging taxes through offshore accounting are the ones that make out with the biggest benefits. According to an analysis by the conservative Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, $1 trillion of the overall $1.5 trillion cost is from cuts for businesses. According to the Tax Policy Center, the highest-income families can expect the biggest reward. The richest 0.1 percent of Americans will get an average $278,370 reduction in their tax bill by 2027, while the poorest two-fifths of the country get around $25.

In isolation, there are some good ideas in the reforms -- but the way they are being put together, the overall result is truly horrid.

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