Strike Debt, an Occupy Wall Street offshoot, launched Rolling Jubilee late last week to buy back and forgive debt. To do so, it’s collecting funds and then purchasing debt in arrears:
Banks sell debt for pennies on the dollar on a shadowy speculative market of debt buyers who then turn around and try to collect the full amount from debtors. The Rolling Jubilee intervenes by buying debt, keeping it out of the hands of collectors, and then abolishing it. We’re going into this market not to make a profit but to help each other out and highlight how the predatory debt system affects our families and communities. Think of it as a bailout of the 99% by the 99%.
As of this morning, Rolling Jubilee has raised over $350,000 with which it has purchased (and forgiven) over $7.1 million in debt.
Small change when compared to the $1 trillion in student loan debt Americans owe but important to consider. As Rolling Jubilee notes, part of the effort is to “highlight how the predatory debt system affects our families and communities.”
The left column shows where revenue came from. The yellow bars represent tariffs, which accounted for most of the nation’s income until Congress introduced the income tax (pink bars) in 1862 to help pay for the [Civil War, 1861 - 1865].
The bars in the right column show how the young nation spent its money. The light blue bars represent the Army, making a few other wars easy to spot.
Since we’re going back into the past, now’s a good time to give a shout out to Florence Nightingale, our favorite data journalist of the time.
A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study. — BBC
The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.
The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network.
Tax expert and UK government adviser John Whiting said he was sceptical that the amount hidden was so large.
Mr Whiting, tax policy director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said: “There clearly are some significant amounts hidden away, but if it really is that size what is being done with it all?”
Mr Henry said his $21tn is actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32tn…
…Mr Henry used data from the Bank of International Settlements, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and national governments.
His study deals only with financial wealth deposited in bank and investment accounts, and not other assets such as property and yachts.
The report comes amid growing public and political concern about tax avoidance and evasion. Some authorities, including in Germany, have even paid for information on alleged tax evaders stolen from banks.
The group that commissioned the report, Tax Justice Network, campaigns against tax havens.
FJP: Impossibly large, no? If not, simply staggering.
American Public Media’s Marketplace animates an economic issue plaguing US cities and states: as municipalities compete for jobs across industries by offering tax breaks and other incentives, most are bound to lose and end up finding themselves further in debt.
Here, senior health care reporter Gregory Warner and illustrator Andy Cole take on hospital over expansion.