We know that the 1 percent don’t pay their fair share of taxes. But they don’t avoid these taxes on their own. Their efforts at avoidance have given us a vast global industry of tax attorneys, accountants, wealth managers, and consultants, which my guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Chuck Collins, calls the “wealth hoarders.” 

Collins is the author of The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions. 

This hoarding is a business that Collins points out has been around since the beginning of taxation.  A whole industry serves to help the super-wealthy escape taxation and pass on wealth to their offspring with no economic costs.

These highly educated financial magicians make taxes disappear. They take advantage of existing loopholes and are helping to write new legislation, on both the state and federal level, to create even more tax avoidance mechanisms — and weaken oversight.

Collins reminds us to think anew about all of this: The old notions of hiding money in places like the Cayman Islands or Switzerland are passé. Today, globalization gives the “wealth hoarders” a network of new opportunities to hide and launder money. 

This trend is happening within both the corporate and individual world, and is, in his view, adding to anti-democratic behavior, as well as to the wealth gap.

He outlines a range of solutions, many of which he feels are truly doable within our current political context.  

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Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Darya Mead / Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Author

  • Jeff Schechtman’s career spans movies, radio stations and podcasts. After spending twenty-five years in the motion picture industry as a producer and executive, he immersed himself in journalism, radio, and more recently the world of podcasts. To date he has conducted over ten-thousand interviews with authors, journalists, and thought leaders. Since March of 2015, he has conducted over 315 podcasts for WhoWhatWhy.org