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Go after tax havens to help health care

Robert Reich

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: President Obama made some tax news earlier this week. He said he wants to close loopholes that let companies and individuals keep a lot of their profits offshore. Even though the president does have a lot on his plate already commentator Robert Reich says there is good reason to take on this fight right now.


ROBERT REICH: Why is President Obama taking aim at corporations that use foreign tax shelters when some think he should keep his powder dry for the much bigger fight coming up over universal health care?

Because the two are related. Originally the White House planned to pay for health care by limiting tax deductions for wealthier Americans. That would have brought in $318 billion over 10 years, half of the president's proposed "health care reserve fund." But the Democratic leadership nixed that revenue source. So now the White House is scrounging for money elsewhere.

Foreign tax shelters are an obvious place to look. According to government reports, 83 of the 100 largest publicly-held companies are evading U.S. taxes by sheltering their earnings in low-tax zones like Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands. To give you some idea of how much is out there, a tax amnesty five years ago brought $300 billion back to the United States.

But the administration is not proposing to force companies to bring sheltered money home and pay taxes on it. Its proposal is merely to stop them from deducting the expenses of the shelters from the U.S. income they already declare.

This alone would bring in more than $100 billion over 10 years. Another $95 billion would come from making it harder for individuals to hide their income in offshore accounts, and for companies to shift their income from one foreign subsidiary to another in search of the lowest-tax jurisdiction.

The total, some $200 billion, is still way short of what's needed for health care. So the White House should go after sheltered corporate income more directly. Regardless of whether you think corporate income taxes are too high, there's no justification for allowing some big companies to use clever tax dodges to avoid paying taxes that other corporations have to pay.

Especially when the pressure is on to come up with some credible ways to pay for universal health care. If money isn't found, that measure could be vulnerable to deficit hawks who continue to circle ominously.

RYSSDAL: Robert Reich is a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

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"If money isn't found, that measure could be vulnerable to deficit hawks who continue to circle ominously."
So, Reich thinks that concern for the deficit is a bad thing. Did he actually take economics in college? Did he pass?
Tell me again, why does anyone think Reich's opinion is worthwhile?

Swine flu (A-H1N1) and Healthcare In America

Well my fellow Americans, and people of the World. That was yet another very close potential catastrophe. Especially for those of us that live in America with our busted, greed driven, private for profit healthcare system. What ever you do World. Don't copy our current healthcare system.

If that virus (A-H1N1) had emerged just a few months earlier our busted healthcare system in America would have collapsed. Just like our economy almost did. And hundreds of thousands more Americans, if not millions would have needlessly lost their lives. As hospital ER's became choked with the sick, and dying.

All on top of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who needlessly lose their lives in America each year from a rush to profit by the private for profit healthcare industry. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Insured, and uninsured. Men Women, Children, and Babies.

This was yet another big WAKE-UP! call for America, and for our Government. It's time for Congress to end the debate. And stop dancing around the issues of how they can continue to try and justify protecting the private for profit healthcare industry, and the private for profit healthcare insurance industry. These industries are killing hundreds of thousands of Americans every year in America, and endangering our National security.

"the health-care system is, first and foremost, for the American people—not the companies that profit from it." (Tom Daschle | NEWSWEEK)

IT'S OVER! The Private for profit healthcare experiment in America is dead. It FAILED! And it was a DISASTER!

"NOT FOR PROFIT, TAX PAYER SUPPORTED, SINGLE PAYER, AUTOMATIC, FREE UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE FOR ALL. Is the ONLY! way to go.

Essentially HR676 (enhanced, and expanded medicare for all). Just like every other CIVILIZED! country in the developed World has. There is no other way to truly fix or reform our current disastrous healthcare delivery system. NONE!

Congress, fix our healthcare crisis while you still have time.

President Obama, VP Biden, the Obama administration and the rest of his advisors, along with Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid are doing an excellent job of protecting you. And also an excellent job of representing you and the best interest of the World. But it's time for the rest of Congress to get on board.

To those of you who keep standing up and fighting for single-payer universal healthcare for all. YOU! are Americas true HEROES! And I am proud of you. :-) Don't let up.

I will have more to say about this VERY! unusual virus (A-H1N1), and flu in general, later. There are some things you really need to know and think about... All of you.

Till then, God Bless And Keep You All

Jack Smith — Working Class

If we had universal health care, this would be a very big boon to big corporations. It seems that the sacrifice of a dubious tax haven would be a small price to pay to get rid of the responsibility of providing health benefits for the workforce. See governmentgrantreporter.blogspot.com for more arguments on the importance of funding a universal health care system for a variety of critical reasons.

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