Oxfam also highlighted that 9 out of 10 of this year’s World Economic Forum corporate partners have a presence in at least one tax haven and estimated that tax dodging by multinational corporations costs developing countries at least $100 billion every year. Corporate investment in tax havens almost quadrupled between 2000 and 2014.
Allowing governments to collect the taxes they are owed from companies and rich individuals will be vital if world leaders are to meet their new goal, set last September, to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030.
Although the number of people living in extreme poverty halved between 1990 and 2010, the average annual income of the poorest 10 percent has risen by less than $3-a-year in the past quarter of a century. Had inequality within countries not grown during that time, an additional 200 million people would have escaped poverty.
One of the other key trends behind rising inequality outlined in Oxfam’s report is the falling share of national income going to workers in almost all developed and most developing countries and a widening gap between pay at the top and the bottom of the income scale. This is definitely true here in the United States, where the salaries of CEOs at the top firms have increased by half since 2009 but ordinary wages have barely moved. The minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009, while all costs of living have increased – groceries have skyrocketed by 25 percent.
“Raising the minimum wage would not only help millions of Americans, but it would also pump money into the local economy and save billions in taxpayer dollars by reducing the number of low-wage workers receiving federal assistance,” said Offenheiser. “Given that a solid majority of voters across all political backgrounds support an increase, it seems an obvious thing to do, but Congress isn’t budging.”