- We look at the United States and how tax justice can help address systemic racism.
- Plus: did you know Britain’s slave owners compensation loan was only settled by the government in 2015 on behalf of taxpayers?
Faulkner wrote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
As we discuss, the legacy of centuries of institutionalised racism is that a wealth chasm has been created between black and white communities.
We also know that the City of London in Britain itself built its wealth from slavery and empire. Still today, major finance sectors have extractive business models, that impoverish some of the world’s poorest nations. And financial secrecy is another form of empire.
So how can we think about combining tax justice and reparations? Keval Bharadia‘s work on a super tax on the $8 trillion a day financial markets could help show the way. And financial institutions must have independent slavery money audits. For those financial institutions now coming forward and offering what they’re calling reparations funds, how do we ensure that these funds are large, they’re targeted to the right places and they’re ongoing?
A transcript of the programme is available here (not 100% accurate)
- Cortney Sanders and Michael Leachman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
- David Sorenson of the People’s Tax Page
- John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network
- Produced and hosted by Naomi Fowler of the Tax Justice Network
“We’re recovering from many things. We’re recovering from COVID-19, we’re recovering from 400 years of oppression, and we are also recovering from a looming economic downturn. And one thing we know for sure, and we continue to learn with every economic downturn is that States have choices. They have a choice point and that’s to cut services and continue to cut their budgets that harm families that are in need – or raise revenue, raise revenue on corporations, raise revenue on those that are most profitable and the wealthy. And that’s a racialised choice, given the country’s history and ongoing biases.”
~ Cortney Sanders, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
“There needs to be a proper negotiation on what level of reparations should be paid and to whom and who will be responsible for holding reparations in trust funds for the genuine benefit of the descendants of slaves. What must not happen is that banks and other companies use tokenistic reparation payments as an exercise in white-washing while not disclosing the full history of their involvement in slavery or in imperial plunder and pillage.”
~ John Christensen, Tax Justice Network
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Revenue, to fund public services, infrastructure and administration.
Redistribution, to curb inequalities between individuals and between groups.
Repricing, to limit public “bads” such as tobacco consumption and carbon emissions.
Representation, to build healthier democratic processes, recognising that higher reliance of government. spending on tax revenues is strongly linked to higher quality of governance and political representation.
Reparation, to redress the historical legacies of empire and ecological damage.