Jack Blum on Democracy Now, Discusses Financial Opacity and Offshore Implications

January 31st, 2012

Jack Blum, chairman of the Task Force’s Tax Justice Network-USA, recently sat down with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! to talk about an array of tax justice issues. Mr. Blum has decades of experience on tax issues, both on the legal side as an attorney and the legislative side as an investigator for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism, and International Operations. He mentions a new documentary he was involved with, We’re Not Broke, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

Click here for the Task Force-relevant portion of the interview, here for the full interview. From the transcript:

AMY GOODMAN: What do you want to hear President Obama say in the State of the Union address?

JACK BLUM: That we must not only rewrite the Internal Revenue Code, but we must get a fair contribution from the very wealthy and from corporations, and that that is the only way to balance the budget.

AMY GOODMAN: Citizens United, how does that fit into this picture?

JACK BLUM: We have an amazing situation as a result of Citizens United. “Corporations are people,” says Mitt Romney in one of his statements. They’re not. Corporations are a special privilege granted to a group of people so that they can invest money without the fear of losing if the investment goes bad. They’re not people. And Citizens United has allowed corporations to get in the act and contribute to these funds, which are, quote, “independent funds,” that spend unlimited amounts of money. And that sort of takes control of the election process. Now, that can’t be allowed. What we have developed is a system of representation that is by money talking and no taxation, which is absolutely the reverse of where this republic started.

AMY GOODMAN: How do you talk about tax justice? How do you change the conversation in this country? You’re featured in a film here at the Sundance Film Festival called We’re Not Broke. That’s going to surprise a lot of people.

JACK BLUM: Well, of course, because there’s been this drumbeat of “We’re broke. We’re broke. We’re broke. Fire everybody.” The way we’re going to change that is to show people what’s going on. When people saw this film, when people began to understand that corporations like Google and Apple don’t pay U.S. federal tax, their jaws dropped. Now, how you can solve these budget problems and not talk about that is unfathomable. And we’re going to get them talking about it by looking at those tax returns and looking at what’s really going on.

And this film shows not only the question of how that money has not been paid, but it also shows young people all over the country spontaneously beginning to understand the issue and demonstrating. So, a group called US Uncut stepped forward and began to demonstrate in front of some of these companies, saying, “Pay your fair share of taxes.” And that morphed into some of the folks who are in the Occupy movement. So I think there are groups—there are many groups that are involved now in trying to bring this message across. Tax Justice Network has worked with a coalition called theFACT Coalition. It’s more than 40 different non-profit groups—some conservative, some liberal, some religious, some labor. And they’re all talking about the issue of, we have got to get back to a point where there’s tax collected and where government services are provided based on taxes being collected.

AMY GOODMAN: Jack Blum, I want to thank you very much for being with us, former top congressional investigator of financial crimes, lawyer and chair of Tax Justice Network USA.

This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. Two State of the Union addresses ago, President Obama promised a nuclear renaissance. We’ll look at The Atomic States of America. Stay with us.

Read the whole interview here.

Written by EJ Fagan

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