Although he was far too polite in how he said it, President Obama dropped an enormous bombshell Tuesday when he took the horrific scale of systematic lying, deceit and cheating by major U.S. corporations out of the shadows with a briefing in the White House press room.
“I wanted to make sure that we highlighted the importance” of the Treasury Department’s action Monday to disrupt the practice of so-called “corporate inversions” that allow giant U.S. corporations to avoid paying taxes by a technical process of relocating their headquarters overseas while continuing to do their business operations at home.
An immediate impact was yesterday’s decision by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to nix a $160 billion deal it was ready to consummate with botox-maker Allergan that involved moving their headquarters to Ireland that would have allowed Pfizer to avoid paying an estimated $35 billion in taxes.
Talk about cheating! The reprehensible move was still, as Obama conceded Tuesday, technically legal. But, he said, “It sticks the rest of us with the tab, and it makes hardworking Americans feel like the deck is stacked against them.”
Guess who has been sitting on any effort to close such loopholes in the law? The Republicans in Congress! You guessed it.
The revelation by Obama came in the context of the so-called Panama Papers, the huge data dump of hacked documents that show unbelievable levels of tax evasion by political leaders and groups throughout the world. Referring to it, Obama said, “Global tax avoidance, generally, is a huge problem,” adding that while it is distinct from the “corporate inversions” issue, which involves “a financial transaction that is brokered among major Fortune 500 companies,” “the basic principle is to make sure that everybody is paying their fair share.”
This tax evasion exposure by Obama has also clarified and helped to explain why the GOP “establishment,” which is to say the scions of corporate America, the military-industrial complex and Wall Street, are so determined to stop Donald Trump from getting the Republican Party nomination.
There is no doubt about it, these forces are terrified of Trump, and it has nothing to do with whether he is a nice guy or a pig. It has to do with the fact that he’s been trying to call attention to this practice of “corporate inversions” throughout his campaign, with promises to end the practice.
That was the first thing that CNN’s Wolf Blitzer had to say Tuesday after Obama’s press conference on the matter. “Guess who else has been talking about this,?” he said. A colleague said, “Hillary Clinton?” Blitzer said, “No, Donald Trump!”
Indeed, Trump strikes fear in the American corporate and financial establishment because he is not a member of their team. With his own wealth, he is independent of their control and can do an enormous amount of damage to their established structures of deceit and lying, especially if a large portion of the American electorate is behind him.
So there has been a full-court press to knock Trump off the rails paid for by these corporate financial interests, and reinforced on the national media outlets that they control with a growing drumbeat to dump Trump on grounds that don’t even identify those areas where the powerful elites consider him the most potentially dangerous.
You can bet that Ted Cruz, or John Kasich, or Paul Ryan would never disrupt this institutionalized corporate tax cheating! They all owe their political careers to being mere tools of this establishment.
But the damage has already been done, given a nice boost by Obama’s press conference this week and the Panama Papers. As it now becomes evident that the millions of secret money that has gone into “dump Trump” efforts in the last few weeks has come from those revolved to protect their cheating ways, whichever way the Republican convention goes this summer, it will wind up being a total disaster for the GOP in the general election.
It will be so not only for the presidential race, but down through the Senate and Congressional races, too. We’re about to be witnesses to a veritable revolution.