You can't say it's not expected, but once again a voice on the left has demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of taxes and the global economy.
MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann, on his April 15 program, attacked the concept of tax havens - something he insisted was made possible by former President George W. Bush. His criticism was part of his "Still Bushed" segment that bashes the former president, even though he has been out of office for nearly three months now.
"And Number One, tea bag-gate," Olbermann said, continuing to use the sexual slang for tax protests. "As handfuls of sheep possibly wearing LED vests, as seen earlier in Oddball, are herded into made for TV protests of taxation with representation, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has now analyzed a Senate report from last year that showed just how much we lose as a nation in tax revenues hidden by corporations in places like the Cayman Islands - the opportunities to do so growing immeasurably under the Bush administration."
Olbermann, citing data from the PIRG, a left-wing advocacy group founded by perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader, insisted that the government was unable to spread billions in goodness to the people because the corporations were stashing cash offshore.
"The total figure is up to $800 billion a year," Olbermann continued. "But U.S. PIRG has now figured it out state by state. Texas would be losing $8 billion a year, $8 billion its ordinary citizens have to pay in taxes. So is New York State at that amount. Residents of California have to make up $11 billion lost to tax dodge island. The District of Columbia, $713 million. Even Alaska - Alaska, $174 million that Alaskans have to pay because Alaskan corporations do not."
This sort of tax issue is what Olbermann insisted should be protested about and not government spending. He took shots at Fox News on-air personalities and the Fox Business Network.
"So where are your damned tea bag protests about that? Where is the Fox ‘out of business network' on this corporate piracy? Where is Neil Cavuto explaining to the simpletons in Sacramento that they're getting ripped off by international outfits like News Corp.? Where is captain tea bag himself, Glenn Beck? Why don't you take credit for this idea from somebody else? Get up there and weep about U.S. corporations making us, all of us, rich and poor, pay 100 billion dollars of their taxes so we get the privilege of getting to buy their products and bail out their failures?"
However, Olbermann should note that his sister network CNBC has advocated for tax havens in the past. Tax havens fulfill a necessary purpose in a global market economy, as CNBC's Michelle Caruso Cabrera explained on the network's April 2 broadcast of "Power Lunch," when the subject of cracking down on tax havens was discussed during the recent G20 summit.
"We haven't talked at all about the G20 and what makes me crazy is they want to go after the tax havens out there," Caruso Cabrera said. "Tax havens are good. Leave Liechtenstein alone. We all need tax competition. We don't, we can't allow this to happen."
Caruso Cabrera contended that tax havens keep other nations from colluding to have out-of-control hikes in their taxes by giving corporations other options through competition.
Nonetheless, Olbermann didn't view it as the government being held to a standard of reasonable taxation. He depicted it as the government being cheated out of tax dollars, which he somehow determined are a conduit to "poor" people, but wasn't quite specific with the details.
"Get up there and do that and I'll march with you," Olbermann ranted. "Until then, you're just a bunch of greedy, water-carrying corporate-slave hypocrites defending the rich against the poor."