Tuesday, June 07, 2016

UK Inequality

In the United Kingdom, the Office for National Statistics reports that in the period from 2012 to 2014, the wealthiest 10 percent of households owned 45 percent of total aggregate household wealth. Since July 2010, the top decile's wealth has increased three times faster than that of the bottom 50 percent of the population.

In the United Kingdom, Amazon, Starbucks, and Google attracted public outrage in 2013 for using loopholes to pay almost no tax, prompting the UK government to lead a G8 tax announcement aimed at reducing tax evasion and avoidance.

And the problem appears to be systemic. This year, the Panama Papers exposed how the global rich create secretive offshore companies, permitting them to avoid financial scrutiny and taxation. And the world's largest banks have faced unprecedented fines in recent years for brazen violations of the law.

despite the negative publicity generated by such cases, the public has seen virtually no one held to account. Almost a decade after the global financial crisis of 2008, only one bank executive has gone to prison. Many bankers instead followed a path similar to Fred Goodwin, the head of Britain's Royal Bank of Scotland, who racked up £24.1 billion ($34.2 billion) in losses, then resigned with a huge pension. Ordinary people—like the father of three who was imprisoned in the UK in September 2015 for accumulating £500,000 in gambling debts—do not enjoy such impunity.

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