The newest edition of The Taxcast just dropped, and it's (almost) all about one of my favorite countries, Ireland. You remember Ireland, that proud adopter of the euro that was forced to undergo terrible austerity policies during the Great Recession because it couldn't devalue. It suffered six years of net emigration, literally exporting its unemployment elsewhere and making its unemployment rate look smaller than it would have otherwise. Meanwhile, currency-devaluing, banker-jailing Iceland ran rings around Ireland's performance on employment.
This month's Taxcast interviews the authors of a new book, Tax Haven Ireland, Kieran Allen (University College Dublin) and Brian O Boyle (St. Angela's College). They show how establishing Ireland as a tax haven, including through the creation of the International Financial Services Centre, has undermined democracy and public services in the Republic. Allen and O Boyle discuss how Ireland's niche with U.S. multinationals has changed somewhat in recent years, with a shift away from manufacturing toward services to tech giants like Amazon and, of course, Apple. As they point out, one of the new ways of being relevant to the tech firms was to host data centers, despite the fact that these operations typically consume gigantic amounts of electricity while creating jobs numbering in the dozens. Meanwhile, the country is looking at power blackouts this winter. This is just one of the many contradictions of the Irish economic strategy Allen and O Boyle illustrate.
The Taxcast also reports on Tax Justice Network's new "State of Tax Justice" report, which estimates that tax havens are costing nations globally a minimum of $483 billion in tax revenue annually. That is three times the cost of fully vaccinating everyone against Covid. It also discusses how the rich-state members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are responsible for 3/4 of these tax losses, so it might make more sense to move tax haven work away from the OECD and into the United Nations.
If you prefer reading to listening, you can find the transcript here.