The Tax-Haven Aficionados Running for President

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

Here's a riddle for you: What do Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have in common? And no, it's not that if Donald Trump were a woman he'd garner less than 5% of the vote. And it's not that Hillary rolls her eyes just like Mary Pat Christie when she hears The Donald going after women. And it's not that Hillary attended The Donald's wedding to Melania (though she did). And while The Donald is the first American presidential candidate to openly campaign on a platform of American decline, Hillary is still stuck in a world of too-many-superlatives for the waning American century. ("Despite what other candidates say, we believe in the goodness of our people and the greatness of our nation.")

So none of the above. And yet they do have something in common, an address they share. And no, it's not Trump Tower in New York City or even the Trump International Hotel and Towers in Panama City that Nomi Prins, author of All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power, discusses in her new post, "Gimme Shelter (From the Tax Man)." It's 1209 North Orange Street, a "squat, yellow brick office building" in Wilmington, Delaware, one of three states -- the other two being Nevada and Wyoming -- that operate right in this country like onshore Panama Cities.

It's there at the blandly named Corporation Trust Center, according to Rupert Neate of the Guardian, that Trump and Clinton (along with Apple, Walmart, Coca-Cola, a pile of other Fortune 500 firms, and several hundred thousand more outfits) have registered companies capable of taking full advantage of "strict corporate secrecy rules, business-friendly courts, and the 'Delaware loophole,' which can allow companies to legally shift earnings from other states to Delaware, where they are not taxed on non-physical incomes generated outside of the state."

So, as Prins points out today, the two leading candidates for the presidency actually share a secret life. Think of it as a kind of private assignation -- for their monies, if not themselves -- in a place that may still be located in the United States but is nonetheless offshore from where most of the rest of us live. They are both, in other words, tax haven aficionados, and in this election season if you want to become one, too, then head offshore with Nomi Prins into the borderless world where so much of our money disappears.