After calling the Cayman Islands "the place where you hide your money," Ryan said we should make the United States more like that notorious tax haven.
In 2010, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), now Mitt Romney's running mate, called the Cayman Islands "the place you hide your money," arguing that the United States needs to slash tax rates below those of other countries in order to make this country "a haven for capital formation." But in previously unreported comments, from an interview with American Business Magazine in August 2011, Ryan went even further on the same topic, saying, "let's make this country a tax shelter for other countries instead of having other countries be a tax shelter for America."
Romney has been criticized for his use of controversial tax techniques and overseas investment vehicles, including some in the Caymans—where he has at least $30 million in assets—and other well known tax havens. Here's how one expert described tax haven countries to our colleague Stephanie Mencimer:
James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey & Co., describes offshore tax havens like the "bar scene in Star Wars." He explains, "Dictators and kleptocrats used them to conceal stolen loot. Arms dealers and drug dealers use them to launder their deals. Google and Apple and Pfizer use them to park their intellectual property and pay themselves tax-free royalties. Banks use them to park lousy loans and stash the offshore accounts and assets under management of their wealthy individual clients, many of which are paying zero taxes back home…And so on."
Here's the transcript of the full Ryan interview; the "tax shelter" line, which was pointed out toMother Jones by a tipster, begins at 18:22 in the full video, which you can see here. You can also jump down to the full Q&A.
As you can see in the charts below, the United States already raises significantly less money(as a percentage of GDP) from corporate taxes than most other first-world nations, and although corporate tax rates are high here, corporations' effective tax rates—what they actually pay—are lower than those in most other first-world economies.