Just Plain Tax Evasion?

A French economist “has put creditable numbers on tax evasion, showing that it’s rampant — and a major driver of wealth inequality,” according to a story in The New York Times. What some have long suspected has proved to be true.

The economist, Gabriel Zucman, “estimates — conservatively, in his view — that $7.6 trillion — 8 percent of the world’s personal financial wealth — is stashed in tax havens. If all of this illegally hidden money were properly recorded and taxed, global tax revenues would grow by more than $200 billion a year, he believes.”

The Times added: “these numbers do not include much larger corporate tax avoidance, which usually follows the letter but hardly the spirit of the law. According to Mr. Zucman’s calculations, 20 percent of all corporate profits in the United States are shifted offshore, and tax avoidance deprives the government of a third of corporate tax revenues.”

Mr. Zucman, a protegy of Thomas Picketty, is only 27. His book, ”The Missing Wealth of Nations” was a best seller in France last year.

So where are all the American economists? Can it be that these topics, along with such dramatic findings, would not be popular here? Would American economists risk their careers by taking up such subjects?