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The Night Before Taxes

Thursday, April 14th, 2016
5:30 – 8:30 PM
Harry Harding Auditorium, Room 213
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street NW, Washington, D.C.
RSVP Here!
The Institute for International Economic Policy at the George Washington University is pleased to host a special film screening, book release, and panel discussion on global tax reform on Thursday, April 14, in the Elliott School of International Affairs. The program has been brought to GWU through the efforts of James Foster, Professor of Economics and International Affairs and former Director of IIEP at GWU and by Thomas Pogge, Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. If you are in search of a deeper understanding of the “offshore” financial world being exposed in the Panama Papers scandal – and interested in what countries, individually and collectively, can do to stem this massive drain on their resources– please join us on the night before taxes.

The evening will begin with the DC premiere of a critically acclaimed new documentary,The Price We Pay, and be followed by two distinguished panels of speakers discussing tax reform proposals and practical solutions to the status quo. The first panel will feature the launch of the book Global Tax Fairness, co-edited by Dr. Thomas Pogge and Krishen Mehta. This book has been published by Oxford University Press and addresses fifteen different reform proposals that the authors argue are urgently needed to correct the structural flaws in the international tax system as it exists today. The authors offer clear and concrete ideas on how the reforms can be achieved and posit why they are important for a more just and equitable global system to prevail. They argue that the key to reducing the tax gap and consequent human rights deficit in poor countries is global financial transparency. A major breakthrough in such transparency is now within reach. The policy reforms outlined in the book attempt to not only advance tax justice but also advance human rights by making available more resources for development.


5:30 PM: Welcome to GWU:  Stephen Smith (Director of the Institute for International Economic Policy and Professor of Economics and International Affairs, George Washington University)

Intro to film “The Price We Pay”: Brigitte Alepin and Harold Crooks (Co-writer and Director of The Price We Pay), and Pascal Saint-Amans (Director, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD).

5:40 PM: DC Premiere of the critically acclaimed “The Price We Pay”

The film “The Price We Pay,” directed by Harold Crooks, showcases the history and present-day reality of corporate tax avoidance by large MNC’s which deprive governments in both developed and developing countries of billions of dollars in tax revenues. The use of tax havens by large companies and the systemic offshoring of profits is a major cause of the current crisis that many countries face. Tax havens, originally created by London bankers in the 1950’s, have put over half of the world’s stock of money beyond the reach of public treasuries. Tax avoidance by big corporations and the wealthy is paving the way to historic levels of inequality and placing the tax burden on the middle class and the poor. In this film, crusading journalists, tax justice campaigners, and former industry insiders speak frankly about the trends that are carrying the Western world to an unsustainable future.

7:15 PM: Break with light refreshments

7:20 PM: Panel 1: “Solutions for Achieving Global Tax Justice – What is to be Done?”

  • Dr. Thomas Pogge (Co-Editor of Global Tax Fairness and Director of the Global Justice Program at Yale University)
  • Jim Henry (distinguished author and activist for tax justice)
  • David Cay Johnston (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist)
  • Raymond Baker (founder of Global Financial Integrity)
  • Moderator: James Foster (Professor of Economics and International Affairs, GWU)

Each panelist will speak for five minutes followed by a moderated discussion and audience Q&A.

8:00 PM: Panel 2: “Getting Governments to Act”

  • Ralph Nader (political activist and former presidential candidate)
  • Frank Clemente (Executive Director of Americans for Tax Fairness)
  • Elise Bean (former Staff Director for U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations under Senator Carl Levin)
  • Pascal Saint-Amans (Director of OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration)
  • Blanca Moreno-Dodson (Lead Economist of the World Bank’s Global Tax Team)
  • Moderator: James Foster (Professor of Economics and International Affairs, GWU)

Each panelist will speak for five minutes followed by a moderated discussion and audience Q&A.

8:45 PM:  Conclusion

This event is open to the press and advance copies of Global Tax Fairness are available to the press upon request. Please contact James Henry at (516)-721-1452 with additional questions.

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