Sunday, June 1, 2008

Freedom to Fund Foreign Government Investments

U.S. President called rising gasoline prices "like a tax". Guess who you've been paying those taxes to? Middle Eastern government controlled corporations, known as sovereign wealth funds. SWF's made out like bandits the last few years. Our country's chief Tax Collector, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, tours the region determined to keep the dollar pipeline open. He's on a mission to keep foreign investment in the U.S. "liberal." How much of your gas/tax money are we talking about?

The surge in crude prices over the past few years has sharply boosted the assets of Gulf SFWs, with those of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority peaking at nearly $875bn at the end of 2007, making it the world's largest wealth fund.

Its figures showed that Kuwait's SWF controlled around $215bn, while Qatar's fund was estimated at $60bn. EIB gave no figures for Oman, but said assets are still relatively small as the fund is in infant stage.

How do you feel knowing these super wealthy firms can buy into private equity underwriters (PEU's) with preferred tax status? The aforementioned Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADAI) purchased 7.5% of The Carlyle Group for $1.35 billion.

Does ADAI get to pay taxes on carried interest like PEU managers? If so, SWF's are taxing you with rising gas prices and then not paying their fair share for doing business in America. That's a familiar refrain in Washington these days. Tax cuts for the rich, as if many already don't have enough. Presidential hopeful John McCain spreads the mantra domestically, while Paulson sells liberal American investment policy internationally.

Citing estimates by Morgan Stanley Bank, Quwaiz said the overseas assets of GCC investment funds could jump to $5.9 trillion at the end of 2012 and that part of them would head gradually to Arab, Islamic and other developing nations.

Remember, that's your tax money at work!