And so in just a few short years the Netherlands is able to turn itself into the number-one tax haven for American multinationals. You don’t have to pay tax in Bermuda, and thanks to the duck-rabbit you don’t pay in Holland, either. The big difference: the Netherlands doesn’t have the reputation of being a tax-evading pirates’ nest, the way Bermuda does.
And that disparity is entirely unjustified, because far more untaxed American profit hides out in the Netherlands than in Bermuda. Since 2005, nearly half a trillion (!) dollars in American profit has been safely stored in the Netherlands by companies such as Nike, General Electric, Heinz, Caterpillar, Time Warner, Foot Locker – the list goes on and on. Half a trillion dollars: it’s an unfathomable amount of money, nearly twice the country’s entire budget.