This is not a candidate diary, it's something more important that that.
Regardless of who is elected in 2008, the continuing evasion of personal responsibility by wealthy Americans will mean that working Americans are forced to pick up the bill. It's dine and and dash for the ruling class. To the money shot.
"Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank, which is owned by the Royal family, has apparently harbored numerous secret accounts which hid the taxable assets of thousands of citizens from around the world. It is my understanding that many U.S. citizens have also hidden assets at this bank, which is a real injustice to the millions of working families in this country who honestly pay their taxes every year.....
Offshore tax evasion produces an estimated $100 billion in unpaid taxes each year.
100 billion US dollars.
Let's put that into perspective. There are roughly 154 million working Americans. That works out to $650 for for every single working American. For an American working at minimum wage ($5.85), that's 111 hours worth of work. Almost 3 weeks worth of hard labor, forced onto working Americans by the irresponsible behavior of wealthy individuals evading their obligations to this nation.
Sen. Levin said it's about damned time that they be called upon to pay their dues. Ok, he didn't say damned, but the rest is an accurate paraphrase. I couldn't agree more, and I'm so dissapointed that I have heard about this from either our newsmedia, or any of the Democratic presidential candidates.
Which is a god damn shame, because you see, one of them partnered up on this with Senator Levin in 2007.
This is the shit that matters, and it's not just that tax evasion shifts the burden of civilization onto people who work for a living. The existence of a shadow financial world means that criminals and terrorists alike can shift their money around the globe, free from the oversight of governments trying to protect their publics. The whole damn thing is criminal.
All missed the point that tax havens are inherently criminal and would go under without the proceeds of crime. As John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, puts it, they are enemy states, pirate islands that have declared economic war on the rest of the world. It's not just that they happen to be used by individual criminals - drug dealers, kleptomaniac African dictators - they are criminal entities themselves that survive by sucking potential revenues out of wealthy and destitute countries alike. If rich citizens obeyed the law, or tax havens ended their secrecy, offshore banking wouldn't exist.
The Lichtenstein affair has generated something of a crisis in Germany, where the revelation that hundreds of prominent business leaders have been cheating on their taxes has shaken faith in capitalism. In a seperate development, the past few months have seen the Left Party (Die Linke) break out of its stronghold into the East, and become Germany's 5th major party entering into 3 state parliaments. Even Angela Merkel, nominally a conservative, has spoken out on the issue.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday once again reminded German economic leaders that they carry a huge responsibility. "Responsible behavior from companies is an elementary prerequisite for a functioning socially-responsible market economy," she said. Minister of the Economy Michael Glos, a conservative like Merkel, told the Sunday tabloid Bild am Sonntag that German managers have to "become aware that they are role models for society." Otherwise, he said, "faith in our market economy will be lost."
Others were a bit more pointed. Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, from Merkel's Christian Democrats, told SPIEGEL "I have zero understanding for this kind of greed. Uncontrolled capitalism, greed and massive losses on speculative investments -- that is a combination that makes people furious." Steinbrück, the Social Democratic Finance Minister, told the online version of the weekly Die Zeit: "It is the elites who are threatening to cause the system to collapse."
All of this over a DVD purchased by the German state security police for €5 million ($7.4 million) from a disenchanted employee. Industrialists, state officials, and others have been brought down by the revelation that they were evading their taxes. German weekly Der Spiegel has been on this case like a hawk, and today has posted a story suggesting that US authorities have purchased a similiar DVD.
He negotiated with the Americans first, then with the British. He obviously came to some agreement with the Americans, because US tax investigators have apparently hit pay dirt in 50 cases since the summer of 2007.
Say again, what?
Who are these people?
Why isn't this in the news?
It's about damn time that action be taken, and both of our candidate for President should be raising holy hell about this until those responsible are brought to justice in the court of law. And their behavior condemned in the court of public opinion.
Update I've cut 9 sentences that seemed to be upseting the Obama crowd. Hopefully, we can talk about the issue raised in the diary, instead of having a candidate pissing match now.