Bank Secrecy on Life Support

If you are socking money away in offshore banks, pay attention to this man’s expression. He’s saying, you’re screwed.

Yes, taxpaying citizens, you can rejoice, because tax cheats across the country are having panic attacks. They’re thinking about refiling their tax returns, or going to the IRS to beg forgiveness with a check to cover past taxes and potential fines. Some are evening thinking about sailing away from this great country. Good riddance.

As part of a 9/11 trend that requires banks to collect more information about their clients, and the fact that our government needs money, bank secrecy is on life support. Governments are willing to share information nowadays, and as the Times reports, the US government is going after 52,000 customers of UBS bank. (If you’re a customer, call your lawyer, today.)

When rich and powerful people have their privacy invaded, it oftentimes results in new privacy laws. Maybe the long-term result of this will be less privacy for the ultra tax cheating rich, and more for us. Maybe.


  1. “…the fact that our government needs money, …”

    NONSENSE!!! – the government does not need more money, it spends too much. If I personally find myself 10 Billion in debt, it is not due to a lack of income.

    Author should have said: “…the fact that our government wants to force us to pay for its’ obnoxiously bad management of our money, …”

    “Some are evening thinking about sailing away from this great country. Good riddance.”

    Again, I say NONSENSE!!! How can a country be simultaneously “great” while forcing its citizens to waste a large percentage of their hard earned money?

    Author should have said: “Some more prudent citizens are evening thinking about sailing away from this once great but now mismanaged country, seeking their moneys worth on taxes paid. I wish the USA was competitive enough to give them a decent return on their tax dollars.”

  2. Erasmussimo

    I see absolutely no privacy issues. The IRS already has the right to invade privacy on all of our other transactions; the notion that we should respect a haven of privacy for those people rich enough to hold foreign bank accounts is nonsense.

  3. JR, while I won’t disagree with you that the USA does a poor job handling its tax money in many cases and other countries do better, that’s not the current issue. I’ll even agree that there are people who would prefer the tax system of many European countries for better return than the US system gives them, but again, that’s not the issue here.

    The issue here is people who don’t want to pay taxes at all. They don’t do this out of a feeling that their money won’t be well-spent, they just don’t want to pay taxes. They aren’t leaving the US to go to a country that will spend their tax dollars better, they’re leaving to avoid prosecution for tax fraud.

    There are people who are willing to pay taxes only to a government that will spend that money well, and then there are people who want to avoid taxes as much as possible to maximize their own personal income, legal or not. This post is about the latter.

  4. Erasmussimo

    JR, welcome to the joys of democracy. You live in a country whose citizens want their government to provide certain services, and through their representatives they have jointly decided to spend more money than you would prefer. You can write your representative, campaign for lower spending, even make postings such as the one you just made. That’s how the system works.

  5. B-2 bombers, last I checked, were being purchased at 2.1 billion dollars ($2,100,000,000) each. When direct outlays and long-term costs are added up Iraq is costing us roughly one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) a day.

    Anyone can argue the nebulous point that government isn’t providing services commiserate with the amount of taxes taken in. But it is always interesting to note that those shouting this the loudest seldom bother to suggest any specific cuts. Those that are suggested are always things that favor their own situation and disadvantage people they don’t care about. All expenditures have constituencies.

    Often the same people who complain about ‘the size of government’ are outraged when their relatives get sick because FDA funding has been cut and rules enforcement privatized. Or illegal aliens take their jobs. Or they get frightened by the prospect of swarthy people with beards doing mean things to them. Most are quick to call for a county financed ambulance, police and fire department to come rescue them and have no problems collecting Social Security long after every dollar they have contributed has been handed back.

    Bottom line is government gets the jobs that people need done but cannot be provide at a reasonable cost and still make a profit.

  6. The IRS says it loses 300m million dollars per year in uncollected taxes due to Swiss bank secrecy. Well, Los Angeles County alone spends ONE BILLION dollars per year on the children of illegal aliens, but the US government refuses to enforce its own immigration laws. What is going on. And our unemployment rate is steadily rising but jobs must be save for illegal aliens?

  7. Poor government spending, even immoral government spending (e.g. when the government spends money on a war you oppose) will get you NOWHERE in a court. Anyone who thinks government spending is wasteful should go work in the private sector…

    Tax evasion is about selfishness, not about any principle.

  8. LanceR, JSG

    Los Angeles County alone spends ONE BILLION dollars per year on the children of illegal aliens

    Citation? Evidence? The prestigious think tank SGIMIAB?

    It’s easy to throw a number like that out there without any support. It’s harder to actually construct an argument around a number from such a nether nebulous source.

    Remember, 85% of all statistics are made up on the spot. (Including this one!)

  9. Ah yes, nothing like a little wealth envy from a limousine liberal to get the weekend started

  10. LanceR, JSG

    Ah, yes. The “Fuck You” crowd. Wealth envy, limousine liberal… Oh, you missed socialist. You didn’t call anyone socialist.

    What don’t you understand? These are criminals. They are using the benefits of citizenship here to amass great wealth, and refusing to pay *ANY* taxes, let alone their fair share. Would you, perhaps, *BE* one of those criminals? Anything you want to confess? Or maybe just shit and run, like so many conservative cowards?

  11. minimalist

    Wealth envy from a limousine liberal”?

    First the global warming denier ranting about “capitalist Marxists on Wall Street”, and now this.

    It’s interesting to chart the decline of the American Wingnut. A decade ago, they could at least “back up” their position, however tenuously, by repetition of some spurious reasoning they heard on Limbaugh the other day. Then, the words became rote, and began to lose meaning (see: “socialist”). Now the wingnut vocabulary is so close to nonexistent that they can’t even go a whole sentence without contradicting themselves so spectacularly.

    The words are just talismans now, or the senseless barking of a dog, trying to keep the Bad Things they can barely even conceive at bay.

  12. It always amazes me that someone like JR can go on and on complaining about how terrible taxes are and how wasteful govt spending is but doesnt leave for a country that has no taxes or government spending like say Haiti or Somalia. They have none of that evil spending on roads, bridges or water purification that JR hates so, so much!

  13. I’m sure the government and rich folks will find a happy compromise.

    Expect an announcement saying that the billionaires all got off, but the foreign students and postdocs in Switzerland with UBS accounts to pay their local landlords are all going to jail for not reporting their five bucks of interest correctly.

  14. Evinfuilt

    Dear Wingnuts, please listen to Halliburton and the great invisible hand, move to Qatar, its your paradise. Please try and ignore the fleeing mobs due to debtor prisons.

  15. With todays economy it is tougher and tougher for those people to get away with smuggling there assets and cheating the government. Hopefully there will start to be more benefits for the more common Americans.

  16. They’re thinking about refiling their tax returns, or going to the IRS to beg forgiveness with a check to cover past taxes and potential fines. Some are evening thinking about sailing away from this great country. Good riddance.

    They’re going to love the unique features of our tax code then! (If you leave the US, even if you revoke citizenship, you still have to pay taxes for something like 8 years.)

  17. asdakodp

    lots of grammatical errors….

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