Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Little Ownership Goes a Long, Long Way

'Morning friends,

Last night hubbie and I popped in a movie to complement our bedtime
juleps, and he chose "The Untouchables". I have to tell you girls, it
was quite discombobulating watching Eliott Ness bring down Al Capone
on charges of tax evasion. "Shoot," I said to the mister, "Capone was
just ahead of his time. Had he been living now, he would've just
written a check and gone on to assume a high level office in the
federal government."

My inquiring mind is on the loose again, and I'm wondering how so many
of Mr. Obama's "trusted allies" can whip out the checkbook and dash
off a check for tens of thousands of dollars. If they had the money in
their checking account all along, why didn't they just pay the damn
taxes when they were due?

This morning I read where Mr. Obama's team is going after Switzerland
for their long-standing policy of privacy. Gonna' make the Swiss
disclose names of Americans who have money in their banks. It's not
enough that the U.S. government keeps tabs on our deposits and
withdrawals here in our own country, now they are going global.

Now I realize that the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 was enacted to expose
and deter money-laundering, and I realize that lots of lawbreakers
park their money in offshore banks and I'm all for punishing those who
commit illegal activity, but it does not escape my imagination that
the government (wouldn't be surprised if they soon require me to
capitalize that word) is trying to keep as much of our money as
possible in the United States. And it scares me to death to think
about the possible consequences of that - not for the lawbreakers, but
for law-abiding people who live beneath their means and happen to have
nest eggs they'd like to keep for and spend on themselves.

According to one news report on, there's about $2.2 trillion
in Swiss banks, and though that's not nearly enough, I'm sure the
government realizes that it's an amount that would sure go a long way
towards keeping AIG afloat for another month or so or produce a few
automobiles or help build a super-road between Los Angeles and Las
Vegas or help a single mother raise 8 babies.

This guy Carl Levin from Michigan is leading the charge, calling for a
ban on so-called tax avoidance plans, and he has asked - of all people
- Timothy Geithner to talk to folks at the Group of 20 meeting in
April and get them on board. Tim Geithner, the new Treasury Secretary
who had to whip out his checkbook and pay back taxes (no penalties or
interest like the rest of us would've had to pay, mind you) on his way
into the confirmation hearings.

I declare, I might eventually be able to convince myself that
Geithner's experience with tax avoidance gives him credibility - but
only if the juleps don't run out.

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