The Dark Side of Anti-"Swiss Bank Account" Politics

Democratic Swissophobia is hurting patriotic, middle-class Americans.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) may be too busy to pass a budget more than every 1,168 days or so, but he can always spare time for passing judgments about U.S. citizens who have the gall to open bank accounts in stable countries with sound currencies and a tradition (if eroding) of banking privacy.

"You either get a Swiss bank account to conceal what you're doing, or you believe the Swiss franc is stronger than the American dollar," Durbin put forth on Face the Nation this weekend, in part of a coordinated Democratic attack on Mitt Romney's overseas finances.

Whether tautological or conspiratorial, Democratic Swissophobia precludes the idea that Americans could possibly have a legitimate reason to park money in one of the world's leading financial centers. "Mitt Romney," Obama campaign spokesman Ben Labolt stated gravely in an attack ad, "had a bank account in Switzerland." Why, that's not what normal Americans like Robert Gibbs do! "I pick a bank because there's an ATM near my home," the former White House press secretary said over the weekend. "Romney had a bank account in Switzerland."

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chair of the Democratic National Committee, also smelled a rat: "Americans need to ask themselves: why does an American businessman need a Swiss bank account and secretive investments like that?" And here's LaBolt again, in a tweet from May: "There are only 2 reasons to have a Swiss bank account: hedging against the dollar or avoiding paying fair share in taxes."

Do you know who else once had a Swiss bank account? I mean, besides Hitler? Various U.S. military veterans, dual-national citizens who haven't lived or worked in America for decades, and panicked retirees who are trying to cope with new tax rules imposed capriciously by a revenue-hungry Congress and president in 2010. Thousands of such Americans are getting bounced out of their existing Swiss accounts and denied new ones, even if they live and work in Geneva for one of the city's many international non-governmental organizations.

You can read dozens of their testimonies in this April 2012 letter [PDF] to the Internal Revenue Service from American Citizens Abroad, including this story from an American retiree who has lived in Geneva (where he worked at the U.S. secretariat for the United Nations' International Labor Office) for all but four years since 1973:

Just since the beginning of the year, I have been informed by one of Switzerland's two largest banking institutions that due to the fact that I am an American, I had to divest myself of all my investment holdings in their financial institution. Another bank agreed to accept my investments; then, just this month, on the day that I went to sign the papers, I was informed that the authority to do this had been withdrawn. Meanwhile back in the U.S., a large insurance company with whom I have been dealing since the early 1960s appears to be resisting changes in the composition of an IRA portfolio that I established with them upon retirement at the end of 2002. [...]

I feel that I now am being squeezed between my country of citizenship and my country of residence and they are forcing me to choose my mattress as the only site where I can place my savings. I am an American who loves my country. I always have filed my U.S. income tax return as well as the [Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts], which now seems to be so much in the news. I do not understand why my government is treating me this way.

The gruesomely acronymned Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) essentially outsources overseas IRS collections (the U.S. being one of the only countries to tax based on passport, not just residency) to any foreign financial institution crazy enough to let Americans hold an account. As I wrote in April, and as you can see in testimonies all over the Internet, the stone-predictable outcome is that banks in Switzerland (and Europe, and anyplace where governments are "friendly" with Washington) are shuttering not just Americans' accounts, but accounts of expatriate Europeans living and working in the United States.

All because the U.S. government does not respect limitations on its ability to squeeze money out of citizens, and because there will never be a shortage of Beavis and Butthead-quality political hacks like Robert Gibbs eager to go on the weekend chat shows to impersonate a populist (at least when it's not his client being accused of bottomless wealth).

I have no details about Mitt Romney's Swiss bank account—and neither does the recent Vanity Fair article that the Democratic anti-Swiss brigades were citing as their primary source material over the weekend (all the piece did was regurgitate the news that Romney's disclosures in 2010 showed a $3 million account that has since been liquidated). But in addition to the living-in-Switzerland explanation for having a Swiss bank account, there are at least three other perfectly seemly reasons for Americans to have one:

1) Because you (or your spouse) is making or has made Swiss francs. This explains, for example, me: My wife used to work freelance for various Swiss media outlets, and we were happy to save on wire-transfer and exchange-rate costs by having the money deposited directly into a local bank. Just last week we stopped by the bank to pull out some walking-around money, and were told we would likely have to shut the account down because of FATCA. Only some sensitive negotiation stayed the execution, but who knows for how long; a Swiss banker friend told me later in the day that his company is simply pulling the plug on all U.S.-related business.

In Romney's case, it is perfectly conceivable that he made money at Bain Capital doing Swiss-denominated consulting work, since Switzerland has a disproportionate number of European/international headquarters (including of the Olympic Games), but I have no idea if this is true.

2) Because you believe in diversifying your portfolio. Remember at the top of this article when Dick Durbin criticized people who "believe the Swiss franc is stronger than the American dollar"? Well, it is. Ten years ago a greenback reliably got you more than 1.40 Swiss francs, but the dollar was down to 0.86 when the Swiss National Bank announced a currency peg to the Euro last September. Though that helped break the fall, the buck still hasn't clawed its way back above the 1.00-franc mark since, and I would be comfortable wagering that another decade from now it will be closer to 0.50.

Is Dick Durbin protecting his million-dollar portfolio through a buy-American-only strategy? Hell no, he isn't—why, just right there I can see such asset items as "ING Clarion Global Real Estate Income," and "Matthews Asia Dividend Investor," and "Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Domestic." Not that there's anything wrong with that! Switzerland is an unusually stable country with an unusually sound fiscal track record and an unusually strong banking sector. I would be shocked if any $100 million American didn't have at least some stake in a country that has long been one of the largest foreign investors in the United States.

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  • ||

    , or you believe the Swiss franc is stronger than the American dollar

    Lunacy!

  • robc||

    I thought about getting a numbered swiss account while I was there, but I was poor and it seemed a bad idea.

    I didnt even have a bank acct while I lived there, I got paid at the post office in cash.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Imagine being paid at the USPS in cash.

    The horror!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Dick

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Whip Dick

  • Restoras||

    I think a Swiss bank account with a portion of your wealth in Swiss francs is a capital idea.

  • Drake||

    "You either get a Swiss bank account to conceal what you're doing, or you believe the Swiss franc is stronger than the American dollar,"

    Sounds like a twofer.

    I don't suppose it has occurred to any of them to just stop the taxation of savings?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Stashing the bulk of your money overseas in 2000-2003 is a bet against the United States.

    That is fine is you are a trader/hedgie/dissident type but unseemly if you want to be chief executive.

    Its like a Coke CEO putting his money into Pepsi stock.

  • o3||

    it also exposes the embarrassing gop lie that the [WEALTHY] create [JOBS] w their boosch [TAX CUTS].

  • BarryD||

    You mean that a man with a big family shouldn't try to diversify internationally and shelter some of their assets during the double-whammy of the dot-com bust and the post-9/11 economic flatline? He'd be dumb not to do that.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    One can buy any major foreign stock or ETF from a US broker.

    Romney wanted to evade US taxes.

  • Drake||

    What did the Kennedy's want when they moved $billions to Fiji?

  • Bi-Curious George||

    They wanted Teddy to quit killing young women.

  • BarryD||

    Or do it in deeper waters, anyway.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I want to evade US taxes too. Sounds like a good idea.

  • Drake||

    I believe that taxing savings after income has been taxed is stupid and immoral.

    We have to listen to economists and politicians complain that we don't save enough - when we incur more taxes for saving.

  • The Hammer||

    Taxing income is also stupid and immoral.

  • Drake||

    Some taxes are worse than others.

  • R C Dean||

    Romney wanted to evade US taxes.

    [citation needed.]

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I can't prove it until he discloses his tax returns.

  • sloopyinca||

    Then you shouldn't claim it until you can prove it, asshole.
    -or-
    I will wait for shrike to release the records that clear him of any sheep-fucking accusations.

    Which do you prefer?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Romney should disclose then. Until he does he is hiding something.

    Get used to this theme.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    He did disclose. THAT'S WHERE THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ACCOUNTS CAME FROM! What part of that is so difficult for you to understand?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If Romney has to release that info, then Obama should release all of his secret stash as well.

    You know, the way Obama forced the opening of sealed divorce records from his opponents? For no good reason?

    Fuckin' hypocrite.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    IIRC, Obama didn't force the opening of Jack Ryan's and Jeri Ryan's sealed divorce records, they were "leaked". But I could be wrong, citation requested.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Romney should disclose then. Until he does he is hiding something.

    Get used to this theme.

    Yes, proving a negative. I would expect no less than completely asinine thinking from you, shriek.

  • Taco||

    [Obama] should disclose [his college transcripts]. Until he does he is hiding something.

  • o3||

    all romney has to do is disclose his taxes and this all goes away right?!

  • gaoxiaen||

    I have a photo of him in a grassy field in New Zealand wearing hip waders. MAYBE he was going trout fishing.

  • Bi-Curious George||

    He did. That's where the info came from.

  • Drake||

    Logic doesn't penetrate.

  • Drake||

    Well, let's ask Ted Kennedy how he feels about savings and inheritance tax avoidance.

    http://michellemalkin.com/2008.....y-kennedy/

    Sounds like he's okay with it as long as you feel that you "pay your share."

  • o3||

    and he lost too

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Ted's dead, baby. Ted's dead.

    But Old Man Kennedy moved a lot of the family swag offshore decades ago, which is okay with leftists.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, first of all, he did release his returns. That's where the information about the accounts CAME FROM. But, hey, why don't you prove that you don't molest little girls. I've seen no actual evidence that you don't.

  • o3||

    he's not running for prez

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And that's completely irrelevant to the argument. There's no credible reason to believe that Romney engaged in tax evasion (unless you think someone evading taxes would announce their tax evasion to the IRS on their tax return). Absent any such evidence, claiming Romney should prove he didn't engage in tax evasion is the equivalent to expecting Shreck to prove he doesn't molest little girls.

  • sloopyinca||

    (unless you think someone evading taxes would announce their tax evasion to the IRS on their tax return)

    Hey, it got Timothy Geithner confirmed as SecTreasury.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Hell, I know people who are "IRS lifers"; due to the Mafia-level interest rates, they'll be paying the rest of their lives on back taxes.

    And these aren't even quarter-millionaires, let alone one-tenth millionaires.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'm one of those lifers, FIFY. They got their hooks in me about 10 years ago and I get dinged every other year. Last time, it was the AMT, which kicked in because a taxable fringe for a company car put me over the threshold, which kept me from writing the mileage off for the car. I tried to explain that without the fringe, I wouldn't have been over the threshold, and the mileage was nearly a wash on the fringe amount, but they were having none of it. It ended up costing me at least $10k, since I would have written off 60k miles that year.

    I've got it down pretty low now, and I should have them paid off in the next year or so, but I wouldn't be surprised if they keep me on their radar.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    A friend of mine estimates it will take him six more years to pay off his debt to those IRS thugs.

    He's fifty-six.

    But hey, he shouldn't be able to save any money for retirement, or pay his child support... the IRS has to have that money first. Fuck his other bills, which he manages to pay anyway.

    Dude's on so tight a budget, he rolls coins to make ends meet. And I've never met anyone who calculates his grocery shopping down to the dollar per week.

    He did get to go eat out at a restaurant last year, though... someone gave him a $20 gift card to Outback. Oddly enough, the IRS didn't confiscate that as income.

    Fucking thugs.

  • Drake||

    I remember my first encounter with the AMT...

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Was there sand in the Vaseline, Drake?

  • sloopyinca||

    Vaseline?????? You lucky bastard. They used Texas Pete to lube me up.*

    *Intentional avoidance of the Larry David Tabasco joke.

  • Drake||

    Vaseline would have been appreciated.

  • ||

    When I started this job, straight out of getting my bachelor's, I was hired as contract labor. I was effectively a sole proprietor for the first 3 years I worked here. Ended up taking out a personal loan to pay off the IRS cause the interest rate was cheaper (12%). Took five years of my then fiance and I scrimping to pay that loan off, but we did it.

    My effective tax rate each of those years was 26%. That is why I hate people like Tony and Statist so much. I was 23 years old and trying to start my career and a family. But I guess I was just paying my fair share.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Palin's Buttplug Darrell Issa

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Do you have ANY actual evidence of that? Or are you just shooting your mouth off as usual? As noted, Bain Capital could very easily have had Swiss holdings with payouts denominated in Francs.

  • Rhino||

    So did guys like George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. They even fought a war to evade onerous taxation, among other things.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Hey, shrike... if it's found out that any of your Team members in Congress have Swiss bank accounts... will you bitch about that, or give them a pass?

    I suspect the latter.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Actually, the account had about $3 million in it. NOT "the bulk" of his money by a long shot.

  • Fluffy||

    That's not really true.

    The entire reason I'd want to run to be Chief Executive is if I think the current guys are fuckups.

    If I'm confident enough in the US to keep my assets here, wouldn't that mean I'm just peachy with the current leadership?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Then he could short the USA from a domestic account.

    Apply Kant's Categorical Imperative to this. If all persons sent money offshore the USA would be deprived of working capital.

    Banking is a collective endeavor. That is how it works. That does not mean state controlled. It is a by-product of community.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Anything to work "collective" into the conversation, eh comrade?

  • cw||

    If I accept your premise that banking is a collective endeavor, that still would not preclude banking with other countries. Why must someone's money be grounded to the soil on which he stands?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Patriotism - no other.

    Only meaningful for a POTUS candidate.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So, the more one pays in taxes, the more patriotic they become?

    Sounds like buying absolution from the Catholic Church.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Taxes are the price we pay for fascism*.

    *Original quote edited for clarity. Holmes understood "civilization" to mean sterilizing the unfit and imprisoning people for protesting war, so language more closely matching common usage of political terms was selected.

  • ||

    See, this is the point where socialism turns into National Socialism.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Four more years, and there's Obama's plan, Hazel.

  • Rhino||

    How about, if all persons sent money to the US Treasury, the world would be deprived of working capital.

  • ||

    We can't have these foreign currency speculators undermining our Five Year Plan.

    Losing you savings in the New Socialist Economy is a patriotic duty.

    Anyone who tries to take their money out of the country is a traitorous counter-revolutionary who must be shot.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Try to be a little more subtle. You sound just like a villain from an Ayn Rand novel. You know, one of those two dimensional unbelievable caricatures.

  • Taco||

    "Apply Kant's Categorical Imperative"
    I'm a utilitarian, as I suspect are most of the people here.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    How much you wanna bet that Dick has his own Swiss bank account?

    Or Barack?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Dick Durbin has been an embarassing face of Illinois for too long now. He wouldn't have a Swiss account - he is in the fine Illinois/Cook County tradition of cash in envelopes.

  • Libertarius||

    And how did comrade obozo get rich all of a sudden? Wasn't he a gay teachers assistant before das glorious revolucion of 2008?

  • BarryD||

    The fact that he believes that the Swiss Franc is stronger than the American Dollar says merely that Romney is not completely insane. "Not completely insane" would be a good baseline qualification for President, given that we haven't even lived up to that, in our history.

  • Fluffy||

    Regardless of the actual underlying facts, you should PRETEND that the US dollar is better than the Swiss franc.

    For purely symbolic reasons.

    Anything else would be unseemly.

  • BarryD||

    Sure, but one can't expect him to pretend that with his own money!

  • NotSure||

    Any time now Shrike will come here and proclaim that his party are the true capitalists, and true capitalists do not have Swiss bank accounts.

    These politicians want to know why anyone would want a swiss bank account ? its because of politicians like them.

  • Mike M.||

    He's already here, "Palin's Buttplug" is Shrieking Idiot's new handle.

  • NotSure||

    I know, I missed post, he generally worships the wealthy that support his party, he wants us to believe that these very same people don't have swiss bank accounts ?!?!?!?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Buffett says he has no overseas bank accounts.

  • NotSure||

    You worship Soros, Brinn, Gates, Jobs etc. these guys all don't have Swiss bank accounts ? Grow up you clown, its one thing giving money to politicians for safety, but there is no way they would not open a Swiss account.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Why should Buffett go offshore? His money is in Berkshire stock which is far better than any other investment vehicle over time.

  • NotSure||

    So only Buffet, so your link to Soros.org is actually about Buffet I see. And when you have openly proclaimed your love to Brinn, Gates, Jobs etc. that was actually all for Buffet as well. But what do I know, all clever people know that Soros would never invest his money elsewhere...

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Soros is a great capitalist no doubt. He invented reflexivity in economics.

  • NotSure||

    He also got some Swiss bank accounts, which means that all you anti Romney arguments apply to him as well.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Soros is not POTUS material either.

    Buffett would have been.

  • Cavpitalist||

    Buffett is definitely POTUS material. That son of a bitch stole billions from US taxpayers without even having to be elected first like everyone else.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Just ask the French!

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Needz moar Benjamin Grahamz.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So, how does Soros make his money, again?

    Yeah, that's okay, though, because he's on Team Blue's side.

  • markoninj||

    Berkshire stock is safer because Buffett is a crony capitalist. His railroads make $ by lobbying Obama to veto oil pipelines, which are competition for Buffett's rail cars.

  • fish||

    Why aren't you "Buffets Buttplug"? You certainly spend a lot of time camped out there?

  • fish||

    "Soros Buttplug"?

    Really Shreik there are so many rectums in which to spend your spare time. Why limit yourself to just one?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "The Beard of Gates" would work, except Bill already has Melinda.

  • ||

    It's a reference to some retarded Gawker article.

  • Mike M.||

    ROFL!! I'll bet Buffett has accounts in at least half a dozen different countries. After all, your hero is one of the biggest tax evaders in the entire country; he owes a billion fucking dollars for crying out loud.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Buffett does not owe a dime.

    Some wingnut falsely claimed Berkshire owed that and it made the Nutcase Loop.

  • Mike M.||

    Numerous legitimate media outlets have reported on the NetJets tax case.

    Just do the world a favor already and go kill yourself, you lying, scum-sacking piece of garbage you.

  • sloopyinca||

    Ah, yes. Do you mean those right wing wingnuts at the New York Post
    or the right wing wingnuts at the Huffington Post?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    HuffPo is chockablock with Christ-fags, sloop. shrike will tell you, he has a radar for such things.

  • Anarcho-Curious||

    Well, at least "Palin's Buttplug" will help Reason with SEO!

  • ||

    The idea that someone coined the term "Palin's Buttplug" just shows you how genuinely creepy and bizarre some liberal's obsession with Sarah Palin has gotten.

    Me? I do not have kinky fantasies about having anal sex with people I disagree with politically. It's just not that wierd with me.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Team America vs. Team Switzerland

  • Bardas Phocas||

    hmmmm, the land of chocolate.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Cuckoo clocks, fuck yeah!

  • ant1sthenes||

    I hate to contemplate treason, but...

  • cw||

    You either get a Swiss bank account to conceal what you're doing, or you believe the Swiss franc is stronger than the American dollar.

    Or, you know, there could be other options besides your false dilemma, Dick.

    Or, maybe the dollar does suck because of the likes of you, Dick.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The USD was doing fine prior to 2000 when Romney started evading US banks.

  • BarryD||

    Yeah. Romney's Swiss account is what led to the decline in the value of the dollar. That's it.

  • NotSure||

    Evading US banks ? So its a crime now, tell me would you support other countries from banning their people from putting their money in US banks, didn't think so. But what the hell, lets all be patriotic to our nations, lets ban all money being moved from different countries, its the path to global prosperity !

  • cw||

    Maybe Romney hedged against the U.S.'s growing debt.

  • Scarcity||

    So the ideal time to diversify is AFTER the crash?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wait. So Romney is the reason we're 16 trillion in debt?

    Wow, the guy's more powerful than we thought.

    /snark

  • R C Dean||

    You either get a Swiss bank account to conceal what you're doing,

    Tell us, Dick. Have you published your banking statements for all to see? No? Why are you concealing what you're doing?

    or you believe the Swiss franc is stronger than the American dollar.

    Well, this would have been a correct belief over the last several years:

    http://www.financialsense.com/.....-franc-chf

    I'm sure Dick doesn't have much experience being right, but that's no reason to be all pissy about those who are.

  • Joe R.||

    That's sort of the reaction I had to this:

    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chair of the Democratic National Committee, also smelled a rat: "Americans need to ask themselves: why does an American businessman need a Swiss bank account and secretive investments like that?"

    Technically I agree with her, but I doubt she came up with the correct answer, which is "Because of people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz."

  • cw||

    I think she knows that. She's just counting on economic ignoramuses like 03 to declare "BOOSCH" and vote for Democrats.

  • o3||

    riight...exactly how many american [JOBS] did romney's swiss accounts create?

  • cw||

    How many American jobs* do Dick Durbin's foreign accounts create?

    *Not that that's the ultimate object of wealth creation, anyway.

  • o3||

    NO american [JOBS] were created by romney's offshore accounts romney's running as a businessman who can create american, not swiss [JOBS]. this issue will effect romney in swing states.

  • ||

    God damn you are an idiot orrin.

    Far be it from me to defend Romney, but I'm sure his work with Bain created at least a few jobs.

    Oh, and how many jobs were created by your onshore accounts? None? Why's that? Because parking money in any bank account, foreign or domestic, doesn't create jobs? Wow, who would've thought that?

  • MJGreen||

    [Switzerland] has long been one of the largest foreign investors in the United States.

  • Joe R.||

    How many blutenorfs did linswaggle cartentart?!?!

  • NotSure||

    Funny how someone who actually paid people salaries (in America) is still being attacked for having to gall to put his own money where he wants to. How about someone who never started a company, ran a company (did he even ever work for a company ?), how many jobs does that create ?

  • R C Dean||

    riight...exactly how many american [JOBS] did romney's swiss accounts create?

    Exactly as many as they would have created if they were American bank accounts. Which is to say, none. Deposit accounts don't create jobs.

    Banks loans do. And guess what? Big Swiss banks have big American operations that make lots of loans that create jobs.

  • ant1sthenes||

    How many American jobs do politicans' American accounts create? Do you think that Swiss banks don't loan money to American companies?

  • Taco||

    the same number as christopher dodd's irish castle?

  • BarryD||

    I am still astounded that Wasserman Schultz is the chair of the DNC. Even Howard Dean was a better choice.

  • Bi-Curious George||

    Howard Dean is the Ipecac Syrup of politicians.

  • BarryD||

    No argument there. He's still a step above DWS.

  • Brett L||

    How about, its none of her or anyone else's business why they choose to keep money anywhere.

  • robc||

    I wonder how many democratic congressmen have a swiss franc ETF as part of their investment portfolio (or some other foreign currency ETF)?

    Anyone want to bet its not somewhere close to 100%?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Or it's none of your damn business what I do with my money.

  • o3||

    esp when one's offshore accounts create NO american [JOBS]

  • Bi-Curious George||

    How many [JOBS] have you created, Urine?

    And does Herc know you're stealing his brackets?

  • Joe R.||

    STEVE SMITH LIKE BRACKETS, LOOK VAGUELY SIMILAR TO LABIA.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Unless you run for POTUS.

    Romney does not believe in the USA. Mormon? Yeah, that shit.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Your bigotry is appalling.

  • NotSure||

    Which bigotry is that though ? in that short post one gets anti women, anti non Americans and anti mormons.

  • Anarcho-Curious||

    @NotSure, @Ken Shultz
    I think PB's comment is instructive. Reminds me of the first line of Harry Browne's "Complete Guide to Swiss Banks": "By 1934, Hans Lubich, a prosperous German businessman, understood what kind of future the Nazi government was preparing for him." Is it possible that part of Romney's motivation for moving money offshore is a fear that the government might one day persecute Mormons? Such a fear might be understandable, even if the risk is remote. Clearly, there is anti-Mormon bigotry in this country, and our government has a record of mistreating minorities (e.g. Japanese internment camps in WWII). Like Browne said, "anything can happen."
    However, I do agree with PB (and Matt Welch) that a would-be commander-in-chief's financials are fair game for public scrutiny. And @NotSure, I'm not sure that PB's handle is anti-woman; I assume the plugging fantasized about is consensual, and there is nothing anti-woman about giving consensual pleasure, or imagining doing so.

  • Joe R.||

    The casual xenophobia is disturbing, too.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    shrike is okay with bigotry, unless it's against The Second Coming of Barry Goldwater, aka Obama.

  • cw||

    Why can't one "believe in the USA" and have foreign holdings? It sounds like your equating trust with the country with trust with the government.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I can buy SAP, Toyota, Sony, Samsung et al holdings without opening an offshore account.

    Nothing wrong with that at all.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Good for me, but not for thee?

  • NotSure||

    Nothing wrong with putting my money into a Swiss bank account either. You still have not answered my questions do have a problem with foreigners putting money in US banks, or say giving it to Buffet ? If not, then lets be consistent and have all countries ban money going to America as well, one can't have the best of both world moron.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I don't care what an ordinary jackass does.

    Romney is running for POTUS and has an obligation to disclose. It is a unique standard.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    So you want to see the long-form birth certificate?

  • Brett L||

    A blind trust managing his assets would be acceptable to me. In fact, I think all federally elected officials should have to submit to such.

  • robc||

    Not necessary if we remove the power for congress to play games with the value of assets thru tax and subsidy policies.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    If by "unique standard" you mean "applies only to him and not the incumbent" then yeah.

    Or do you think turning off credit card verification on Obama's site and not disclosing the sources of the contributions isn't an issue?

  • NotSure||

    No he does not, just like the current one does not have an obligation to show what stuff he wrote when at university. Trying to link having a Swiss bank account to not being loyal, is about as valid as showing a candidate eating French cheese (according to you should he only eat US cheese).

  • Fluffy||

    Not really.

    The Constitution sets forth the requirements to be President, and Congress cannot legitimately add to them.

    If you're 35 and a natural-born US citizen, you can be President. Period. The Congress doesn't get to say, "But first you have to release your tax returns."

  • Mr. FIFY||

    OTOH, it doesn't prevent politicians from unsealing your opponents' divorce records for no good reason.

    /how Obama got elected, partly

  • cw||

    I agree that a person running for public office must disclose their financial transactions (something pretty much all elected officials don't do). But why should only people who invest solely in U.S.-based investment vehicles get to run for office?

    You know, protectionist policies would certainly increase the wealth of some U.S. companies. Would that be good for the U.S. vis a vis its relationship with its trading partners? I think not.

  • ||

    Mormonism may be weird but it is as American as apple pie.

  • gaoxiaen||

    As American as snake handlers would be a more appropriate.

  • gaoxiaen||

    *...a more appropriate comparison. Really need an edit feature.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Oops, I didn't bother to RTFA article before. That's what you get with a stupid second page to go to.

  • SugarFree||

    Are we really going to have to suffer through this until Thursday?

  • Elphie||

    What happens Thursday? Is Vin Diesel's birthday somehow going to put an end to this madness?

  • Joe R.||

    Bill Cosby's, actually. He's going to squidoo the bleep bip until badum hop pop.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Signs point to Yes

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    So now we're to the point that portfolio diversification is subject to being demagogued by financial geniuses like Wasserman-Schultz and Durbin? Game over, man, game over.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Collectivist scum. What's next? Stopping Americans from visiting other countries? Listen to Dick Derpin and find out!

  • Brett L||

    Just remember, its not Jingoism when the Dems do it. That's a Republican sin.

  • BakedPenguin||

    What's really sickening is the underlying assumption that it's all just the property of the state.

  • Brett L||

    Agreed. It comes back to "how dare he try to keep the State's rightful property from it." With a good dose of shock that the Swiss don't seem to mind their banks telling any and all governments to fuck off.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "the State's rightful property"

    That, right there, is the problem.

  • NeonCat||

    Loyal Americans make sure their tourist dollars go to Americans and undocumented aliens working in America, not to foreigners who probably have no idea how wonderful Obama and the Democratic Party is.

  • R C Dean||

    Good point, Baked. Going overseas on a vacation (like, say, to the Costa del Sol) doesn't create any American jobs. Why do we allow it? Why do we allow any money or people to leave this country, ever?

  • Elphie||

    Don't like it? Move to Somalia! But don't renounce your U.S. citizenship to get out of paying taxes, that would be wrong.

  • gaoxiaen||

    You can visit, but you can't spend money.

  • sloopyinca||

    Does anyone else see the irony in an elected official, that is immune to most insider trading laws, is lamenting the private citizen, subject to insider trading laws, who puts his money in a safe place while American banks are imploding at an unprecedented rate?

    Or are you all just smarter than me because you expect this type of behavior by the political class on a daily basis?

  • Brett L||

    Its just campaign bullshit. "Romney doesn't love 'Murca because he once besmirched an apple pie at a county fair by not having seconds!"

    And they are mostly innumerate, so they think that if they could just get all of taxes "owed" that are "hidden" it would make any more difference to the annual deficit than spitting in the ocean.

  • cw||

    It's certainly strange that a politician who is not only immune to insider trading laws but also can affect the stock prices of whole markets via legislation (no moral hazard there at all!) would lambaste someone else's financial decisions. At first glance.

    Once one realizes that these politicians rely on the ignorance of voters to maintain power does Durbin's double standard make sense.

  • ||

    This kind of this seems eerily reminiscient (at least to me), of the kind of thing that has happened right before a government devalues it's currency.

    See Argentina, various African nations, the USSR etc.
    First, you force your citizens to park their savings in the national currency, then you force them to move them into domestic banks. Then you devalue, or seize the assets.

    It's been done before. Plenty of times. It's generally accompanied by total economic collapse.

  • Libertarius||

    Capital controls will help the middle class!

  • ||

    "You either get a Swiss bank account to conceal what you're doing, or you believe the Swiss franc is stronger than the American dollar,"

    Or you get a swiss bank account because youre afraid the US economy is going to implode, and/or those assets are going to be seized, and you want to move your money out of the country before that happens.

  • ||

    I don't think "Why does Mitt Romney distrust our great American banks?" is a particularly good campaign strategy. It's not like the general public trusts them, either.

  • Brett L||

    I agree. I think most people just wish they had the assets to make a Swiss account worthwhile.

  • ||

    But sadly, we live in an age when stupid campaign prejudice can too easily be translated into law, with consequences that damage the lives of middle class Americans while leaving the rich unscathed.

    The left has always had a simmering prejudice against international banks, and the people who generally run them and have accounts with them.

    If I was a cynical Romney advisor, I would advise insinuating something about Jews.

    Of course, the real reason is not antisemitic prejudice, it's actual the fact that people moving their money around freely frustrates the Left's goals of controlling the economy in the way they want. They hate banks and bankers and people with foreign bank accounts because they want to control all the money, and if it is allowed to leave the country they can't do that.

  • Rhino||

    I blame the movies. The villians always stash money or have stolen money wire transfered to Swiss bank accounts. If it's in the movies, it must be real. right? haha. liberals.

  • STEVE SMITH||

    That pretty much nails it. People have "learned" from movies that Swiss bank accounts are where the rich bad guys always hide their money.

  • ||

    Also, Jews.

  • T o n y||

    Aw is poor Mitt Womney getting cwiticized unfairly? And the Republican party is so uniformly honest and fair in its criticisms of the president.

  • cw||

    And the Republican party is so uniformly honest and fair in its criticisms of the president.

    As I'm sure you are, Tony, with the Republicans.

  • ||

    News flash to Dick Durbin: Most intelligent people would bet against the dollar because of douchebags like you who steal the value of their savings. Any other complaints?

  • ConstitutionFirst||

    Why was it never a problem with the Kennedy's having ALL their millions in Swiss banks? This is nothing but Class War diversion from Barry's record of Epic Fail.

  • pauld57||

    Am I missing something here? If we all know that Romney has a swiss bank account, it must not be a big secret.

    Is there now a problem with diversifying portfolios to hedge against the risks of having all your holdings in one currency?

    Does Durbin have a problem with foreigners diversifying their portfolio's by investing in U.S. currency and treasury bonds?

  • ||

    They have a problem with evil capitalists taking their money out of America and thus depriving the country of the resources it need to make Obama's Five Year Plan work.

    If it wasn't for all those currency speculators and foreign investors taking their money out, socialism would definitely have worked in the USSR, Argentina, etc.

  • AZDZ||

    I need a job! I am going to vote for the guy whom I think is more likely to create the conditions where I can get a decent paying job. I could care less how much money he has, where he parks his money, how many jet skis he owns, how many horses he owns, how many Escalades his wife drives, where he goes to church on Sunday, how many years of tax returns he has made public, and whether he's hip. You got it! I am going to go out on a limb and say that there a lot of voters who feel the way I do.

  • Sterling Archer||

    "I am going to go out on a limb and say that there a lot of voters who feel the way I do."

    Not nearly enough of those voters, I suspect.

  • AZDZ||

    I am going to guess that if you combine the unemployed, both actively looking and not looking for work, and the underemployed, you'll probably get 15 to 20 million votes. Enough to swing the electoral college votes in the rust belt states where employment is the key election issue.

  • grichens||

    I guess the insolvency of U.S. banks is not a factor.

  • muirgeo||

    The author, Matt Welsh, of the Reason Magazine article linked to laments, "Given the bipartisan disaster with public finances,..." Uh yeah which is a result of decreased colletion of taxes from things like this off-shoring of money. Tax collections went up 13 fold from 1950 to 1980 but only 4 fold from 1980 to present... and spending has increased far less in the latter of thesame two periods... 14 fold versus about 6 fold.

  • RandomJackass||

    Why mince words? It isn't "Swissophobia" animating guys like Dick Durbin, it's pure demagoguery.

  • ||

    revenue-hungry Congress and president in 2010. Thousands of such Americans are getting bounced out of their http://www.maillotfr.com/maill.....22_26.html existing Swiss accounts and denied new ones, even if they live and work in Geneva for one of the city's many international non-governmental organizations

  • ||

    If it is unpatriotic to desire to minimize extortionate taxes then Washington, Jefferson, and their colleagues were all Un-American.

  • tee shirt pas cher||

    "You either get a Swiss bank account to conceal what you're doing, or you believe the Swiss franc is stronger than the American dollar," Durbin put forth on Face the Nation this weekend, in part of a coordinated Democratic attack on Mitt Romney's overseas finances.

  • Tearlach61||

    I did some writing for a magazine in Scotland and they wanted to pay me. It was a nominal amount of money and the cost of cashing a check in pounds would have effectively erased the better part of the amount of the check. We will probably agree to some sort of barter arrangement if I just don't let it go.

    But a foreign bank account can be really handy if you have any sort of business overseas. Sometimes I want to buy stuff in Scotland and they don't take a credit card. If I had an account there, I count write a check on that account.

    It just infuriates me how these populist morons in our government continually come with new ways to keep people from living their lives.

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