The Great American Tax Dodge

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One of the big news stories is the justice department’s settlement with Credit Suisse for its long running scheme in helping well-healed Americans avoid paying taxes.  The bank is admitting and pleading guilty to charges that it falsified records and destroyed documents to help wealthy Americans scam the government, and has agreed to pay a 2.6 billion dollar fine.  What’s not part of the agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice is the release of some of the names of the citizens involved.

It would be fun to learn the names of some of these patriotic Americans.  No doubt it would make the front page of USA Today and probably many other big city dailies.  And no question that would be an embarrassing list for some pretty high-profile people: media  moguls, celebrities, big name business types of the kind you might expect to encounter at a gathering of The Business Roundtable or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, two big-time pro-business lobbies, and (surprise) the congress of the United States.  Ya think?

Such a list would expose the U.S. tax system for the unbalanced, unfair, completely regressive scam that it is.  It would blow the lid off the notion of voluntary tax compliance that underlies the whole tax collection and government funding system in this country.  But there won’t be any published list.  This is a secret that will be as closely guarded as the Warren Report.  Think how shocking it would be for Americans to read in their copy of USA Today or their local paper the names of some of the country’s most celebrated figures in sports, the media, business, and yes — the Congress of the United States.  The names of individual citizens who actively and willingly cooperated and colluded with the bank in a tax avoidance scheme that should, by all that’s right, have got them a jail sentence.  But rest assured — that will never happen, and we’ll never know.  Too bad!

The Money Trader

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