Thursday, July 24, 2008

America's Super Wealthy Tax Cheats & Politics

Some 18,000 Americans used accounts at Swiss banking giant UBS to avoid paying taxes. A former UBS employee, Bradley Birkenfeld, admitted during a separate criminal case in the U.S. to assisting tax evasion while at the bank. So what does this have to do with politics?

First, the super wealthy fund much of America's political apparatus. Who's on the list of 18,000? How many are critical supporters of U.S. lawmakers and their money addicted political parties?

Second, Vice Chair of UBS Warburg is the infamous Phil Gramm, recently known for calling his fellow citizens "whiners". If you want to hear whining, wait until the release of those 18,000 names draws near. Might John McCain, or his wealthy wife, have used some of that tax free UBS advice? If John believes Phil is an economic genius, he could put his money where his mouth is and invested with UBS, now known as "You & (a tax free)U.S.". Is this the reason for Phil's encore departure from the McCain campaign?

Third, America is mad as Switzerland for inking a huge gas deal with Iran. You don't think we're only the world's military bully, do you? We can play economic hardball as well. The Swiss State Secretary for Foreign Affairs recently visited our fair country. He talked about the UBS investigation and met with leaders from both presidential camps. In the blue corner stood Robert Gelbard, while wearing red was Richard Armitage.

Richard Armitage? Isn't he the one who threatened to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age and revealed a covert CIA agent's name? Yes, now Richard works on the McCain campaign, next to ex-co-chair Phil Gramm. What better guy to threaten Switzerland should they release the names of any high dollar Republicans, donors or otherwise!

I can see Richard, after a particularly satisfying ConocoPhillips board meeting, accidentally revealing the names of high dollar Democratic donors. It would be a rabbit trail for reporters to take, just before ConocoPhillips shared their record, record, record revenues and profits. Oh, the fun that awaits us! (Update: The New York Attorney General sued UBS on another matter of deception)