Taxes

Tax Cheats and Swiss Banks


Even if you were able to get the taxes owed on the money stashed in HSBC's bank accounts, you wouldn't get it next year or the year after that because the owners would move their assets to another location.

It's a noble idea--make tax cheats pay their fair share. In theory, we could close budget gaps. fully fund education, and put free sweaters on puppies everywhere. This is the goal of tax collection agencies throughout the world, but it rarely turns out to be practical in the long term. You might see a surge of revenue one year and then the tax cheats find a new haven for their wealthy.

HSBC shouldn't even be allowed to do business in the United States. Withdrawing the protection of the American rule of law would force many wealthy people to go off shore. If you think you can get a better deal paying European tax rates, go live there. Wait until some shady organization with the legal backing of the state confiscates your wealth and then try to get an American lawyer to sue to get it back. I will you well in that endeavor. Ask a former Russian billionaire how they got their money back from the government. I'm still waiting to see what that looks like because it would be fantastic and wonderful to behold.

People are always going to try and cheat, even though the smart money is on using America's legal system as a guarantor of perpetual wealth. Once they have been robbed by questionable governments and sleazy bankers outside of the protection of American courts, let them come home and live under the law and pay their fair share of taxes. Got a bank in the Cayman Islands? Good, steal from these people so we can laugh when they come begging for the protection they saw fit to abandon.

Wal-Mart Gives Itself a Tax Cut


Did you know that Wal-Mart can give itself a tax cut?

The act of dropping health care coverage for 30,000 workers amounts to a savings of $500 million dollars per year. I think that that number is low because Wal-Mart is going to make a whole lot more of their employees fall into that category in order to boost their savings (which are not needed, of course, because Wal-Mart is an insanely profitable business).

Your taxes will have to cover that difference because those workers will now have to rely on government benefits or emergency room services or some other form of funding for their health care costs. In many cases, they'll just pay more out of pocket, thereby receiving a pay cut on top of the tax increase you'll get in order to help make up the difference.

Wal-Mart takes the savings and passes them on to you. Only you're not making more money, either.

What I don't understand is, how much longer can we continue to pretend that Wal-Mart has been good for America in any way, shape or form? We're now addicted to cheap consumer goods made elsewhere. We're used to covering the costs of feeding and sheltering people who work for Wal-Mart and receive low pay and can't make ends meet. Now we're going to be handed another segment of the gainfully-employed population that will require health care coverage.

It's awful.

And, what's more, Wal-Mart managers are going to be under pressure to arbitrarily and unfairly cut hours and put more people in the cohort that is losing health care coverage. They'll do that by quietly reducing hours for people who are already on the bubble. Shopping there is already more of a nightmare than it was twenty years ago precisely because they cut the hours of the very same people who are there to help customers and get them through the check stands. The very definition of hell is Wal-Mart on a Friday night at 10:30.

The margins are incredibly thin now--disaster awaits anyone who is unlucky enough to lose a few hours a week or a little bit of insurance.

A one billion dollar a year tax increase on Wal-Mart would be welcome. Good luck ever seeing that in your lifetime.