Last week we all learned that US Presidential Candidate, Senator John McCain's "former" economic advisor and campaign co-chair, former Republican Senator from Texas Phil Gramm believes that Americans have become "a nation of whiners" and that we're in a "mental recession", ( a phrase that may well become as defining as "it's the economy, stupid").
However, this week it's becoming very clear that Gramm's comments, which some may want to dismiss as just political misspeak, actually reveal a very troubling economic philosophy.
In the following video clip, Lou Dobbs reports on the US Senate Subcommittee on Investigations' report that two foreign banks, one being UBS, helped wealthy Americans avoid their tax obligations. Yes, this is the same UBS for which Phil Gramm is a Vice Chairman.
Of course if you're as wealthy as Bill Gates and absent of any conscience Phil Gramm's association with both UBS and John McCain may not bother you. But if you do not fall into either of the aforementioned categories you may be wondering if you want John McCain to shape America's economy future.
Today the New York Times is reporting that after being caught with their hands in America's cookie jar, UBS has announced that it is making a few changes in their banking policy.
Faced with a federal investigation into its private banking practices, the Swiss banking giant UBS said on Thursday that it would stop offering offshore banking services to clients in the United States.
Mark Branson, chief financial officer of the UBS global wealth management group, told a Senate subcommittee that the company would provide banking or securities services to United States residents only through companies licensed in this country and that it would help the federal government identify American citizens engaging in tax fraud.
On Wednesday, a Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations released a report saying that UBS’s offshore practices helped American citizens hide an estimated $18 billion in 19,000 accounts from the Internal Revenue Service.
In his testimony, Mr. Branson apologized for any compliance failures that might have happened and said the decision to close its Switzerland-based cross-border business was intended to ensure that such failures did not happen again.
Clients in the United States will still be able to access UBS’s services through wealth management units that are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. But advisers based in Switzerland will not be allowed to come to the United States to meet with American clients.
UBS’s decision came as a surprise even to Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, the subcommittee chairman, who said in his opening statement that UBS operated “behind a wall of secrecy” that needed to be torn down
Hmmm, "UBS operated 'a wall of secrecy'", does that remind you of anything. *
Isn't it funny that the Republicans are always accusing the Democrats of trying to raise the taxes which many of their constituents do not now and have no intention of paying?
*(Hint: Bush/Cheney/Secret Energy Meetings/Gonzales)
Watch for the Signs, 10/2007
Remember Watch for the Signs, 2/2008
Responses to Phil Gramm's "Mental Recession" Comments