Following Up: Are Swiss Bank Accounts All That Bad?

Friday, July 13, 2012

On Tuesday, Vanity Fair's Nicholas Shaxson spoke about his investigation into Mitt Romney's offshore accounts. Matt Welch, editor in chief of Reason magazine, follows up on the revelations, and why he thinks Swiss bank accounts are just fine.


Matt Welch

Comments [21]

what nonsense from this "reason"

"reason" is a rag, for greedy and delusional right leaning, libertarian bums.

Jul. 14 2012 03:26 PM
peter from vancouver

i'll second the sentiment of scott k. i suspect the guest was being deliberately disingenuous. in addition most of his comments seemed to be merely complaints about having to pay taxes. try vetting your guests in future.

Jul. 13 2012 01:42 PM
Karen V from Brooklyn

Money put in a local credit union or local bank is more likely to be lent to build local businesses or local mortgages. Your money in a Swiss or Cayman Island bank is not likely to be recycled locally.

Even if regulations on Swiss Banks have been tightened, those on the Cayman Islands or Bermuda have not. Romney doesn't have money in a single overseas bank but in a chain of offshore havens. If that isn't about gray area tax avoidance - or even evasion- I don't know what is.

Jul. 13 2012 12:04 PM

Not so much Follow Up Friday as Other Side Friday. Not particularly enlightening -- mostly an apology as opposed to an explanation. And the guest's experience is small potatoes compared to what goes on with corporations.

Jul. 13 2012 11:32 AM
Stephen from Bayville

@Martin Chezzlewit from Manhattan, and Brian's guest -

stunning naïveté. As I had commented yesterday on Brian's excellent show/webpage, personal foreign bank accounts are taxed. HOWEVER, foreign-held accounts on the part of LLCs are NOT, b/z this requires different tax and banking treaties with each country, since the terms of incorporation for LLCs vary dramatically from country to country.

The convenience the Caymans accounts is that funds are wired directly in from other off-shore, corporate accounts, none of which are held in a person's name and the monies never end up on U.S. Shores - this is entirely the point. The moment an off-shore LLC is formed, the officers immediately resign and the LLC becomes anonymous. This is how its down in Andorra, Belize, Caymans, Panama, Nevis and several other locations. Just read their tax and banking codes.

I have no idea what other corporate accounts Romney may control, but neither does the Federal Government, nor will they ever. It's very surprising that a modicum of additional research was not done. Switzerland historically was the place to do this for PERSONAL accounts as well, but now that has gone away, due to the massive UBS charlie foxtrot a few years back.

Sara from Buswick is correct - zero dollars for any of these individuals is "trickling down". Thank goodness this egregious myth is finally coming to an end.

Jul. 13 2012 11:06 AM
Scott K from Brooklyn

Sorry. This segment was a waste. Your guest didn't seem to be informed beyond his own (quite limited) personal experience. Brian, I'd be a bit suspicious of the producer that set this one up. Was this more about bringing on a libertarian?

Jul. 13 2012 10:53 AM
BK from Hoboken

Gary- it is one thing to invest in overseas markets directly or indirectly through stocks, funds, etc. It is quite another thing to have a bank account in Switzerland (though that is slowly changing). Its all about transparency- he refuses to release tax returns and he has bank accounts and personally owned corporations in tax havens.
On top of all of this, he also has little credibility with many Americans as he flip flops blatantly from issue to issue. John Stewart has done a better job calling him out for this more than the "respectable" media has.

Jul. 13 2012 10:43 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Brian, excellent questioning.

Jul. 13 2012 10:40 AM
Robert from NYC


Jul. 13 2012 10:39 AM
Sara from Bushwick

Clearly none of Romney's $ in the Caymans is 'trickling down' to help restart the economy...b

Jul. 13 2012 10:39 AM
Hugh Sansom

Consider the whole IPO ponzi scheme for a way in which the rich get privileged access that enables them to get richer. (At least in the case of IPOs, the bloom may be off the rose post-Facebook.)

Jul. 13 2012 10:39 AM

That "dizzying maze" is what makes sure that the US gets the money it is owed by folks like Romeny who try to get over on our system.

Jul. 13 2012 10:37 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Yes John - I'm planning to take a shower after that one.

Jul. 13 2012 10:37 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

YAWN......more Romney bashing by Obama Public Radio. The station should be required to file a donation form to Obama 2012.

At least Welch isn't one ofthe usual obedient leftie guests.

Jul. 13 2012 10:37 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

The guest is conflating the requirement to report with the ability to hide.

If foreign institutions don't report income to the IRS on behalf of account holders, then, how is the IRS to know, if the individual doesn't report the income himself?

And I would think that some countries have different regulations to report to foreign governments, or agreements to share, but those are probably not universal.

Jul. 13 2012 10:36 AM

It just sends a very bad sign if our president has money in another country. It's worse than the olympic outfits being made in China. It shows a lack of belief in our country. And this guest is a Loon!!!

Jul. 13 2012 10:35 AM
john from office

Shelly, I like your disclaimer, is it really neccesary

Jul. 13 2012 10:29 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Gary - I rarely agree with John but he is right - Romney is running for president, the others aren't. Fairly or not - you are old enough to see that this is all politics. Romney's own republican colleagues brought this up in the primaries.

Just like Obama's "community organizing" was in 2008. Romney's bank accounts will be an issue till November.

Jul. 13 2012 10:21 AM

Hey - our banking system is so unrelible and ungovernable - who can blame anyone who has options for using them?

Not that I think a Presidential candidate should dis his own country by being secretive about his money or by supporting foreign economies - bad PR, bad leadership, bad candidate - no wonder nobody likes or wants him!

Jul. 13 2012 10:05 AM
John from office

Gary, all of that may be true, but they are not running for president. Nor are they claiming, "I don't know where my funds are invested or kept". It is an insult to the intellgence of the American people to expect them to accept that explanation.

Do you really believe he had no idea where the blind trust put the funds??

And I dont think you are a racist.

Jul. 13 2012 08:51 AM
gary from queens

Democrats are turning out to have precisely the kind of offshore financial connections they’ve tried to criticize Mitt Romney for.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has scored a sweet multi-million-dollar payoff from an investment group focused on investing in Asia. Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller notes a media report on Pelosi’s investment group that was titled “Designed in California, Made in Manila.”

According to the Weekly Standard, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also has a history of overseas investments.

ABC News has uncovered that White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett has up to a quarter million dollar line of credit in a Bermuda bank. She will have to make a statement to clarify it, because it's possible the original transaction occurred with a US bank, which in turn had chosen an offshore account for tax purposes, unknown to Jarrett, who is an avowed socialist.

Jul. 13 2012 04:58 AM

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