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Caribbean leaders call on Obama not to destroy offshore industry

April 22, 2009 by  

Caribbean leaders call on Obama not to destroy offshore industry At the Summit of the Americas, representatives of Caribbean countries have called on America and Britain not to threaten their financial services industry during difficult economic times.

The prime minister of Belize, and chairman of the Caribbean Community and Common Market, Dean Barrow stressed the importance of financial services to the well-being of Caribbean nations, many of which can rely on few other sources of economic growth.

Pointing out that the global financial crisis should not be blamed on Caribbean jurisdictions, the prime minister suggested it would be a mistake to destroy "a critical component of the very service area into which we were encouraged to diversify."

During last month’s G-20 meeting in London, the U.S president was joined by many Western leaders in calling for a crackdown on what they see as tax havens where wealthy citizens can hide their assets.

In a sign that the clampdown may be imminent, the Justice Department asked a federal court earlier this week to allow the IRS to obtain information about taxpayers who use offshore accounts, while Swiss banks have announced they will be scaling down their discreet banking services.

According to Forbes, Obama has said he supports the proposed Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act which would make it harder to hide assets in more than 30 countries including Belize, the Bahamas and Panama.

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  • JR

    “Pointing out that the global financial crisis should not be blamed on Caribbean jurisdictions, the prime minister suggested it would be a mistake to destroy “a critical component of the very service area into which we were encouraged to diversify.””

    Well said Mr. Barrow

    Why not just waste less money? People might not be so resistant to taxation if they knew their money was not mostly spent needlessly.

    Belize and other innocent countries should not be punished for reckless self destructive behavior on the part of the US Government. Didn’t we learn from Iraq?

    Besides, it is not their fault if they are able to provide their citizens with the government services they demand with low or (in some cases) no income taxes. US Politicians should be learning from them, not trying to squash them.

  • Eric

    While I certainly do agree that the blame clearly lies anywhere but the Caribbean jurisdictions, I cannot condone allowing the act of tax evasion to continue. Individuals who evade taxes only raise the rates on the rest of us. This is one of the reasons I am a proponent of the Fair Tax. Remove the ability to evade taxes by making the collection of taxes at the point of purchase. First, this is how the Founding Fathers intended taxes to be levied, and secondly it removes the ability to “hide” the true cost of our government by burying the tax burden in the cost of goods and services, and then collecting additional taxes from those citizens who do not have the means to hide their income from the IRS.

    The current legislation being proposed to “address” the problem with off-shore accounts is nothing more than smoke-and-mirrors. There will be loopholes written into the final bill, and ultimately it will only create an ever-larger Federal Government, meaning even more tax dollars required to keep it running. We need to cut this giant down at the ankles, and a repeal of the 16th Amendment and enactment of a Federal Sales Tax would be a fantastic first step in the process…

    • Joseph


      I agree with your thinking. But rather than a federal sales tax I would rather see a state sales tax application. This would remove even further eliminate federal government bureacracy and intrusiveness on citizen’s lifes. This sort of ideology was, by the way, our founding fathers thoughts in keeping state and federal government to the most fundamental interactions and in the federal government having nothing to do with the private citizen at all.

      • Eric

        If you have not done so already, research the Fair Tax. The legislation is easy to understand, and removes the ability of the government to manipulate the economy and markets via taxation. As far as the States being the only taxing authority, I think you will find that the Fair Tax does just that. The States will be responsible for collecting the tax and passing it onto the Federal Government, and in return retain a portion to cover costs.

        The reason that we need a Federally mandated rate is that you cannot leave it to the States to determine how much they feel they should contribute to the operation of the Federal government, which I don’t think is what you meant, but that’s how it is reading to me. Under the Fair Tax, the people have a say in how much they pay by how much they choose to spend, and it’s clear to every American how much their Federal Government costs them. Once that is accomplished it will be far easier to reign in spending.

        • Bob S

          The Fair Tax would lower the taxes of the rich. To keep the same income if you lower the taxes on one group you must increase it on another group. It is the wealthy that are pushing the Fair Tax, and fools that patriot their propaganda.

    • Steve


      • Eric

        Take away their ability to influence the free market. Our current tax code was never intended by its original authors as a means of controlling and influencing business (or then again, maybe it was), but that is just what it is being used to do. Businesses must make operational decisions based on the tax code and its impact on their profitability.

        The Fair Tax takes away their ability to influence business practices by using a single rate collected at the point of sale on all new goods and services. No exemptions, no loopholes. Businesses will be able to make operational decisions based on what’s best for the growth and profitability of the company, rather than what will have the least impact by taxes.

        That is a good start, is it not? Next we need to ensure that our elected representatives stay connected to the people they represent. The best way to do that is to ensure that they return to the private sector through term limits. The longer they stay in government, the farther they get from reality. Take away their life-long salaries, make them earn a living after serving, and you begin to see representation that reflects the will of the people vs. the will of the government.

  • Helge

    Several good points posted above. The attempt of the politicians and the G-20 group to use almost most of their energy on “fighting the terrible tax-havens” makes me sick to the bone! If nothing else, it is only an attempt to cover up for their own ability to run their countries and their economies in a fair and efficient way! Instead they are trying to make people believe that THE problem is the tax-havens!!

    They are of course trying to get some of the taxes not paid to them paid! But honestly, to what degree that amount, (whatever it may end up to be) may solve the problem, is probably insignificant at best! First they create a complicated and what many people regard as an unfair tax system, with the result that some people are motivated to try to avoid their stupidity, and when this result is achieved, they are collectively mounting a war against the tax-havens! Bottom line is: The ONLY way a politician is able to solve the problems, often of their own creation, is by inventing more and higher taxes!! They are not able to even THINK differently!

    This is only about the results of their own stupidity, and it is about CONTROL! They want more, and MORE control over you and me!! THIS is what all this is about. We should get together and start fighting them. In my own country the personal income tax represents less than 20% of the total income going to the state. Deduct the expenses involved in running this system, and the net is probably less than 10%! And for this insignificant 10% we are livng as slaves to the states, loosing our civil liberties and PRIVACY!

    I do NOT want to government to be able look into my private financial affairs! I do not want them to be able to find out how I am spending my money, and on what and when. This has gone much too far!

    The tax-heavens is our last resort, God bless the tax heavens!

    • Nicola

      Tax havens are the last resort of people who want to get as rich as possible by either (1) paying the lowest wages/benefits they can get away with to those who actually PRODUCE something of some value, or (2) shoving currencies around to their own benefit while producing absolutely nothing. For as long as I live, I will do all I can to stop them. Those who produce should be the ones who are compensated for their work. Screw the rest of you who are just out there to make a quick buck off everyone else!

      • Bob S

        They pay themselves 100′s of millions and complain about paying a worker that produces something $5 dollars. They do not want to pay taxes to support the country, but they want the countries military to protect their ill-be-gotten assets, and even die for them

        I say we should tax ALL personal income above $250,000 at 120%. As long as they keep their money in job producing businesses they can keep it, but as soon as they take it out for personal use it is taxed.

  • http://none Dale

    Here is the real problem, the reason hiring government employees during the depression made the depression last longer. Government seems to think that the solution to everything is tor create more government jobs and hire more government workeres.
    Every new government employee hired reduces the tax base by the amount of taxes they were paying or might have paid and at the same time increases the amount of taxes necessary for their salaries.
    Deductions from government employees pay does not add to or support the tax base, but rather just reduces tha amount of tax revenue they take for their pay.
    The same is true for government employee deductions for social security. It just transfers tax revenue from one pot to another. No contribution to the tax pot is ever made from those transactions. YOU CANNOT PAY TAXES WITH TAXES!

  • David Hall

    Boy, Oh Boy! by the time the taxes, (local, state, federal) hit us, from the trillions &
    trillions, Obama and his clowns are spending, we want be having this open discussion
    about where the rich folks are hiding their money.
    Look, this is just a decoy created by the Obama administration to make us poor folks
    think, he is really looking out for us, against them mean ole rich folks.
    Duh! where do you think Obama and his clowns are hiding their money? Hell, Obama
    is probably running the printing press, now, don’t you think!!!!

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