Donating Member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


deicer last won the day on July 18 2018

deicer had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

576 Excellent


About deicer

  • Rank

Recent Profile Visitors

6,041 profile views
  1. That is the strategy I have taken as well. DRIP's are a good friend. Banks are good friends My major point is, talk to the average Joe about this stuff and they think you're an alien.
  2. That's if you have enough that you can live off the returns without touching your stake. How many average people, working 40-60 hours a week have the time and effort to work a portfolio like that?
  3. Good on ya for being responsible and knowledgeable enough to manage your finances. I, fortunately, have done OK as well. However... 99 percent of the population either can't or won't, and therefore put their trust in their companies and institutions. As we have seen, it isn't that pensions can't be administered in a honest and profitable manner, it is that they make so much money they become a target for corruption. After the huge raiding of pensions that has happened in the last couple of decades, nothing's left in the pot. So now it is more profitable to force employees into DC pensions and to sit back and rake in fees on an annual basis.
  4. They obviously have issues at their plants, on top of the 737 problems, the U.S. Air Force has stopped taking delivery of the KC-46 over debris left in aircraft. 1 Mar 2019 | By Oriana Pawlyk The U.S. Air Force has stopped accepting deliveries of its brand-new KC-46 Pegasus tanker only weeks after the first aircraft was transported from manufacturer Boeing Co.'s Washington state facility to McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) halted deliveries Feb. 20 because of foreign object debris found in the aircraft, Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Malinda Singleton said Friday. The Seattle Times first reported that the debris, which could damage the aircraft, led to a week-long grounding of the tankers and safety concerns from top service officials. "The Air Force takes Foreign Object Debris (FOD) contamination very seriously," Singleton said in a statement. "The combined Air Force, Defense Contract Management Agency and Boeing team is working together to resolve these concerns as safely and quickly as possible." The Air Force will not accept deliveries of the tanker until the production aircraft are cleared, and the service and DCMA have approved a corrective action plan by Boeing "that will prevent FOD in the future," she said. Related content: The Air Force took its first delivery of the tanker at McConnell on Jan. 25. According to the Seattle Times, Boeing has delivered six tankers total to McConnell and Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Another delivery was scheduled for Friday. Roughly 45 more production tankers remain at Boeing in the final stages of completion, the paper said. According to a management memo from Boeing's factory managers obtained by the Seattle Times, eight tools were found in aircraft delivered to the Military Delivery Center (MDC) at Paine Field, about 25 miles north of Seattle. The MDC approves and completes the aircraft. All aircraft under construction are supposed to be swept routinely for debris. Loose objects are dangerous because they can cause damage over time. The MDC declared a "level 3" alert on the assembly line. "Does anyone know what a level four is?" the management memo said, according to the paper’s report. "A level four ... will shut down our factory. This is a big deal." The Pegasus already had problems. The Air Force announced last month that it would accept the tanker, based on the 767 airliner, despite the fact it still has deficiencies that Boeing has agreed to fix after delivery. "We have identified, and Boeing has agreed to fix at its expense, deficiencies discovered in developmental testing of the remote vision system [RVS]," Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Hope Cronin said last month. The RVS, which is made by Rockwell Collins and permits the in-flight operator to view the refueling system below the tanker, has been subject to frequent software glitches. The first tankers will be delivered despite that problem. The systemic issue, which will require a software and hardware update, may take three to four years to fix, Cronin told Defense News last month. "The Air Force has mechanisms in place to ensure Boeing meets its contractual obligations while we continue with initial operational testing and evaluation," she said. The company has contracted for 52 of the 179 tankers the Air Force intends to buy. Boeing is responsible for any cost overruns, which had climbed to $3.5 billion as of October, the company said. The service awarded Boeing a fixed-price, $4.9 billion contract in 2011. The company was supposed to deliver the initial 18 aerial refueling planes by August 2017. But with ongoing issues throughout the program since its start in 2013, including design problems in the refueling boom, Boeing and Air Force officials pushed the first delivery to February 2018. Last March, the service announced that "predicted impacts associated with airworthiness certifications and slower-than-expected flight test execution" would delay delivery to the "latter part of 2018." Then, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' unexpected exit in December presented yet another problem. Sources told Defense News and Reuters that Mattis' signature was required to finalize delivery plans. But President Donald Trump's announcement that Mattis would leave by the end of 2018 instead of his planned departure in February caused another delay for the program. The KC-46 is meant to replace older tanker fleets, such as the KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender. The total current inventory of KC-10s and KC-135s sits at 455 aircraft. The Air Force plans to retire part of its legacy aerial refueling fleet and meet its 479-tanker total force requirement with a mix of KC-46s and KC-135s in the future. All three tankers are manufactured or have been upgraded by Boeing.
  5. Apologies for the thread drift... A properly run DB is always better than a DC. The operative phrase is 'properly run'. It is when the thieves, like Conrad Black, want to steal the profit out of it that trouble starts. A quick study of all failed pensions are usually a case of management or investors raiding the pensions and dumping the carcass on the government. A DC pension is better for the institutions because they can charge higher fees.
  6. Pure media BS. All those bags went through YYZ the next day and on to the direct flight from there. So while there may have been confusion upon arrival, all the bags got there the next day.
  7. Another lighter moment, taking a poke at a fave...
  8. Gday Wolfhunter You stated the investigation started during Harpers reign, money spent, yet nothing found. St27 A judicial inquiry? Sure, have at it. Again, millions will be spent to find nothing and there will be no repercussions. Just like most of them in the past. Wilson Rebould herself said nothing illegal happened. So what is there to investigate? Edited to add: We have a 'hurt feelings' report at work, should we send one to Ottawa for them to fill out?
  9. They're all greasy. It's all just political theater in an election year. There are more flip flops happening than on a Florida beach. The second last line says it all..... Back in December, NDP MP Charlie Angus approvingly retweeted a Christmas wish on Twitter calling for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to fire then-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. "The Justice file has been completely bungled" quoted Angus, who accused Wilson-Raybould of all sorts of malevolence. But of course that was then. To hear Angus tell it now, Wilson-Raybould is a person of great integrity who put her job on the line over principle and has suffered the consequences of her courage. At a guess, Angus's amended position is that Wilson-Raybould's demotion in January was a bloody travesty. Conservative MP Lisa Raitt, in 2016, accused Wilson-Raybould of "spewing lies" in the House of Commons. Now, though, she dotingly believes every word Wilson-Raybould utters. After Wilson-Raybould rose in the Commons to say she wanted to speak "her truth," Opposition members erupted in a standing ovation. Wilson-Raybould, says Raitt, wisely warned us all that we must "speak truth to power." (Yes, a former minister in Stephen Harper's government actually said that). Oh, and that new provision allowing negotiated settlements rather than prosecutions of companies like SNC-Lavalin? The one opposition MPs accuse the government of sneakily burying in last year's budget so they could help their corporate pals? It was examined, and approved unanimously by the Commons Justice committee Unanimously. Meaning all parties. Conservative MP Rob Nicholson declared, on behalf of his party, "We're completely supportive of it." But most of this flippity-floppity stuff goes largely unreported. The respect and admiration of opposition MPs for Wilson-Raybould, and their deep suspicion of the underhanded government decision to let big companies escape rule of law is the new "narrative," to use that awful, hackneyed word. Why? Because, well, they're opposition MPs, and inconsistency is their parliamentary privilege. They operate in an expectation-free zone. There is no supposition that they will show temperance, nuance, forbearance or shame. They can yell whatever they like and reporters will report it, because democracy, etc. Publicly, former Liberal leader John Turner used to say that "the job of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is to oppose." Privately, though, he had a better term for Question Period and other televised political venues: "Bullshit Theatre." He always got a laugh, but it was more than a joke. Turner was acknowledging that the opposition, with its constant, unstinting indignation about everything the government says or does, is a caricature. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is their struggle for a share of ink and airtime in the news media, opposition politicians behave like a pack of scent hounds. They have no shame because they know the system is unkind to anyone who does. Their rhetoric is both predictable and extreme; they believe it must be so, in order to make headlines, and they may be right. Still, anyone else who talked the way they do would be regarded as a crank. Right now, the most humid performance is that of Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Appeal to the RCMP In Scheer's estimation, the prime minister is "disgraced," up to "something sinister," running a coverup, and corrupt in the manner of a Third World despot. Trudeau, Scheer tells us, pressures, harasses, subverts the law and gags elected MPs. And he should be investigated for what are clearly crimes, something Scheer has written to the RCMP demanding. Now, Trudeau might not be a particularly inspiring, or even articulate fellow. His gurgly moralizing is aggravating. But a sinister, disgraced, subversive, corrupt criminal? Because he tried to get his justice minister to change her decision about a prosecution, to persuade her to use a new law the Conservatives supported, then eventually accepted her decision, and then moved her to Veterans Affairs, an assignment she herself, truth-teller that she is, said at the time was not a demotion? (Not only did Wilson-Raybould declare that reassigning cabinet ministers is the absolute prerogative of the prime minister, she added: "I would say that I can think of no world in which I would consider working for our veterans in Canada as a demotion.") And yet, crime, corrupt, sinister, coverup, criminal, disgraced, bad, rotten, lawbreaker. One suspects Andrew Scheer doesn't actually believe that, but he's the opposition leader, and doesn't have to. With Scheer heading the opposition, we are supposed to forget that the government his party formed under Stephen Harper happily imposed its will on Canada's judiciary, using minimum-sentencing legislation to interfere with judicial discretion. Or that Harper's Conservatives, having denounced Belinda Stronach for crossing the floor to join the Liberal government in 2005 (a betrayal of her constituents, we were told) happily received Liberal David Emerson, who crossed to join Harper's government in 2006, and then booted Conservative MP Garth Turner from the caucus after he protested (speaking truth to power, really) that Emerson should seek a new mandate from his constituents, the way the party had argued Stronach should have. To be clear, Trudeau's mob is no different. They went from screeching that the Mike Duffy affairwas proof of utterly corrupt government, and declaring that the Canadian people demand transparency and answers from Harper, to running an administration at least as opaque and secretive, once in power. ("The Canadian people," incidentally, is probably the most-quoted entity in the opposition benches. The opposition by definition was rejected by voters, yet Scheer apparently consults them every day, and knows their heart intimately). Top-down control If Scheer ever does achieve power, it's a safe bet he'll exercise the same sort of top down control every other prime minister does. Does anyone believe he won't? That he wouldn't, perhaps, order Tory MPs on the Justice committee to abruptly adjournrather than take more political damage? I humbly suggest he would. But back to Bullshit Theatre. It's tempting to think that things have gone downhill, that there was once a gravitas and comity that has disappeared. Says David Moscrop, a political scientist at the University of Ottawa who has just authored the beautifully-titled book Too Dumb For Democracy: "If you were to put Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, and Jagmeet Singh beside Bob Stanfield, Pierre Trudeau and … Ed Broadbent, I know what team I'd pay attention to." But, says Moscrop, it's never really been much better. "There's no golden age. The introduction of television cameras has amplified the nonsense, and caused politicians to lean into the theatrics. And social media has exacerbated it further." Only technique has changed, he says. Now, whenever the opposition (or the governing party) has a fit of outrage, they do two things: "They immediately send out a fundraising request expressing the outrage and asking for five dollars, and they create a data-mining site." Example: LetHerSpeak.Ca, the website set up by the Conservatives (although you have to go right to the end of the page, and examine the shaded fine print, to find out who's behind it, which is sort of a tacit acknowledgement of opposition credibility). The nominal purpose of the site is to help The Canadian People demand that Trudeau un-gag Wilson-Raybould, because, you know, she really hasn't had a chance to speak much. Coincidentally, the site gives voters a chance to disclose their names, email addresses and postal codes. If they haven't read the shaded fine print at the bottom, and don't know they're supplying data to Conservative election campaign managers, well, they should buy reading glasses. "It's the new frontier of bullshit," says Moscrop. And we journalists are all just theatre critics.
  10. Here's a good summation of what is currently going on in Canada, and how fortunate we are it's all we have to complain about.... TORONTO — There's no money, no sex and nothing illegal happened. This is what passes for a scandal in Canada. U.S. President Donald Trump has been engulfed in allegations involving possible collusion with Russia and secret payments to buy the silence of a porn star. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing a controversy that seems trivial by comparison, but it could topple him in elections later this year. Two high-profile women ministers in Trudeau's Cabinet, including Canada's first indigenous justice minister, resigned in protest, and his top aide and best friend quit too. The former justice minister and attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, says Trudeau and senior members of his government pressured her in a case involving a major Canadian engineering company accused of corruption related to its business dealings in Libya. Trudeau reportedly leaned on the attorney general to instruct prosecutors to reach the equivalent of plea deal, which would avoid a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, because he felt that jobs were at stake. "People south of the border would be astonished to think that this is the type of scandal that they have in Canada," said Eddie Goldenberg, a former adviser to former Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Many countries would be jealous of a scandal that went no further than a prime minster asking another minister to do something she is legally entitled to do, Goldenberg said. "I just don't really see it as a scandal," he said. "There is a political correctness here. Nobody wants to go after an indigenous woman minister. It's become politically incorrect to question the former minister." Trudeau has said he asked Wilson-Raybould to revisit her decision not to instruct prosecutors and said she agreed to consider that. He denied applying any inappropriate pressure, saying he and his officials were only pointing out that prosecution could endanger thousands of jobs. SNC-Lavalin has pleaded not guilty to fraud and corruption charges related to allegations it paid about $35 million (CA$47 million) in bribes to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011. "It's a pseudo-scandal. It's crap. What the hell? You are doing business in Libya and you are not bribing?" said Robert Bothwell, a professor of Canadian history and international relations at the University of Toronto. "It does suggest to me that the director of public prosecutions ... is also nuts. And so is Wilson-Raybould. These people are delusional." Wilson-Raybould was demoted from her role as attorney general and justice minister in January as part of a Cabinet shuffle by Trudeau. She has testified that she believes she lost the justice job because she did not give in to "sustained" pressure to instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin. That solution would have avoided a potential criminal conviction that would bar the company from receiving any federal government business for a decade. The company is a major employer in Quebec, Trudeau's home province. It has about 9,000 employees in Canada and more than 50,000 worldwide. The company publicly led the lobbying charge for a law that allows for deferred prosecution agreements as a way to resolve the criminal charges it faces. The new attorney general has not ruled out approving a settlement. Wilson-Raybould has said herself that the pressure from Trudeau and others was not illegal and that she was not explicitly instructed to do a remediation agreement. Gerald Butts, Trudeau's former principal secretary and best friend who resigned, said nothing inappropriate was alleged until after Wilson-Raybould left the Cabinet, suggesting she felt sour grapes about losing her dream job. Opposition Conservative Andrew Scheer leader has demanded that Trudeau resign, saying he tried to interfere in a criminal prosecution. Canadian media have covered the story as intensely as American networks have covered Trump, noted Nelson Wiseman, a professor at the University of Toronto. "Trudeau would not be able to get away with what Trump does because the political cultures and the state of political polarization of the two countries are still quite different," Wiseman said. The differences among Canadian media outlets, for example, are "relatively narrow compared to the chasms between Fox and MSNBC or CNN. The American media are reporting on two different worlds. The Canadian media are reporting on the same Wilson-Raybould-Trudeau story," Wiseman added. Daniel Beland, a politics professor at McGill University in Montreal, said Trudeau has framed himself differently than Trump. Trump said sympathetic things about Russia during the campaign and was elected despite that and other controversies, giving him "the sense that he can do anything and his base will still follow him." Trudeau, meanwhile, promised transparency while describing himself as a feminist who was also determined to right the wrongs against Canada's indigenous people. Women make up half of his cabinet. "He depicted himself as a feminist, as someone who believes in indigenous reconciliation, and then you have two of his top female Cabinet ministers resign, and they are depicting him in a very different light," Beland said. Trudeau said he tried to foster an environment where his lawmakers can come to him with concerns, but one of his female Liberal party colleagues, Celina Caesar-Chavannes, took issue with that, tweeting, "I did come to you recently. Twice. Remember your reactions?" "When you add women, please do not expect the status quo. Expect us to make correct decisions, stand for what is right and exit when values are compromised," she also tweeted. Caesar-Chavannes, who is not running for re-election, has issued messages of support for Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, a respected Cabinet minister who said she lost confidence in how the government has handled the affair. "It is a fundamental doctrine of the rule of law that our Attorney General should not be subjected to political pressure or interference regarding the exercise of her prosecutorial discretion in criminal cases," Philpott wrote in the resignation letter to Trudeau. Other Liberal lawmakers have expressed confidence in Trudeau. The federal election is in October. Antonia Maioni, McGill University's dean of arts, said citizens of every democracy will look at the Trump scandals and say everything else is small potatoes. But, she added, "I'm not sure Trump is a good reference point here. Leaders fall in parliamentary systems for many other reasons beyond personal scandal."
  12. Gt 71 at old T2 comes to mind, it happened there all the time even when triple chocked. '47s on the other end at 105 as well.
  13. And video included. Yes, safe for work.
  14. The Paradise Papers made for riveting reading when they spilled into public view this fall, a huge cache of secret documents offering a rare glimpse into the hidden world of offshore tax havens. Here was Nike registering its iconic Swoosh trademark in Bermuda, and Uber stashing the rights to its ride-hailing app in a shell company of its own. Queen Elizabeth was implicated in the papers. Madonna, too. And there was the case of the Formula One race car driver who arranged to touch down on the Isle of Man in his $27 million candy-red luxury jet as part of an elaborate scheme to skirt European taxes. Each tale was colorful in its own right — and, for the working stiff who settles up with the Internal Revenue Service every April, maybe a little infuriating. But the Paradise Papers were just the latest in a string of leaks from law firms and other professional services outfits that help the uber-rich store their money overseas. The Panama Papers came before them. Swiss Leaks before that. And Luxembourg Leaks, or LuxLeaks, even earlier. Never mind the individual anecdotes; it’s the sheer volume of the tax dodges buried in these documents — layered atop a growing body of academic research on offshoring — that tells the real story. No longer can we think of overseas tax shelters as just a vehicle for a handful of rich people to outwit the tax man. What’s clear, now, is that they are a powerful engine of inequality — a way for the ultra-wealthy to hoard resources on a scale that policy makers have only recently come to understand. That understanding owes much to the work of economists like Gabriel Zucman of the University of California, Berkeley, who has developed some of the first reliable estimates for the scale of the phenomenon. In a clever bit of detective work, Zucman has scoured national balance sheets from all over the globe and identified enormous “holes” — huge sums of money that have essentially disappeared from the ledgers. He estimates that an astonishing $8.7 trillion, or 11.5 percent, of global household financial wealth resides in tax havens. And shielding that money deprived world governments of approximately $170 billion in tax revenue in 2016 alone — with the United States Treasury taking a $32 billion hit. That sort of tax evasion, by super-wealthy individuals, is often illegal. But multinational corporations can move money overseas lawfully. And they’ve taken full advantage. In 2016, American companies skipped out on roughly $130 billion in taxes they would have otherwise paid to governments around the world, Zucman’s research shows — about $70 billion of which would have flowed to Washington. A loss of $70 billion won’t bankrupt Uncle Sam. But it’s real money — equivalent to about one-fifth of the corporate income tax collected by the United States on an annual basis, and triple what the federal government spends on child nutrition programs each year. This isn’t elites taking advantage of loopholes in the tax system. It’s elites financing a private system all their own — a gilded escape pod they can move from island to island, as circumstances require. Tighten up the rules in a tax haven like Ireland, the Paradise Papers show, and Apple just moves its billions to the English Channel isle of Jersey, where the standard corporate tax rate is zero. It’s disheartening stuff for anyone who cares about the wealthy paying their share. And the new GOP tax bill does little to improve the situation. Indeed, analysts say a one-time tax holiday allowing companies like Apple to bring home billions in overseas profits at sharply reduced rates will probably just encourage more offshoring in the future. But tax specialists say lawmakers could permanently eliminate shelters if they wanted to. As it turns out, we’ve dealt with this problem before — more than a century ago, right here in the United States, when a new breed of border-crossing corporate behemoth presented tax collectors with familiar questions of wealth, power, and geography. DIGNITARIES FROM Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania looked on as Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, stuck a shovel in the ground and turned a spadeful of dirt. The ceremony, that July 4, 1828, marked the start of construction on the first chartered railroad in the United States, the Baltimore and Ohio. And the significance of the moment wasn’t lost on the featured guest. “I consider this among the most important acts of my life,” said Carroll, then 91, “second only to my signing the Declaration of Independence — if even it be second to that.” Over the next couple of decades, the Baltimore and Ohio and dozens of other railroads would crisscross the country, carrying the Industrial Revolution out West and supercharging the American economy. The heaving growth had everyone struggling to keep up — not least the state and local officials who had to figure out how to tax railroads and other far-flung enterprises with assets in a large number of jurisdictions. The railroad barons wanted to keep it simple: Slap a levy on the rails that run through your county — so much tax, for so much iron — and leave it at that. But over time, tax authorities took a more expansive view. You can’t just consider a piece of track in isolation, they argued. You’ve got to see it in context. You’ve got to see it as a critical part of a larger system. That local piece of track is connected to another piece of track, which is connected to yet another. Together, they shuttle cargo and passengers all the way to Chicago — making the railroad far more valuable than the sum of its parts. Ultimately, the Supreme Court sided with the tax collectors. Destroy a short stretch of track, the court reasoned in an 1875 ruling, and you bring the whole railroad to a standstill — damaging the system’s value “out of all proportion to the mere local value” of the rail and ties. The only thing to do, then, was to calculate the overall value of the railroad and divide it into discrete chunks. If the stretch of track in your county comprised 1 percent of the railroad’s length, it would be assigned 1 percent of the overall value of the railroad — and it would be taxed accordingly. It’s an approach accountants call “formulary apportionment,” and it’s still in wide use today — with state authorities using sales figures and other data, rather than railroad tracks, as a guide. Experts say the same model could be applied to international taxation. If Apple sold half its iPhones and laptops in the United States, then half of its profits would be subject to the American corporate income tax. Simple as that. With apportionment, it wouldn’t matter where a corporation put its money. Apple could stash its billions in a shell company on the island of Jersey or in a bank account in Jersey City. It’s the geography of consumers, not cash, that would control. That makes the system much harder to game, says Kimberly Clausing, a Reed College economics professor. You can ship all your money to an exotic isle at the stroke of a pen, but “you can’t move all your consumers to Bermuda. Consumers are pretty sticky. They stay where they are.” Of course, summoning the political support for this kind of change would be a challenge. Deep-pocketed corporations would fiercely guard their prerogatives — they’d be obligated to. CEOs have to seek maximum return for shareholders, after all. And powerful allies in Congress would undoubtedly stand by their side — particularly in the tax-averse Republican Party. But the GOP is not in lockstep on this issue. Earlier this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan pushed a plan, known as the border-adjustment tax, that would curb tax havens much as formulary apportionment would. Ryan called it the “smart way to go,” pitching it as an America First-style proposal that would remove “all tax incentives for a firm to move. . . their production overseas.” In the end, the speaker backed off the proposal in the face of opposition from corporate interests and other GOP lawmakers. But Clausing says she was encouraged to see House Republicans seriously consider it And she can imagine the next American president — Democrat or Republican — folding an apportionment-style proposal into trans-Atlantic trade negotiations with the European Union. “It’s the kind of thing that [French president Emmanuel] Macron and [German chancellor Angela] Merkel would be really into, because they’re losing a lot of revenue to [tax shelters like] Ireland and Luxembourg,” she says. Together, these world leaders could sell apportionment as “a trade plan that works for the people,” Clausing says. And an agreement between the United States and the European Union would force other major economies like Japan to adopt the idea. Otherwise, Japanese companies could dodge domestic taxes by stashing money in New York or Berlin, knowing that bulging bank accounts in those cities would be immaterial to American and European tax collectors. Again, in the United States and European Union, the geography of the financial institution would be irrelevant. It’s one of apportionment’s biggest selling points. The system doesn’t require a grand agreement by every country on earth. A couple of powerful nations, or blocs, could essentially force it on everyone else. GOVERNMENTS CAN only tax what they can see. And the wealthy individuals who stash their fortunes overseas — hedge fund managers, pop stars, and the like — have done a remarkable job of concealment. It’s very difficult for officials to know whose investments are buried in which anonymous trust. Zucman, the UC Berkeley economist, has called for a sort of radical transparency around personal wealth — an international registry recording the true ownership of every financial security. It may sound like a far-fetched idea. But as Zucman notes, there are several privately held registries in place already. Here in the United States, for instance, the Depository Trust Company records every sale of a security issued by an American company. The idea is to combine the scattered registries, and use them for the public good. An international registry would undoubtedly raise privacy concerns, even if access was restricted to government officials. But Jeffrey Winters, a political scientist at Northwestern University who studies economic elites, says it’s hard to justify the continued secrecy around investment income when we have such elaborate systems for monitoring the pay of ordinary citizens. “You or I could move 10 different times, to 10 different states in the United States, and have 10 different jobs, and at the end of that year, the IRS would know every penny we made,” he says. Of course, it’s easy to imagine impediments to an international wealth registry. Are Swiss bankers, who make their living protecting the identity of clients, really going to turn over information on who owns what? But national governments could pry the information loose if they wanted to. And Zucman points to an American law — the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, signed by President Obama in 2010 — as a model. The measure requires foreign banks to automatically share information with the IRS on American clients — everything those clients are holding in their accounts, and the income they’re earning on the holdings. The key, Zucman argues, is that it’s automatic. The IRS doesn’t have to name specific clients or show cause for suspicion — preconditions that have neutered previous efforts at information-sharing. The agency just gets the data routinely. And if foreign financial institutions refuse to provide it, they face a steep penalty: a 30 percent tax on income from US sources. The law has significant drawbacks. Some banks, eager to avoid the law’s strictures, simply refuse to serve Americans, visiting real inconvenience on US citizens with legitimate reasons to open accounts overseas. But when it comes to the central question of disclosure, early indications are good. The United States has won the formal cooperation of most of the world’s tax havens and financial institutions, Zucman writes (though it’s still to be seen if that will translate into on-the-ground compliance). And just as important, the law has spawned a wave of global disclosure rules — a new, international campaign to unlock the secrets of the mega-wealthy. In this case, at least, the sort of worldwide cooperation on tax evasion long dismissed as utopian fantasy looks like a real possibility. It’s not entirely clear, though, that this vision of a Washington-led crackdown will pan out. While the United States insists that financial institutions in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands turn over information on American clients, it has proven reluctant to share its own bank information with other countries. The United States, in other words, is resisting the global rules it inspired with passage of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. That resistance is fast turning America into the sort of tax haven it has long deplored. Money that once sat in Swiss bank accounts or shell companies in Bermuda is now migrating to lightly regulated states like Delaware and Nevada, which offer secrecy and stability in exchange for a steady stream of corporate registration fees. “How ironic — no, how perverse — that the USA, which has been so sanctimonious in its condemnation of Swiss banks, has become the banking secrecy jurisdiction du jour,” wrote Peter A. Cotorceanu, a lawyer at a Zurich law firm, in a legal journal. “That ‘giant sucking sound’ you hear? It is the sound of money rushing to the USA.” If the European powers hope to quiet that sound, they may need to get tough with the United States, just as the United States got tough with them — backing up their new rules with stiff financial penalties. And that may be the central lesson here: Shutting down tax havens is less a question of mutual cooperation, than of mutual confrontation.