UBS agrees to deal with the devil

I revoke my previous apology to the Swiss, and reiterate my previous disapproval.  As evidenced by the latest outcome in the U.S. tax case involving UBS, we have moved beyond troubling and into something much worse.

...the world’s largest wealth manager in terms of assets, agreed to pay a $780 million fine and disclose information about some of its clients to settle a landmark U.S. tax case.

As I said in my older post: “In direct contradiction to their own legal view of tax evasion.  Even though some may argue that this is moot because the U.S. does not consider a financial transaction as something beholden to privacy rights, the Swiss do–and besides, the U.S. view is wrong.  A person’s financial records should be considered as sacred as their medical records.”

And with an eye toward history, let us not forget:

One issue of the time that reinforced the passage of this law [Swiss Banking Secrecy Act] came during the era of Hitler when a German law stated that any German with foreign capital was to be punished by death. Swiss banks were watched closely by the German Gestapo. It was after Germans began being put to death for holding Swiss accounts that the Swiss government was even more convinced of the need for bank secrecy.

Reading the comments on left-leaning blogs, you hear cheers and a tinge of jealousy about the whole thing.  No matter if UBS did or did not help people avoid U.S. taxes, I cannot read this without envisioning a slippery slope argument.  If the current climate continues, it won’t be too far-fetched to imagine laws like that of WWII Germany criminalizing and imprisoning people for choosing where to put their own money.  And I won’t even mention the new Treasury Secretary. Oops