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UK Pursues Tax Evaders Using Stolen Bank Details 315

Andrew Smith writes "The UK taxman (HM Revenue & Customs) is reportedly using a stolen list of bank details to pursue wealthy individuals with off-shore accounts. The list was stolen by an employee of HSBC, and gave details of the bank's customers with money in Swiss accounts. The bank employee fled to France, and the authorities there passed the details on to the UK tax collection agency."
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UK Pursues Tax Evaders Using Stolen Bank Details

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  • by SupremoMan ( 912191 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @02:05AM (#33701476)

    If the government somehow steals something, it's alright!

  • by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @02:06AM (#33701478)
    The government spies steal data all the time - it is what they do. The author of this article must be very young...
  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by publiclurker ( 952615 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @02:17AM (#33701526)
    By keeping you mean not paying your fair share for the very society that you exploit for your own serf serving gains. Unless you are posting from a place with no government like Somalia, you are nothing but a spoiled four year old in a supposed adults body. why don't you go back to your room while the adults try to fix the mess your incompetence and greed have caused.
  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Valacosa ( 863657 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @02:20AM (#33701536)

    You're right. Taxes are evil and useless. Everyone knows that the infrastructure which enables modern civilization, like roads and plumbing, are paid for with leprechaun gold.

    And the military to defend that civilization is created with pixie dust.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SupremoMan ( 912191 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @02:24AM (#33701544)

    This hard earned money is not your to begin with. It's not even real! It only has value because of the government. How much would one dollar be worth if the government didn't exist? If there was no one watching the boarder, and anyone can come from any shitty country and steal it from you. If there was no police protection your beautiful house would only be worth as much as the window a gang of criminals smashed to get inside, and loot it; proceeding thereafter you kill you and rape your family. Or how much would your stack of bills be worth if no one regulated inflation, and overnight it wouldn't buy you a loaf of bread? (See Zimbabwe)

    Not everything government does is great, or even good. But they do enough good to make it worth it. That's why all first world countries with high standards of living have large governments that collect taxes, and not Somalian-style fiefdoms. So no they are not trying to keep their hard earned money, they are stealing from everyone else.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2010 @02:34AM (#33701574)

    And despite losing a larger percentage of your income, you're still richer than everyone else. Yawn. Call me when the top marginal tax rate again hits 90% as it did in the 1930s. Maybe then I'll worry about your plight.

  • by johanatan ( 1159309 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @02:36AM (#33701588)
    But, information wants to be free!
  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2010 @02:37AM (#33701592)

    However, we lived in a fucked up world where the harder you work and the more successful you are, the more you're punished and you lose an ever increasing percentage of your income.

    Are you referring to the Working Class who can't afford Creative Accountants, lawyers, political lobbyists, and secret "off-shore" bank accounts?

  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @02:52AM (#33701640) Journal
    It's not "stolen" according to the definition in the Theft Act, so it's not receiving stolen property.
  • Cool! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ebonum ( 830686 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @03:17AM (#33701708)

    This means that evidence gathered illegally is admissible!
    Get a confession by torture. No problem.
    Illegal wire tap? This never was much of a problem in the US.
    Taking pictures of police engaging in illegal activity where photography is banned. The judge won't throw out the evidence.

  • by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @03:18AM (#33701710)
    The IRS has a blog about this, and you can report some one. http://irsmostwanted.blogspot.com/2010/07/hsbc-clients-with-asian-accounts-said.html [blogspot.com]

    This is similar to the recent IRS action against USB, the big Swiss based bank. USB was actively involved in smuggling assets out of the US, including telling people how to get diamonds and then putting them in toothpaste tubes to get around customs. http://gswlaw.com/irsblog/2009/08/31/ubs-whistle-blower-gets-40-month-sentence/ [gswlaw.com]

    These tax cheats are scum sucking pigs. The high end ones have huge amounts of money and they still cheat. Can you afford to buy diamonds to smuggle out of the country? Remember, people with six figure incomes pay less then the rest of us because they get taxed at capital gains rates, which can be as low as 15%. Real working people pay around %30 or more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_gains_tax#United_States [wikipedia.org]

    When these greedheads duck out on taxes, the rest of us have to pay a lot more. This is on top of all the custom tax breaks that big corrupt corporate players have put in the law by buying legislation. The ballooning deficit in the US is due to tax cuts for the ultra rich, not because taxes are too high for the remaining 99% of the population. The right wingers who say otherwise are lying weasels, and if you believe them then you are weak minded and like having your pocket picked by the rich.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2010 @03:27AM (#33701736)

    You do NOT have the right to someone else's money.

    And yet you have no problem using infrastructure and all manner of stuff that you didn't pay for. I have never seen anyone say the above, and actually practice what they preach.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @03:32AM (#33701750)

    You do not that the police are reactive, not proactive don't you? That it has been determined (in the US anyway) that the police have no obligation to protect an individual? That the vast majority of burglaries go uninvestigated? That modern police forces have existed only since the middle of last millenia, and that the concept of private property extends far before that? You realise that the situation in Zimbabwe is caused by the government printing new notes, that fiat currencies depending on the stability of government are relatively new, and have been preceded by millenia of stable currency based on natural scarcity?

    Some government services are necessary; taxes to support them are necessary. And a fraction of the taxes that are collected actually go towards paying for those necessities.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2010 @03:35AM (#33701754)

    Holy shit you're a rim job.

    Shut the fuck up unless you actually want to argue against what he said. Seriously, slashdot, stay classy.

  • Stolen? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @03:51AM (#33701788)

    If this was about any other data, like mp3, it would be called a copyright infringement.
    If this would be data that the government was hiding, it would be called "Freedom of information".

    Don't forget that the tax evaders willingly committed fraud.

    I understand that people do not like paying taxes, but that does not mean it is OK to use illegal ways to go about it. These will be big accounts. And if they did everything honestly, there should be nothing to worry about as the tax men already have the information.

  • Re:Cool! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @03:59AM (#33701810)

    This means that evidence gathered illegally is admissible!

    How? Information about where the stolen taxmoney is located isn't really evidence of tax evasion. Actual evidence of tax evasion would be the actual offshore account itself. At worst this should be viewed as a breach of privacy.

    Get a confession by torture. No problem.

    Not the same thing. Let's say you torture a guy to find the money, he'll say anything, but if he doesn't actually have the money, all you'll get is lots of useless information about where it isn't. Which won't help you find the actual money, since the guy doesn't know.

    Illegal wire tap? This never was much of a problem in the US.

    Depends whether the taped phone conversation itself is being offered as evidence of wrongdoing, or whether the information is used to find the actual money offshore, and then that offshore account is used directly as evidence of tax evasion.

    Taking pictures of police engaging in illegal activity where photography is banned. The judge won't throw out the evidence.

    Don't know what this has to do with tax evasion.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2010 @04:05AM (#33701830)

    Actually, if you understood the theory behind money and had some knowledge of economic history, you'd know that governments have zero control over money.

    You obviously never heard of China.

  • Re:Cool! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @04:05AM (#33701832) Journal

    This means that evidence gathered illegally is admissible!

    No one has been arrested or prosecuted based on this information, nor will they be. What this information does is separate those who are evading their taxes, versus those who are not. That makes large-scale investigation vastly easier by directing you at targets. I'm willing to bet the authorities can prove tax evasion by everyone involved without actually using the leaked HSBC information in court...

  • Re:That's Why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @04:13AM (#33701850) Journal

    In Canada it take 4 people to pay for the job of 1 civil servant. It's probably around 6:1 in the US

    Well I would certainly hope the government doesn't have a tax-rate of 100%, which would be necessary (in most cases) for 1 person to pay the salary for 1 civil servant...

    government makes no money, it creates no money, all it does it take and spend another persons.

    Government isn't supposed to "make money". It's supposed to provide the services we all need to survive, and aren't efficient to provide on an individual basis. I'd sure like safety, but I can't really afford my own private police force. International trade is nice, but I can't afford a navy. In so much as providing safety and stability CREATES MONEY, most governments do exactly that, with your taxes.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @04:17AM (#33701864)

    "Oh, Bill Gates makes more money, so we'll take some of his and give it to AC so that AC can buy the things he wants without working to earn the money for them"

    That's an interesting bias you have. You do realize that Bill Gates doesn't actually earn his money either? He built a company, and it's the people in that company who earn his money for him today. He just owns shares. So in a specific sense, he's actually doing what you're accusing the AC of doing.

    Maybe you'd find it easier to accept that you have to pay taxes if you think of them as shares that the government owns in your labour.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @04:18AM (#33701866)

    Actually, if you had any knowledge of how an economy functions, you'd understand that any money you earn is because around you is a stable society with stable laws and stable government. In other words, the money you earn is at least partially due to other people working to provide you with the environment in which you can earn that money. Which in turn means that they are entitled to a share of your money, because without them, that money could not be earned in the first place.

    It's amazing how people think that their success is completely independent of their surroundings, yet never move to Somalia or Chechnia.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poptones ( 653660 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @04:25AM (#33701882) Journal

    OK, let's take away the roads, the electric utility subsidies, the OIL THAT RUNS YOUR CAR and is subsidized by WAR, the police that keep the neighbors from stealing your shit when you leave the house, and see how many of those dollars you earn...


  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ebonum ( 830686 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @04:43AM (#33701932)

    But the person who stole the data was paid by the government. That makes him an agent of a foreign government in Switzerland. He was paid by the government ( French government ) for his work.

    If he was in the US, stealing data from Bank of American for France and being paid millions of dollars for the theft, he would be an agent of the French government. As such, he could be arrested in the US for failing to register as an agent of a foreign government.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @04:49AM (#33701944) Journal

    Your snotty dismissal ignores the fact that government is not the only means for building roads or plumbing.

    Which is why those government-less places around the world - like Somalia - are renowned for their vast networks of well-maintained roads and plumbing. I hear ya!

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @04:58AM (#33701976) Journal

    governments have zero control over money

    If they can print it, they, in-fact, have practically unlimited control over the currency. No magic will prevent the printing of extra currency from causing inflation. And if they stop printing more, you get deflation.

    There have been plenty of instances where the citizens of a country refused to use the governments official currency

    Indeed. And it's pretty much always been because that the government was abusing their (above) control over that currency. And what do they use instead? Some OTHER GOVERNMENT'S currency!

    I don't think I've read a single news article about a country gaining more freedoms

    That's either selective amnesia or observation bias. Laws are changing all the time. There's always someone gaining more freedom, somewhere. As a big one, Gay rights in the US marches on, in the past few days the US military has been forced by court order to re-instate an open lesbian.

    And let's not forget that everyone in the history of the world that has lived long enough to become an old man has bitched and moaned about how the world is getting worse. You just call it "less freedom" and pretend that makes your complaints more legit than my old man complaining about how cars are built... Rose colored goggles in full-force.

    For a long time the US had both the highest standard of living AND the lowest taxes and smallest government.

    Well, if you're talking about the Regan/Bush years, the government was BIGGER, not smaller, and the economic policy undeniably drove the economy into a downward spiral, causing the highest levels of unemployment in history, which even the current recession hasn't entirely matched in all aspects. Standard of living certainly declined.

    However, I wouldn't really call that "a long time". Other than that, the most recent period of low taxes I can see is the 1910s and before.

    I would also like to point out that, as far back as Thomas Jefferson, and up through today, every US politician that has campaigned on "smaller government" has turned themselves into a liar almost immediately upon taking power, and grown the government. Decreases in government size have always been accidents, with unfortunate consequences.

    It's actually been proven several times throughout history that higher taxes and bigger government almost always leads to lower quality of life

    You may be able to selectively cite some cases where tax increases coincide with lower quality of life, but overwhelmingly, those countries with the highest tax rate do indeed have the highest quality of living.

    It doesn't matter if a politician passes a law saying it's ok for person X to steal a certain amount from person Y because person Y makes more money - it's still person Y's money and no one else has the right to it.

    If not for the government, person Y would be making no money at all. Otherwise, they'd just move to some failed country, start their own police force, and continue to make obscene amounts of money without being taxed... Guess what? It's the governments that create those stable economic markets person Y is (effectively) exploiting to generate their wealth.

    Saying YOUR government is violating your right by taxing "your" money, is a bit like saying the casino is robbing you by not allowing you to break into the slot machine... Those trying to get out of paying taxes are merely trying to be on the most profitable end of the prisoner's dilemma...

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rmstar ( 114746 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @05:01AM (#33701982)

    No, if you had an IQ over 5, you'd notice that the necessary programs are ones that are best provided by government (such as roads, because it's too much of a hassle to have priviately owned roads) and ones that everyone equally has access to. Unnecessary ones are ones that serve no purpose but to take money from person A's wallet and put it in person B's wallet. However, you're a greedy bastard who thinks that you should be able to steal all you want from people just because they worked harder and have more money than you.

    The problem with your view is the definition of "necessary". Is it necessary to keep people in hardship from drowning in their tragedy? Same thing for programs that are best provided by government. Healthcare seems to be one, for example, and a good argument can be made for education to be in the same category. One can even make an argument that giving enough money to poor people to guarantee a minimum of quality of life is a great way of mitigating public health and crime problems.

    Your tone of discussion ("if you had an IQ over 5...", "you're a greedy bastard...") does not have the effect you may have intended.

    However, unlike you, I understand that just because my life sucks it doesn't give me the right to steal money from other people to get treatment.

    Most people think paying taxes so the state can help people like you is a great idea, and do not consider it theft. Who is going to help you when the shit hits the fan if it is not us, your fellow humans?

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khallow ( 566160 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @05:04AM (#33701994)

    This hard earned money is not your to begin with.

    So I "hard earned" for somebody else? Perhaps you ought to look up the meaning of the word "incentive".

    It's not even real! It only has value because of the government.

    Money has value only because the society not government chooses to recognize the value of that money. As long as that situation holds, money has real value.

    Not everything government does is great, or even good. But they do enough good to make it worth it. That's why all first world countries with high standards of living have large governments that collect taxes, and not Somalian-style fiefdoms. So no they are not trying to keep their hard earned money, they are stealing from everyone else.

    Nonsense. Somalian-style fiefdoms are government too. Look I recognize that governments are an integral part of the modern infrastructure of laws, physical infrastructure, education, etc that makes up a modern society. But they aren't the sole part. And I'm also aware that governments can waste society's resources when they take too much and spend it on self-serving and/or useless purposes. Treating it as "government does enough good" to rationalize this sort of thievery is in itself destructive to society. There's several good reasons to consider the money and the resources a person buys with that money as things owned by that person. First, it's accurate. These goods would not exist without the direct actions of the person. Second, it's fair. Nobody else directly worked to earn those wages and whatnot, so why should they have a claim of ownership to them? It doesn't mean you can't tax them to pay for legitimate infrastructure, we're merely speaking of ownership.

    Third, ownership implies first claim to use of the good or resource. If government owns my income, my stuff, and me, then they have claim over me to what can be done with those things and myself. That's the sort of foolishness that killed hundreds of millions of people last century. One does not trust governments with that sort of power because we have a long, long history of grotesque abuse of that power when it was present. I suppose you could claim that any government has that power de facto, but that claim would be in error since the democratic First World governments do not have first claim to ownership of people or their assets.

  • by dintech ( 998802 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @05:09AM (#33702010)

    Hmm, yes, 'stolen'. This kind of thing smells more of backroom dodgy dealing between HSBC and the UK government. It gives HSBC plausible deniability but the government gets them to comply with what they've been asking for all this time.

  • by Peeteriz ( 821290 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @05:16AM (#33702020)

    It's not an illegal copy, as all copyright laws and treaties allow making copies for court purposes without needing permission from the author.
    And in any case, it would be perfectly possible for these governments to pass a special law about usage of such data, stating whatever usage rules they like.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @06:58AM (#33702246) Homepage Journal

    Obviously a gov't needs taxes to function.

    The question is this: what is the proper function of a government and how much should it be allowed to spend on that function?

    An income tax allows a government to grow beyond its proper function and thus to increase in size all the time.

    Suffices it to say that current US federal gov't budget has increased by a factor of more than 2 since the year 2000. So the amount of gov't function has increased, or more correctly stated: US gov't is spending more than twice as much money today (4T USD) as it was spending 10 years ago (1.7T USD).

    How is that good for anybody in the country, except for those closely related to the gov't structures that the gov't system is spending twice as much money now, as it was spending 10 years ago, while the actual economy is so much worse, which the trade deficit shows (about -26B USD/month in 2000, to about -45B USD/month in 2010 and BTW, it did reach -70B USD/month a number of times in between.)

    Before the year 1913 US federal gov't was collecting tariffs and sales taxes, half of which came from alcohol, by the way. The Income taxes implemented in 1913 really only hit the top income brackets, and the taxes were in the order of 1-1.5%. The rest of the population wasn't paying income taxes, and the Federal gov't was fairly small, really not very significant. All of the infrastructure, be it roads, bridges, police, fire etc. were really a local issue, as it was supposed to be by the Constitution of the US.

    Note that the USA is a unique country (I was born in the USSR, which also was a 'unique' sort of a country, but I prefer the US uniqueness, the way it was implemented from the beginning, not the way it is now), it is unique in that it has a Constitution that LIMITS gov't powers instead of limiting personal Freedoms.

    Do not forget that the liberties, the freedoms, the rights of people are not supposed to be stated specifically in the Constitution of the USA. In fact by design the people of US had all the Freedoms and the Constitution limited the Congress in how it could limit/take Freedoms away from the people. Indeed the very idea of 'amendments' is an unfortunate one, because many people do not understand that amendments are not listing their Freedoms in the USA Constitution. There should not have been any amendments at all, they are confusing the issue for many, people already have the Freedoms and amendments give some a belief that those are the only Freedoms they have (the ones listed.)

    The Constitution founders realized that gov't needs money to function, so they allowed the Congress to implement taxes, but unfortunately they did not limit the types of taxes that could be implemented. The income taxes are clearly a violation of the spirit of the rest of the Constitution, as they require any person to disclose their private information: what they do, how they live, etc. to the gov't and so it became after 1913 that the gov't decided it really OWNS the people's lives, their income and they GIFT to the people whatever part of income it desires.

    So that's a problem, because it simultaneously destroys Freedoms that people have and it allows gov't to grow as much as it desires, and it desires to grow.

    Obviously the sales taxes are the way to go because it does a number of great things:
    1. Allows people to keep the Freedoms they must have.
    2. Allows people to keep their income and invest it in the manner they so desire, and that's the best way to move economy by letting people save and savings are the key to have economy moving. Not debt but savings, because savings are necessary to start new businesses.
    3. Limits the size of sales taxes because if the taxes are too high, people spend less and this is an automatic feedback system, that controls the size of the gov't.
    4. Limits the functions of the gov't to those, that people are clearly allowing it to have by paying for them.
    5. Prevents the gov't from destroying the economy by distorting the market forces and by creati

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:16AM (#33702278)

    Taxation is, essentially, legalised theft, just as most of our governments are, essentially, legalised mob rule.

    Creating a false definition doesn't make a point. If I say that air is essentially dry water, that doesn't mean it's going to quench your thirst.

    If the government send me a bill which covers all the goods and services I receive from the government - roads, education, keeping of law & order, defence etc. ANd I choose to pay it, then clearly there is no theft. Just a bill which has been paid.

    If you choose not to pay it, and the debt is forcibly extracted from you, then the word for that is distraint, not theft.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @07:47AM (#33702326) Homepage

    There are a great deal fewer successful people in those countries for exactly that reason. Move there and see how easily all (not just a fraction) of your hard-earned money gets taken from you.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @08:12AM (#33702374)

    I accept your analogy.

    If you stay in the hotel, you pay the bill. If you don't stay in the hotel you don't pay the bill.
    If you stay in the country, you pay the taxes. If you don't stay in the country you don't pay the taxes.

    You are free to stay in a cheaper hotel, with less services, if one will take you.
    You are free to stay in a cheaper country, with less services, if one will take you.

    What you don't get to do is stay in a 5 star hotel/country and pay the bill of a one star hotel/country.

  • Re:Cool! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2010 @08:37AM (#33702478)

    Actually, in that example the information (that Dr. Evil had a diamond illegally) was gathered legally. The police didn't commit a crime to cause the information to come out, a 3rd party did. A 3rd party that the police are legally investigating as part of their job.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lazareth ( 1756336 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @08:44AM (#33702498)

    Society. Look it up. You're not your own kingdom and even if you were are we to be your slaves? Why should we talk to you, since you obviously want nothing to do with the rest of society? Or are you promoting a society where macho alphas constantly try to club each in fear of being clubbed back, because any resemblence of organized protection has gone down the drain because noone wants to pay for it?

    Counter my argument with "but we'll pay for protection!" and I'll laugh, because from there we could go on to cover more and more until you got the modern society you despise and loathe so much. Taxation is paying for that society and the mutual goods. Since nobody likes a dictator serving himself we're trying to organize around a democracy to best judge what is needed. That may not work perfectly and in varying degrees fail somewhat, but thus far it is the best we fucking got. So until some better solution for governance shows itself we just got to stick with it instead of being crying 4-year olds who want everything and supply nothing.

  • Re:That's Why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xyrus ( 755017 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:49AM (#33702840) Journal

    You're right. Instead of an elected government creating the jack-booted thugs you have un-elected private corporations creating the jack-booted thugs. I can see how that is so much better.

    What, you think companies never employed their own mafia-esque type practices? You think companies, who's only goal is to make money, would never rape the public for their own personal good? You're either really naive or you haven't read up on history.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:56AM (#33702876)

    Which is why those government-less places around the world - like Somalia - are renowned for their vast networks of well-maintained roads and plumbing. I hear ya!

    But on the plus side, Somalia stil has plenty of private "military". And they will still take property off you of course. You just won't get roads or plumbing in return.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @11:20AM (#33703408)

    In the UK the tax take isn't particularly high now either. In fact it's lower than at any time under Thatcher for example.
    http://www.adamsmith.org/a-history-of-tax-freedom-day/ [adamsmith.org]

    And the same empty threat of rich people leaving if overtaxed applies here too. It's rather reminiscent of the dire predictions that the National Minimum Wage would cause mass bankruptcies in some industries, and widespread unemployment. It did nothing of the kind. A decade later it was city bankers that fucked up the economy and caused those effects.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @05:08PM (#33705406)

    Cite, please. For one thing, why is the US policy the only non-national one you consider relevant, and for another, by what metrics is it considerably less efficient than the UK's NHS?

    It's pretty straightforward. The US healthcare system costs 2.5 times more per capita than the NHS, and yet unlike the NHS leaves a large proportion of the population without any health care. The reason? 2 main things. There is a vast amount of administration in handling insurance - the NHS avoids all that by treating everyone. The second is that a vast amount of the healthcare spend ends up in profits in the pockets of the healthcare company owners. The NHS being public doesn't pay for those leeches.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @05:41PM (#33705578)

    One day, one of you might get that big chance and have a great career and realize that when you're on the receiving end of legalized rape that it's not cool. Oh, and before you scream about how I'm "rich", hardly - I grew up poor, worked my ass off, and now I make a whopping $30k a year (though I just started grad school, so hopefully after I graduate in a couple of years, I'll be making more than that).

    Make no mistake, I never imagined you were a high earner. Nor did the other poster that answered you. Your lines of thought always come from low to moderate earners who imagine one day they will suffer from the tax system. You are Joe the Plumber. Not very intelligent nor worldly wise and ready pray for Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Mathematically better off under a Democrat tax regime, but too stupid to recognise it.

    Warren Buffet and Bill Gates on the other hand are number 2 and number 3 of the richest people in the world. They are no more Marxist than I am, but they recognise as I do that redistributive taxation is good, and that the richest are not currently taxed enough.

    This message will annoy you. But recognise for yourself, it is quite true.

  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @06:25PM (#33705910)

    The information may have been merely copied, but it is being used to facilitate actual theft in the form of taxes.

    Taxes aren't theft. They are a perfectly legal and justified redirection of some of society's economic activity to its maintenance. I, for one, am quite happy if some rich assholes who are trying to weasel out of paying their share get caught and forced to pay what they owe the rest of us.

    Libertarianism is pathetic in general and this particular argument is the amongst its most stupid ones. Grow up.

  • Re:Two Wrongs. . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:31PM (#33707494) Journal

    If the police somehow obtains evidence illegaly (e.g. through burglary), that will be prosecuted separately.

    Does this ever actually happen? In the US, there have been serious arguments against the exclusionary rule, on the grounds that the police should and will be punished separately for their acts. In practice, they never are, and those advocating against the rule on those grounds are either extremely naive or are simply being disingenuous.

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine