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Sunday, March 15, 2009

G20 in a G200 World - Stopping Future Global Ponzi schemes

It is time for a global solution to a global problem - the current economic cliffhanger.

The world's richest nations, the so-called G20, are meeting to do a lot of talking but not much doing to fix the mess.

The Bernie Madoffs and the Allen Stanfords can set up and operate Ponzi schemes, using places like Antigua as a haven, because there is no global financial structure. There are no checks-and-balances. Offshore banking, as it exists today, allows tax fraud, drug dealers and Ponzi operators to thrive.

I've been to the Cayman Islands and seen the small brass plates on doors that are supposed to represent a legitimate offshore company, but that's all of the company you'll see. It is nothing more than a small brass plate. If you pay the corporation fees the offshore corporation is the key to an offshore bank account. U.S. companies have been using it as a tax dodge without even moving their headquarters. How patriotic is that?

All offshore accounts really do is cheat the American taxpayer who is paying his or her fair share of taxes. Those setting up offshore accounts aren't paying anything. Instead, they are using these vehicles to hide income (or Ponzi loot) in places like the Caymans or one of the dozens of other havens around the world. They are also convenient for drug dealers to hide their money. They serve no useful purpose in legitimate business since Americans are taxed on their worldwide income (the British only tax income generated in the UK).

There needs to be a world financial system that is connected, instead of the current non-system consisting of no rules. In the old days, the bank robbers escaped the Sheriff by riding over the border into Mexico; now they do it by going to Liechtenstein, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Caymans, etc.

What someone needs to say is that it is time to grow up and realize that a G20 in a world of nearly 200 countries needs to become a G200 -- in which we have worldwide standard international rules that make it difficult for international criminals and drunk Wall Street hedge fund operators to play games with the stability of our economic system.

It is part of the AIG problem as well - when our own executives are so blind to reality that they pay millions in bonuses to the same people that got us into this mess, and after taxpayers have floated them billions. These people are not irreplaceable. No one is. They created this financial 'black hole' of global scale.

I once heard about a Chinese saying that goes something like: "You have to kill a monkey to scare the chickens." Or in other words, to prevent more bad behavior some heads need to roll at AIG (not to mention GM and others).

Only seeing some real punishment will make others pause from writing themselves checks with taxpayer money, especially when they were the ones helping creating this global train wreck...

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