One of the first questions that should have been asked, but wasn't, when the Treasury Dept. last month said it had a great new scheme for the IRS to collect $700 billion the next decade, is: What happened to Obama's 2009 scheme to collect $210 billion?…
Answer, 5 months later: Silicon Valley/Chamber o' Commerce wasn't having most of it:

"The Obama administration has shelved a plan to raise more than $200 billion in new taxes on multinational companies following a blitz of complaints from businesses."…
That left the crackdown on individuals, known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act. Or FATCA, because Washington is run by Very Serious People.

FATCA forces foreign banks to rat out information on American customers to the IRS. No, really:…
Close your eyes and guess how foreign banks might respond to an order from the IRS to either divulge Americans' bank info or cough up 30% of the relevant accounts. Oh yeah, they started canceling U.S. accounts. Immediately.…
But it wasn't just the narc-ification of banks, it was the INCREDIBLY burdensome new financial reporting requirements imposed on any Yank with $10,000 parked abroad. Do it wrong, and they can fine you $100,000, and even send you to prison. This, too, had predictable results.
1) Panicked about punishment, expats (many of whom are dual citizens who've never lived or worked in America), "voluntarily" paid fines on belated tax filings they never previously knew they had to file, even though those filings revealed no tax liability.…
2) Bewildered, record numbers of U.S. citizens began turning in their passports rather than deal with the annual proctology exam:…
And yes, those citizenship-revocations continue to set records; the pandemic just slowed the paperwork awhile:…
Now, remember Obama's $210 billion promise of newly discovered tax revenue back in May 2009? FATCA, the only thing that came out of that, was supposed to produce $8.7 billion, or $870 million per year. Not much, but at least some. Did it deliver? Nope!
“The actual amount of tax collected by FATCA is statistically insignificant....FATCA has probably generated $300 million extra tax revenue a year that otherwise would go unreported…[though] this figure will continue to decrease."…
See also this Inspector General report:…
And this GAO assessment:…
So what is Biden proposing in his Obama-on-steroids alleged closing of the alleged "tax gap"? Well, read it yourself, though make sure to note the title:…
The gist: Onerous 3rd-party financial reporting is no longer just for expats, and no longer just for assets. It's a “comprehensive financial account reporting regime” to “report gross inflows and outflows on all business and personal accounts." PayPal, crypto, you name it.
Is this a good place to mention that the brazen, unilateral requirements the U.S. imposes on global banks it refuses to reciprocate when, say, the EU wants data about tax havens in Florida and Joe Biden's Delaware?…
Anyhoo, Janet Yellen wants to reassure you that: "For already compliant taxpayers, the only effect of this regime is to provide easy access to summary information on financial accounts and to decrease the likelihood of costly 'no fault' examinations." Nothing to hide, no problem!
My conclusion: At some point, the reality of Washington governance, and the coverage thereof, requires a reassessment of the idea that invasive new financial-snooping schemes sold with facially unattainable revenue promises are in fact "well-intentioned."
And if you want to see how badly the proving ground of FATCA has already messed with the lives of people not rich enough to afford stress-free compliance, read & follow the links here:…
Folks, hold onto your financial privacy. They're coming for every institution and platform you use.


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More from @MattWelch

20 Feb
It was a hard question for Kamala Harris to answer, too:
Initially, it was not a hard answer for CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to answer.…
But then she was given the speaking-in-her-personal-capacity treatment from White House spox Jen Psaki.…
Read 6 tweets
3 Feb
Yes, that “Reality Czar” idea in the NYT was mockworthy. Still, those ideas are bouncing around among the people who have more power these days, so let’s work through them one by one.…
1) Truth & Reconciliation Commission? Those are found almost exclusively in countries that have suddenly transitioned from authoritarianism, with brand new laws, and an urgent need to deal with past crimes, property appropriation, & massive civil service change. This ain’t that.
2) Putting a government agency at the heart of capital-T Truth proliferation/adjudication? Politicians and agencies and governments are structurally incentivized to lie, and/or consider plenty of competing interests besides literal veracity. C’mon, man!
Read 5 tweets
2 Feb
Yes, Biden has been walking back and re-editing his open-the-schools-within-100-days vow ever since he first said it.…
I wrote a week ago about "the fundamental untenability of his—and teachers unions'—position." Namely, that they're reopeners rhetorically (in order to sound responsive to FURIOUS parents), but where it counts they're just pumping out money with no strings.…
Congress has already thrown $69 billion in extra Covid-relief money to K-12 schools (on top of the DOE's $40 billion outlay each year). Biden wants another $130 billion in his first relief bill. Unions want the money...and no strings attached. Parents want the nightmare to end.
Read 10 tweets
24 Jan
I grew up listening to the best radio in the world. Chick Hearn, Vin Scully, Dick Enberg, Jim Healey, Gary Owens, Jim Ladd, Machine Gun Kelly, Rodney on the ROQ, Dr. Demento. The one guy who probably broadened my horizons more than any other? Larry King.
He had this show syndicated on the Mutual Broadcasting System, came pretty late on weeknights in SoCal. I just got my brand spanking new digital clock radio--my most prized possession, by far--and this show, man, it went on for like 100 hours EVERY NIGHT.
There'd be a guest to talk for an hour or two--unless it was Danny Kaye, Sandy Koufax, or Francis Albert Sinatra; they'd get the full run. But otherwise after the guests left it was Open Phone America, where he'd do his trademark. "Dubuque! Hello!" For hours, every night.
Read 9 tweets
23 Jan
When Hank Aaron came up to the big leagues in 1954 at age 20, the stolen base was pretty dead as a weapon. A great athlete and smart ballplayer, he stole just 20 bases his first 6 seasons. Then Maury Wills came along, and he was all, "Really?" Then averaged 22 SB from 1960-68.
Hank Aaron hit 77 triples his first 10 years in the bigs (1954-63).

Since 1964, only 46 players have hit more than 77 triples in their entire careers. Not Barry Larkin, not Ryne Sandberg, not Mickey Rivers.
Kirk Gibson in 1988 won the MVP while racking up 6.5 Wins Above Replacement, 6th most in the NL. I would have given it to 1st-place WAR-haver Orel Hershiser (7.1), but it wasn't a bad pick.

Hank Aaron had more than 6.5 WAR every year from 1956-69.
Read 7 tweets
22 Jan
A point worth elaborating: "decisions about hiring and firing are rarely as simple as they appear to outside observers with an ax to grind, so there may well be more going on here—though the statement from Taylor seems to eliminate much of that ambiguity"…
In my experience, outsiders (including journalists) describing personnel decisions of which I have tangible knowledge of almost always get it significantly wrong, due to the routine asymmetry of candor between parties who have a career-altering disagreement. That's important!
Even public-facing statements that seem to confirm the basic Narrative can be misleading, if the management involved is using a transgression as a convenient excuse to do something they had long wanted to do. The more a place is managed or PR'd badly, the more likely that is.
Read 6 tweets

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