Is personal privacy the same thing as terrorism? You’d think so, based on some of the legislation now going through Congress. Take tax havens, for instance. Tax havens are countries where you enjoy a little lower tax rate and a little more privacy.
Before the horrific events of 9/11, the Bush Administration didn’t really favor the idea of an international crackdown on international tax havens. Plenty of other officials here and around the world did favor such a crackdown, though, but not because they were trying to stop terrorism. I mean, come on. Just because you care about your privacy, that doesn’t make you a terrorist. But some lawmakers in the Congress are using the current crisis to obscure such fine doctrinal points. They are lumping so-called “money laundering” provisions in with legitimate anti-terrorist measures. These tacked-on provisions would clamp down on international tax competition and make it easier for countries so inclined to hike their taxes.
What’s it to you? After all, maybe you’re pretty sure you won’t be affected by any of the new legislation, however ill-gotten it may be. The problem is, once that door is open, it’s very hard to close. Other forms of privacy that you regard as more important may be next on the chopping block. Maybe you’re at risk already.
Our representatives shouldn’t be deviously violating our trust by tacking controversial legislation onto bills that pertain to something else altogether . . . especially when it’s life and death. And you never know, earning the public’s trust might come in handy someday.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.