Why don’t you trade your political career against one in banking, Mr Obama?

In an act of revenge on Swiss banks facilitating tax crimes of US citizens, US president Obama reaches out to foreign governments, not realizing that all they do is punishing innocent individuals who have so little in common with the crimes of UBS as the US president with Bami Goreng.

When I moved overseas years ago, one of the first letters from Switzerland was that of my bank back home telling me that from now on I needed to pay five Swiss francs (approx. 5 USD) per month for costs that the bank incurred due to my new domicile. ‘Oh well’, I thought, ‘probably a thank you for doing e-banking ever since it existed’. It’s true that data transfer to overseas might take longer and will thus require a better subscription…
Time went by and instead of donating to some NGO I consequently contributed my yearly give-away to some Swiss bank. Not long ago I however received a letter from my bank explaining that the US 5.- per month would increase to US 30.- per month and that all Swiss living overseas would need to sign two letters confirming that the bank was allowed to share all my personal information and bank details with Mr Obama and his colleagues. Outrageous about the discrimination (the rules only apply to Swiss citizens with domicile overseas), I got in contact with my bank.

‘The reason’, so I was told, was all a consequence of some corrupt UBS employees facilitating tax crimes in the US. The US government, in an act to cash in on the situation[1], used the momentum to sign agreements with other governments that would allow them to steal whatever information their ‘secret’ services wouldn’t have already anyway. And some of the contacted governments, weak and lame enough not to protect the innocent, signed the agreements in order to safe UBS, Credit Swiss and all the criminals owning and governing those corrupt organizations (and of course also their savings in those banks). One of the first to appear in Washington and shake hands with Mr Obama was the Swiss federal minister Madame Widmer-Schlumpf. ‘We can live with it’, commented the finance minister her deal that would save the existence of UBS and Co. and thus prevented the criminal managers and banks from facing punishment.

The Swiss government had all interest to save UBS. A few years before, in 2008, it had pumped 6 billion Swiss francs into the giant, supporting it when the bank had liquidity problems due to other dirty deals and unjustified speculations. Widmer-Schlumpf didn’t think it was wrong to use tax payer money to support a filthy bank. Not in Switzerland, where ‘everyone’ has a nice home and a good job due to the lovely banks, as the myth goes[2]. A look into the shareholder list of UBS shows that only 18.7% of shares are hold by Swiss citizens or entities, later probably holding most of it. Nevertheless we tax payers had to support the rotten bank that regularly pays big bonuses to its management – most of it tax free, of course.

No doubt, there are many more crimes that UBS and Co. have committed against the interests of Switzerland and the majority of its citizens. However, all that doesn’t count. Not for Obama and not for the Swiss government. What really counts for them is that the US cashed in on the crimes and that both governments can create employment, best in the form of more bureaucratic institutions. Given that Obama, Widmer-Schlumpf and Co. don’t pay for the bill and in light of the fact that government employees will not be affected from the consequences of these lovely new rules[3], trading country and its citizens against the possibility to further bank in offshore accounts, as the rich and members of the Swiss government prefer to do, was as easy as bailing out UBS with tax payer money.

The moral of the story is that criminals never pay for their crimes, that banks always blame others for the mistakes they committed and that our governments are so far from meeting their commitments in regards to sustainable development and citizens’ rights, that it would be better if they did what they are best at. Alternatively they might still become bankers, Mr Obama, where the burden of short-minded actions will be carried by others.

[1] Right, wasn’t capitalism the panacea for all US struggles ever since the republic has been established?

[2] Which in quality is no better and no worse than that of William Tell.

[3] Swiss government representatives overseas such as employees of embassies and consulates are not affected and won’t need to provide any information on their bank accounts.


About blaubear

Born in 1973 in a small village in rural Switzerland and into a society largely dominated by cows (not only was the human population of one-hundred-and-forty outnumbered by them, but politics were driven by unreasonable subsidies for diary products) I was connected with nature from early age on. Observing nature on one hand and the deficiencies of a dysfunctional Swiss agricultural policy with farmers that had lost connection to the land that provided their income on the other, I soon started to question society and the meaning of life. Suffering also under a farcical public education I developed curiosity to discover on my own. That was how I soon learned that little of what I had been taught was true. Skepticism and interaction with people from for me new cultures fostered my interest for the world and eagerness to leave a life shaped by federalistic layman-ship. At the age of twenty-three I hit the road for the first time, an event that later translated into passion. Traveling between cultures has since become part of my life. At the age of thirty-three I finally realized my dream and did a degree in Environmental Engineering from which I graduated in 2009, only to leave Switzerland once more for my "real home" Spain. Unfortunately, the stay was a short one: a couple of months later I was offered a job in Southeast Asia, where I worked and also lived (with some interruptions, e.g. I live in Melbourne since late 2012) ever since. Having worked for a Japanese company earlier in my life, I soon felt captured again by Asian culture and thinking which makes a lovely contrast to my European heritage. My journey through different countries and cultures has taught me that regardless of how different our thinking and values are, no matter what approaches we take, we all can learn from each other. And if we are open enough to see the common instead of pointing out the differences, then we have a chance to live in harmony and peace: Life is all about integration, not exclusion! It's an old wisdom that "knowledge is power", as such I never get tired of being around new people, having interesting talks, and reading lots of good books. I hope that my blog can contribute to the conversation.
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One Response to Why don’t you trade your political career against one in banking, Mr Obama?

  1. Pingback: Europe and the financial mafia – a love affair | Ideas for a greener environment, a fairer society and a future driven by sustainability

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