The William Tell Initiative: For When the Swiss Have Had Enough
"So why this attack on the Swiss? Many here question the superpowers' motives. The aim is not honest taxation and fairness, they believe, but an attempt to weaken the Swiss finance industry -- to get rid of an inconvenient competitor. The U.S. and the EU, people are saying, are waging economic war on Switzerland.... Under its new president, America is drifting to the left. The indebted Western states need money. They will take it by force. Through attacks on independent low-tax countries like Switzerland, the battleground is being laid for a wave of expropriation and taxation. It is not good news for the world when the last oasis of freedom is turned into a desert." – Roger Koppel, editor of the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche
Switzerland today is just as much of a target by outside nations and desperate political leaders seeking to advance their economic blackmail and attack on private wealth as was the threat of military invasion earlier in the 20th Century by Hitler's Nazi Germany. The EU, US and German goals today concerning Switzerland are similar to German military plans during both world wars as well as the Soviet Union during the Cold War. They seek to deny the right of the Swiss people to choose for themselves their national economic and banking policies designed to enhance financial freedom and Swiss prosperity.
Switzerland has long been an irritant to pushy governments everywhere. The country's availability and reliability as a place to store wealth undermines the power of foreign governments to exploit their own citizens. That chronic irritation may help explain the brazenness of officials in neighboring Germany in pursuing people who cross the border to leave a few euros or Swiss francs in a welcoming Swiss bank.
Does History Repeat Itself?
Now in early 2010, we hear, the German government will employ rent-a-thieves. Finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble tells us that he plans to buy the names of German holders of Swiss bank accounts that may be stolen from time to time by dishonest bank employees or anyone else enterprising enough to get his hands on such intelligence. If you find it repulsive and frightening that a government would routinely solicit crimes, and against its own citizens, you're not alone. As a general rule, people who run governments will do anything to stay in power. Germany's rent-a-thief program is a sign of how desperate its government is today for the revenue that holding on to power requires.
Germany was also in a similar situation 67 years ago in 1943 after the fall of Stalingrad and the Allied invasion of Italy. Hitler had already denounced the Swiss repeatedly as "despicable and wretched," "misbegotten," "renegades," "repugnant," and "a pimple on the face of Europe" which "cannot be allowed to continue." Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister had infamously screamed in his historical February Sportpalast speech to the German people, "I ask you: Do you want total war? If necessary, do you want a war more total and radical than anything that we can even imagine today?" Germany was making preparations to invade Switzerland. Today, there is no military threat but rather bankrupt foreign nations are waging an economic war against Switzerland and the William Tell Initiative I propose below can bring quick victory to the Swiss nation.
My thought is maybe Switzerland should declare total economic war against the foreign leaders and financial competitors out to destroy the Swiss economy and financial industry and declare its solidarity and support for productive, hard working savers and investors around the world. The William Tell Initiative and the creation of a Financial Asylum Program would do just that and end the economic war against Switzerland.
The William Tell Initiative
Now may be the time for a new Swiss initiative referendum to force the political establishment looters in America, Germany, France and Italy to retreat from their threats toward Switzerland and the secure wealth of their citizens banking in Switzerland. We all know the legend of William Tell and how his bravery against earlier political thugs back in 1307 helped to create an independent Switzerland. You can read all about the legend of William Tell here.
I believe just the threat of an initiative being proposed like the William Tell Initiative will guarantee Swiss independence and security today in the 21st century just as Swiss armed neutrality in World War II, defended Switzerland from Nazi invasion as illustrated in Stephen P. Halbrook's "Target Switzerland."
Only the direct democracy and decentralized confederation government of Switzerland allows citizens to initiate and create legislation and laws through the initiative process. These initiatives at the federal level need to collect 100,000 valid signatures within 18 months, and must not contradict international laws or treaties. Usually the Swiss parliament creates a counter-proposal to an initiative, leading to a multiple-choice referendum. Very few such initiatives pass, but often, the parliamentary counter proposal is approved with similar language to the people's initiative thus following the will of the Swiss people.
The Initiative & Referendum Process
In Switzerland, the people still rule their government through the political right and elective process of initiative and referendum. The people of Switzerland can also express their outrage and dissatisfaction with cheerleading politicians and governments of other nations attempting to blame Switzerland for their own political ineptitude and economic failings.
Switzerland is a proud and prosperous nation with political and economic freedoms envied by liberty loving people around the world but these freedoms are feared by corrupt politicians and governments as an example of good government. I'm proposing a political initiative which would send a clear message to the political elites of outside nations to leave Switzerland alone and let the people and government of Switzerland decide their future without threats and blackmail. Outside foreign leaders would do well to get their own collapsing economic houses in order before giving advise or threatening the people or nation of Switzerland.
Switzerland has said no before to the politically correct foreign politicians who threaten and attempt to coerce Switzerland through their right of initiative and referendum. Now I'm not suggesting shooting arrows at politicians like William Tell but rather at the wealth these foreign governments are trying to steal. For example, the initiative should offer every foreign account holder in Switzerland who can prove their funds came from legal activities the right to ask for financial asylum in Switzerland in a procedure similar to the process for Switzerland's political asylum program.
A Swiss Financial Asylum Program
The cost would be a one-time Swiss initial wealth tax of 30% of an applicants worldwide wealth and future taxes at normal rates paid by foreigners and Swiss citizens working in Switzerland should the applicant decide to relocate in the future to Switzerland. The applicant could receive a Swiss permit to live in Switzerland etc. but there would be no requirement to do so. The other requirement would be the wealth would have to be domiciled with Swiss financial institutions inside of Switzerland.
Understand the initiative doesn't even have to pass. Remember the Swiss political establishment can't control or stop a referendum as was the case recently in the Mosque Minaret Ban which was passed despite resistance from the Swiss financial industry and their political establishment.
Just international publicity about this initiative campaign should force the foreign nations mentioned above to pull back or else their naked aggression and harassment of Switzerland could create a backlash which could make the potential legislation law within 18 months. Imagine, the wealthiest, productive people in each nation moving their wealth to Switzerland in preparation for the passage of the initiative and future legislation. Trillions would move from high tax, wealth confiscation nations, from US treasuries, banking and investment institutions to Switzerland. So the William Tell Initiative does not involve shooting arrows or threatening politicians but rather the Swiss crossbow would be targeting the wealth managed by foreign financial competitors who have actually created the economic war against Switzerland to advance their business growth and profits.
The one time "voluntary wealth tax" should give foreign investors in Switzerland the opportunity to decide now or in the future whether to take advantage of a financial asylum program which would provide trillions in revenue for the Swiss federal government thus making Switzerland the most secure nation in the world economically and financially and allowing Swiss federal taxes to drop substantially for Swiss citizens. As a benefit to the foreign governments who join and support the Swiss Financial Asylum Program by holding their citizens harmless in perpetuity, these governments should receive 50% of the proceeds of the initial wealth tax and 50% of all future Swiss Federal and Cantonal taxes levied on these funds. Everyone wins, Switzerland, the foreign nation, the individual involved and true tax and investment service competition is created between the individual, their home nation and financial service competitors worldwide.
Switzerland Has Defeated Foreign Adversaries Before
I will begin today to contact my friends in Switzerland to see when the planning for the William Tell Initiative can begin. Foreign nations and political leaders would do well to end their threatening behavior toward Switzerland, curtail the economic war against the competing Swiss financial industry and give the Swiss nation and people the proper respect and gratitude this neutral, prosperous nation deserves on the world stage. Many times in the past, previous aggressive empires and thieving political leaders have threatened Switzerland but the ultimate outcome has always been the same. The Swiss have won and the foreign aggressors get their just reward.
Victor Hugo said, "In history, Switzerland will have the last word". You don't have to take my or Victor Hugo's word on this. Read your history and see what happened to Hermann Gessler after William Tell got his righteous revenge at the far left or the consequences for the more recent twin dictators, Hitler and Mussolini when they wanted to conquer the Swiss.
Free-market capitalism, Investment services and tax competition as well as competing regulatory jurisdictions will be a positive influence for individual liberty and economic prosperity around the world. The alternative attempts by Washington and Wall Street, London and Berlin to protect national financial monopolies using political threats and coercion is doomed to failure in our new, internet connected 21st Century world. This is a warning to Washington, London and Berlin. Tear down your walls against financial competition, free your citizens to prosper with fair taxes and a respected regulatory environment or suffer the consequences of former tyrants and Swiss adversaries.
Posted by Herbert Haemmer on 03/22/10 10:53 PM
Great article - and a great initiative indeed! While the 30 wealth tax rate may sound exorbitant at first glance, it will not when you consider the following: Transferring one million USD or SFR into an account in Switzerland and paying 30 tax on it is far less than the share these crooks and tax cheats here in the USA will confiscate out of that same million ....
my guess is it will soon be eighty percent! Who do you think will pay for the 16,000 additional IRS agents they're hiring each month? Perhaps for the poorer folks like me, who do not have that million, there should be a somewhat smaller percentage of tax levied on that retirement savings account?
Let's grow that nest-egg together Helvetia, to our mutual benefit! I amall for the Wilhelm Tell Initiative, even as a German, who finds the actions of our current government despicable. Keep up the good work!
Posted by Christopher Mathew on 03/22/10 12:03 PM
I fully agree with your article and it is high time that the inefficient and corrupt governments in the countries around Switzerland stop acting like bully boys and get their own houses in order. If they were not wasting taxpayers money, they could lower taxation and be better off.
I very much like the concept of giving investors the opportunity to move their funds to Switzerland but perhaps a 30 wealth tax may be a bit too high. A 20 once off wealth tax would be more acceptable to potential investors and still be attractive to Switzerland.Lets get on with it.
Posted by Ken on 03/22/10 12:15 AM
My wife is Swiss. Her father created custodial accounts when my children were born as well as for his 27 other grandchildren. Last year I got checks in the mail, liquidating the accounts because they had a beneficiary living in the USA. Along with a letter explaining the John Doe lawsuit from the IRS. I didn't even know the accounts existed! Now I feel my kids are treated as potential criminals by Hapsburg IRS. Yeah, I guess the Swiss-Germans are pretty tough when they get going...
Posted by Ken on 03/21/10 11:36 PM
I bet the Swiss intelligentsia will not have the cojones to stand up to this modern day Hapsburg assault. I feel like writing a request to Pres. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela that he include a demand in his hour-long diatribes, the names of all Venezuelan citizens that have a bank account in the USA. Quel horreur! And Pat Robertson will repeat his statement that someone should "take him out".
Reply from The Daily Bell
The German-Swiss are pretty tough when they get going. Also, Switzerland is an astoundingly powerful country in terms of the world's wealth it has amassed.
Posted by TMoore on 03/21/10 09:25 PM
Dear Mr. Holland:
Why, especially, would you tax incoming capital at all? 30!
Maybe ,03. Also, I share grave reservations with, among others, a goodly number of your readers about the recent collapse of UBS under the weight of the very powers you propose to thwart.
God deliver the Swiss, but...
Posted by Paul on 03/21/10 01:43 PM
Gentlemen: I just read about William Tell from your link in the article. I must admit, all I knew about him was something about shooting an apple off his son's head back in the day. After reading the story, I believe I have a new hero! HE IS THE MAN!
Posted by Paul on 03/21/10 12:02 PM
To JF's point, "the US is still the last bastion of freedom", maybe true today, but, not tomorrow. One must look forward to where the US is heading: communists and socialist have taken over and will destroy the country. The politicians have realized that they can bribe citizens with their own money and will be in power for a long time. In the years to come, 30 tax the Swiss want will be a bargain! Count me in! I've been looking into becoming a Swiss citizen for about a year now....
Posted by Robert Marchenoir on 03/20/10 06:06 PM
As a Frenchman, I warmly approve of such an idea. I have myself recently peppered various parts of the Swiss Internet with the name of William Tell, in order to encourage a bit more backbone against the current Swiss-bashing which seems to be all the rage around the world right now.
I'm sad at the Swiss giving in so easily to all those governments which have not been able to emulate Switzerland's political and economic virtues.However, you can't be serious about your proposed one-time 30 wealth tax on new expatriate funds. Did you mean 0,3 , by any chance ? Thirty percent is an extortionate amount, vastly exceeding the rates practiced in those countries which still have a wealth tax... including Switzerland, as far as I know. You need to change this before circulating the idea.
Posted by Ronald Yancis on 03/20/10 02:31 PM
Are you people crazy? A 30 tax on my Assets or Net Worth makes you no better than the Germans, Brits, or Americans. Tell the Swiss to get real, you can get watches and chocolate anywhere, and it doesn't cost thousands. Their real estate costs too much, and their singing sucks. In the US we went to war with England for a 3 tax on tea. Get reasonable, afterall, the swiss franc is no longer backed by gold, only hot air.
Posted by J Ferreiro on 03/20/10 01:40 PM
The 30 tax seems exorbitant. I think that the US is still the last bastion of freedom, mainly because of its size. A war is being fought now in the USA between the elites and with some of the people who have awakened to the loss of significant freedom in this century. The outcome is far from certain but a significant battle will be waged tomorrow with the healthcare vote. I wish the Swiss well but the USA remains the last, best hope of this world for those who love freedom.
Posted by J E Lineback on 03/20/10 10:34 AM
Brilliant David and Goliath strategy, alongside William Tell! I am very interested and anxious to hear more...
Posted by Ronald Yancis on 03/20/10 09:44 AM
Tell the Swiss to get on with it. The way they handled the latest threat was a joke and handled poorly. Unfortunately, the Swiss are now not trust worthy as they buckle under pressure. I do hope they step up and do these things that you suggest. Overall, not impressed with the Swiss.
Posted by Clarence F Sills on 03/20/10 07:34 AM
Sir: This is not a comment on your interesting article, but a practical request: I have often wanted to see the entire panorama of the photo whose edges peek out coyly from the sides of your text box. Is there a way readers could (temporarily) zero out the text box to enjoy the tantalizing beauty of the photo? If not, would you consider asking your webmaster to install an appropriate tool for this purpose? Thanks for you stimulating and intelligent commentary.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Posted by Gunter on 03/20/10 07:06 AM
How I would love to be Swiss.