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King Features Column

(As a,ways the syndication means this column appears here a week after its newspaper release)

       CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
       Let’s not waste time with the usual preliminaries and instead get right to the brass tacks. Or, in this case, taxes, because taxes are behind this latest brainstorm: It is time for the United States to annex Switzerland, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and those other countries whose main industry is hiding dirty money. Yes, I’m sure the naysayers already are coming up with their piddly negatives, but imagine the positives.
       Consider how collecting normal taxes on all those hidden funds would help the U.S. put a dent in its financial problems. “How obvious,” you’re exclaiming, “Why didn’t our political leaders come up with it?” What’s really amazing is that Mitt Romney didn’t think of it himself, since he has squirreled away some of his own fortune in these secret havens. How much? We don’t know. He ain’t telling.
       By now you’ve gotten accustomed here to inspired approached instead of the usual predictable dithering. Who can forget innovations like auctioning off naming rights to federal buildings and monuments, turning the Capitol’s audience galleries into corporate loges and making Guantanamo Bay an exclusive high-priced condominium, a true gated community?
       Now, add this to the list: Simply take over those nations that are disreputable havens for wealth and tax evasion.
       I know. It’s not that simple. They might not really love the idea, but hey, even though our leaders have so irresponsibly stretched our military, there should still be enough left in the tank to move in. Or we can accomplish the same result in the conventional way: a banking merger. No sweat.
       More problematic would be the opposition from our own rulers, by whom I mean the very Americans who stash their hoards, the ones who control most of the United States government and are trying to buy the rest in this year’s election. Look how their front man Romney raised $100 million in June. And that doesn’t count all the unreported cash coming in to the private shadow groups that support him.
       However, the hoarders suddenly are going public. They’re complaining that they aren’t getting who they paid for. They have trotted out their apologists and advocates to trash Romney for looking “confused, in addition to being politically dumb,” as it was put in The Wall Street Journal editorial page, otherwise known as the right-wing bulletin board. The paper’s owner is Rupert Murdoch, who seems to have switched from hacking to tweeting. He weighed in on Twitter with his own complaint that Mitt is in trouble unless “he drops old friends from the team.”
       That’s a refrain being sung a lot on the conservative side: Romney is being poorly handled by his campaign staff, which should be gutted. It’s an intriguing prospect, because it brings up the possibility that he would find replacements in the way he has so many times before: He would outsource.


       Lost in all the staff firing talk is the realization of the hardscrabble elites: They really have a weak candidate. They are nervous about his flip-flopping on whether Obamacare has a “tax or mandate.” Like Mitt back-stepping is something new.
       They worry his 59-point economic plan just doesn’t have enough pizazz. The truth is, it’s really a two-point plan: The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.
       They worry he isn’t effectively championing their pursuit of even more privilege along with policies that give them more free rein to abuse. Witness the dangerous criminal activity of pharmaceutical companies and bankers, like those who manipulate interest rates. If Romney doesn’t do better, they might even have to start paying their fair share of taxes.
       Certainly they will have some quibbles with the proposal to bring their secret overseas repositories into the U.S. fold, but if something more realistic isn’t done to stop all their abuses, that takeover will be nothing compared with the corporate takeover of America.
       © 2012 Bob Franken
       Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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