Heritage experts expose abuse of financial privacy

Heritage experts Norbert Michel and David Burton have been busy working to ensure your financial privacy is secured from foreign countries through their work exposing the current abuse of financial privacy in the United States.

Their work was recently highlighted in a piece by the Washington Times which stated:

In an excellent report, “Financial Privacy in a Free Society,” Heritage Foundation scholars Norbert Michel and David Burton detail the ongoing abuses of the basic right of financial privacy in the United States and elsewhere.

Mr. Michel and Mr. Burton provide extensive data demonstrating that the attack on financial privacy by governments is largely a waste of money — many billions spent to obtain few and very costly convictions.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has been pushing for an information exchange agreement, whereby the U.S. would, as Mr. Michel and Mr. Burton note: “automatically, and in bulk, ship private financial and tax information — including Social Security and tax identification numbers — to nearly 70 countries,” many of which are hostile to the U.S.

According to their report Financial Privacy in a Free Society, Michel and Burton explain that private citizens are at risk of harm due to the collection and dissemination of their private financial information by the U.S. government–including seizure of personal assets without conviction.

This systematized trespassing upon basic privacy rights is largely due to stringent money laundering laws that are meant to stop criminals. These laws are largely ineffective and exorbitantly expensive. Enacting these laws cost around $7 million per conviction for a total of $4.8 – $8 billion annually, according to Michel and Burton’s work. More often than not these laws harm innocent citizens rather than hurt the criminals at whom they are directed.

Michel and Burton’s report details not only the importance of financial privacy rights and the magnitude of threats to these rights, but also suggested policy reform to deal with the identified issues.

Read their full report>>

Do you believe the United States should be sharing the private financial information of their citizens with foreign countries? Why or why not?

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