Every so often, you get a “teaching moment” in Washington, and we now have an excellent opportunity to educate lawmakers about the “offshore” world because President Obama’s nominee to be Treasury Secretary has been caught with his hand in the tax haven cookie jar.
Mr. Lew not only invested some of his own money in a Cayman-based fund, he also was in charge of a Citi Bank division that had over 100 Cayman-domiciled funds.
As you can imagine, Republicans are having some fun with this issue.
Mitt Romney was subjected to a lot of class-warfare demagoguery during the 2012 campaign because he also invested some of his wealth in a Cayman fund, so GOPers are hoisting Lew on a petard and grilling him about the obvious hypocrisy of a leftist utilizing – both personally and professionally – a jurisdiction that commits the unforgivable crime of not imposing income tax.
In a sensible world, Lew would say what everyone in the financial world already understands, which is that the Cayman Islands are an excellent, fully legal, tax-neutral platform for investment funds because 1) there’s no added layer of tax, 2) there’s good rule of law, and, 3) foreigners can invest in the American economy without creating any nexus with the IRS.
But we don’t live in a sensible world, so Lew instead wants us to believe he’s a moron and that he didn’t realize that funds were domiciled in Cayman.