Janet Yellen Tells a Lie

IRS Tracking of American Transactions

Remember back in the day when Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, straight-face and nonchalantly lied to Congress about spying on the American people? For those that don’t, well here you go:

Thanks to the bravery of Edward Snowden and the great work of Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian US won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing this lie. Greenwald’s book, No Place to Hide, reveals all the details.

Now that we all remember, let’s contrast James Clapper’s lie to a statement made by US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, earlier this week. Yellen was interviewed by CBS Evening News to discuss the US proposal to track all bank transactions above $600. When asked if this proposal means that the government will “peak into our pocketbooks,” Yellen responds,

“Absolutely not. I think this proposal has been seriously mischaracterized. The proposal involves no reporting of individual transactions of any individual.”

Yeah, where have I heard that before? See the proposal for yourself here on page 88. It says (emphasis in bold),

“This requirement would apply to all business and personal accounts from financial institutions, including bank, loan, and investment accounts, with the exception of accounts below a low de minimis gross flow threshold of $600 or fair market value of $600. … The Secretary would be given broad authority to issue regulations necessary to implement this proposal.”

They snuck this little tidbit in, too, because they fear the competition of a decentralized money:

“Similar reporting requirements would apply to crypto asset exchanges and custodians.”

Yellen continues to assure us that only bad tax-cheats will be tracked, not the common man:

We have a tax gap … a shortfall in the amount the IRS is collecting due to a failure of individuals to report the income that they have earned. … there’s a lot of tax fraud and cheating that’s going on. And, all that’s involved in this proposal is a few aggregate numbers about bank accounts: the amount that was received in the course of a year; the amount that went out in the course of a year.

Uh huh, right.

At the end of the CBS interview clip the correspondent makes the statement that according to the Whitehouse, American billionaires pay an average tax rate of 8.2%. To put this into perspective, let’s do a simple napkin calculation. Supposedly, Jeff Bezos earns $56,516 every 46 seconds which equates to annual salary of ~$39 billion dollars (now, I may have screwed up the math on that one, so send me some hate-mail if I’m way off). So again, just for the sake of perspective, 8.2% of Bezos’ estimated annual earnings is $3.1 billion dollars. And that is just from one billionaire.

Yellen’s reaction to the 8.2%?

“Yes, it’s extremely low. … It’s unfair and it’s something that we need to remedy.”

The US has over 700 billionaires. Apparently, the US government still needs more money. Perhaps they need the money to “liberate” more Libyans.