The latest example of rich Americans betraying the troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq is the report that they avoided $100 billion annually by hiding income and assets off shore. The most recently exposed hiding place is Lichtenstein. The Financial Times plays up the German connection, but many Americans were caught in the operation as well, many of them working through the Swiss bank UBS.

It would be interesting to know how many of these rich people who hate America are Republicans and how many Democrats. I would guess most of them are Republicans, since rich people tend to be Republican, and since rich Democrats tend to be more willing to pay taxes to support do-gooder stuff like education and health care, if not to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Republicans have their shills like George Will, Charles Krauthammer and Fox News, who rail at the government and shout for free enterprise, which really means, “Let me keep all of my obscene wealth to myself! Let my neighbor starve and freeze in the dark!”

The Republicans say they love America but hate the government — the petty, little bureaucrats who do the everyday stuff like monitor statistics, send out policy notices, etc. Reagan’s famous statement was something like, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” But if you hate the people who work for the government, you essentially hate the government. The Republicans have tried to get around this by hiring private-sector contractors to do as much as possible. They pay their buddies in these private firms much, much more than a bureaucrat would make, and their buddies in return make generous political contributions to Republicans. See Sen. Ted Stevens, or Cong. Tom Delay, or Cong. Duke Cunningham, or Jack Abramoff, or many other corrupt examples! It’s a nasty, unethical, little arrangement.

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