EDITOR:This is in response to the letter on July 14th's Opinion Page, "Just a distraction," regarding Mitt Romney's investments.
Having an offshore bank account is a fundamental part of international diversification.
Offshore banking gives you a way of having part of your wealth outside of your country, so that you never risk having one government freeze or confiscate all your assets.
A point worth mentioning is that offshore banking is not about hiding your money from the tax man, it is about diversifying your sovereign risk.
Investment groups use Cayman entities to avoid double taxation of capital gains for foreign investors. It is not in any way depriving the U.S. IRS of any money it is entitled to. There is no "hidden" money in this. Ask any corporate attorney that knows about fund formation. There is no tax evasion that comes from this, and there is no undeclared money in these Cayman funds. This is allowing international investors to invest through a single Cayman entity as opposed to investing through hundreds of foreign companies.
Most Americans do not resent their presidents for being wealthy. Of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln - three are among our top five wealthiest presidents.
George Washington had a net worth of $525 million. Jefferson was worth $212 million and Roosevelt, $125 million. (Lincoln was worth less than $1 million.) Our richest president was John F. Kennedy, worth about $1 billion. The fifth-richest president was the "friend of the common man," Andrew Jackson, who was worth $119 million. (These figures, taken from The Atlantic in May, measure wealth in today's dollars.)
All of these presidents were pretty popular, ordinary folks not holding their wealth against them. Today, however, things are different.
Without their ability to divide people into classes by race, by sex, by religion or by class, then set the groups against each other, the congressional Democrats would have very little to campaign on. The primary message from the Democratic party right now is wealth redistribution from people who earned it to people who did not, using class hatred as the engine to drive it. Romney's paid all his taxes, reports his offshore assets, breaks no laws, but he must be evil, because the Democrats say so.
Plain and simple. This is a non story. What Romney has done/is doing is 100 percent legal. It also proves that he is a successful man who knows how to manage his finances.
So yes, this is a distraction. A distraction from record debt, record high deficit, record high unemployment, record number of people on food stamps, record number of people at poverty level and record high number of foreclosures. For the first time in history our country's credit rating has been downgraded.
But the rich should be hated and vilified, unless of course, when Obama needs campaign cash from them.