The New York Times had a story, “Tax Inquiry? Principality Is Offended:”
After weathering days of criticism from Germany over a spectacular tax evasion case, Liechtenstein — sometimes seen as the inspiration for the satirical novel from the 1950s about a tiny Alpine principality that declared war on the United States — is digging in for what may be a prolonged battle to defend its lucrative tradition of banking secrecy against what it views as attacks from a giant neighbor.
Of course, Germany, and the other large nations would like to pretend this is about fraud, not competition for business. They’d like the smaller nations to harmonize their tax codes, and prevent the messy chaos of having to compete on their laws. Countries such as Liechtenstein offer alternatives, and act as a brake on the unfettered invasions of privacy that otherwise intrude on all our lives.
This isn’t about Liechtenstein above all others, it’s about diversity. It’s about diversity in approaches to taxation leading to diversity of choices. It would be stereotyping to assert that the orderly Germans or the bureaucratic French don’t like Liechtenstein solely because it’s different. Really, it’s because few governments have any appreciation of, or love for liberty.
Governments and their employees focus on their goals and their (always enlightened) rules. This isn’t about Liechtenstein putting itself above others, but allowing people to put their own self-interest ahead of that of the functionaries and bureaucrats.
Some chaos emerges, and we think it’s a fine thing.