Panama launches new permanent resident visa for 22 nationalities
Good news for freelancers, international business owners and people working in the transport sector: Panama has launched a new type of permanent residency visa which is probably one of the easiest obtainable residence permits in the world. Anyone who can prove to have some kind of economic relationship with Panama and can boost a five figure bank statement or other means of solvency can apply. Applications must be filed through a lawyer and the waiting time is currently nine months, but that is only a minor inconvenience.
The list of ‘friendly nations’ who are eligible for this type of visa includes: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, United States and Uruguay.
President Martinelli, who himself is a second generation Italian immigrant, has already approved a similar arrangement for Italian citizens.
Although Martinelli’s reign has been stained by corruption scandals and human rights violations against the indigenous population, his international orientated economic policies have increased the standards of living for the vast majority of Panamanians as well as the large expat community. Last years’ economic growth was the highest in the world at 10.6%.
The advantages of having residency in Panama are clear: Panama only taxes income made within the borders of Panama. Any foreign income is completely exempt. As the new decree (PDF
) does not contain any requirement on how much time is spend in Panama, it is perfectly suited for 21st century international professionals.
Please contact us if you like to know more.
The Fourth Reich
After the narrow defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy by Francois Hollande, France is in for another round of big spending government heroin. A lost opportunity just as Sarkozy, by no means a fiscal conservative, seemed to see the light. During his campaign, he even replied to Hollande’s calls for a ‘European growth pact’, a euphemism for ‘Let others pay the bill of our welfare state’, that “The only way for France to recover control over its destiny is to repay its debts.”
All over the EU it appears that the people of Europe do not want austerity. In Greece extremes on both sides of the political spectrum made massive gains during last month’s elections. While everybody was upset about the victory of the far right party Golden Dawn, a more moderate anti-EU sound was completely ignored: the Independent Greeks
The Dutch government fell in April over so-called austerity measures that were more about tax increases
than anything else. The plan was still adopted by a make-shift coalition of the ruling conservatives and Christians with support of several left-wing parties. Elections are planned for September and again the extremes on the left and right are likely to be rewarded.
Political pundits view the French election results in the same light: the general populace is sick and tired of austerity measures. However these commentators are misguided: what is passed on as austerity does nothing of the sort. Reducing a budget deficit under 3% does nothing to reduce government debt. It merely reduces the speed by which it increases. A rapport
form the European Commission shows that from 2007 to 2012 only one out of 27 EU member states reduced its government debt as percentage of GDP: Sweden. The average budget deficit among Euro states is proposed to fall from 4.3% last year to a ‘mere’ 3.5% of GDP in 2012. How this can be sold as austerity baffles common sense.
Yet it becomes slightly more understandable given the fact that tax rates have steadily increased in the entire European Union since 2007. It is the pain of increased taxation and the economic downturn that is falsely associated with the word austerity.
The growth of government is directly linked to the economic crisis. According to EU statistics
, average government budget to GDP ratio in the EU surpassed the 50% mark for the first time in 2010. In other words, the EU is now 50% planned economy and only 50% free market.
But politicians all over Europe have refused to take responsibility by reigning in government spending, and instead have opted to outsource their bill to Brussels. The result is the most monstrous EU institution ever created: the European Stability Mechanism. This unelected, unaccountable European institution can demand unlimited funds from any Euro state in order to help another.
Instead of ruling over national budgets, politicians will soon engage in a European game of musical chairs, where every country will have to compete for ESM funds. Just like the game, at the end of the day there won’t be anything left to take; it will be just as horrible a sight as the Eurovision song festival.
The treaty that oversaw the creation of the ESM was formulated in such a way that it bypasses referenda in most Euro states, similar to rephrasing the rejected European Constitution into the Lisbon Treaty. Yet the ESM has not yet been ratified. Again Eurocrats have cleverly bypassed democratic checks and balances. Where the Lisbon Treaty still had to be ratified unanimously in order to be enacted, the ESM treaty only has to be ratified by countries representing 90% of paid-up capital: it could only take four or five countries to ratify the ESM in order for it to be launched.
As it stands now, only France and The Netherlands have surrendered their sovereignty. Ireland is to hold a referendum
this week, and another one should they give the wrong answer. Germany, by far the biggest ESM contributor, has yet to ratify it. Since it is seen as a constitutional issue, the ESM will need a two-third majority in both houses of parliament. Chancellor Merkel is working hard
to make that happen.
Calling the ESM Germany’s attempt at creating a Fourth Reich is obviously an exaggerated comparison, but not too far beside the truth since Germany will hold all the cards. And as long as the people of Europe are not willing to really swallow the bitter austerity pill, they will get the autocratic politicians they deserve.
Some are more equal than others
What would happen if you were to ignore your tax liabilities for 17 years and got caught? Would you be able to shake it off simply by paying the taxes that were owed, without so much as a court-case, fines or other nasty consequences? Probably not.
But if you are Emilio Botín, the former president of the world 6th largest business, Banco Santander, different rules apply.
In 2010 the French tax authorities forwarded their Spanish counterparts a list of HSBC bank data they had obtained in 2008 from crooked HSBC employee Hervé Falciani
. It is the same list that prompted tax probes in Germany and the US. On this list one account in particular proved especially lucrative for the Spanish tax authorities: that of the Botín family. In 1937, during the Spanish Civil war, Emilio Botín senior escaped to Switzerland and opened an account with HSBC. When he died in ’93, he left his fortune to his children and grandchildren. By 2006, this sum had grown to 6 billion Euros.
Naturally authorities started an investigation into the matter. Botín declined to comment on the case, but his lawyers stated that he and his family had only found out about the bank account in 2008. In spite of this very believable story
, the investigation against the Botín family was dropped in June 2011 when all 12 family members made adjustments in their tax returns for the years 2005 to 2009, paying over 200 million Euros in back-taxes. Treasury officials even stated that there was no way to check whether the adjusted tax returns were indeed truthful, but the case was closed nonetheless.
Last week the Spanish national court reconfirmed the tax authorities’ decision to drop the investigation. The tax problems had been “regularized
” and there was no ground for any further inquiry.
Ron Paul head to head with Mitt Romney
With only 3 months to go before the Republican Convention in Florida, the race for the Republican presidential candidate is still far from decided. In an exciting man-to-man match Ron Paul is gaining on Romney, but both candidates are falling far short of the required 1144 delegates to secure the nomination. At the time of this writing, Romney was leading Paul with 496 versus 186
The race has become even more interesting now that it is revealed that according to Republican party rules, all delegates are unbound
, meaning they can vote for whomever they want at the national Republican Convention, ignoring primary results or State Convention allotment. Any Romney delegate can now have a change of consciousness and vote Paul instead, and any Paul delegate can be bribed to vote for Romney after all. It also means that bound delegates won by former candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum can vote otherwise now.
As Ron Paul is getting closer to victory each day, establishment media has made ignoring
Ron Paul their top priority again. The reality however is that Ron Paul enjoys real support among the people, while Mitt Romney is just an establishment talking head with no grassroot supporters at all. The establishment fears Ron Paul, and will certainly not broadcast something like this
, but instead publishes articles like these:
The race has just begun, and we are about to watch an epic battle between David and Goliath.