Venezuela is providing a fine case study for us, of what happens when an executive branch agency (in this case, the Venezuelan IRS) plays "police and judge and jury and executioner," rather than dividing responsibility among a legislature and a court system.
Venezuela's executive branch is currently attacking McDonalds. Also in 2005 Coke and McDonalds were attacked.
Venezuela's IRS, with no indication in the news of any written policy or legislation to support the sentence, nor any court system involvement to check the case against the facts and against the actual tax policy, recently ordered all McDonald's in Venezuela to close for 2 days as punishment for "tax fraud":
Do I really care about Venezuelan citizens? Not so much. It's not about them.
It's instructive to learn for the sake of American citizens, why it's important to have an executive branch that continues to be checked by a judicial branch and a legislative branch.
I say this because there is no indication whatsoever -- I searched Google -- that the penalty against McDonalds was assessed after any Venezuelen court looked at the facts of the case and measured them against any written tax policy.
In other words, what I see is consistent with Venezuela's IRS having just made this stuff up. They made up the policy on the spot, and they made up the facts of the case on the spot, and finally, they are enforcing the sentence on the spot.
Venezuelan government, which by my observations of the last 60 minutes reading about it, is essentially an executive branch with no checks and balances, which simply manufactures out of thin air, violations of tax laws, whenever they need the cash or something. And Venezuela's government naturally picks the politically weakest, yet richest members within its reach, which is the foreign tax payers doing business on its soil, rather than domestic tax payers there, who don't realize the tyranny may affect them too. This is a trait shared by tyrannical executives everywhere and not exclusive to Venezuela.
Here's the lesson: Let us make sure that such a crappy form of government, where an executive branch simply creates all the rules, and makes all the facts of the case as well, by a snap of the fingers, does NOT metastasize in the United States.
Executive branches are like fire. You need them, things have to execute and get done, but they can burn you if you let them get out of control.
(I'm not saying it's a bad thing for Venezuelans either -- for all I know, their current state of affairs is better than they used to have, and maybe they are steadily improving compared to some far more horrible system. I don't have enough information to express sympathy for Venezuelan citizens. For all their defects, citizens there may be extremely happy with the rate of improvements compared to their past system of government.)
I just don't want ours to regress to a system where the Executive is the Decider, as well as interpreter of law, and the jury too, as President George W Bush has actually tried and gotten away with to some degree during his terms (e.g.,: removal of habeas corpus).
Here's my take-away from it: Tax-fraud is a, or even "the" primary weapon of tyrannical government executives worldwide.
From now on, whenever I hear a government, any government, make a claim of "tax fraud," I shall also seriously consider, which party is really committing the fraud in the given case: The accused, or the accuser. A closer look may be called for: It is never safe to assume.
"Trust but verify" -- Ronald Reagan