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What we "learn" from those Panama Papers

The revelations arising from the now notorious Panama Papers are breathtaking - but perhaps not all that surprising.   This piece, "The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime" from counterpunch, puts some context and background to what we are now learning...

"The Panama Papers, containing info on thousands of shell companies set up to avoid taxes and hide assets for over four decades from 1977 to 2015, are all about millionaires and billionaires and the politically connected “sticking it to” average citizens of the world by hiding money from fellow countrymen’s taxation policies and/or theft of state funds and laundering money. It is outrageously heinous and deserving of criminal incrimination and/or tarring and feathering whilst run out of town on a rail. It also begs the question of how many more rich pillagers are out there.

Already, major worldwide figureheads, like the PM of Iceland, have fallen. “As much as $21 trillion in global wealth is hidden behind largely-untraceable shell companies such as those exposed in the Panama Papers, according to watchdog group Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition,” (NBC News, April 6, 2016.). Twenty-one trillion is considerably larger than the entire U.S. economy. And, if it were taxed, which it is not, it would relieve many nation-states of big deficit spending for social welfare programs.

Indeed, the Panama Papers is a clarion call for revolt against a neoliberal world economic order that favors (1) privatization of public assets, (2) deregulation of governmental influence, (3) free trade in secret, and (4) austerity measures for public welfare. This nonsense started in earnest in the 1980s with President Reagan and PM Thatcher, called Supply-side economics, which preached tax cuts for the wealthy that purportedly incentivizes job creation, thus trickling wealth down to the masses. Problem is, after more than 30 years, all of the wealth gushed upwards whilst wages trickled down. The exact reverse of how it was sold to the American public. Politicians, mostly Republicans, continue making the same lame claims today. Cut taxes to create jobs is their mantra. Well, what they really mean to say is “cut taxes to cut wages” because that’s how it works in real life.

Frankly, the Average Joe has been getting shafted, hosed, bamboozled for decades. Now, the results are exposed in full living color. Billions if not trillions of stolen money and hidden assets removed from the public domain to enrich a few already rich people. This is as low as lowliness gets; it’s below scum.

Even though the Panama Papers detail unethical and illegal behavior mostly outside of the United States, it is also well known that rich Americans, especially hedge funds, have trillions stashed offshore in the Caribbean. No worries, no taxes."


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