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The Panama Papers
Big Leak, Big Corruption, Deep Rot
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  • Nevis07

    Huge story. I hope that this leads to some big time prosecutions the world over. If it doesn’t, we’ll know just how corrupt the world’s politicians have become. But I’m not expecting to see Putin stepping down.

    In case you’re wondering where all of the US names are, there are two competing theories that I can find:

    1) That Panama is not a very attractive place for Americans to hide their money for specific legal and historical reasons:

    http://eoinhiggins.com/no-us-names-in-panama-papers-leak-why-not/

    2) The ICIJ are leaking the data in pieces to maximize effect and the US is in line in the next couple of weeks to have the spotlight. Apparently the The Editor In Chief of Süddeutsche Zeitung, had this to say on the apparent US exclusion: “Just wait for what is coming next”

    https://np.reddit.com/r/PanamaPapers/comments/4d8ewj/what_you_should_know_about_the_panama_papers_an/d1op0my

    Makes you wonder if something big comes out of this. If the Clinton’s, or Trump show up – could throw the entire election to Bernie.

  • CapitalHawk

    Ummmm, what is the issue here exactly? So a couple of people lied when running for office and people are upset about that – fair enough. Putin is clearly stealing from his country – this is obviously bad, especially for the people of Russia, but not news.

    Is the outrage that people are avoiding taxes? There should be no outrage here. If I buy municipal bonds instead of corporate bonds, because the munis are tax free, that is not something to be upset about. Same with other activities – assuming they are legal – that avoid the payment of taxes. If you avoid crossing state or county lines to do your shopping because that place has higher sales tax, this is not outrageous or immoral or corrupt. Contributing to an IRA or a 401k in order to save on your taxes is not immoral or outrageous or corrupt. In fact, most would say it is the smart thing to do.

    There is nothing immoral about avoiding taxes. Stealing, as Putin is doing, is immoral. Avoiding taxes is not.

    • adk

      Legal, immoral…

      Well, take Hillary, for example. Over the last years, she gave many speeches to various audiences (including Wall Street firms) prepared to pay her six-figure fees for bland content. Those were nothing but perfectly legal bribes, but this is not to be mentioned in a polite society. If you look at Bill & Hillary Inc, in some ten years after leaving White House, they went from “being broke” (per Hillary) to amassing some $100 million, plus over a billion in the Clinton Foundation account. As Bill put it, “People love to hear me speak.”

      The corruption of our political system lies in plain view.

      • CapitalHawk

        I agree with you. The main reason that those people love to hear him speak is because he was President of the United States – i.e. he was a public employee. Given that, it would seem fair for the public (through the government) to collect an additional sum of the amount he was paid. After all, those amounts were primarily paid due to his service as a public employee. I think a surtax of 50% on all earnings in excess of his salary during his employment by the government for the first 10 years after leaving office would suffice. I think this surtax would be logical to apply to all government employees. The Secretary of the Treasury would be a great example. Robert Rubin made a few hundred thousand at Treasury, and shortly after leaving when back to Citibank where he made significantly more. This happens all over government and helps accelerate the capture of regulatory agencies by the industries they are meant to regulate. A surtax like this would likely end that process.

        • adk

          “…those people love to hear him speak is because he was President…”
          Not quite — respect and sentimentality don’t usually fetch millions upon millions of dollars. No, people who paid Billary, including those in Russia and Kazakhstan, thought they were making a valuable investment in the future with a President Clinton and Democrats the royal family currently owns.

          • CapitalHawk

            Yes, but how to solve the problem? Ban spouses from seeking elected office? That is one solution and I’m not opposed, given that having the wife run for President after the husband leaves office seems to be the favorite tactic in banana republics everywhere. And, yes, I know what that implies about the USA.

          • adk

            What about Chelsea Clinton, The Royal Daughter waiting in the wings, ban her too? For life or so long as her dad is alive? No, I don’t think it’s possible to root out legalized corruption with legislative, possibly unconstitutional, tinkering. That would be like our ever-growing tax code with its multiple loopholes that no normal person can comprehend. Instead, such corruption should be exposed — and I think that Clintons’ corruption has been sufficiently exposed already.

            The real problem, then, lies with the society at large that is willing to consider Hillary (or Trump for that matter) as plausible presidential candidates.

          • CapitalHawk

            For the standpoint of family dynasties, you should like Trump since he (at least temporarily) put a stop to the Bush family. I really hope Hillary does not win the election as I am opposed to family dynasties, even though I recognize this has happened repeatedly in our history (not with wives, but with relatives). See, e.g. Adams’, Roosevelts, Bushes, and, if not for Sirhan Sirhan, perhaps Kennedys.

          • adk

            No, I don’t like Trump at all. As I see it, our real problem now is that the two leading candidates for nomination in each party are both, for their own reasons, totally unfit for presidency.

          • ThomasA

            > Yes, but how to solve the problem?

            Demand full disclosure: locations, audiences, fees and content. If it is not forthcoming, draw conclusions from the lack of transparency, and one’s opponents should make hay.

          • CapitalHawk

            Sure, but the problem is that supporters of Hillary (or fill in the blank candidate) *don’t care*. So, you can try to make hay all you want. Won’t matter.

    • Andrew Allison

      I think there are two issues, tax avoidance (not necessarily illegal), and money laundering: the former FIFA official’s $3.7.2 million yacht, for example (http://fusion.net/story/287172/fifa-dirty-money-yacht/).

    • qet

      Agreed, probably 80% of this “corruption” could be eliminated if tax laws were brought under rational control.

  • Tom_Holsinger

    This is great fun. One of the stories I read about this said that the family of Maximum Leader Xi of China, the great anti-corruption fighter, had invested lots of money overseas via this Panamanian law firm.

    • Jim__L

      Hm, maybe naming and shaming would work in this case…

  • Anthony

    Panama Papers: amid investigations, leaders deny wrongdoing. atimes.com/2016/04/panama-papers-reveal-tax-havens-of-world-rich-and-famous/

  • Proud Skeptic

    The Iceland thing is a bit of a surprise. As for the others…I was assuming this was going on so there is no big, new scandal being reported here.

    BTW – I had no idea that selling cars would help avoid taxes…“ninety-five percent of our work coincidentally consists in selling vehicles to avoid taxes.”

    LOL!!!! Had to read that one a couple of times before it sank in!

  • Les

    I must be missing something. There seems to be no mention of U.S. citizens establishing off-shore shell entities in this document release. Does that mean all of our countrymen have clean hands in this matter, or are we just not talking about it?

  • Jim__L

    Naming the nameless and shaming the shameless?

    Yeah, that’ll work.

    First thing we need to do is get our own house in order. This means indicting Hillary and dismantling the Clinton machine.

    Next, make it known that America’s military protection will no longer extend to places and people that engage in such activities. Outlawing is an old practice, and should be brought back.

    Sounds like there’s something better Chris Christie could be doing with his time than hanging around with Trump.

  • Lana Pesh

    That’s just propaganda. Shame on you, AI.

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