If you are like me, you know this business being referred to as the Panama Papers is bad but truthfully, you are still more concerned with paying your monthly bills and don’t have an entirely large amount of thought to offer to it. However, this is precisely why the bad guys always seem to win in real life. The biggest data leak of all time exposing the criminal activity of the world’s elite has taken place and how unfortunate we will forget it in a week. When I see a man running out of a bank wearing the “Hamburgular” costume hold two white bags with “$” on it, I know exactly what happened. But when already wealthy persons are moving money around through off-shore accounts and shell companies, I’m pretty sure some shady stuff is going on but I don’t really know what is going on or worse, what to do about it. So let me offer this unprecedented mediocre guide to the Panama papers and let you know why conservatives and liberals alike should care about it.
The Monopoly Man
If you are a conservative concerned with illegal immigrants hopping across the Mexican border because it is a violation of our law, but not concerned with Monopoly styled men of wealth hiding taxable wealth across the border then you are a hypocrite. Both are clearly breaking the law and one simply cannot justify a man hiding his billions from Government taxes while crucifying the man who breaks the law so that he can pick peaches for 12 hours a day to feed his kids. Don’t take that as me being lax on border security as I am a hawk on knowing who comes and goes. Rather, take that as a challenging question for you to self-identify any contradictory thought before you proceed. If a rich-man and an immigrant break the law, who breaks the law?
I too had thoughts dance through my head like, “this is why taxes should remain low so rich people don’t hide it” or perhaps “it is technically legal in some cases which it is so why get upset”, but in the end I simply landed on the fact that the Monopoly Man is likely a dick and always has been. The rest of us simply can’t get away with what these guys are pulling off. Not every wealthy person is the Monopoly Guy, but the Monopoly Guy is always wealthy. The Monopoly Guy is the person who rings you dry when you land on his Boardwalk with a Hotel and then acts like he is broke when he lands on your Baltic Avenue with one house. Up yours buddy, Go directly to Jail, do pass go, and do not collect $200.
Don’t take what I said above as anti-capitalist statements as I am a hardcore capitalist. In fact, working 7 days a week for 10 hours a day building my writing career has only reaffirmed to me that certain pains of the economy drive hard work and innovation. And personally, I’d rather my pain not supplement the lazy. However, I am no fool to believe that the wealthiest 1% have some mythical respect for the law. It is estimated that between 20 to 30 Trillion, that’s trillion with a “T” is hidden from governments in off-shore accounts. If we will send a poor person to jail for driving on a suspended license on his way to work so he could pay for said traffic fines and suspended license, then the freaking Monopoly Man can go to jail for being an international monetary dick.
The next reason you should care about this money is that a great deal of it is pure evil. If Dr. Evil ever did get his ransom of $1 Million dollars, this is where he would hide it. These off-shore accounts exposed in the Panama Papers hold the wealth of Drug Cartels, Mafia Members, and the worst scum of human villainy. A lot of these people are involved not only in drugs, but human trafficking as well as arms deals to all sorts of shady people on the planet. When ISIS buys a cache of weapons, I wonder where the dealer deposits the check?
Going after the money trail is a fascinatingly effective way at combatting the crime which permeates throughout all of our borders and it is something only an entity the size and scope of the Government can do. If I go after the Mafia’s wealth I’m going to wind up with a horse head in my bed. But Government has the resources to back an investigation into the off-shoring of money backed by the combined force of the citizenry.
North Korea, Syria, Iran, and all the worst regimes of the past 40 years have been able to avoid US sanctions through channels such as these. If the United States really wants sanctions to be effective on tyrannical regimes, then you can’t lock the front door while leaving the back wide open. This is why Putin can laugh and scoff at sanctions, because there are ways around them which the Panama Papers so clearly expose. In fact, due to the void of Americans on the list I am not entirely certain this revelation is not a broader part in the proxy war against Putin himself. Fun speculation, but let’s move on.
Granted, Putin likely belongs in the above “Dr. Evil” group but we can talk about him here as the embodiment of the corrupt politician. He was probably the biggest name on the list as over $2 billion could be traced back to close associates of his. This list of persons hiding wealth in the Panama Papers implicate over a dozen current or former heads of state and over 100 politicians worldwide. If a politician receives a $10 million bribe from a multi-national corporation to sell out his country does he put that in his Wells Fargo account or perhaps off-shore? Is it possible than with 435 Representative and 100 Senators that not a single one of them have an off-shore account?
And that is why this story should matter to America. As mentioned earlier, there is a strange void on this list of American entities, but are any of us so naïve as to believe the wealthy and political elite are not doing the same thing? No, they should haven’t gotten caught yet. Again, up to perhaps $30 trillion world-wide is stored offshore and that is greater than the sum of our national debt. Don’t let politicians throw you off of their path by claiming this is just a case of media bias and conspiracy. That has been a sadly effective Jedi mind trick used lately as once the media is so easily discredited, the watchdog has been slain.
It is hard to ask politicians to expose the abuse of the Monopoly Man when the politicians are using the same freaking bank to hide their own money. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, this is about the transparency of the elite and survival of the little guy. Perhaps if the elite would play by the same rules as the little guy in capitalism the free-market might flourish even more. Don’t let anyone hijack this story and turn it into an anti-capitalist sentiment. This is about criminals engaging in criminal activity and you can be as conservative as you like while pursuing justice. Not all those who used an off-shore account are criminals as there are some valid uses for one. But if I tossed a grenade into the smoking room all these Monopoly Men, Criminals, and Crooked politicians use, I could happily sleep at night with the collateral damage. Help your friends understand what they are seeing people, liberty for the little guy depends on it.
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