“Princess on a steeple and all the pretty people
They’re all drinking, thinking that they’ve got it made
Exchanging all precious gifts
But you better take your diamond ring, you better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you’ve got no secrets to conceal”
Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone
Anurag Harsh wrote a great piece on LI a couple days ago on The Panama Papers, which is the largest leak of harmful to the super-rich information in the history of both the world and the new sport of massive information leaks.
Over the coming weeks and months we’re all going to be hearing a lot about this massive (4+ terabyte) document that chronicles the money hiding tactics of powerful corporations, politicians and other assorted super rich scumbags, and the countries that shelter their big bucks.
This is not something that most sentient humans didn’t know anything about. There have always been stories of companies and people going to great lengths to avoid paying taxes.
For these individuals and companies, it almost seems like some sort of fetish or at least obsession. They say that in the US alone, literally hundreds of billions in tax revenue is lost each year to these practices.
What I Don’t Understand Is Why.
I mean, in this greedy world, tax revenues are one of the only forms or revenue that actually do trickle down into programs that help people…social programs that get people back on their feet so they can get jobs and contribute to the economy. Education programs. Re-training programs. Medicare programs. Starter programs for small business. This list goes on.
The why is about the shortsightedness of corporate greed. Corporations get to be big by making stuff that people buy and use in their lives and for their businesses.
So the more gainfully employed people are, the more money they will have to buy the stuff that these corporations make. And that is very much Economics 101, and pretty much the whole argument for a strong and healthy middle class in any society.
But when the combination of short-sightedness and greed enter the picture, all of a sudden the balance is thrown out of whack. The middle class customer base shrinks. Personal debt and small business failures grow and sooner or later the greedy bastards who have been socking their money away in countries like Panama to avoid paying taxes, will start to hurt.
Here, Mr. Mr smart-ass, greedy corporate bastard…take this gun, aim it at your foot and pull the trigger.
I have spent a good part of my adult life being mystified by the shortsightedness of big business. And the dishonestly of big government. Mostly because sitting up here in Canada, which is only a big country in terms of geography, you have a front row view of one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The Good Old USA,
What has been going on their for the past 200 + years has not only served as a model for free market capitalism, but also a text book manual for corporate greed and government corruption.
What’s This About A Pimple?
Yeah. The pimple part represents all the turmoil the revelations in the Panama Papers will create. But the likelihood of anyone ever actually being convicted and sent to the hoosegow, (at least in my lifetime) for anything from tax evasion on down is relatively remote.
Why?…In A Word, Lawyers.
Lawyers who will challenge anything and everything in the way of charges that are brought. Lawyers who will tie things up in the courts for years, even decades to come. Lawyers who will get richer than even some of their clients at a rate of about $1000 per billable hour. Lawyers who will take the laws of the land apart, point out the flaws and argue them all the way to the Supreme Court. Lawyers who are as excited as anyone can be about these revelations.
The Epic Fail of Capitalism
The simple fact is that a goodly part money that these individuals and businesses have stashed away in tax havens and other nefarious systems, will now be slowly but surely spent on lawyers. But to the greedy, this is money well spent.
The governments who prosecute these cases will be doing so with taxpayer money and lots of it.
And sadly the rich and greedy will always be able to outspend the governments.
And none of these hundreds of billions of dollars will find any sort of way to trickle down other than maybe to some high end real estate agents, yacht builders, Rolls Royce dealers and of course PR pros and spin doctors.
A pimple on the ass of the super-rich indeed.
I know this all sounds a bit cynical. But I tend to write exactly what I am feeling. And what I feel is that the Black Hats here have all the advantages going for them in terms of being able to fight whatever charges are levelled at them.
I would love nothing more than to see a massive change in the system that actually punishes the rich for their greed.
But if history is any indication, especially in America, that change is going to be pretty much impossible to achieve. Because there will be just too many damn lawyers to go through to get there.
The Court Of Public Opinion?
That would be me and a bunch of other people who will write about this.
It will be some TV and movie producers who will make thrillers about it a la The Big Short and Billions.
But what it won’t be is governments who are willing to dismantle this system and literally put a choke hold on these practices.
Why…because this is not the way the world is. There is a law for the rich and a law for the rest of us. Just watch it play out. You heard it here first.
Hopefully some good will come out of all of this. At the very least, perhaps the ‘public’ will be more aware of how the world works, and in that understanding maybe they will consider that voting for corporate-backed political candidates will only allow this corruption to flourish.
But that’s a big maybe.
I’m Jim Murray, the guy who wrote this. If you like it,
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