The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Tag: Panama Papers

The Wages Of Embarassing Elites Are Death

Everyone remember the Panama papers? A leak of bank records showing that the ultra-rich are hiding massive wealth, tax-free and often breaking the law to do so?

A rather weak set of laws designed to allow tax avoidance by rich people, at that.

Found out the other day that the reporter who broke the Panama Papers story was killed by a car bomb.

Coincidence, no doubt.

You may recall the Ferguson protests, started after another black man was killed by a cop. They were a big deal.

Since then six of the Ferguson protest leaders have died: two inside burnt cars, three by suicide, one an overdose.

Coincidence, no doubt.

Then there was a high ranked pimp, who flew important men like Bill Clinton and Bill Gates and Prince Andrew in his private jet and provided under-age women for sex. The first time he was indicted he was let off because the prosecutor was told to back off, as he belonged to intelligence. The second time, influence not having worked, he “committed suicide” in prison.

I used to work in life insurance. There’s an adage, backed up by lots of studies, that people who are worth more dead than alive tend to die a lot more than the actuarial tables would suggest for someone of their age and health.

Coincidence, no doubt.

The simplest fact of modern life is elites kill and impoverish other people in order to make money and secure their power. You are seeing it in the pandemic, where Billionaire wealth has spiked 60% and vaccine companies refuse to share their “intellectual property” while planning to sell Covid booster shots in perpetuity. Actually wiping out Covid would close pharma money, but if it stays around, it’s golden.

Meanwhile, all the small and medium businesses closing has lead to a vast buying opportunity for those with lots of money, and private equity is moving big into buying up distressed homes.

It’s just business, baby. Your death, or homelessness, well, it’s someone else’s profit opportunity.

We have the richest wealthy the world has ever seen; even more than the gilded Age. Richer than kings and emperors. They are rich exactly because they hold political power: in the period from 32 to the 70s they lost relative wealth and income, because that’s what government policy was set up to to do.

So they bought up intellectuals like Milton Friedman and politicians like Reagan, Thatcher, Blair, Clinton and Obama, along with tens of thousands of lesser lights. They changed how government was run. It lowered taxes massively, sold off its crown jewels, and got rid of regulations meant to keep wages up while education and housing were cheap.

It’s not that long ago. I remember the last parts of the post-war era, and many people still living remember the 50s and 60s, even as adults.

But that world is long, long dead, and we live in a new one. One where it doesn’t matter if climate change or a pandemic will killing millions or billions. One where lower wages are good, and the Federal Reserve intervenes constantly to lower them, while always making sure the rich never lose everything in a financial collapse.

And in this world, the rich kill and impoverish you for money. Usually they do it in ways they can pretend aren’t about them: policy changes, or increases to insulin prices, but if you really get on their nerves or might even be a real threat, as with our pedophile pimp (and almost certain blackmailer) Jeffrey Epstein, well, people who are worth more dead than alive, they tend to get dead.

Are you worth more dead than alive to some rich person, or some politician in the pay of said rich people?

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The Panama Papers Leak

You’ve probably read about it already. A Panamian law firm had its files leaked, and they reveal how rich people store money offshore to avoid taxes. In some cases legally, in some cases illegally, and, in pretty much all cases, unethically.

This is why we can’t have nice stuff: The rich simply don’t want to pay for a decent society. They just want to be filthy rich.

There are all sorts of additions to that, but that is the essence.

There is no such thing as a good society in which to live that is not relatively egalitarian. Of course, you can all be equal in poverty, but strangely enough, unless it’s desperate poverty, those people tend to be happy. Moving to the cities to get involved with China’s “economic miracle” meant an actual decrease in happiness. When the Chinese government tries to close traditional villages, the villagers often fight, and by that I don’t mean “protest,” I mean crack skulls and even, on occasion, actually fight the army and win.

Rich people caused the financial crisis, got bailed out, then insisted that poor people had to be punished for it.

If you want a good society, you keep the rich poor.

The other rule is that no one gets to opt out of anything which matters. The rich and powerful must use the same schools, airplanes, security, health care, roads, and military service as everyone else.

An absolutely fair draft, a medical system where better care cannot be bought by money or forced by power, where the children of the rich go to the same universities and schools as the poor will be a good society. A society where everyone uses public defenders chosen by lottery is a society with a fair justice system

Why? Because this forces the rich ensure that those schools, hospitals, and so on, work.  And no, your average billionaire is not subjecting his wife to a TSA porno scan and pat down. TSA agents only get to pull aside and molest hotties who aren’t part of the .1 percent.

One of the ways we will know that governments are finally serious about inequality is when they brutally crack down on tax evasion. It isn’t that hard to do, despite what everyone says. I’ve worked in a major financial institution; money going in and out of the country is examined, data is sent to authorities, etc. This stuff can be tracked easily, structuring is easy to detect, and a few criminal sentences (not fines) in high security prisons would make the point nicely.

If you make your money in country X, you pay taxes there. Money is a public utility. If you want to take it out of the country, the government acting for the people has the right to make that difficult, and indeed, tax it again or limit it.

Cyrptocurrencies like blockchain are, in part, a way for ordinary people to move money out of countries just like rich people do. This is a corrupt solution to a real problem: Our elites are corrupt, so we want to have the same right to be as corrupt as them–instead of insisting the corruption end.

There is no war but class war. The rich understand this, they have always understood it.

You keep the rich poor and weak, or they will eat you alive. Then they’ll kill you. The death toll from the 2008 financial collapse is in the millions, by any reasonable modeling of its consequences.

This is about your life, your death, and how well you live.

You should probably make it about the rich’s life, death, and how well they live.

Reasonable accommodations (a la Corbyn or Sanders) will be made. If they are not, unreasonable accommodations will be made. The rich will die or suffer in the same numbers as the poor.

But as a percentage, there just aren’t that many rich.

Too bad.

Update: Clinton supported the Panama free trade deal.

Here’s what Sanders said at the time:

Then, why would we be considering a stand-alone free trade agreement with this country?

Well, it turns out that Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade U.S. taxes by stashing their cash in off-shore tax havens.  And, the Panama Free Trade Agreement would make this bad situation much worse.

Each and every year, the wealthy and large corporations evade $100 billion in U.S. taxes through abusive and illegal offshore tax havens in Panama and other countries.

According to Citizens for Tax Justice, “A tax haven . . . has one of three characteristics: It has no income tax or a very low-rate income tax; it has bank secrecy laws; and it has a history of non-cooperation with other countries on exchanging information about tax matters.  Panama has all three of those. … They’re probably the worst.”

Mr. President, the trade agreement with Panama would effectively bar the U.S. from cracking down on illegal and abusive offshore tax havens in Panama.  In fact, combating tax haven abuse in Panama would be a violation of this free trade agreement, exposing the U.S. to fines from international authorities.

In 2008, the Government Accountability Office said that 17 of the 100 largest American companies were operating a total of 42 subsidiaries in Panama.  This free trade agreement would make it easier for the wealthy and large corporations to avoid paying U.S. taxes and it must be defeated.  At a time when we have a record-breaking $14.7 trillion national debt and an unsustainable federal deficit, the last thing that we should be doing is making it easier for the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in this country to avoid paying their fair share in taxes by setting-up offshore tax havens in Panama.

Vote Clinton! She’ll make sure your job gets sent overseas and that the rich don’t pay tax.

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