Turns out, dark money is darker, dirtier and bigger than we ever imagined. So reveals the instantly infamous and just released Panama Papers.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalist folks mike-dropped a whopper on the world today with a story supported by 11.5 million leaked documents, 15,000 times more than those from the U.S. National Security WikiLeaks incident.
This time, however, the United States isn’t the villain. It’s every rich bastard taking advantage of offshore accounts, to do any and every horrible thing they want.
The Panama Papers: tales of the rich and the ruthless.
Politicians. World leaders. Celebrities. Criminals. Drug dealers. Terrorist-types. Many of them are accessing ATMs most of us will never see in the course of our lives.
But in the course of these people’s lives, they’re moving about this planet, buying, selling and exchanging trillions of dollars without ever being accountable to laws and taxes.
And it takes a toll on each and everyone of us — all on a curve, of course, depending how less empowered you are compared to these rich bastards.
Here’s how dirty money hurts us all.
Why does dirty money take this toll? Because there’s only X amount of currency in the world and the world’s financial system, the same one we use to pay for toilet paper, food, a place to call home, gas, healthcare, taxes, etc..
We’re all playing with X amount of currency in the world, and the Panama Papers show how a significant chunk of that X is stashed away from the rest of us. Untaxed. Unaccounted for.
Here’s how Daddy Bryant, a fictional character in an upcoming work, would explained it to his young son:
Picture a family of six, all working adults, all living in the same house, all paying their fair share of expenses. However, two family members are not paying their fair share because they’re not being honest about how much money they’re making and how they’re making it. And it’s a whole lot of money, and if you knew how they were getting that money, it would probably make your skin crawl (and maybe send all your asses to jail).
Point: these outrageous fortunes have real-world consequences daily, as exemplified on the PBS NewsHour’s coverage of the Panama Papers:
In Uganda, some people live on a dollar and change a day and have to bring their own supplies to hospitals, where, if there’s any space, your bed might be the floor.
Contrast that with a rich bastard not paying his fair share, which in this case, means avoiding paying taxes on the sale of an oil field near one of these bring-your-own-supplies hospitals.
A legally paid tax could have literally meant no more bringing your own cotton balls and sterile gloves to the ER.
That’s just one example. There are countless. Many of them hit closer to home for those of us in the United States.
In New York and Los Angeles, the average worker struggles to find affordable housing while expensive, often unoccupied residential buildings are built by people with dirty money to spare.
One last bone-chilling fact about the Panama Papers:
Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian investment firm at the center of this scandal, has offices everywhere, including the United States. And the firm is merely one of an estimated 800 such companies in the world.
That’s a lot of dirty money for a lot of rich bastards, but the solutions are actually fairly simple.
How to clean up dirty money:
- There must be a real dummy behind a dummy corporation! No more of this corporate entity without a human being publicly and legally attached to it, held accountable for it, and able to stand up and say, yes, I am the rich bastard getting paid for this!
- Real estate agents must become agents of change. Those buying and selling villas and mansions to the rich and/or famous need to do their due diligence in order to know who’s really buying that house on the hill, or razing affordable housing to build a luxury (winter) condo.
Shit like that. That’s all it would take. Oh, yeah, and the will of the people. Oh, yeah, and perhaps a culture and civilization that isn’t such a slave to the almighty dollar, or currency, altogether, to be specific.
Highly unlikely, but here’s hoping the Panama Papers will nut a new era in how we manage what’s in all of our wallets.