Seriously- that was quick:
The Panama Papers leaks apparently resulted in a political casualty Tuesday when Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned.
Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, the deputy chair of the Progressive Party, announced Gunnlaugsson’s resignation Tuesday on Iceland’s national public service broadcaster RUV.
Gunnlaugsson had been under intense pressure to step down since leaked documents hacked from a Panamanian law firm revealed his links to an offshore company, triggering mass protests in the capital.
Senior political figures in the Nordic nation have been holding emergency talks amid fallout from the Panama Papers leaks.
Critics said the revelations surrounding the offshore company, which allegedly had holdings in Iceland’s collapsed banks, shattered public confidence in Gunnlaugsson’s leadership and could harm the country’s international reputation.
Hee’s a decent explainer of the Panama Papers. this being an election year, I would be remiss if I did not add this:
The Panama Papers leak, that reveals how the rich and powerful rely on a secretive law firm to hide their wealth in tax havens, has drawn attention to a 2011 speech by Senator Bernie Sanders against the Panama-United States Trade Promotion Agreement, which became law in 2012. He noted that Panama’s entire economic output at the time was so low that the pact seemed unlikely to benefit American workers. The real reason for the agreement, Sanders argued, is that “Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade taxes.” Sanders said the trade agreement “will make this bad situation much worse.” We get reaction from Michael Hudson, senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which published the Panama Papers, and Frederik Obermaier, investigative reporter at Germany’s leading newspaper, the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung. He is co-author of the book “Panama Papers: The Story of a Worldwide Revelation.”
This is going to end up being the international story of the year.
Last’s a week at best until tRump say’s something even more stupid than he did this last week. Please. The attention span of an average Amerikan is far, far less than even a week.
The Icelanders were throwing YOGURT. That couldn’t go on indefinitely.
I’d go even further than that – the attention span of nearly all Americans, including elite, well-informed information consumers, is less than a week.
I frequently read the nakedcapitalism blog and recall that when the odious P-UStp that the site’s pop up adds all suddenly started touting Panama as a great location for doing wealth-sheltering business. It seemed fishy then and apparently was designed to do what it was doing.
I’m guessing that Manuel Noriega is the only one we won’t be hearing from on this scandal.
Iowa Old Lady
@Betty Cracker: That’s awesome!
Shades of Rick Perry brain fart, Trump just said as president he’d get rid of the Dept of Environemental, the DEP. He can’t handle the pace. What a lightweight.
As a (very) average American I deplore liberals politicizing my chances at having secret offshore tax havens. It would’ve happened any day now; I could feel it.
Huh? What? Are we still talking about that?
@Betty Cracker: Brilliant.
Has anyone noticed how prominently Putin and his cabal have figured in the disclosure so far? The Reichwing’s macho darling is taking some serious heat for this.
Ella in New Mexico
@Betty Cracker: Dang! What a waste of some premium yogurt. :-)
From that NY Times link:
“One reason there may be relatively few Americans named in the documents is that it is fairly easy to form shell companies in the United States. James Henry, an economist and senior adviser to the Tax Justice Network, told Fusion that Americans “really don’t need to go to Panama.” “Basically, we have an onshore haven industry in the U.S. that is as secretive as anywhere,” he said.”
As usual, in the US it’s what’s legal that’s the scandal.
There’s going to be a lot of US names in there. NPR did a few podcasts about how cheap and easy it is to set up a tax shelter in places like Panama (they set up one in Belize and one in Delaware). A few hundred bucks, no proof of ID, and you can even buy a package that will have them provide a board of directors and a shareholder (all of whom work for you, but your name doesn’t show on the paperwork). Perfect for laundering drug money or hiding from the IRS.
The takeaway from the podcast is that this was a consumerized service. This isn’t some rare thing – it’s packaged, like choosing what services you want at a nail salon. And it was cheap. Those two things only happen at scale, when something is common – extremely common.
One of the most common uses for these is for private equity as (when used above board) it allows the investors to transfer the tax paperwork from themselves privately to the shell company. When used above board, that means they still pay the same taxes, they just don’t have to do the paperwork. It’s done once from the shell company and the investors simply pay the shell company nice and easy – when it’s used above board. There are a lot of private equity people in politics these days…
You just put up the bat signal for Bob.
Journalists have been going through a huge amount of data, and have been working on this story for over a year already. Reaction to current revelations and new revelations may cause ripples for a long time.
For example, according to BBC news, the Chinese leadership is very unhappy:
And in the UK, the prime minister may be getting a little splash of scandal:
It’s sweet that a red blooded all-American right winger like yourself would be offended on behalf of the dictators of Russia and China.
It’s good, I think. We were way overdue on starting to question some of these trade deals. 1974 to 2016 is long enough to follow what amounts to dogma on trade.
Paul in KY
@? Martin: The Roman Empire started to go to hell when all the rich people managed to get out of paying any taxes & the empire had to soak the poor for the funds.
It’s actually a bit more secretive in the US. In an effort to crack down on funds to terrorists, the US and the EU an a few other big countries went around the world and basically threatened everyone with sanctions if they don’t collect passport documentation on the people setting these companies up. So if you want to set up a shell company in Panama, you’ll need to send them your passport information which will be checked.
However, that’s not true within the US. Anyone can set up a shell company in Delaware without providing any ID at all. I guess the thinking is that because the only useful sanctions are those that are levied within the US banking system, that within the US, and by necessity within the US banking system, such information isn’t needed, but I don’t quite buy that. And you can of course nest these things – have your ID-less Delaware shell corporation set up a shell corporation in Panama, eliminating the need for you to provide ID at all.
Could the Pirate party actually win a majority in a snap election?
@Cacti: Boobs in Orygun don’t worry me. They’re what banhammers are for.
As long as he didn’t step in front of a mirror, turn out the lights and repeat Bob’s name three times…
@Betty Cracker: Followed by bananas and granola, presumably.
@Paul in KY:
Also the proximate cause of the French Revolution, if I recall.
@boatboy_srq: They’re denying everything. It’s a plot.
Yogurt takes less than 24 hours to culture and one cow produces about 8 gallons per day. Pretty sure that could have gone on indefinitely.
Mike in DC
The US wealthy tend to use the Caymans, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands and the old standby, Switzerland. I wouldn’t be surprised to see subsequent leaks expose some of those arrangements, though.
NPR also said the hackers that put this out haven’t got around to outing the American names yet because they are European and wanted to fry their own fish first. 12 world leaders to start… I think this is going to be a longer lasting uproar than most of you think…
@MattF: Yogurt’n’granola: the new tar’n’feather. Delicious.
@MattF: How Stalineque of them.
@Mike in DC: The US OLD MONEY used those havens. New money isn’t nearly as picky.
@Kay: Amen. We have been fools. Freaked out about national security, we say, but we let our industrial core collapse and we allow our wealthy to avoid paying for the government that serves them.
And of course, that is one area where Sanders is absolutely stronger than Clinton.
“This is going to end up being the international story of the year.”
From your mouth to god’s ear!
@Betty Cracker: Methinks that man has got some sour feelings about the whole thing.
Iowa Old Lady
True story. When my mother died, it turned out she had a Swiss bank account. My father was a HS dropout and my mother was a secretary for the Detroit Free Press. They were not Swiss bank account people. But it turned out that one of my Canadian uncles left them something like $10K (Canadian) and they objected to paying both Canadian and US taxes and a cousin helped them stick the money in Switzerland.
We were boggled.
Gin & Tonic
Not in Russia he ain’t. This is a non-story in the hometown press.
Until/Unless they do, most of this will be greeted with a shrug by the American public.
There’s gotta be an app for this in iTunes and the Google Play Store.
What I find so amazing, is that Mossack Fonseca is only the 4th largest purveyor of these types of off-shore services. Can you imagine what the files of the top 3 would reveal.
@Joel: Unlikely, as Iceland has a more or less proportional system of representation. According to the latest polls however, they are the largest party and can form coalition government with other left-wing parties. Of course, the latest polls were from before the Panama Papers.
Not from anyone who matters to Putin.
Iceland’s politics have always amused me, at least from this distance. Michael Lewis had a great story in Vanity Fair on their response to the 2008 financial collapse, which is unfortunately now behind a paywall, I believe.
Maybe, but until he slips into racism or misogyny there will be yard after yard of Russia Times “articles” copied and pasted for us to wade through. No thank you.
@Paul in KY:
Hell, that was an issue with the Confederacy.
Enhanced Voting Techinques
Hard to see what effect this will have in the US considering booth Trump and Romney are basically walking tax avoidance schemes and that’s had no noticeable effect on their polling. Hell, how many bankruptcies has Trump had and he’s still allowed to boast about being a winner?
@Gin & Tonic:
In countries with functioning democracies, you’ll see varying levels of accountability.
The world’s dictators won’t be going anywhere.
I can’t wait for the American names to be dropped
Proof that Mossack Fonseca is Not Trying Hard Enough.
Meanwhile, back in the land of the stupid and the home of the cowardly:
@LAO: And there’s a helpful website. Also, some Wikipedia articles, but I haven’t yet gone down those particular rabbit holes.
Now Trumps people are blaming his ‘punishment for abortion’ on just being exhausted. Can you imagine how he’d hold up in front of a congressional committee for 11 hours like…..HRC?
Warren was great today … interesting youtube just released: Senator Elizabeth Warren at Banking Hearing on Consumer Finance Regulations
I hate seeing the sharps lolling behind the chief hyena, all smirks and boredom. I want those smirks gone. But then, they are untouchable … inevitable … immune …
It could be said that a period of laissez-faire (free market) has given us what it always does, so now organized crime has taken over the money. This actually happened a bit ago. We are still in the financial crisis.
@Enhanced Voting Techinques:
I’m not as sure about Trump.
I think one of the reasons he’s so secretive about his taxes is that they’d show him to have a lot less liquid wealth than what he likes to pretend.
Most of his net worth is tied into real property.
@Brachiator: Kind of surprising there isn’t to be honest. But another use for these shell corporations is how Apple often uses them. They’ll create a shell corporation to register trademarks for upcoming products or to grab domain names to help disguise what their next product will be and then they transfer those back to Apple, Inc. once the thing launches. I understand that is being used more widely by companies to hide their R&D work.
@Brachiator: RELATED: PayPal, which just weeks ago had announced a new operations center in Charlotte, is cancelling that plan and looking for new digs for the facility – all thanks to HB2.
Nonsense. Americans are capable of paying attention to things for a very long time. We may not like that they’re paying attention to trivial things like celebrity gossip, reality TV, and the latest “Trial of the Century”, but they show impressive attention spans for those things.
@? Martin: I think they are going to discover a whole lot of Dentists and Doctors over there. As many or more than politicians.
@Betty Cracker: I have no dog in this fight, but at least in some corners of social media, there seems to be some dispute as to the relationship between Skyr and yog(h)urt.
On the one hand, this U.S. freelance journalist who has visited and reported extensively on Iceland says they’re different
Others refer to a brand of yoghurt called Skyr, which many seem to think far superior to other brands of yoghurt.
Me? Eh, dunno… But if it’s that good – however one wishes to classify the product – it would seem significant somehow that people are willing to toss it against buildings and whatnot in protest.
A country the size of a small city operates in a very different manner. I agree, it is a fascinating place.
I hope it doesn’t take long for names of Americans to drop, no matter who they are.
I had a thought that maybe it will wake up some people to redirect their anger to focus on the billionaire tax dodging, cheating moochers instead of resenting people who get food stamps, safety nets but immediately realized it’s damn hard to get through to rightwingers. It would be satisfying to read names of American one percenters who have been sternly lecturing that the retirement age must be raised, safety nets are unaffordable so everyone not them must tighten their belts and SS, Medicare, Medicaid and VA need to be privatized.
@Cacti: His net worth is his brand. And it has no fixed value. I think he doesn’t own many real assets at all.
@Brachiator: Mississippi can probably do that because they don’t really have to worry about major companies pulling out of the state (PayPal just announced they cancelled a 400 job call center in North Carolina they announced a few weeks back, over the North Carolina freedom-to-be-a-religious-bigot bill).
Sanders was by no means alone, though, and he wasn’t (and probably isn’t) the best informed dissenter in Congress. They exist. They just got absolutely no traction outside a relatively small circle of people who care about the issue. In my opinion, it was too lock-step to last, there weren’t enough questions, enough public debate, enough good coverage with real explanations. It couldn’t last.
All sorts of people discuss foreign policy, but for some reason trade was limited to experts- a really small, elite group who were pretty much all status quo free traders. It was ripe for “disruption” :)
@aimai: True. For what I spend keeping my family trust in order I could probably operate out of a shell corporation. Prices were as little as $500 to set one up – less than the cost of an iPhone.
Re yogurt: Tillamook. That is all.
Lots of work still to be done, but the journalist group involved is setting up a site and also accepting donations. From the BBC
This should add some spice to the election season.
Enhanced Voting Techinques
Also a good chance he reports himself as worth a lot less than his accountant say he actually is.
@? Martin: Contrary to what you preach, Apple is not doing the work of God. They are a just another profit making business. They do make aesthetically pleasing products but your Apple-can-do-no-wrong attitude strikes me as both silly and annoying.
I agree that we need to have much fuller discussions on trade deals and what they do. So much attention gets focused, understandably, on their effects on jobs in the US (either in a positive or negative sense) that a lot more goes under the radar.
But it’s self-reinforcing. Alabama has the same problem. The state is of two contradictory viewpoints – jobs, and the lack of taxes, regulation, labor rights and all that which they believe will lead to jobs, and discrimination ultimately originating from religious intolerance which is toxic to any national or multinational corporation. So they inevitably wind up with companies that serve the state and nobody else, which makes the economy untenable.
So they don’t risk losing any employers because employers aren’t stupid enough to wade into that cesspool of religious extremism. So the ‘cling to guns and religion’ cycle continues forever with no apparent self awareness that it is entirely self-inflicted.
@Enhanced Voting Techinques: What Trump tells the IRS < what he makes < what he tells the public he makes.
It would be nice. The pessimist in me thinks half the people in the country would just praise the mighty Job Creators for going Galt and beg them to do more of it. Maybe, just maybe, the economic populism in Trump Republicans isn’t just skin deep.
@laura: More likely the Google ad algorithm zeroing in on the prevalence of the word Panama. Same thing is happening on this site right now, for me at any rate.Two ads talking about “things to know” before relocating to Panama.
@Bartholomew: Holy shit, that was scary. But really, in the end, all we get is her yelling at this guy; no real public policy change. Which I guess is the story of a lot of things.
Also, Mississippi can do that because they are the most backward assholes in the universe.
If you haven’t read it yet, you might be interested in Steve Fraser’s The Age of Acquiesence. He addresses this notion specifically.
@Kay: Who do you think has written the rules for GATT and now WTO? If Main Street is getting screwed its because the powers-that-be sold them out, not foreign governments. No other country has the power that the United States does to write trade rules and rules by which the World Bank and IMF doles out loans.
So Trump crying a river about how other countries are screwing us on economic policy is plain bs, just like everything else that comes out of his mouth.
@Kay: There were plenty of opponents. They were marginalized by the Democratic party, beginning with Clinton I and including Obama.
In fact, your blithe description of the consensus shows how far the Democratic Party has strayed from representing the interests of middle class families.
The consequences for the Midwest have been horrific. And it’s impossible to understand the effect of things like this Panama thing, because there is no data.
Which is why I continue to believe he’s in this to win the nomination to help restore what has been lost to ‘the brand’ because of this run for the Presidency.
Speaking of Panama, can anyone tell me what the Van Halen song “Panama” is about?
@rikyrah: How will winning the nomination, help the Trump brand? Will he be Sarah Palin 2.0?
All y’all are miss(issippi)ng the Big Picture re. Mississippi’s shenanigans. They’ve grabbed a hunk of the new right-to-work Confederacy and this shit will bite them in the financial ass.
Ella in New Mexico
And, I’d posit, none of the Europeans will feel the full force of the whole thing until the US cares about it.
People listen to Van Halen for the lyrics? Zounds.
And a little something from our friends in Canada:
Campaign finance, hot issue in many places.
A Ghost To Most
So in MS, I could refuse service to Xians because of my sincerely held religious beliefs and moral conviction that Xians are selfish assholes?
@Joel: if nominated I will happily serve and even be moderate in my usage of hookers and blow…. The Pirate Party, we’ve buried our treasure so well, even Google Maps can’t find it!
Yes, this is a very interesting wrinkle.
i think it’s about Panama.
How so? I’m not doubting you, just not sure quite how that will work.
Just an observation from watching and listening to Republicans in my world, they are prone to outsized fear, anger and resentment and knee jerk judgements. They will give a pass to the wealthy (envious and think if they root for the one percenters, it will rub off on them somehow), big companies because they promise jobs and Republican legislators who they believe will deliver both. All evidence to the contrary doesn’t dampen their faith.
They scream about government debt but I haven’t heard a word about every one of the Republican president candidates’ economic plans costing trillions. tax cuts galore for wealthy with little or no crumbs thrown to them. They simply refuse to believe it.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@LAO: That occurred to me as well – there are 3 bigger offshore makers?
I’m giving the Psychiatry and Law lecture to the 3d year med students currently in psych rotation, and the federal case example I use is the bartender who threatened to poison then Speaker Boehner. NGRI was the result, and defendant’s counsel is a guy I knew well when I was in that biz, who broke his nose body surfing at a NACDL conference in Puerto Rico. His son’s comment about the injury was “Dad – WTF were you thinking? It’s not like you’re 40 any more.” I may add that story to the talk just because it still cracks me up.
@schrodinger’s cat: Did I give an Apple can do no wrong viewpoint there? Look, my schtick is pretty simple – pushing back against blunt force arguments that seek to oversimplify issues like commerce, trade, and so on.
I dislike the way Apple handles quite a few things, but I understand why they do it. The question then becomes whether Apple should unilaterally ignore market dynamics to their own detriment, or the role of capital in the economy, or the complete shitshow of how the US handles international taxation.
But the most meritorious thing about Apple to me is that they have a business model that is wholly unique among their peers. That’s not a value judgement about it in the sense that everyone should do what Apple does but it means that you have a laboratory in the business space, which is a fairly rare thing. You have a company that (for good or bad) makes decisions that are completely at odds with conventional wisdom in a whole host of areas, from how they handle the assembly of their goods (which is easy to see as bad) to how they handle the environment (which is increasingly easy to see as altruistic, but which is actually a good business decision and one that could be replicated if it could be more widely recognized for what it is) to what market segments they target to how they do hiring (Apple is almost unique in the Bay Area or not having an Ivy fetish – they’ll hire just about anyone who can do the job degree or not).
I pretty firmly believe that most people are not inherently evil and that even most companies are not inherently evil. But highly complex systems – capitalism, tax codes, political systems, higher education – create a ton of unintended consequences. When we attack those consequences as evil, or those companies as evil, then you end all discussion as to the true origin of those effects and how to address them. You just wind up banging away on the symptoms rather than the source. And that’s both lazy and unproductive.
There’s no shortage of people around here eager to attack Apple over things reasonable and unreasonable. I think we can handle a single person defending against the unreasonable stuff. If people want me to engage in a more balanced discussion, then start with a more balanced critique.
Sure are a lot of states joining in on the campaign to affirm that certain of the religious (and religious corporations) are above the law should they believe it their duty to so, so long as beliefs are expressed as descrimanatory and signed off on by some but no all religions (no shariah!). Because corporate persons acting in favor of non-discrimination based on moral beliefs are clearly shoving monstrosities down the righteous throats, unlike the justifiable actions of Catholic hospitals forcing doctors of all religions to fail to provide the best medical practice to women no matter the beliefs of the doctors. And, let’s not forget prosecuting people for feeding or giving money to the poor, those sorts of moral actions are not to be tolerated. As a branding campaign, Christianity’s political soldiers seems on a full-throated rage to publicly embrace only the worst of its tenets.
Ella in New Mexico
Oh FUCKING HELL NO!! If they take Podesta down, we’ll never get to Disclosure!!!!!
@chopper: Yeah, but how? Besides the title.
There was a little travelogue half-hour about the island of Sark. A little island off the coast of Normandy, part of the guernsey islands. Its a lovely, charming looking place. Cars are banned there and its been designated a Dark Island , i.e. no light pollution for impede star gazing. Said its chief industry is tourism and banking. Banking? Turns out its one of the biggest off-shore places to hide money. Paradise indeed.
@boatboy_srq: Hmmm, I was wondering if/when somebody was going to put their money where their mouth is.
Of course, it pains me to point out that these companies stood by silently as these states screwed over poor people and people of color.
@redshirt: according to google, its about Roth’s car which he named Panama. I do recall the engine revving. He was quoted as saying something about he named the car that because it was the farthest south you could go and still have a really corrupt good time. there is something about the hood and bumper being mounted on a wall in his house. Sounds rather lame. Google is amazing sometimes.
@Mike J: I suspect there is a very fuzzy divide between assets of Trump the person vs. Trump the company. Which might explain why Trump claims the IRS is auditing something like 12 years of his income taxes.
@Hillary Rettig: @scav: Looking at it this way: if the rich came right out and said “we’re fucking frightened of the Fight for Fifteen and we need to stop cities and counties from raising the local minimum wage wherever unsympathetic foes have taken over local legislatures” they’d probably have a tough time raising passion for the issue. Raising the minimum wage isn’t unpopular at the moment. However, if you said “My god, ladies. Drag Queens are gonna be using your bathroom and probably raping you and your children!”, you might get more support for it. That’s what North Carolina’s bill did. I think we need to pay closer attention to the other items that are being added into these bills stripping prerogatives from local governments.
@? Martin: This points to the need for a regulatory state, including a fair trade regime.
I agree with you that by and large Apple is not particularly evil (their option post dating scandal really, really was bad, but there were others doing it…..)
So there needs to be a carbon tax on imports and there needs to be international labor standards, that apply to all companies, and which get ^)Y)%&I%)(&I enforced.
Then Apple can continue to focus on its core business and be a better citizen. Because it has to.
That’s the only way it has ever worked.
@glory b: There’s at least one more as of this afternoon: Red Ventures. But the logic was startling: RV is complaining about the undemocratic, high-speed, stealthy passage of the law as much as the content. McCrony et al are losing folks across the spectrum with this one.
Something tells me the industrial race to the New South (with its low salaries, cheap real estate and generous tax incentives) is about to bang a U’ie, because the h8ers are demanding too much license to discriminate against too many. Well past time IYAM.
ETA: PayPal is fairly new, and based in California, so your complaint about longstanding discrimination doesn’t apply so well for them. Red Ventures is probably guilty.
@chopper: it’s about a car…
@sharl: In Iceland, they consider skyr a cheese. It is wonderful.
@Hillary Rettig: One reason that there aren’t more Americans on the list is that Mossack and Fonseca, the law firm whose papers leaked, don’t have offices in the US. http://www.mossfon.com/contact-our-offices/
They weren’t looking for US business.
There does need to be accountability in trade, but understand what the trade deals are specifically doing: their primary job is to eliminate arbitrary tariffs that slow commerce. The 25% tariff on imported pickup trucks is arbitrary and doesn’t actually produce any direct benefit other than a bit of tax revenue for the federal government and a bit of shade for US workers to hide under. It doesn’t increase wages or labor conditions on the other side, it doesn’t help the environment, it doesn’t help advance markets from less beneficial products to more beneficial (gas to electric, etc). It does nothing of direct value.
Now, what you replace that with is much more interesting but you have to start with the acceptance that the tariffs as tariffs are bad and need to go away. There are plenty of people on the left demanding more and bigger tariffs, so let’s not take this as a misunderstanding of what Democrats want.
The GOP would replace those tariffs with nothing or nearly nothing. We don’t really know what Democrats would replace tariffs with because Democrats have never championed a trade deal. Even Obama’s TPP is a half measure because he knows he needs Republicans to pass it, because he can’t count on Democrats to do it. But it does look a fair bit more like a regulatory contract – labor conditions, environmental policies, etc. And there should be no objection to demanding that imported goods meet domestic standards for safety, etc. (Republicans like to attack that as well).
A carbon tax on imports would be fair to pursue if we had any domestic policy to back that into. We don’t, but Democrats should put those together and make that part of the deal. And my guess is that they’d get companies like Apple to back that effort because it would give them a competitive advantage. And that’s a key dynamic that seems to be missed here. Don’t give US companies a competitive advantage by simply taxing their competitors arbitrarily – tie that to a societal good that the company can market.
Well, his brand is based on being a ‘winner’. So, he has to ‘win’ the nomination.
@? Martin: I actually don’t share the idea that a tariff is bad. We built the greatest consumer marketplace in the world, including training all the consumers and helping htem achieve the worlds largest middle class. I have no problem having a moderate tax for access to that market.
A moderate VAT on imported goods seems like good public policy for the US.
Where are all the American/Republican (and I’m guessing some Democrat) names that should be in the Panama Papers? Seems it’s targeting everyone but Americans for the most part..
@srv: I do have an iPad, MotoG droid for phone and Windows on my puter. I have a well diversified gadget/software portfolio.
@bearcalypse: The german newspaper indicated that Americans would be the focus of the next disclosure.
I never said foreign governments sold them out. US lawmakers were terrible, because they simply didn’t tell the truth. They were removing tariffs on imports but other countries were not following them and removing tariffs. I don’t blame other countries for that. They’re self-interested.
Many US lawmakers were insisting US workers were “not competitive” when countries like Japan were putting tariffs on US goods going into Japan. It wasn’t a level playing field. US lawmakers got rid of tariff’s for imported goods while other countries protected their industries and workforce. That happened. It isn’t a fairy tale told by labor unions. The US wanted to set a free trade regime and in the process of doing that they put their own workforce and industries at a deliberate disadvantage. Now, maybe that was “long arc” and the goal of “leading” free trade was worth the sacrifice, but they never explained that to people. Instead they said this was 100% the operation of “markets”. No, it wasn’t.
It was a double whammy because US lawmakers did next to nothing to mitigate that situation for working people. They ordered them to go “retrain” and “skill up” and they invested nothing in that. In fact, education got MORE expensive for them every year and with the deliberate dismantling of labor unions there was no one TO train them.
@Brachiator: I hate to say it, but I care far more about this than I care about the tax avoidance.
I doubt any current company would pull out over this but it might put a damper on plant expansion, and also make it harder for corporations to bring in talent from other states/countries. I suspect certain Toyota, GE and other execs have the governor’s office on speed dial and are expressing their displeasure.
As for the folks tasked with recruiting new corporations to Mississippi, their jobs just got tougher.
@Peale: There is that from the governance perspective — and it is important — but the motivations of the baying mob making such cover possible was what I was going after. Denying them the ability to use religiously-justified persecution squid-ink and sugar to get their agenda slipped into to law seems a reasonable line of attack (not that it’s the only one).
IMO, our trade policy was too skewed towards consumers- cheaper goods instead of higher wages. People aren’t just consumers. They’re producers.
I think the focus on benefits to consumers was partly because the policy wasn’t broadly debated enough- too many economists and academics and not enough “what will this do to wages?” There would have been a broader debate if media covered trade deals at all, but they don’t. They forgot the other side of the equation, the side of the equation that says “cheaper consumer goods are nice, but I can’t pay my rent”.
Economists and academics are important, we shouldn’t have a DUMB debate, but we have to have an INCLUSIVE debate that includes the effect on working people. There are a LOT of them. We’re talking about 60-70% of the workforce w/out a college degree. You can’t throw them away.
I work in the industry in Luxembourg, and there is an enormous legitimate industry here that unfortunately creates a screen behind which crooked businesses can thrive. The legit businesses have a lot of competition and margins are pretty low for respectable service providers, but the margins of the shadowy ones are quite high and there is a big potential customer pool for those who are willing to cross the ethical and legal lines. Cyprus really put the fear of god into people here though, so maybe it will get better. The KYC regulatory burden here is quite shocking to my American clients.
@Kay: This. This ranks up with the Iraq War as what will be regarded as the greatest blunders committed by the US in the last century.
Ah, thank you! It’s a very minor thing, given the big picture here, but I was curious.
@Xenos: Yep. They do well there. If I read OECD stats correctly, Luxembourg is the largest FDI investor in Europe into the US, UK, netherlands, France, Bermuda, Gibraltar (my gosh, billions of dollars into Gibraltar each year…must be booming!), and Switzerland. The list goes on and on. It used to be that it was advantageous to incorporate a telecom company there. Now it looks like its just a place to register a company to move money to Gibraltar.
Imagine if this country’s self-employed middle class set up offshore accounts and were able to avoid federal income taxes.
@Kay: Not you, but isn’t that Trump’s entire platform, that we are getting screwed by the foreign governments and immigrants over here.
Fair enough. Tax avoidance can seem abstract and far removed from the real world. Or maybe we would all do a little avoidance if we could get away with it.
And yet, the impact of tax avoidance can be almost as devastating on people and countries as more direct forms of unethical behavior.
In any event, a little something for everyone.
well, there’s this place called Panama. Panama is in central america. Panama’s main export is corn, or as the indians call it, ‘maize’.
in short, Panama is a land of contrasts.
I only listened to one Trump speech, a good chunk, 30 minutes or more, and he tells his fans that US lawmakers are screwing them.
He definitely drums up resentment of immigrants, though, but it’s mostly low wage “scary” immigrants “flooding” the country. The Right generally has really settled on immigrants as violent criminals rather than “job stealers”.
I’ve said this before but people who work in manufacturing here are pro-trade. They know about world markets. If you make automobiles and tires and fasteners you know materials are sourced all over the world and stuff is shipped all over the world. A lot of them work for foreign-owned companies- German, Japanese, we have a Mexican-owned auto component plant here. They aren’t anti-trade. They just don’t want to be sacrificed for a decades-long anti-tariff campaign.
One of the things fair traders say here is that Canada is a huge trading partner for Ohio. They don’t worry about competing with Canada because Canada has better worker protections than the US does. That’s a level playing field, where they won’t race to the bottom.
I’m going to a Dem “regional” dinner tonight and I’m curious how heated the Clinton v Sanders stuff has gotten. It seems really “hot” on the internet but I don’t know if that’s expressed face to face. Marcy Kaptur is the speaker and she endorsed Sanders (which surprised me) but we have some very passionate Clinton supporters at the county Party level, so there might be grumbling. They booked her as speaker before the Sanders endorsement.
@Kay: Make sure you’re armed.
@Peale: my only client with an investment in Gibraltar is a manufacturing and services business that actually does commercial business in Gibraltar. Not much financial at all, just stuff sold to consumers. How gauche – no wonder I am not making the big bucks.
@Kay: Be sure to report back!
J R in WV
“Trump just said as president he’d get rid of the Dept of Environemental, the DEP. He can’t handle the pace.”
Well, then, he doesn’t even know the name of what he intends to zero out. The federal agency is the Environmental Protection Agency. I worked for the Department of Environmental Protection, there are lots of them, they are many of the state agencies working to try to protect our environment, and the President has little to do with them.
Maybe that was your mistake, but I’m betting on Trump for this one. He can’t handle the pace, at all.
J R in WV
How is Sanders stronger in this area than Clinton? Sanders has no support in the House or the Senate, while Clinton provides funding and support to many candidates for both the House and the Senate!
Plus Sanders isn’t going to be elected in this year’s elections. So there’s that, too.
There’s experience – and then there is judgement:
Bernie Sanders Predicted Panama Papers Scandal back in 2011!
Hillary Panama Papers – Clinton Champion Panama Trade(read Money Laundering) in 2011
Canada is a by a long shot America’s largest trading partner. The Eurozone comes next, and after that Mexico.
China is way down the list.
In other news, scientists have ascertained that human sacrifice promoted social complexity in ancient societies, so I’m expecting Trump to come out for slicing infants’ hearts out with jade knives any day now…