There’s been a lot of talk this week about the Panama Papers. I know that sounds like a whimsical local newspaper, filled with award-winning yuca recipes and the schedule for the Panama Canal locks. It’s not. It’s a record leaked by an anonymous source that gives specific details on the actions and clients of a large offshore law firm—Mossack Fonseca. This law firm helps rich people, past and present politicians, and wealthy corporations conduct business, avoid taxes, and store money in ways that their home country citizens would colloquially describe as “super sketchy” and their law enforcement agencies (the ones not being bribed with offshore, tax-free accounts) would define as “incredibly illegal.”
While it’s important that these documents were uncovered and exposed, are any of us really surprised? We shouldn’t be shocked to learn that rich, powerful people who feel untouchable are taking inappropriate and unlawful actions in order to get richer and more powerful. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. And I’m not surprised one bit.
That’s not to say we don’t need to work to fix it. And the question, I guess, is whether we need to raise new people who are kinder and more thoughtful or tighten up enforcement and regulations to reign in the inevitable actions of less kind and less thoughtful people. I wish the first was enough, but I bet at least a few of these guys had really nice mothers. Mostly this makes me want to build a tiny house in the middle of nowhere and save my money under the mattress. Or invest in something with guaranteed good returns, like soup or beanie babies.