" From Rolling Papers To Tax Evaders "
Rev. Peter E. Bauer
Off-shore banking and tax shelter havens are certainly not a new phenomenon. These methods of protecting wealth and income have been around for decades, going back to old practice of keeping a Swiss bank account. For years, lots of money has been diverted to companies in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere. You could have cannabis growers from Humboldt County California routing financial profits to the Caribbean. Now you can even shelter your money in faux companies in Wyoming, Delaware and Nevada where a corporation income tax is not imposed. [PDF]2014 Out-of-State Tax Shelters Report - Oregon.govhttps://www.oregon.gov/DOR/about/.../bn_tax-shelters_2014.pdf
What is surprising about the revelations of the Panama Papers is how several world leaders and many other prominent people have been caught in this scandal. The Prime Minister of Iceland has resigned, there has been speculation that members of Vladimir Putin's inner circle have benefited from off-shore dealings netting two billion dollars. Now we also have involvement of British Prime Minister David Cameron. According to a recent article
After three days of stalling and four partial statements issued by Downing Street Cameron confessed that he owned shares in the tax haven fund, which he sold for £31,500 just before becoming prime minister in 2010. David Cameron admits he profited from father's Panama offshore trust The Guardian - 2 days ago
Why would government leaders, who require trust and support by their constituents, resort to such reckless behavior that will only result in the undermining of trust and confidence ? Instead of saying that this was not the best choice or the smartest judgment that one could make, David Cameron tells us the following:
"Rules have changed, culture has changed," he said. "And I welcome that. I want to be as clear as I can about the past, about the present, about the future, because frankly, I don't have anything to hide."
Speaking about his personal wealth, Cameron told Peston: "In all of this I've never hidden the fact that I'm a very lucky person who had wealthy parents, who gave me a great upbringing, who paid for me to go to an amazing school. I have never tried to pretend to be anything I am not. But I was keen in 2010 to sell everything - shares, all the rest of it - so I can be very transparent. I don't own any part of any company or any investment trust or anything else like that." (The Guardian 2 days ago )
Somehow, the continuing revelations of the Panama Papers is anything but transparent. Here we have behavior that clearly reflects entitlement and hubris. How can the British Prime Minister or anyone else in leadership culpable in this matter indicate that they are " leading by example " and are modeling good behavior for their children, let alone their constituents?
David Crosby and Graham Nash have noted
" They bleed the companies, they're supposed to run
Ain't no different than taking
Your money with a gun
They make it to Jamaica
And their wire comes through
They sacrafice a lawyer
And they're laughing at you
(They Want It All )
Unfortunately, we are seeing the latest chapter of continuing casino capitalism. People everywhere need to have a livelihood, we all need money in order to survive, but we also need to support services that provide an infrastructure of societal support.
It's a strange world when the drug runners and the government politicians don't look any different.
We need to do better for our people, for our world, for our lives and for our souls.
May it be so.