Panama papers leak: Sanders predicts and Obama indicts
It seems as though Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders predicted the Panama papers way back in 2011 when he opposed Clinton-backed US-Panama trade deal.
Sen. Sanders is highlighting his vote against the 2011 US free trade agreement with Panama in light of explosive new details about Panama’s role as a tax haven. 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.”
The revelation that the rich and wealthy are shovelling money in overseas tax havens is not a particularly surprising one. Nevertheless, the sheer scale of the 11.5 million document leak from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonesca has whipped up an overdue storm and forced the issue of tax justice back on the agenda.
President Obama addressed the massive Panama Papers leak on Tuesday, saying the documents showed that “tax avoidance is a big global problem.” “A lot of it’s legal, but that’s exactly the problem,” he said in remarks at the White House where he pushed Congress to enact corporate tax reform. Obama said tax inversions hurt ordinary Americans who do not have the financial muscle to take advantage of loopholes in the tax system.