By Mike Sainato / 04.04.2016
The Panama Papers leak recently revealed how and to what extent some wealthy international elites use Panama as a haven to avoid paying taxes in their respective countries. The leak has embarrassed public officials all over the world, led for calls in Iceland for their prime minister to resign, and illuminated to the world the sneaky and greedy ways the rich stay rich and keep getting richer.
In 2011, on the Senate floor, Bernie Sanders was railing against a trade policy between the United States and Panama, citing the country is one of the biggest tax havens for the wealthy in the world:
“Panama’s entire annual economic output is only $26.7 billion a year, or about two-tenths of one percent of the U.S. economy. No-one can legitimately make the claim that approving this free trade agreement will significantly increase American jobs,” begins Senator Sanders, before asking the Senate, “why would we be considering a stand-alone free trade agreement with this country?”
Bernie Sanders answers his own question in the same way throughout his campaign he has criticized the broadening income and wealthy inequality in the United States which is permeating into a litany of other various social ills.
“Well, it turns out that Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade U.S. taxes by stashing their cash in off-shore tax havens. And, the Panama Free Trade Agreement would make this bad situation much worse. Each and every year, the wealthy and large corporations evade $100 billion in U.S. taxes through abusive and illegal offshore tax havens in Panama and other countries.”
Despite the harsh opposition from Bernie Sanders, the U.S. -Panama Trade Promotion Agreement went into effect in 2012, and more than likely has facilitated the ability for wealthy individuals and corporations in America to launder money and evade paying millions in taxes to federal and state governments in America.
Here’s the video: