Have you heard about the Panama Papers? They come from one of those “leaks” you hear about occasionally and while most leaks concern some type of government activity, these involve our favorite people: the super rich.
More to the point, it concerns how the super rich hide their money in accounts in other countries, usually island based companies, and avoid paying billions in taxes. The reported 11 million documents leaked cover the last 39 years and promise to expose just how greedy some people are.
I know, you’re thinking, “Great! I don’t like to pay taxes either! More power to them!”
And that’s a fine way to think, no one likes paying taxes. But you still pay them, right? There are rules in place and you follow them and you know that taxes pay for police protection and fire fighters and teachers and the roads we drive on and probably a million other things that we don’t have room to list here.
So, you do your part and the taxes you pay, all of them, probably average somewhere between $10,000-$30,000 a year. You do your part and sometimes you get a little of it back somewhere in the first three and a half months of the year.
Now, there are some who apparently don’t want to do their part. Some of them are companies but a lot of them, including businesses like Apple, do it in an infuriating but legal way. At least, as far as we know.
No names have been revealed in this leak so far (names have been promised at a later date) but it apparently includes world leaders, corporate giants, celebrities and athletes. It has even been claimed that accounts have been found with ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Why, you ask, should any of this matter to you as your try to find $40 so you can finish paying off your electric bill? In the world you live in, you probably shouldn’t care. You’re never going to have enough money to put in an off shore account. Heck, even if you won the Power Ball when it was at $300 million, you’d just ask your widely grinning banker if he you could put it in your checking account. Or is that just me?
But on a big picture level you should be wildly outraged. These are people who, in some cases, report incomes in the billions. Then they hide billions more to avoid paying millions in taxes. They could solve all your problems with their pocket change. But what they have isn’t enough. They benefit from, well, everything, but when it comes to taxes that’s for you to take care of. They see you paying $15,000 in taxes and think you’re getting off light. Shoot, that’s what they pay their house staff on a daily basis.
That kind of sticks in your craw, but you’re really not all that ticked off are you? Maybe you’ve got your own problems and there’s no reason to worry about something that’ll never make any difference to you. Understandable.
But deep down you hold the belief that someday you will be super rich and you don’t want the government getting any more of your money than is absolutely necessary. Never mind you’re in your forties and the top amount you’ve ever made is $9.50 an hour. Somehow, someway you will one day be so rich the Walton family will beg to be invited to your house.
A temporarily embarrassed millionaire as someone once said.
I got you. I intend to be one of those millionaire Amazon Kindle writers as soon as I get around to it. I’d like to keep as much of that money as I can.
But perhaps, just perhaps, if all these non-embarrassed rich people wouldn’t hide all that money (they could put it back into their companies, invest in things that create jobs) you could be making more than $9.50 an hour at the age of 46.
And paying the electric bill wouldn’t be such a hassle.