Do As We Say, Not As We Do

A lot of people are talking about the Panama Papers. This treasure trove of shell corporations created by utilizing the services of Mossack Fonseca measures in at over 2.5 terabytes in size and it seems to contain dirt on almost every politician. The prime minister of Iceland just resigned due to public outrage stirred by his name appearing in the papers and others are likely to follow.

But the real scandal isn’t that these politicians are utilizing tax havens to protect their wealth. The real scandal is that these politicians continue to hunt those who utilize tax havens while making use of such wealth preserving institutions themselves.

There is nothing immoral about trying to conceal your wealth from thieves. In fact doing so is meritorious. In the case of tax thieves concealing wealth keeps resources out of the hands of the most violent gangs in the world. The less resources the State has the less effective it is as subjugating its victims. We shouldn’t decry anybody for protecting their wealth from the State.

What we should decry are thieves and these politicians are not only thieves but their dishonest thieves. In public these politicians espouse the merits of taxes and viciously criticize tax evaders. In private they are whisking their wealth away to the exact same places using the exact same tactics as private tax evaders. I believe the only fair thing to do in this case is treat these politicians the exact same way they treat private tax evaders. Make examples of them in the media. Hold a show trial. Then lock them in a cage for the rest of their lives. And do this not because they’re tax evaders but because they’ve gleefully inflicted such harm on tax evaders themselves.