I have not been surprised at all by the reaction to the Panama papers.
The idea that rich people get governments to do their bidding in order to protect their wealth is something that I think everyone knows, and the differences is how people react. Some people react with populist fervor, wanting to storm the castles and redistribute the money they are hoarding. Some say that that is how the system SHOULD work, but cloak it in more acceptable terms by deriding those who disagree was wanting to redistribute wealth or start class warfare.
Those reactions don’t bother me, as they are what you can expect in our current media driven political polarization. Liberals want to change things, conservatives want to keep things in place. That’s how the mindsets work.
What baffles me are the poor people who defend the uber rich with more passion than they try to make their own lives better.
I have a co-worker at one of my jobs who has to take whatever open hours are left, and makes so little money that for 4 years, she had 3 – 4 roommates in her crappy apartment in order to make rent and have enough money to go get wasted in the small town bar. She often yelled and ranted about how the Dem-i-crats were raising taxes, and when it was pointed out to her than they raised taxes on people making over $250K and had cut her taxes, she was still upset. When I asked why she was upset over rich people having to pay taxes, she said, “Because when I am rich, I don’t want the government taking my money.”
When she is rich.
A woman in her mid 50’s with a work record so poor she has to work fill-in hours at a group home believes she is still going to be rich and wants the tax code written in such a way so that when she DOES become rich, she doesn’t have to pay taxes on that.
And I cannot understand that way of thinking at all.
First, I am not going to be rich. I work at management level at best, podcasts are not a way to wealth, fiction doesn’t pay well and I don’t gamble.
Second, if I DID become rich, I wouldn’t mind paying my fair share. That’s part of the cost of civilization, and people who have more money can afford it better. If I were rich, I doubt that 60% of my income would go toward housing and utilities unless I spend like a moron.
Lastly, this is another person who has to struggle to merely have a roof over her head and enough to eat, trapped in a system that gives lower income people tiring, backbreaking work and then says that the reason you are poor is that you just don’t work hard enough, so work harder for the people who own the businesses and pay you wages Just Below what you would need to live comfortably.
We have been taught that we need to protect the overlords because we just might become one, so when we see that the overlords get special breaks and rules, we don’t scream “Off with their heads”, we scream, “Protect them from the evil bastards trying to tax them!”
So, when the Panama Papers show how the government protects the rich, I don’t get mad. I just shrug and say, “So what else is new.”
And that should be the worst part of the whole thing.