Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The real lesson of the Panama Papers

Megan McArdle: It's not that capitalism is to blame... but the opposite (Bloomberg):

What we seem to have learned from the documents so far is that this particular sort of corruption isn’t a big local problem for the U.S. We do of course have some law breakers, because there is no such thing as a law that won’t be broken. But it seems to be a minor, furtive thing, rather than the mass habit you see in parts of the developing world. The IRS is very good at finding offshore tax cheats, and getting better all the time. I am confident that if U.S. scofflaws should be revealed by these documents, the tax authorities will waste no time ensuring that they get what is coming to them.

Other governments may fail to enforce their laws, perhaps because the named figures sort of are the local government. That is a big problem. But that doesn’t mean that it’s our problem. Global capitalism didn’t create the issues plaguing weak states. And global anti-capitalism won’t fix them, either.
More (Reason.com): "Instead of going after countries such as Panama and the important and legal structures they offer to international businesses and investors, high-tax nations and the media should wait to see whether any laws were actually broken. And while they're waiting, they should reform their own governments' self-destructive fiscal systems. That's the real financial scandal."

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