Saturday, April 09, 2016
The world seems outraged by the revelations of prominent persons from many nations who have tucked their wealth away in Panamanian tax shelters. From what I can see the majority have done so legally, although some are hiding ill-gotten gain, and others have entered the shadows of unethical behaviour, even if it is not illegal. Some of the thousands of persons named in leaked documents are politicians who are under pressure to resign or have done so because they have profited from the havens at the same time their national banking systems were taking a huge hit.
What is shocking is that anyone is shocked. The wealthy have usually been adept at both creating wealth and holding on to it. The wealthy are generally conservative in their politics because they want to conserve what they have. If you listen to loudmouths such as Kevin O'Leary, this is the way the gods of commerce and accumulation have ordained it. He is so convinced of this that he considering a run for leadership of the Conservative party of Canada.
What depresses me is that while there will be some huffing and puffing for a week or three, this too shall pass, and we will return to the status quo of the rich prospering. It's unlikely that anything will change. It will remain legal to dodge taxes, despite all the moral outrage.
I think of the negative comments I regularly hear about free-loading poor people who milk the system. We have our fair share of folk who come to the church seeking twenty dollars here, thirty dollars there. Someone showed up while I was writing this blog, a regular who is one of the few individuals who pays us back. Why does society hold these people in contempt and accept that at least some of the rich can do what they please? Did they really earn their wealth, the way most people do?
Jesus had a lot of time for the poor, and suggested more than once that the road to hell is paved with lucre, even when it isn't filthy. Could it be that we should pay greater attention to Jesus? Ah, such silly talk!