Six years ago, Senator Bernie Sanders made a speech about the Panama Free Trade Agreement, which President Barack Obama had signed into law in 2011. With news of the Panama Papers breaking this week, the Sanders speech from the floor of the Senate is almost prophetic if you watch it now. Here is what Senator Sanders’ Facebook page posted last night:
Bernie opposed the 2011 Panama Free Trade Agreement because he was worried it would increasingly allow wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade U.S. taxes by stashing their cash in offshore tax havens. Now with the release of the Panama Papers it appears he was right. They show that over 214,000 offshore companies are using Panama to evade taxes. That is unacceptable, and that has got to change.
Posted by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Monday, April 4, 2016
One more thing, in case you are keeping score at home. Here is the lede to an International Business Times story from this week:
Years before more than a hundred media outlets around the world released stories Sunday exposing a massive network of global tax evasion detailed in the so-called Panama Papers, U.S. President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed for a Bush administration-negotiated free trade agreement that watchdogs warned would only make the situation worse.
Soon after taking office in 2009, Obama and his secretary of state — who is currently the Democratic presidential front-runner — began pushing for the passage of stalled free trade agreements (FTAs) with Panama, Colombia and South Korea that opponents said would make it more difficult to crack down on Panama’s very low income tax rate, banking secrecy laws and history of noncooperation with foreign partners.
Then there is this:
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) April 4, 2016