Politicians have always been stereotyped as slimy, underhanded, and corrupt. A pretty harsh judgement at face value, but it might be justified considering new documents that have surfaced, revealing massive conspiracies involving some of the most powerful people in the world.
According to the BBC, “the Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents that reveals hidden wealth, tax avoidance and, in some cases, money laundering by some of the world’s rich and powerful.” Among the public figures whose misdeeds were exposed were the Qatari royal family, the King of Jordan, and the Czech Prime Minister.
The BBC writes that although some of the actions were technically legal, they were gross abuses of loopholes in the law and are still considered very immoral. It’s hard to say exactly how much money has been hidden from the public because, well, it’s hidden, but the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists estimate that between 5.6 to 32 TRILLION dollars. To put that in perspective, the entire United States federal government is projected to have spent $6.8 trillion in 2021, less than a quarter of some projections of money hidden in offshore funds (Congressional Budget Office).
This massive development affects not only citizens of the nations led by these politicians but us here in the U.S. as well. This event furthers the moral degradation of politicians and, whether consciously or not, wears away public trust for them. Actions like these from politicians attack values of democracy by reducing faith in government leaders, which is necessary for representative democracies to function properly.
Although no American politicians were called out in the papers, the U.S. itself acted as a tax haven for many of these unscrupulous deals. If U.S. legislators responded to this development by changing laws that allow these tax havens to exist in America, they could restore American faith in government and preserve democracy as we know it.