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Did Bernie Sanders Basically Predict the Panama Papers in 2011?

Fans might argue he knew what was coming, and that no one listened.
Thumbnail via Flickr user Gage Skidmore

READ: Here's Why You Should Give a Shit About the Panama Papers

The Panama Papers, 11.5 million documents leaked by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and a bevy of other outlets this week, could give Bernie Sanders a boost in his presidential campaign—or at least convince a few fans he should take on a second career as a phone psychic.

As Mic points out, on October 12, 2011, Senator Sanders condemned a pending free-trade deal with Panama. In his speech, Sanders indicated there was no way the agreement could possibly help generate more American jobs.

Then he pivoted to the risk of the wealthy stashing their millions in illegal offshore tax havens.

"Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade US taxes by stashing their cash in offshore tax havens," he said. "The Panama free-trade agreement will make this bad situation much worse. Each and every year, the wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations evade about $100 billion in taxes through abusive and illegal offshore tax havens in Panama and in other countries."

Of course, being pissed that Panama-based lawyers help people hide shady financial assets is different than predicting dozens of power players across the planet were in on the action, as the papers have shown. But if nothing else, this week's revelations bolster Sanders's message that nefarious rich people are screwing everyone else.

For her part, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated President Obama for passing the agreement a day after Sanders leveled his criticism, claiming the administration was "constantly working to deepen our economic engagement throughout the world, and these agreements are an example of that commitment."