The release of the Panama Papers has already claimed the career of the Prime Minister of Iceland.

Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned suddenly Tuesday, walking out of Parliament shortly after 3:00 pm local time — less than a day after publicly declaring he would not succumb to protesters’ demands that he leave office, and less than 12 hours after his attempt to dissolve Parliament was rebuffed.

Iceland is, of course, the country that actually put bankers in jail after the financial crisis of 2007-08.

Nancy noted earlier that Bernie Sanders hasn’t necessarily thought through all the details and implications of his promises to break up the big banks and hold some executives responsible for their actions, but it’s obviously something that can be done if a country has the right kind of culture.

In Iceland, the jailed bankers get to tend to sheep and horses and otherwise aren’t exactly doing hard time, but they’re also not free to leave and they’ve been thoroughly disgraced and financially punished.

Personally, whenever I think about the disparity between how much pain the American people felt during the Great Recession and the fate of the architects of that disaster, this is what runs through my head.

Even Iceland’s intolerance for their shenanigans seems too tame to me.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at