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BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Our democracy is now probably better described as one dollar, one vote than one person, one vote. We have a tax system that reflects not the interest of the middle. We have a tax system that reflects the interest of the one percent.

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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Here’s something to make you really, really mad. Our country’s infrastructure is crumbling. Potholes are becoming sinkholes, axle-killers, tire-busters. Our cities struggle to pay for services. The powers-that-be in bankrupt Detroit even cut off the water to some residents. Schools and libraries are closing. Public parks decay. And the war party in Washington clamors for billions of dollars more for foreign interventions – bombs, rockets, drones, even troops.

Twenty million Americans who would like a full-time job still can’t get one, yet corporations are sitting on more than $2 trillion in cash while revenue from corporate income taxes are down from 40 percent in 1943 to just below ten percent in 2012.

All this as some of the largest and richest corporations are now resorting to legal hanky-panky that allows them to “renounce their citizenship,” meaning they can pretend to be headquartered abroad and make big profits on which they pay little or no US taxes.

Here's what President Obama said recently about that practice, known as "inversion:"

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Now, here’s the, the problem is this loophole they’re using in our tax laws is actually legal. It’s so simple and so lucrative, one corporate attorney said it's almost like the Holy Grail of tax avoidance schemes. My attitude is I don’t care if it’s legal, it’s wrong.

BILL MOYERS: Now look at this recent headline in "The New York Times:" “Reluctantly, Patriot Flees Homeland for Greener Tax Pastures.” It’s about a US generic drug company incorporating in the Netherlands. Reluctantly, my eye. Skipping out on America means more profits for the company and bigger bonuses for the CEO.

Tax-dodging is big business, which has one of our world’s most noted economists plenty angry: Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. He’s president of the International Economic Association and served as Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers back in the 90s. His best-selling books have shaped worldwide debate. And now he’s written one of his shortest but most important works he’s done: a 27-page white paper for the Roosevelt Institute laying out a tax-reform plan to hold corporations accountable, create jobs, and boost the economy.

Joseph Stiglitz, welcome.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Nice to be here.

BILL MOYERS: You argue that elimination of corporate welfare, or at least its reduction, should be at the center of tax reform. Why?

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: I want to put it in a broader context. Our country needs, faces a lot of challenges. We, as you mentioned, 20 million Americans would like a full-time job and can't get one. We have growing inequality.

We have environmental problems that threaten the future of our planet. I think we can use our tax system to create a better society, to be an expression of our true values. But if people don't think that their tax system is fair, they're not going to want to contribute. It's going to be difficult to get them to pay. And, unfortunately, right now, our tax system is neither fair nor efficient.

Look at the tax rate paid by that one percent. It's much lower than the tax rate paid by somebody whose income is lower who works hard for a living, as a percentage of their income.

You know, Warren Buffet put it very, you know, why should he pay a lower tax rate on his reported income than his secretary? And the interesting thing that he didn't emphasize was most of his income is in the form of unrealized capital gains.

BILL MOYERS: Unrealized capital gains are not taxed as long as the owner keeps them, right, doesn't get rid of them?

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: That’s right. And it's even worse if you're a corporation and you even realize the capital gains but you're abroad, you don't bring the money back home, there's still no taxes.

As long as they don't bring the money back here, it accumulates, it grows and grows and grows, and they get wealthier. But it's even worse than that. Because it means that they have an incentive to keep their money abroad.

And what does that mean? They have an incentive to create jobs abroad. And with our trade agreements, they can take the goods that are produced abroad with this tax-free money, bring it back in the United States, basically making it unfair competition with the goods produced by Americans.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah. There are several startling statements in your report. This is one of them: “our current tax system encourages multinationals to invest abroad,” and create jobs abroad, as you just said. And yet, these are people who defend their practices by saying, we are the job creators, we're the job producers. And yet, you say they have an incentive to send jobs abroad.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: The whole discussion of who are the job creators, I think, has been misplaced. You know, what really creates jobs is demand.

BILL MOYERS: I spend my money to buy things.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Exactly. Americans of all income groups are entrepreneurial. You got people across our income distribution who, when there's a demand, respond to that demand. But if there's no demand, there won't be jobs. Now, the problem is that the people in the one percent have so much money that they can't spend it all.

The people at the bottom are spending all of their income and hardly getting by. In fact, a very large fraction of those in the bottom 80 percent are spending more than their income. And it's part of the instability of our economy. So, the point is this inequality contribute-- to which our tax system contributes, actually weakens our demand.

And that's one of the main messages of my report, which is if we had a more progressive tax system, we could get a more efficient economy. Because there would be more jobs being created.

BILL MOYERS: So, these 20 million people I referred to, and you referred to in your report, who are looking for full-time work but can't find it, if they had that work, they'd be spending their money. They're not going to send it to the Cayman Islands, right.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Exactly. And they're going to be paying taxes. Because they don't have the opportunities for tax avoidance that the people who have the Cayman Islands and can use these unlimited IRAs and other ways of tax avoidance. You know, they don't keep the money in the Cayman Islands because the sunshine makes the money grow better.

BILL MOYERS: Dark money, money in the shadows, money now going into our political process, as you know so well, to reinforce this tax code.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: That's right. Reinforce the tax code, which has led America to be the country with the highest level of inequality of any of the advanced countries.

BILL MOYERS: Give us a working definition for the laity of corporate welfare.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Well, this was an idea that I began talking about when I was serving as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

BILL MOYERS: Twenty years ago.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Twenty years ago. And everybody was talking about how much money you were giving to the poor people. It wasn't, if you actually looked at the amount of money, it wasn't that much. But we said, well, you're also giving away a lot of money to rich corporations, directly and indirectly. Most of the indirect way is through the tax system. So, for instance, if you give special tax provisions for oil companies, so they don't pay the full share of taxes that they ought to be paying, that's a welfare benefit.

Lots of other provisions in our, hidden in our tax code basically help one industry or another, that can't be justified in any economic terms. And, so, that's where we coined the term "corporate welfare." It's caught on. And because it says it's a subsidy, but not a subsidy, help going to a poor person, which is where welfare ought to be going, but going to the richest Americans, going to our rich corporations.

BILL MOYERS: So, we have a tax code that encourages companies to send their profits abroad, to send jobs abroad, and to reward owners of their company whose money may not come back to the United States?

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: It doesn't make any sense, you might say. And the fact it doesn't, you know, one of the reasons I wrote the paper was, you know, there's a lot discussion going on about we have a budget deficit. And we have to slash this, and slash that, and cut back education, and cut back research, things that will make our economy stronger, cut back infrastructure.

And I think that's counterproductive. It's weakening our economy. But the point I make in this paper is it would be easy for us to raise the requisite revenue. This is not a problem. This is not as if it's going to oppress our economy. We could actually raise the money and make our economy stronger. For instance, we're talking about the taxation of capital. If we just tax capital in the same way we tax ordinary Americans, people who work for a job, who pay taxes we pay on wages.

If we eliminate the special provisions of capital gains, if we eliminated the special provisions for dividends we could get, over the next ten years, over, you know, approximately $2 trillion. And those are numbers according to the CBO. And so, we're talking about lots of money.

BILL MOYERS: The figures make sense to me. But the politics doesn't. Because these are the people, once again, who dominate our system with their contributions to the politicians who then have no interest in changing a system that rewards their donors.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: We have this vicious cycle where economic inequality gets translated into political inequality. It gets translated into rules of the game that lead to more economic inequality, and which allow that economic inequality to get translated into evermore political inequality. So, my view, you know, the only way we're going to break into this viscous cycle is if people come to understand that there is an alternative system out here.

That there is an alternative way of raising taxes, that we are not really faced with a budget crisis. It's a manmade crisis. You know, when we had the government shutdown, we realized that that was a political crisis. That wasn't an economic crisis. And the same thing about our budget crisis, you know. It's not that we couldn't raise the revenues in a way which actually could make our economy stronger. We can.

If we just had a fair tax system, to tax capital at the same rate that we tax ordinary individuals, if we just made those people in that upper one percent pay their fair share of the taxes. They got 22.5 percent of the income, well, let's make sure that they pay a commensurate part of our income tax, if we had taxes that would be designed to improve our environment. If we--

BILL MOYERS: You mean by taxing pollution?

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Taxing pollution.

BILL MOYERS: Carbon emissions.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: A general principle that we've known for a long time, a lot better to tax bad things than good things. Rather than tax people who work, let's shift some of that burden into things that are bad, like pollution.

BILL MOYERS: You make it sound so easy. And I'm still hung up on your saying, you know, it would be easy to do these things. And yet, if they were easy, why haven't we done them?

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Well, that’s the politics. The fact is that we have a political process that I won't say is broken, but is certainly not functioning the way we think a democracy is supposed to function, you know. In democracy, supposed to be one person, one vote. And there's a well-developed theory about what does that imply for the outcome of a political process?

We talk about it, called the median voter. It should reflect the middle, you know. Some people want more spending. Some people want less spending. Some people, you know, so the nature of democracy is compromise. And it's supposed to be compromise sort of in the middle. But that's not we have today in the United States. We have a tax system that reflects not the interest of the middle. We have a tax system that reflects the interest of the one percent.

BILL MOYERS: Let me cite some examples of the biggest tax dodgers. These come from the organization, Americans for Tax Fairness.

Citigroup had $42.6 billion in profits offshore in 2012 on which it paid no US taxes. Exxon Mobil had $43 billion in profits offshore in 2012 on which it paid no US taxes. General Electric made $88 billion from 2002 to 2012 and paid just 2.4 percent in taxes for a tax subsidy of $29 billion, I could go on. Pfizer, Honeywell, Verizon, FedEx, Apple. What goes through your mind when you hear these figures?

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Well, so, many things go through my mind. But, you know, one of the things is how unfair this is, and how angry Americans ought to be about this.

I also think of the ethics of the question. If I were a CEO, take of a company like Apple, use the ingenuity of America, based on the internet. Internet was created, in large measure, by government--

BILL MOYERS: Right.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: --by government spending. They're willing to take but not to give back. So, there's really a whole set of problems that concern it, ethics, equity, fairness, resource allocations. What they don't seem to understand is our society can't function if these large corporations don't make their fair share of contributions.

BILL MOYERS: Aren't they likely to say, though, in response, well we do this because the law permits it. This is what the system incentivizes.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Well the law does permit it. They use their lobbyists to make sure that the law gives them the scope to avoid taxes. So, this argument, oh, we're only doing what the law allows, is disingenuous. The fact is they created, their lobbyists, their lobbying helped create this law that allows them to escape taxes, pushing the burden of taxation on ordinary Americans.

BILL MOYERS: So, that's the big impact on people, right. They, somebody has to make up the difference between--

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Somebody has to make up the difference. I mean, we can't survive as a society without roads, infrastructure, education, police, firemen. Somebody's going to have to pay these costs.

BILL MOYERS: Summarizing what you say in here about your proposal, raise the corporate tax rate, but provide generous tax credits for corporations that invest in the US and create jobs here. Eliminate the loopholes that distort the economy, increase taxes on corporations, the profits of which are associated with externalities such as pollution, reduce the bias toward leverage by making dividend payments tax deductible, but imposing a withholding tax.

I mean, these seem so common-sensical that a journalist can understand them. But they don't get into the debate.

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Yeah, well, I hope this paper will help move that along. You notice when you were listing them that these are very much based on incentives. As I said--

BILL MOYERS: Your plan is based on incentives?

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: On incentives that we've created a tax system that has an incentive to move jobs abroad. And what I want to do is create a tax system that has incentives to create jobs. And if you tell a corporation, look it, if you don't create jobs, you're taking out of our system, you're not putting anything back, you're going to pay a high tax.

But if you put back into our system by investing, then you can get your tax rate down. That seems to me, common sense, particularly in a time like today, when 20 million Americans need a job. When we have so much inequality and this unemployment is contributing to that inequality.

You know, in this, the first three years of the so-called recovery, between 2009 and 2012, 95 percent of all the gains went to the upper 1 percent. So, the American workers are not participating. And the reason they're not participating is there's just not enough job creation here at home. And, so, this is a way of trying to incentivize all these corporations who are sitting on all this money abroad to start using some of their huge resources, some of all those benefits that we've given them, for the benefit of the American people.

BILL MOYERS: You move in circles where you come into contact with the CEOs of these companies, many of whom are deficit hawks, you know. They keep, they’re on committees. They keep testifying in Washington. They call for deficit reduction. What do they say when you make this argument to them face to face, as you're making it to me?

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Most of them are not economists. And most of them are concerned with their corporation's own bottom line and with their own salary. So, we've created a corporate system in the United States where the CEOs' pay is related to the shareholder value. The shareholder value is related to how little taxes they pay. Because if they can get the taxes down, profits look high and people will pay more for their shares.

So, when they're making an argument for, let's lower the corporate income tax, let's lower taxes that I have to pay, let's expand corporate loopholes, they don't use those words. But what they're really saying is, pay me more, because if I succeed in getting Congress to do that, my pay goes up, not because I've worked harder.

You might say, lobbying is hard work and taking congressmen out to dinner is hard work, and, you know, doing all those other things you have to do to get Congress to do what you want them to do, that's hard work. But it's not because I've really made the company more profitable in a fundamental sense.

I haven't invented something new. I haven't made my customers happier. I’ve made my company more valuable by succeeding in getting provisions that allow my company to avoid taxes. And then, my shareholder value goes up, my salary goes up.

BILL MOYERS: And you argue that the proposals you make in here for ending these loopholes, for ending tax avoidance, would actually create a more efficient economy than we are getting because of the tax avoidance that sends the money and the jobs abroad. How would ending corporate welfare benefit the economy here?

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: Well, let me just give you example that we were talking about before. Right now, we have a special tax provisions for capital gains. If we had had less encouragement to so much financial transactions, you know, the high-frequency trade, all those kind of things that don't create any value for our society.

But we subsidize them implicitly by the advantages that the tax system gives. So, if we had a tax system that discouraged some of this kind of excessive financial activity, if we actually taxed not only environmental pollution but the kinds of other activities that don't contribute to our society. We would divert more of our resources, scarce resources, more of our talents, to the kind of entrepreneurial activities, innovative activities, that Americans have, and into activities that would create jobs. And that would make our economy more competitive, globally. And that would create a stronger economy here at home.

BILL MOYERS: My conversation with Joseph Stiglitz will continue next week.

Corporations and their CEOs aren’t the only ones raking in profits by wiggling through a tax loophole and faking an overseas address. Here’s a column by Andrew Ross Sorkin in “The New York Times” headlined “Banks Cash In on Inversion Deals Intended to Elude Taxes.” Inversion, remember, is the word for the technique corporations use to “renounce their citizenship.”

And Sorkin reports that Wall Street banks, the very financial institutions saved by taxpayer bailout billions when the markets crashed in 2008, are making a mint, nearly a billion dollars, advising corporate clients to take advantage of the inversion rules and dodge their tax responsibilities here in America. At the head of the pack, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. Here’s Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, quote, “You want the choice to be able to go to Walmart to get the lowest prices,” he told reporters. “Companies should be able to make that choice as well.”

And then he said this, “I’m just as patriotic as anyone.”

Sorry, Mr. Dimon, it’s not patriotism, it’s a travesty – the corporate equivalent of moral treason. And all the rest of us have to pay for it.

There’s more from Joseph Stiglitz on our next edition of Moyers & Company:

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ: We already have a tax system that has contributed to making America the most unequal society of the advanced countries. That doesn’t have to be. We can have a tax system that can help create a fairer society— only ask the people at the top to pay their fair share.

BILL MOYERS: And take a look at our website, BillMoyers.com. I’ll see you there and I’ll see you here, next time.

Encore: Joseph E. Stiglitz Calls for Fair Taxes for All

August 21, 2014

A recent report by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz for the Roosevelt Institute suggests that paying our fair share of taxes and cracking down on corporate tax dodgers could be a cure for inequality and a faltering economy.

This week on Moyers & Company, Stiglitz tells Bill Moyers that Apple, Google, GE and a host of other Fortune 500 companies are creating what amounts to “an unlimited IRA for corporations.” The result? Vast amounts of lost revenue for our treasury and the exporting of much-needed jobs to other countries.

“I think we can use our tax system to create a better society, to be an expression of our true values,” Stiglitz says. “But if people don’t think that their tax system is fair, they’re not going to want to contribute. It’s going to be difficult to get them to pay. And, unfortunately, right now, our tax system is neither fair nor efficient.”

A version of this program originally aired on May 30, 2014.

Producer: Candace White. Segment Producer: Robert Booth. Editor: Rob Kuhns. Intro & Outro Producer: Robert Booth. Intro & Outro Editor: Rob Kuhns.

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  • Anonymous

    Growing up in the 1950s I believe that the progressive tax system was far better for the working class than what we now have. What Joseph E. Stiglitz says is totally correct. The problem we have is all the loopholes and I doubt if going to a much more progressive tax system will stop the lobbyist from adding more loopholes and going to a flat tax will also not stop them, making it possibly worse. As long as money is doing all the talking and the right human reasoning is taking a walk, I can’t see the problem being solved by acts of congress. When I was a child, there were a lot of mama and papa stores and smaller manufactures. Today, with the higher cost of fuel for exporters and importers, the higher cost of labor abroad and added amount of advertisement cost, it has become a good time for people to start building products in the US again. If more would do that, then all of the dollars spent on the products would stay here for the most part. Also because the products that are coming from abroad have so many hurtles to cross, their cost are rising, making it more easy to compete with them. The benefits to us is the less we give to corporation that could care less about us, the more we control them. Legislation has not worked because when the corporations got big they got greedy. When I was a kid, much of the corporate profits went to the workers, which made what they made easier to buy because the cost of the products was low compared to the workers salaries. Today a lot of the profits go to those running the companies and far less to the workers, making the workers less able to buy products they make, making the people running the corporation seek a greater % of the profits. I can only see it improving over time for those who want to start manufacturing here. I also find myself going back to shopping at smaller stores because in some cases their products now cost less then the big chain stores.

  • 2noame

    This…

    “20 million Americans would like a full-time job and can’t get one. We have growing inequality.”

    Plus this:

    “The whole discussion of who are the job creators, I think, has been misplaced. You know, what really creates jobs is demand… Americans of all income groups are entrepreneurial. You got people across our income distribution who, when there’s a demand, respond to that demand. But if there’s no demand, there won’t be jobs. Now, the problem is that the people in the one percent have so much money that they can’t spend it all. The people at the bottom are spending all of their income and hardly getting by. In fact, a very large fraction of those in the bottom 80 percent are spending more than their income. And it’s part of the instability of our economy. So, the point is this inequality contribute– to which our tax system contributes, actually weakens our demand.”

    Plus this:

    “We have this vicious cycle where economic inequality gets translated into political inequality. It gets translated into rules of the game that lead to more economic inequality, and which allow that economic inequality to get translated into evermore political inequality. So, my view, you know, the only way we’re going to break into this viscous cycle is if people come to understand that there is an alternative system out here.”

    Equals:

    Unconditional basic income.

    Use taxation as a tool to distribute just enough income to everyone to meet their most basic needs, so that all money earned from paid work is in addition to this basic income – thus entirely eliminating the welfare trap, reducing inequality, improving our economy, and strengthening our democracy.

  • Anonymous

    fair taxes as far as I am concerned would be same and equal as possible.

    I believe there should be only one deduction and that every tax payer deducts that same percent. And that every form of income or wealth gets taxed over that deduction for each tax payer.

    We should annually calculate the cost of living and be able to deduct that amount. It takes care of the poor and makes everything same and equal. Then tax at the same percent over that amount. IF it was 5% or 10% it would be the same for each payer over the cost of living.

    I don’t want the rich to pay more of a percent than I do, but when Mitt can hide wealth overseas, deduct enough on the rest that he only paid about 14% on his best year while I paid 28% because I have a big family and couldn’t take advantage of loopholes, that isn’t fair.

    This way nobody can scream that it is unfair, same and equal under the law.

  • Anonymous

    I also believe we should cut out the loopholes for business, maybe giving companies tax breaks based on the number of living wage employees that they hire in America, penalized for outsources and hiding money offshore and not paying US taxes.

  • Anonymous

    Well, that works out to be unfair and untenable as the cost of a loaf of bread is the same for a billionaire as it is for someone living in poverty. I prefer ‘to much that is given much is required’ and I have zero problem with the richest paying more and care not if the richest scream about fairness – too bad.

    The economic data is clear the richest Americans are not the ‘job creators’ nor do they work harder. And, the main reward for living in the United States should not be money but the fact that one lives in this country (presently that’s not really ‘true’). But, I love my country more than those who put money ahead of it…so I guess i’m in the minority.

  • Anonymous

    I cannot recall the sources I read regarding this – having something like a minimum ‘salary’ and it’s entirely viable per the numbers (and does not discourage work). But, it’ll never happen in this place.

  • ROY SPEER

    One question. Can a pyramid or a Cone balance on its Apex? The answer is, Yes, it can but only briefly and only if it is spinning very very fast, much like our economy. That is what we ask of the American People, climb aboard the dreidel or top and enjoy the ride. “Inversion” is what we are doing to that pyramid or the cone of our Economy. The foundation of a Pyramid is not at the top but at the base or bottom, to think otherwise is insanity, “Inversion” is insanity. The Egyptians knew that much over 5000 years ago, and even on the one dollar bill it is not upside down but the way it is suppose to be. Any Engineer will tell you or for that matter almost any child will tell you that Apex will not support the rest of the pyramid, but it seems the Corplutocracy thinks if they do enough “spin” they can defy the Laws of Physics and keep the dreidel spinning, no one will notice. We are riding a dreidel or top and when it slows down, it will fall over and we will all be thrown off into the Economic Abyss, but the Rats will have already abandoned the Ship of State, the Ship of State is sinking and the Rats are “Inversioning”, and fleeing the Ship of State. You think the depression of the 20′s was bad, wait until this one starts. No wonder that “Survivalist” are becoming such a big market. These people may be a little nuts and a fringe element but they are not fools and they will eat the rest of us alive.

  • Anonymous

    we have same and equal protections under the law. A rich person should not be punished because they were lucky, worked hard, have more education, might be more motivated to want riches, could even be smarter.

    And lets face it, they aren’t paying their fair share now. They get deductions the rest of us don’t get, they have loopholes, offshore banking, and don’t pay much on capital gains tax.

    My plan is fair for everyone and it makes the rich pay on all sources of income, Which means they will pay far more under what I have proposed then they are now. And at the same time, it will be fair and just.

    They do not create jobs but they ought not to be expected to or taxed because they don’t. It is not in the Constitution that they are required to. And some may work hard, but it is their choice to work harder or not work harder, same as it was for me. Taxes aren’t a form of punishment, at least they aren’t supposed to be.

    The main reason for living in the US is birth right. After that it is entirely up to each individual to decide what they value in life. That is not your call to judge anybody else.

    You don’t have a monopoly on loving the nation. And it is not required that one does love it. We are a nation of laws and one main principle is that we are equal under the law. I suggest that in order to love the nation one has to first love what makes us Americans…..our Constitution defines who we are, why we came to be, and what we are willing to sacrifice and die for. Same and equal protections under the law. Trying to make the rich pay more is not same and equal. Now they don’t pay, we have millionaires who pay zero dollars in taxes. That isn’t same and equal.

    Life is not fair, it really isn’t. My friend has a child with severe Down’s Syndrome. She has no capacity to learn and support herself. Does that mean because it is unfair that she can’t have what you have that you should then not get what you have? You want things to be fair….or do you?

    My plan protects people so that they can deduct the cost of living. That means basic housing, utilities, food, clothing, transportation, medical coverage, only the basics. But that dollar amount would be the same for a rich person no matter how many homes they chose to buy.

    Maybe you might think on this some more and see that it is far more fair.

  • vucja

    Deducting the cost of living from taxes isn’t a bad idea, but using a flat tax thereafter I don’t agree with. I think the wealthy SHOULD pay a higher % than I do. We don’t all out here agree with you. You assume that all wealthy people got that way because they worked hard and had a better education (easier when you don’t labor under unfair taxes), which completely ignores INHERITED WEALTH, which is also taxed unfairly compared to earned income. It allows the wealthy to stay wealthy, while you want to burden the working class with a flat tax. Not convinced here. And, no, they don’t have to create jobs, BUT that’s the excuse they have been using for why they get such a sweet tax deal.

  • vucja

    Also you assume that we are all equal under the law. I guess you’ve never sat in a municipal courtroom and seen who is in there, why they are in there, and WHO is passing judgement on them, and believe me, it’s NOT their peers. And, try to defend yourself in a criminal trial when you have to rely on an overworked public defender. I think you’re trying to be “fair,” but it seems you have lived a pretty sheltered life.

  • vucja

    Yes, those seem like good ideas – but who will cause this to happen? Our paid-for congress which does nothing except try to pass laws making it harder for the working class to exist?

  • vucja

    How does calculating the cost of living annually take care of the poor? Many of the poor pay no income tax anyway. Please clarify your thinking. Welfare is not taxed, nor Social Security unless there is significant other income, and unemployment income may also be taxed. These latter two sources of income came usually because people actually worked, unless they’re receiving SSI, which is for those who lack an adequate work history to qualify for SSA. Taxing Social Security and unemployment seems to be almost a punishment for working in the first place.
    For the record: welfare-type benefits, such as free cash, free food, often free or nearly free housing, reduced utilities, free medical care generate NO tax for their recipients to pay. Furthermore, their cost of living is nearly non-existent; it should be viewed as the government’s cost of living on their behalf.
    Again, to address your advocacy of a flat tax, people more math talented than I am have shown that a flat tax benefits the rich – but working class have been sold on the idea because I guess they haven’t looked at the figures and understood what they would really mean. I hear the sound of laughter all the way to the bank or investment company…

  • vucja

    A big family will usually generate more tax deductions than a small one will – although it costs more to support. I don’t follow your reasoning. Again, on the flat tax, your theoretical 10% will hurt you a lot more than it will a millionaire. This is not rocket science, and this is how they will stay rich while you will barely scrape by.

  • vucja

    “Does that mean because it is unfair that she can’t have what you have that you should then not get what you have?” What is it that you are trying to say? Are you trying to say, don’t reduce all people to the lowest common denominator???
    Again, your proposed flat tax will certainly make it easier for the rich to have more than one home – + the tax deduction for the second home, while many Americans have lost even their one and only home recently bcause of wealthy gamblers on Wall Street, AND because the US government failed to protect Americans from predatory lending and the destructive union of investment and commercial banks.
    Regarding “equal under the law,” witness the aftermath of the Great Recession, who was punished, and who was not. “Equal under the law” might be in the constitution, but it won’t just be handed out because money and power control access to what justice may exist under this country’s lalws.
    I don’t think the concept of “fair” is universally agreed-upon by all. It would be interesting to have a conversation and try to establish a philosophy regarding the meaning and intent of “fair.” “Fair” is usually something your parents tried to administer in your youth and which you found sadly lacking in the larger world. “Fair” would be to be treated “equal under the law” in this country, and sometimes it is obtained when people complain and refuse to be treated unjustly. What is the meaning of “fair” in an economic system?

  • Anonymous

    it is okay not to agree. But I make no assumptions on how rich people make their money. As long as it is legal and doesn’t harm the environment I don’t see how it matters. I do not care if any or all of it is inherited. I don’t see it as any of your business on mine how they did it.

    We get taxed on income. The rich are not currently being taxed on income at the same rate that we are. So I included all forms of income.

    Try looking at it this way, Mitt was taxed at less than 15% of the money he was forced to claim. I paid 28% that year. If earned 70,000 and he earned 20 million (just making up figures) and we were both able to deduct $40,000 and then pay 10% on anything over the 40,000. I would be paying 10% on 30,000….he would still be paying a higher percentage than he did before because now all of his sources of wealth would be taxed after the 40,000.

    There is no reason why the rich shouldn’t stay rich. And how in the world does it burden the working class, a great many would now pay no federal tax? That is why I said no taxes on the actual cost of living, and did not give the rich a higher dollar amount for their cost of living. I leveled it out. Same and equal under the law.

    Their excuses and your wanting to punish them for being rich and all that other stuff are smoke screens, They are entitled to say anything want, it has nothing to do with being taxed fairly. And there is nothing in the Constitution that says a rich person should pay more or be punished for being rich. My plan makes them pay, relieves the burden and still manages to stick within the value of same and equal.

    Right now we seriously do have millionaires who pay nothing. That wouldn’t happen under my plan.

  • Anonymous

    that has nothing to do with taxes. That is a separate matter and it also needs fixing. It just has nothing to do with being taxed fairly.

    We can’t get justice if we don’t first start being just.

    What your comment implies is that until we can fix the criminal justice system that we can’t make the rich pay their fair share. I disagree with that. They should be made to pay a fair share. The rich are not the cops, the judges, or many local defense lawyers. They aren’t the ones that have things to do with criminal trials.

    And our tax system is not related to the issues you bring up. I agree they are issues to bring up, and I agree with much of what you said, It has nothing to do with taxes. And even if we did tax the rich at a higher percentage….it would not change one thing you mentioned as being unfair. It just adds one more unfair thing.

    And no, part of my life was not sheltered at all. One year when I was a divorced mom raising two kids on my own, my income was only $11,000.

    Being fair is what is required under the law.

  • Anonymous

    you are not reading what I wrote. Please read it again.

    There would be NO deduction for a 2nd home. I don’t care how many homes they can afford, they still get the same deduction as you.

    I imagine that the cost of living would be around $40,000 because it would be an average. So Warren Buffett with billions would get ONE deduction, $40,000. YOU would get ONE deduction, $40,000. He could still own a home in every state in the union and only get to deduct $40,000……NO OTHER DEDUCTIONS FOR ANYTHING ELSE. All loopholes gone.

    It could be based on how many kids one had to support. A person with 4 kids is what I based my 40,000 on. So it could be set a dollar amount per person in the family so that would change it so that Buffett would ahve a lower deduction only because he is married and only has 2 in his household.

  • Anonymous

    the rich now buy the politicians to get laws passed to protect them. If a flat tax saved them money, we would have a flat tax. We don’t because my suggestions make them pay My plan does not tax the rich and it saves the working class because most would pay nothing. The median income in the US is about $51,000. My plan would mean that a family of 4 would be able to deduct 40,000 and only pay taxes on 11,000. What is 10% of that?

    And if it is calculated annually, as the cost of living went up, so would the deductions. Not like now while the cost goes up, the tax burden seems to go up.

    Take out 2 pieces of paper, write down the mess we have now on one payer, and rip it up. On the 2nd paper, write down my plan as I worded it. Leave off all things not about taxes and all bias against the rich. Under my plan they pay, and they have the burden and the working class people can use their income to feed and support their family, pay for health insurance, and everything basic before they pay taxes.

  • Anonymous

    paying taxes is not about hurting rich people

  • Anonymous

    we can do what we want if we unite in mass and make change. All we have to do it work together and want change. We have the power all we need to do is use it.

  • Anonymous

    I pay 28% now, 10% would save me money, while make millionaires pay

    And I suspect that if they started paying on all of their income the same amount, that there would be more money going in and possibly the 10% could be lower. I used 10% just because it was easy for me to visualize that number.

  • Anonymous

    right now, the GOP has been saying that the poor should pay taxes on what they have, they are the takers according to FOX. I believe that every parent ought to be able to go out to work, come home and be able to put a balanced meal on the table for the kids, make sure they have health insurance, clothing, electricity, and transportation to work in order to support their lids…..ALL of the basics, family first.

    My plan prevents the GOP from taxing poor people and takes some of the pressure off working families. You are just caught up in too many things here that have nothing to do with taxes and I feel if you could only clear your mind from the unrelated things, you could see that this helps the working family and makes the rich pay.

    10% of 20 million is more money than currently paid AND a lot more money that 10% of $10,000. In that way, which is fair, the rich would pay more. And many pay zero now.

  • Anonymous

    Joseph Stiglitz is perfectly right, and as the President’s economic adviser, he seems to have almost no influence. He says the political system is not broken — perhaps badly bent — by this sounds disingenuous. How does he keep on at it? He and the rest of the country are on a treadmill.

  • Anonymous

    I’m in! When do we start?

  • Anonymous

    now!

  • Anonymous

    The subject of taxes is very complicated & confusing. caused mainly by influence on the congress.. Bill reported some Corp tax numbers which I questioned.. i.e. He stated that ExxonMobil in 2012 made 4l Billion dollars & paid no taxes.. The fact of the matter they made 67 billion after taxes that year & paid 31 billions dollars in taxes which equaled 44% taxes.. In 2011 they made after taxes income of 41billion & paid 27 billion in taxes or 42 % rate.. If one is to make charges of companies not paying taxes those charges should accurate.. They are public rates audited by a CPA firm so they are readily available..Then the question comes …what is a full share?? or fair share?? It has been discussed by both parties that our corporation tax rate is too high .. close to the top in the industrial countries.. granted there are “special” deals so allot do not pay the full amount.. Folks seem to always site those mean old oil cos.. ExxonMobil total revenue was approx 484 billion.. How much should they be able to keep.??? It’t been in the neigborhood of 8-10% My my what a terrible company.. Check out big Pharm & the health device cos.. Medtonics keeps 25% by we dont hear how bad they are or greedy.. I’m not meaning to defend the oils but they do get bad raps due their size. Next point…. Bill’s guest stated demand creates jobs..partly true… It’s the “chick & egg” concept.. If Microsoft & the computer not introduced the PC where was the demand… It was create by innovation & capital investment.. Some thing needs to be invented & capital formation is needed to bring it to market..That creates a new demand & jobs. I do not discount the value of having an earning public capable of paying these new products Create the demand then jobs.. rather that demand alone creates jobs. I’m coming to believe that a flat tax would be better.. The biggest problem is keeping the politician’s hands of the system with their “favors”

  • Anonymous

    What is fair share.. When ExxonMobil pay 42% is that fair??? Raise corporate taxes to what is thought of as “fair” & they just raise the “cost of goods sold” & pass it onto the public.. What have we solved.. Please remember… CORPORATIONS PASS ALONG TAXES…..

  • Anonymous

    In the 50′s our wages were 5-6000 a year paying little taxes.. Now 50-60000 dollars pushed us up into a much bigger tax bracket. The Govt loves inflation for this reason.. more tax revenue. The corporations & businesses were out to make a profit (greed) Why else would they take the risks.?? They have always been this way … a given.. Politicians work on that greed & extort money from them to gave favors.. What a country..

  • Anonymous

    I do not recall in all my many years that the GOP was in favor of taxing the poor.. Their stated goal is to get folks out of poverty so they have self esteem & add to society.. The middle class has taken a real beating these last years which has hurt our nation as a whole.. Average family income is down big time.. How sad is that.

  • Anonymous

    too many people are not listening to what the GOP say.

    Here is an example. I watched every one of the republican debates. I grew up watching political debates. And I used to be a republican.

    During that time, Mitt said that an America under him would have wages so low that we needed to “rewrite the American Dream”. We needed to leave out “college for our kids” and “home ownership” for them. “We need to become a nation of renters”.

    The GOP have been saying for a long time now that we have to tax “the takers”, that they need to have “skin in the game”.

    IF the GOP want to get people out of poverty, one way would be to stop the jobs going overseas, invest in America, and raise the minimum wage.

    So far 17 states have taken action on their own to raise it and in 16 states it has brought in more revenue for the state AND brought more jobs.

    Jobs are created by consumers. If there are fewer consumers, there is less demand for workers because nobody is spending.

    The GOP has not done anything for the nation, I don’t see the democrats doing a bang up job either. But I don’t want to tell my grand kids to forget going to college and don’t dream of a better life than I had, or one as good as I have.

  • Anonymous

    The use of the term median income to express what the average income is totally distorts what the average person makes. The total income of the 1% is the same amount as the total income of the 99%, which throws off everything, making it seem that the majority are making a lot more than they really are. They should ban the use of the term because it fools people into believing that the average person makes much higher than the do. The proper way to express what the average person makes, is to make a list of how many people make 5,000 to 10,000, 10,000 to 15,000, 15,000 to 20,000 and so on. If you did that you would see that the vast majority of people would be well below the 51,000 you mentioned.

  • Anonymous

    yes, I knew that, I used the higher amount to show that using my tax plan, that most of the working families would not have to pay tax.

    Tax should be on what one makes AFTER they provide for the basics that it takes to feed and clothe their family in my opinion.

    I also have an agenda and used the median for that purpose. I am trying to get support from everyone making less than that for raising the minimum wage. I want people to see just how far below the median they are so they can understand how wages have gone down for working stiffs while the rich keep getting richer.

    I would like to see the minimum wage calculated annually and linked to the cost of living.And not in the hands of the politicians to play games with. What happens now is that if wages go up, the cost goes up and people get nowhere again. People working a job ought to earn enough to feed their families and not need government aid.

    It seems we won’t do anything until we have enough people angry enough that they will act. We have power in numbers if only we would use that power. We need to unite to solve some common problems.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the reply. My first job I had many years ago paid 85 cents an hour and free lunch at a fast food place. Hamburgers were 10 cents each on Tuesdays where I worked. I was able to pay all my bills and bought a motorcycle and pay rent and food cost. The minimum wage was $1.25 an hour then. I have never seen any improvement in the standard of living by raising the minimum wage because the rich always raise their salaries to compensate themselves. If we raised the minimum wage to $100 an hour there is no evidence that this will cure the problem. The rich are in control and we would most likely go from complaining about the greedy billionaires to complaining about the greedy trillionaires. You have every right to be concerned about the geed that has taken over the world. The approach I have taken is to stop feeding the Pig and that has not only help me live better on less, but by living on less, I can save the money by being patience and not using credit, which it is not hard to see that debt is the major loss of working class’s income as well as one of the major incomes for the Pigs. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s do this clemans.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t want to take money from the rich. I am not worried about how much they have. I care about others being able to earn a fair wage.

    I want to link the minimum wage to the cost of living to prevent some of your concerns from happening. Make it annual, take it out of the hands of politicians. If costs go up, wages go up.

    And the 17 states who did raise the minimum wage, 16 have more jobs and more revenues. There are a mixture of reasons for the 17th one.

    NO ONE is talking about raising the wage to $100 except for people not appearing to be serious or using critical thinking, but again, if costs go up so would wages.

  • Anonymous

    I to watched & listened to the debates..You heard Mitt say “we need to become a nation of renters” WOW. Might he have said rather than taking out an unaffordable home loan one should probably be renting a home.????? If folks would have done that we would not have had the housing bubble. He stated we need to tax the TAKERS??? I did not hear that either. You have taken up creative writing in your posts..I will say this if the folks getting a free ride in the wagon are better of than the one pulling the wagon.. than they too will jump in the wagon & soon the wagon goes no where. The auto industry was started by consumers.. it was started by capital investment risk takers.. Henry employed thousand & paid his people a wage so they could afford to buy his cars.. The whole PC computer industry was started with ideas & risk takers..they created a demand for PCs. Granted consumers need money to buy products & services but the origin of most jobs are created by captital investment.. Increased consumer demand will add to more hiring but the big job creators are new businesses.. Your comment about jobs going overseas is correct mainly due to the trade bill signed by Clinton & the high corporate taxes that make them not competitive. Both parties want to lower the corporate tax rate ..all we get is talk.

  • Anonymous

    he said what I said he did…..that an America under him would have wages so low…….and for about 3-5 days after, FOX used the same words.

    And actually, you are wrong on the housing bubble. Home owners were lied to and tricked into buying homes they could not afford by profit seekers who made the loans knowing that they would get sold to another lender and that someone else would lose when it defaulted. About 25% of the housing loans that defaulted was due to irresponsible home owners. That leaves 75% the fault of deregulation……and corruption.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the reply. I didn’t say take money from the rich, just stop feeding them. To link cost of living to wages like they now do with social security is very complex and I can tell you that being retired, it doesn’t even come close to making up what I have to pay out, because they don’t include an enormous amount of what we need to live in the same standard. Every time the minimum wage has been raise, there has been a temporary benefit to those getting it, but in time that goes away due to there being a delay in the increased cost of labor, which will in the end make the cost of materials increase, thus the final products cost more. That is why we keep having to increase it again and again, and there will be no stop to that trend until we realize the there is only so much money in circulation and it is the distribution of the money that is the problem and as long as we have those that will take far more than of it then they need to live comfortably, this problem will continue to exist. I did not call for the minimum wage to go to $100, I only use it as an example, that’s why I said “if”.

  • JD

    34Nelson, You are deluded (and deceived). These top 1% individuals in 1960 used to pay 90% tax on income over $200,000 a year. This was an incentive to use the money to pay their employees with better benefits, retirement, higher wages that would pour the money back into the economy (or they would have to pay it to the government). It paid for the infrastructure that made it possible for them to make all that money. It paid for the military to protect the United States energy interest required for their profits to soar. Now they pay as little as 16% on dividends (or nothing in many cases) and as it has been stated are not doing anything to create jobs in America. Actually it is just the opposite. There is a belief in large companies in the US that this is OK. “We have to do this to compete.”Send more jobs out of the country so “we can compete.” This is a bunch of baloney and we make these choices because it is profitable with the corrupt system right now. We are sending money out of the country so quickly, and certain people are making so much money they are blinded by the fact that it is all short term and will collapse if something is not done about this situation. What will happen when there is no money for the common person to buy their product or service? The selling out of America started a long time ago, and if it continues as it has been going, we all will suffer due to the lack of foresight of these large corporations and the inability of our government to protect and represent the people. The government is supposed to work “for the people” not “for the few people”

    JD

  • Anonymous

    so maybe we should do away with wages and give up?

    I don’t think you are reading the words that I am saying. I am saying do it correctly. And linking it to the actual cost of living ANNUALLY.

  • Anonymous

    Now that is what we call hear say evidence about Romney..He is was too smart to make such a totally stupid comment. My statement on the housing bubble was accurate..in stating they took out unaffordable home loans.. Why they took them out was your 25-75% answer. Many of these underwater loans ended up in Fannie & Freddie which had to be bailed out by us taxpayers. Have you noticed none of the corrupt people from that time have spent one day in jail??? White crime pays.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for you reply. I read your words very carefully. No we should not give up. If you would look at the personal debt levels in the crash of 29(87%) and the personal debt levels in 1950 (50%) and look at the distribution of wealth in those periods, you would see that the 29 debt was borrowed prosperity much like we have now, but far worse now and 1950 period had the more equal distribution of wealth and people save their money more, which made for some of the most prosperous times. I grew up in that period and knew no one on welfare, on food stamp, homeless or any real lack of finding a job if they wanted to work. I am not saying problems did not exist, but nothing like today. The biggest difference between your system of solving the problem is it will create a lot more bureaucracy and that would require many, many people employed to enforce it, where as I believe that with just a little change what we do with our money and some patience would do a better job.

  • David Kragt

    Only people pay taxes. Corporations only remit tax payments. The corporate income tax is paid by either, the employees in the form of lower wages, the stockholder in the form of lower dividends or a lower share price, or the customer in the form of higher prices or any combination of the above. If the customer is a corporation the above applies in the same way. If the customer is the consumer then the consumer pays a higher price assuming the customer is the one getting taxed.
    If we eliminated the corporate income tax then either, the employee would get higher wages, the stockholder would get higher dividends or a higher share price, or the customer would get a lower price.

    Politicians like the corporate income tax because the employee doesn’t know whether or not his wages have been decreased nor by how much, the stockholder doesn’t know whether or not nor by how much his dividends or stock price has been decreased, and the customer doesn’t know whether or by how much the price he pays has been increased.
    Think about how many corporations would move to the United States to create jobs. Think about how much lobbying would be reduced because no one would feel the need for special deductions

  • Dude

    Nobody paid the 90 pct tax rate in the 60′s. There were an endless array of tax dodges available to get that number way down. It was quite possible back then to make well over $200k and pay no taxes. There was great political discussion and hand wringing about this fact during that period.
    Also, currently the bottom 9/10th of 1 pct are paying a LOT of taxes. They pay taxes far above their pct representation in our country. The people not paying a high rate are the top 1/10th of the 1 pct. These people are paying, in general, a very low tax rate. The reason Mr. Obama and the Democrats and the Republicans did not raise this groups taxes very much is because these are the people that donate large sums to political campaigns. They hammered the bottom 9/10th of the 1 pct, but gave a free ride to the top 1/10 of the 1 pct. They are all hippocrits. So the truly weathly got off, but the doctors, lawyers and successful small business owners, people that make good money but go to work every day, picked up the bill.

    The real solution is to increase the capital gains and dividend tax rate for the top 1/10th of 1 pct. They should be paying the same rate as the 9/10th of the 1 pct.

  • Anonymous

    I don’r care what you call it. I call it uninformed people NOT listening to what is said by the candidates and by FOX……or batshit crazy.

    He said it and republicans didn’t listen. And then they voted.

  • Anonymous

    no, it wouldn’t, everyone would know what minimum wage was, if they weren’t being paid that, they would go to the same place they would go now to dispute pay.

    The biggest difference between the time you are talking about is that now most of the higher paying jobs have been sent overseas. So you are comparing what is no longer true to a whole new world.

    Jobs that pay poverty wages, leaves people in poverty. And when the jobs are overseas, there is no place left to work up too.

  • Anonymous

    I hope he covers the even bigger elephant in the room, off shoring profits are withheld from the shareholders. How many people could use their own money right now (401Ks and pensions)? Out and out thievery of massive amounts of funds.

  • Anonymous

    Malarkey. Bush gave them a tax holiday and they didn’t 1) create jobs or 2) increase wages. The CEOs are hiding profit from the shareholders.

  • Anonymous

    Also, no support for those offshoring their headquarters. If they’re not an “American” company any longer, they need to turn to Ireland and the Caymans to “support” their international interests.

  • Anonymous

    Write-in. Stop voting R and D.

  • Anonymous

    I think Mitt said during an interview that he pays 11 or 12 percent (forget which), everything he’s “legally obligated to”. Easy when you get to design your own law(s).

    Low tax on capital gains was under the guise of being recycled into creation of new jobs. That no longer exists. Capital gains, un”earned” income, should be paying more taxes than “earned” wages.

    Keep in mind, capital is nothing without labor, the multiplier So to say capital is “earned” is bull. The workers earn it, the 1% collect it and give pittance wages and keeps the rest of the “profit” from that labor.

  • Anonymous

    Flat tax as in no deductions. Eliminate all deductions: research, lunch in Hawaii, corporate jets, all deductions. No mortgage interest, no state taxes, etc. No deductions, at all.

  • Anonymous

    What the parties want and what the public wants are two different things. They aren’t working for the public any more.

  • Anonymous

    Minimum wage does not support minimum cost of living. You’re mixing consumerism with poverty. And while over consumption is the root of some poverty, it’s not the root of all poverty. Walmart, “we bring jobs to your community”, kills full time employer retailers and gives $145 a week jobs to a community. And that business model is spreading. Try living on $145 a week. This isn’t the 1950s.

  • Anonymous

    Paying your share of taxes is not punishment. And those businesses cost: infrastructure, diplomacy, etc. which they duck paying for. When was the last time a citizen used ports for personal purposes? When was the last time a federal employee met with other heads of states for our personal interests? You turn a blind eye to the massive expenses they generate.

  • Anonymous

    Than you for the reply. I don’t have to respond because I answerd all of what you say in my first post. I was the first to post so it is easy to find. I might add that I have heard that even computer are now being made in the US now. I appreciate your concern about the world’s problem even if we disagree.

  • Anonymous

    If you are implying that I don’t want a business to pay taxes, you are very much mistaken.

    Businesses should pay state and local taxes for the cost to the tax payer.

    I want them to pay taxes to the feds as well, only loopholes I would consider would be for each employee they hire in America and paid a living wage.

    I do not feel that paying taxes is punishment when everyone pays their fair share. Now it punishes the middle class.

  • Anonymous

    thanks Karl

  • Anonymous

    Governing mean making tough decisions for the good of the country. I agree both parties are gutless.. We could use a Harry Truman instead of i.e. a Harry Reid. The people elected by the voters main goal is to get elected.. The heck with making unpopular stands for the sake of the country.. If they might loose one vote than cave.. With Congress’s rating the folks have fired them but they don’t have the decency to home.

  • Anonymous

    Deceived probably by false reporting of the facts. Hard to find these days.. Corporate taxes are among the highest in the industrial countries.. It makes their goods & service uncompetitive as all corporate taxes do is add to the cost of goods sold….. they pass them on with higher prices. I agree we need a strong consumer market but that has been difficult to achieve in the last 10=15 yrs with the world free trade.. It has indeed cost us jobs.. Getting those offshores profits back here thru lower corporate taxes might prime the pump for more domestic employments. Our tax code has been bent by both political parties..All sorts of breaks is you pay to play or even extorting money with: If you don’t this might happen to your firm or industry. Laura Tyson worked with Joseph in the Clinton WH. Bill might ask him what tax breaks do Don & John Tyson get will Clinton was governor and President..Do you recall Hillary making $100,000 in beef futures.. Who took the hit on that deal.. What waters had been polluted in Arkansas by Tysons??? Folks can probably cite fishy deals by Bush as well. Govt do not work for the folks. I agree.. we are on the side lines except when it comes to our vote & the majority casting votes do not have a clue what the real issues are.. The parties will divide folks on social uses which are not nearly as important as Fiscal & monetary policies which could radically impact the nation.. Just watch & see.. It will make these social issues very unimportant. Thank you for your comments. .

  • Denni A

    and what will the “Monsanto Corporatist” Mrs. Clinton give us with her presidency?…after all wasn’t it her husband who gave us NAFTA and the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your reply. I am on social security and because I retired early to care for my mother because I promised her she would never be put in an old folks home, I get very little SSI. It would not be difficult for me to live on $145 a week, because I do it every day. It is because I did some of the thing I mentioned, that I am able to do it. I have never had a credit card and buy everything with cash, including my truck, house, motorcycle, tillers and a long list of thing that people might use credit for. For example, if someone were to finance a $100,000 house, they may pay double or triple that amount before they own it. So the true cost of the home is two hundred to three hundred thousand and putting that amount in savings with interest is a lot of money and once one gets on that track, they will soon discover that even with smaller purchases they will be able to save even more because when I paid cash for the house I now live in, the next day I could save the money that I would have paid on a mortgage making the next purchase even easier and it took far less time for me to save the money to buy it then most would think. Like I said If someone saved the money they would have paid on a 30 year mortgage and let it collect interest they may have the amount in cash in ten years or so, depending on the interest rates. If one borrows with credit cards and doesn’t pay it off immediately, they also add cost that I avoid. Much of my life I have worked for minimum wage and never consider myself living in poverty, even if I am judge that way, and I did it even at the end of my working career in the 1990s. Much of what you say agrees with what I say, it was not easy to live on minimum then or now, but people do it everyday then and now. As I have said many time, it is the ultra rich that make it difficult to live on less, because if they took less out of the very constant money pool, the profits that generate their wealth could go to higher wages.

  • Anonymous

    But we have forces (e.g., Fox News) who prey on people’s prejudices & fears to drive us apart. Sadly, we’re all too willing to follow them.

  • Anonymous

    all the more reason to unite and work harder to compensate for them, not the time to give up

  • NotARedneck

    “I do not recall in all my many years that the GOP was in favor of taxing the poor.” You must be deaf and illiterate too!

    The right wing criminal trash (bedrock RepubliCON supporters) are always complaining how the poor pay no INCOME tax. Of course, the discussion never veers into all the taxes that the poor DO pay.

    Basically, the RepubliCON party is a criminal enterprise that takes bribes from the wealthy and gives them legislative breaks in return.

    They use well funded Madison Avenue tactics to keep their base – racists, bigots, fundamentalist imbeciles, rural welfare queens, gun nuts and other cretins voting for them.

  • NotARedneck

    It usually wasn’t homes that they couldn’t afford but MORTGAGE terms that rapidly accelerated what they owed and what they had to pay.

    This was a fraud that SHOULD have sent tens of thousands of banksters and Wall Street criminals to jail for 5 to 20 years.

  • Anonymous

    five is too little for destroying so many lives. 20-30 is more deserving

  • SPGriverrat

    Like to hear a discussion between American Enterprise rep and Mr. Stiglitz. Good questions for that gentleman lie in this interview.

  • MDoz

    I think that what is really horrifying here is that this money not only comes back untaxed but is then used to re-buttress and promulgate the unfairly leveraged political agendas a la Citizen’s United and the Koch Brothers. However, it is not just the right leaning corps that are avoiding civic responsibility and inclusion. Couple that with their use of a temporary labor force avoiding real working benefits, and all I can say is “shame on you.” We need a tax system with incentives to create real jobs here–NOW.

  • MDoz

    Well put.

  • Anonymous

    Dream on with that proposal Ayn Rand. You want to give corporations even more power?

    The balances needs to start with responsible and sensible tax reform that incentives job creation and investments in capital expenses here in the US, which will lead to increased worker wages and consumer spending which will then lead to higher and consistent GDP growth… which is the bottom line what the free markets want.

  • Rev David R Froemming

    Joseph Stiglitz’s perspective on the current state of monopoly capitalism and its effects on our political system resonates strongly with the commentary of Pope Francis, and many other mainline churches in America whose voices are not generally heard in the mainstream media. Untaxed,”unrealized capital gains” made off shore, unfair competition intrade agreements, and corporate welfare (subsidies to the richest economic entities) drive income inequality. This, coupled with the “citizens united” corporate ability to buy votes, is ending our democracy. A sane approach to our future has to involve economic equity to avoid the unrest we see around us in the world that drives violent revolutions. Some of the solution lies in one of your earlier programs that addressed public funding for elections, and the
    refusal of the public to elect corporate funded candidates.

  • Anonymous

    Depending on the interest rates = aye there’s the rub – what were they when you saved and what are they now?

  • Anonymous

    So vote for one that will ….

  • Anonymous

    Who will cause this to happen? Greens

  • Anonymous

    Vote Green

  • Anonymous

    He WAS a Pres adviser, in the 90′s – Apparently Clinton didn’t much listen to him either – O ignored him completely ….

  • Anonymous

    Please – citation for you tax numbers ….

  • Anonymous

    Stein

  • Anonymous

    Vote Green

  • Anonymous

    Stiglitz – too many folks just don’t know there are alternatives, or they would push for them ….

    Moyers – but Congress knows about this stuff, why aren’t they acting?

    And we know why – as explained ….

    So we are replete with alternative solutions, but apparently not with politicians who will enact them … Unless, of course, the real alternatives we need to hear about are the pols who would …..

    And so, again, I will importune Moyers and Company to feature those alternatives ….

    The only way we will get those common sense alternatives enacted, is to elect those non-corp alternative pols who will enact them – so we really need to know who they are – and, being non-corp, we will not hear about or from them in the corp MSM – so where else can we hear them …

  • Anonymous

    Good reply. When I saved to buy my house, the interest rates were higher than now. If you want to know how stupid I was than, I kept my money in a checking account with no interest. As a general rule but not set in stone, when interest rates are high the cost to someone goes up to purchase a home, due to the smaller number of buyers caused by the higher interest rate which will make the payments more than some can afford. It is simple macro-economics or supply and demand, which when interest rates are high is generally the best time to buy a home even if the payments are greater. When the interest rates go down, it causes a greater demand, thus the supply shrinks and the prices usually go up which allows anyone wanting to sell their home to profit during this period. People did this when they were flipping their homes and you can see what happens if so many do it. The bubble bursts. So I did half of it right because I was able to buy a place that was on the market for many years. For those who have a lot of patience……WOW, it really pays off!

  • David Kragt

    You used the word treason in reference to corporations moving their headquarters overseas. I think you meant the word freedom.

  • Anonymous

    As stated… their annual reports filed to the SEC

  • Anonymous

    Their annual reports reveal these figures & are filed with he SEC.

  • Anonymous

    Actual citations you used for your figures?

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t the Supreme Court rule corporations are persons or people?

  • Anonymous

    I take it you do not know how to find the Annual Reports by corporations on the internet.. They are required to be filed & the numbers are audited by a CPA firm & filed with the SEC.. I can not be more specific than that. The “actual citation” is their official annual report.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the reply. I looked at the website and from it what I understood, was if I was in the .1% and made a million dollar in only one year of work and paid 23.5% of it in taxes, I would have still made over three times what I made in the 40 years that I worked.

  • Jodie

    I am unclear of your point but it sounds like you are saying that in 40 years you’ve made 1/3 of 1,000,000 – 235,000 (taxes) = 765,000/3 or $255,000 (average of $6,750/year)?

  • Anonymous

    Correct. That figure came from my work history when I retired. Besides working for wages I also had my own bicycle shop and later had a cottage business making them so I still have most of the tools I needed to make them and use those tools to make some of the most wonderful thing I need out of what most would call junk as well as repairing them. My point has been made in my many posts. One doesn’t have to make a lot if they live fugally. I never had the desire to buy a TV until I was 35 and color TV at 40. By the way I still have the black and white TV and it is on right now. It’s about 35 years old. I was 27 before I had a business phone, and 48 before I had a permanent home phone. The reason I now have just about everything one could desire and more is what I have done in my life, I early on made the decision that any large item I bought, I would wait 2 week before I bought it, and it was a surprise to me that at the end of the time I was always glad that I didn’t buy it. And the few times I did, I never regretted it. In 1963 I put a few dimes in a slot machine and won about a $20 jackpot and I said that’s it I will never gamble again……..I will quit a winner and have stuck to that for the rest of my life. The ultra rich refer to those like me the same as some credit card companies do….(a dead beat), because if all were more like me, there would be no ultra rich, just a lot of people working together rather than taking advantage of each other.

  • Sticky Nanoprobes

    Are you claiming Stiglitz plagiarized your book/ideas?
    Bring a lawsuit instead of a forum comment.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, ‘generational wealth’ is hugely problematic. I can refer you to Warren Buffet (speaks eloquently on this) and Thomas Piketty (he writes effectively on this). Your notion that there’s nothing wrong w/ it is simply a belief no different from religion.

  • Anonymous

    He simply does not understand the proportional changes the richer one becomes. It’s a way to tacitly condone vast inequalities under the guise of ‘fairness’. Because Clemans assumes the rich are more deserving because they’re rich.

  • Anonymous

    Well that’s a joke. Tell me 3 or 2 or even 1 GOP platform position that results in being help to lower and middle class Americans? Tax cuts? nope, austerity? nope no health care? nope it gets disorienting to continue to read what the Republicans want and what the policy actually brings.

  • Anonymous

    Tax the takers eh? Please link that speech i context. I might add, Republicans have blocked and blocked raising min. wage. it’s just a fact.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the link 2noame I’ll check it out. Yeah, perhaps “never” is a bit to absolutist – but I’ll retain some hope for greater equality and less suffering.

  • Anonymous

    Warren Buffett says he is’t leaving money to his kids. What he did was make a foundation…..which if I am not mistaken is required to spend 5% annually on charity, while giving the children a nice fat salary each year. No, he doesn’t have to leave his kids money.

    And you mistake what my sentiment is. I personally see that kids given too much without having to work for it, makes them lazy and leaves them with no motivation to do on their own.

    But how I FEEL is separate and not included in the Constitution as grounds for taxing others. One of our fundamental values is that we are same and equal under the law. The law doesn’t care if someone has a goal of being filthy rich or not. And I don’t see that it is your business or mine if someone wants to leave trillions to any person they want to. If I had wanted to be rich, I could have adjusted my life to go in that direction.

    Your comment about religion makes absolutely no sense at all so I am not sure where that even comes in. I do not worship money, don’t put it over all else, don’t go once a week to visit money, don’t pray to it, don’t think I will die and my soul will go to a great big bank in the sky. So, no not like a religion in anyway.

    I am focused on making sure that each worker has enough to pay for their basic care. That lets them have more options to pursue their own dreams. If that includes becoming rich I have no problem with that. I am not jealous of what others have. I have my own dreams. I don’t need to punish rich people. I want them to pay their fair share and stop making wealth by pushing others into poverty. It isn’t being rich I object to, it is how one does it. Sending good jobs overseas and paying poverty wages to harm others, I object to and want to put stop to.

    And as people are in poverty now and need to get out, that is my priority, not worrying about a rich person leaving money to their kids, that is none of my business.

  • Anonymous

    I am not sure where you were during the republican debates, but a great many in the GOP and within the libertarians have called for taxing the poor, calling them takers and saying they shouldn’t get a free ride. They should have skin in the game.

    You shouldn’t have to spend too much time on it…..you might find that they also want to cut food stamps, aide, repeal the ACA so millions would lose their new health care, end Social Security and put people more at the hands of a deregulated investment and banking industry.

  • Saaby000

    Not exactly right..
    We tax foreign profits.. but, many countries that do have a corporate income tax.. do not tax foreign profits.. So, the American company can dodge the foreign tax completely and bring it home untaxed.

  • HopeWFaith

    The full story from corporate America is never more accurately told than by the guests on Moyers. Full tilt exploitation, made possible by our very own Congress, will not be stopped until we overturn some of these loop holes corps are using to bleed the nation. They refuse to get off the piles of cash and reinvest that money into their employees, or in their own companies to build new and better products. Patriotism is not a word, in the language spoken by American corporations.

    Shutting down 8000 jobs in Atlantic City, NJ alone – can you imagine how that will impact families, businesses, and the education of children, all across the state of NJ and beyond. The ever churning cycle of waste when building, designing new businesses seems to have no end in sight. Now they want to pour more cement and build an even bigger mess for gamblers in the Meadowlands. Another temporary splurge of jobs and temporary boost in the immediate, local economy, but once again, it will simply go bust, just as Atlantic City did, as soon as it looses it’s shine.

    Focusing on a new business model for an entire region instead, now that would provide long term jobs, and long term economic turn around. What about taking some of those billions and investing in a new energy complex that could benefit the entire region? What about investing in vast solar power systems and wind systems or even other types of renewable resources that could benefit the entire eastern coast? No. That would actually be a long term model of responsible corporate planning.

    Corporate America is willing to toss away life, liberty, good economy, all for the immediate offshore profit, no matter how they have to go about getting it. Utterly irresponsible.

  • Anonymous

    No business thinks about fairness. They only think about the bottom line. As long as corporations are people, the political will to fix our economy isn’t going to happen.

  • Chip

    No, Saaby000, what I posted is exactly right. You are correct in that many countries do not tax foreign profits. But that doesn’t work the way you describe. Let’s say hypothetically that Germany doesn’t tax foreign profits. Profits earned in Germany would be foreign to the US, but they wouldn’t be foreign to Germany, so they would get taxed in Germany. Profits earned in other countries would not be taxed by Germany, but they would be taxed by those other countries.

    There are of course, some exceptions, like the Double Irish technique that is very popular among technology companies for handling royalty income. Form two Irish corporations and one Cayman Islands excluded corporation doing business solely in Ireland (excluded corporations are not allowed to do business in the Caymans). Royalty is paid to Irish corporation #1, Irish corporation #1 pays 90% of revenues to Caymans excluded corporation as some kind of fee, and Caymans excluded corporation pays 10% to Irish corporation #2 as some kind of fee. The royalty income now sits 10% in Irish corp #1 (where it is taxed at the Irish rate of 12.5%), 80% in the Caymans excluded corporation (more on this later), and 10% in Irish corp #2. So 20% of the profits are taxed at 12.5%, for a total of 2.5% of profits. Now what about the 80% in the Caymans corporation? Under Irish law, that’s a Caymans-sourced transaction, taxed in the Caymans. Under Caymans law, that’s an Ireland-sourced transaction, taxed in Ireland. So they pay zero tax on the 80%. The total tax bill is 2.5%. This is not generic, it really only works for intangible sorts of transactions like royalties. If you were manufacturing something, you actually have to make it somewhere and it gets taxed there.

    Other than limited exceptions like this, it all gets taxed somewhere. And if somewhere else has lower rates than the US, that’s where it’s going to be taxed if at all possible. And there is not one thing unpatriotic or immoral or illegal or inappropriate about that. Nada.

    Very simple question, if my analysis is incorrect, then why would both Bowles-Simpson and Domenici-Rivlin have recommending LOWERING top marginal tax rates and going to a territorial (like other countries, instead of worldwide as we are today) tax system to INCREASE both corporate and individual tax revenues and spur growth?

  • ROY SPEER

    Anyone else that denounces there citizenship is considered an alien, a pariah, a traitor, a pirate, a non-entity of the world, a CANCER, correct? An Alien is an entity that owes allegiance to another company, oh sorry that should have been Country, or an alien could be considered a entity that owe no allegiance to anyone accept itself, a pariah, a traitor, a pirate, scum of the Earth, a Cancer on Society. Corporations hide behind the Societal norms of a civilized society owning to its stability, rules, regulation, laws, as established by a governing body, and the ability to enforce those rules, regulation, laws by the support of governing body and the law enforcement supporting that governing body. That same Corporation wants its cake and eat it to. They want the protection of a stable organized social system, with laws, rules, and regulations and be able to hide behind those laws, rules, and regulations, but do not want to support financially that system. It is kind of like the kid in the neighborhood that had the “football, basketball or baseball” that always had to be the pitcher or batter. If he could not pick his place or chose the position he would simply take the ball and go home, but soon he found out that if the rest of the players said NO, then soon there was no game. If corporations are willing to denounce their protection under the laws, rules, and regulation then they should be removed completely from the country they denounce. That includes being removed from all financial trading systems. What would Wall Street say about a Corporation being treated as an Alien of the World, a pariah on the social order of the World, and not a member of society, or a member of the World community. They should be made to take their ball and go home.

  • Chip

    So what about a company that is in Germany, was founded by Germans, has always been a German company? They have that stable, organized social system, and pay lower taxes to get it. How does an American company compete with that German company in the global marketplace? If you’re going to penalize US companies, where are you going to get jobs?

  • Chip

    There is nothing common sense or logical about Stiglitz’s proposals if you think them through. He would make the tax cost of doing business in the US higher than anywhere else in the world, all in order that they pay some “fair share” that has not been determined. What is their “fair share”? I’ll give you an answer–it’s what they have to pay somewhere else. Because that’s what they are going to pay here. Try to extract more, and they logically and rationally take their business elsewhere. There is nothing unpatriotic about making sound and sensible economic decisions. What is a tax system that would require them to make stupid and irrational decisions in order to pay someone else’s perception of their “fair share.”

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    feetheweasel
    You are right on about:
    1. Political bribery — David Stockman alleged that they are “raiding the public purse.”
    2. I believe”Dressed up wording” comes from people and psychologists that are concerned about “HOW we talk to each other” rather than “WHAT” has happened — trillions missing from the public treasury while the 1 % and Congress enriched themselves.
    3. See Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech about “the New Nationalism”. He understood that a “moral awakening” was needed then for any law to have a lasting affect.
    4. Christians are supposed to know about “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and the “uneven scales of the selfish merchants”. Too many are not “worldly enough” and are “blind guides”. I have heard few sermons about those. Mike Lofgren (Party is Over) lamented about the involvement of Christians voting for Republicans “without regard to economic policy”. He thought that they had been “bamboozled” or the problem was with those that “lie for Jesus”. He also thought that “Christian Dominionism” was part of the political problem. That is about a power hungry Crony system that is also dysfunctional.
    5. For example, the late Jerry Falwell stated something like, “If President Bush abolishes the IRS or raises taxes” I will still support him. That shows support for the person and NOT policy. That is an excessive reliance on relationships/friendship. On 8/28/2014 Pat Robertson quoted a judge “learned Hand”, that saw nothing wrong with the avoidance of taxes in 1935. Mr. Robertson missed the fact that the middle class can NOT avoid taxation as the 1% can and do. That is “favoritism for the great” which comes up many times in their Bible. Jack Van Impe has a letter from Ronald Reagan but doesn’t understand that this corruption of the entire political system was first envisioned in the1971 (Lewis F Powell memorandum). It wasn’t implemented until the start of the Reagan administration in 1980 — see the book Winner Take All Politics.
    6. In 1989 Ravi Batra wrote that, “They (1%) will cast off all values (no morals) and buy the government to get what they want”. He called the 1 % “the acquisitors”. His predictions about corporate greed (like Enron) and family breakdown are very accurate.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    It is good that you show some understanding of the economic issues. That being said, I saw three mainstream Christian Churches from Georgia, Wisconsin, and Texas preaching about the “Rising Tide of Socialism” in 2010. The 700 club has supported “money as free speech” without understanding the consequences (political corruption) of that. That means that they saw the issue backwards for 3 decades. Read “The Party is Over” for Christian involvement in this 34 year “political dysfunction”. They didn’t understand that so many people were needing public assistance because of the consequences of the trade AND taxation policies that BOTH favored the 1% (favoritism for the great) and letting 25 % of the U.S. economy that actually paid taxes (manufacturing firms) move to China. The new discrimination is done by “economic status”. In their flawed model, the 1 % are seen as “productive” and the rest of us are some kind of dead beats to be ignored or eliminated. You should note that the 1956 book by Ayn Rand that Republicans often quoted (Atlas Shrugged) breaks the population down into “the producers” and “the parasites”. It is that loathing of working people that caused them to create policies for their own class. Even Bill Clinton referred to them (1%) as the “investor class” and lowered their taxes to “free up capital for investment” for a few years. Raiding of the workers pensions funds started in the Reagan administration. I saw the CEO of our corporation take $9 million out of the “previously self contributory” pension fund and it was rumored that he received $7 million as a severance package. I called the U.S. pension guarantee board in 1987. I was told that our problem was “too small” because they could only work on problems (pension thefts) that were measured in “billions of dollars”. “Too small” means that the regulatory body didn’t have enough resources to protect the public from what was happening”. Also see Frontline’s show about the “retirement gamble” and see how Wall Street is cashing in on worker’s 401 k’s. You search for that on PBS and watch it online.

  • Charles Shaver

    First, let me say I hope these encore presentations mean Bill is enjoying a well deserved vacation and will return with renewed vim, vigor and vitality. Next, feetheweasel and fedupwithpoliticians in particular, as an encore of my own I’d like to point it out again that the U.S. Constitution is inclusive of the errant behavior of the rich puppeteers and their pol-puppets; beyond mere sinning they deserve to be prosecuted, probably for treason. More specifically, the Preamble is as much an integral, inseparable and enforceable part of the Constitution as any Article, statute, treaty, Amendment, precedent or Supreme Court Decision and, for example, exactly how does creating a healthcare crisis with toxic food additives, starting a ‘morally mandated’ (as per self-professed ‘born again Christian’ G.W. Bush) multi-trillion dollar lose-lose war in Iraq and/or crashing the economy with an ex post facto repeal of particular financial institution regulations ‘promote the general Welfare?’ I’m fairly certain that if voters and politicians alike embraced all things government in the context and law established in the Preamble so long ago by the Founders we’d already have a fair tax system, a much more peaceful, prosperous and righteous nation and a much more respectable and emulated presence on the global stage. May law and reason ultimately prevail.

  • Rev David R Froemming

    Thank you for the suggested follow-up reading material and your staying with the cutting edge issues – even though you are fed up with politics.

  • Rev David R Froemming

    I write to you from Wisconsin, one of the top 3 contested Governor races in the nation. The divide and conquer austerity tactics of the GOP have been close to home and at times – in my face. Know that there are people here leading the cause against big outside private interests in our state. It is a tight race. Send a few prayers our way. Again – thank you.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Rev David,
    See how much of this fits your picture.
    1. The 1% have had it their way with trade policies, economic stimulus policies, and taxation since 1980. That trend has to be reversed.
    2. The CBO and even Wall Street ( Hedge fund manager Druckenmiller) know that 95% of the gains from $4 trillion since 2011 went to the 1 %. There is the need for the progressive tax code. If that method of stimulation gives 1% of the population 95% of the gains, the tax code must be structured (as it was after WWII) to tax those more the receive the most benefit from the policies that they created. The progressive tax code must be repaired.
    3. For a generation the 1% racked in the profits from their influence on Washington so they reduced their taxes in life. They also eliminated “the death tax” which allows them to transfer those gains to their families without paying tax on those gains.
    4. You might understand the wisdom in Roosevelt’s WPA (work projects administration). Instead of sending the money to Wall Street and the 1 % where much of it went over seas or disappeared into offshore accounts, a work projects administration keeps the money within the U.S. economy AND stimulates the middle class in the form of jobs which pay taxes to the U.S treasury.
    5. You might also want to read “Echo Chamber” which surfaces Wall Street’s agenda to dismantle all protections of the people that were enacted after the last great depression. Their efforts accelerated after 1980. The “Echo” is about how the right wing only listened to those that “sounded and thought the same” and missed what was heppening.
    6. Read the introduction to the book “Atlas Shrugged” at Wikipedia. It is stunningly accurate in its description where the “producers” think that they make everything happen. They can’t do anything without labor to accomplish things but they hate labor. It is also accurate in describing that they would use “the voice of altruism” to get what they want. That is deception for their gain. I am tired of hearing the word “conservative” and “compassionate conservatism”. The latter was a lie.
    6. Also read Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech on “New Nationalism”. In that speech he quotes Abraham Lincoln as stating that “labor comes first”. The Roosevelts showed us that the public must be protected from the abuses of power by the 1%. Labor unions were the counterbalancing force ( and economic force in campaign funds) that were dismantled by the 1%. That left the Democrats also dependent on Wall Street for money which unbalanced the political system.

  • Susan Walker

    Bill, please watch “40 Years on the Farm” (about an interesting community in Summertown, TN), a PBS tv special. Keep up the hope and the good work. There are good things happening out there!

  • Invasive Evasion

    Seven points:

    1. This not a lie by omission, because the subject is US tax policy, not foreign tax policy.

    2. Statutory tax rates are meaningless hypothetical rates, because they do not take into account the loopholes and accounting tricks used to reduce taxes. What matters is the ACTUAL percentage paid. This is what you have to compare. The effective average tax rate which corporations actually pay is less than half of the statutory rate. For many large corporations, their effective rate is zero, or even NEGATIVE which means they receive money from the government instead of paying to government. “Profit” and “tax” are ambiguous terms which can be calculated in radically different ways. If you compare corporate tax revenue relative to GDP, the US is actually quite low compared to other OECD members.

    3. We we have now is a backwards system in which income earned from labor is taxed at a higher rate than income acquired by buying the authority to redistribute profits, which is euphemistically called “investing.” Buying the authority to deprive workers of the profits which their labor earns should not be allowed at all, and if it is, should certainly be taxed at a much higher rate than income earned from labor.

    4. Every loophole does not start out as an incentive. Every law has loopholes because it’s impossible to foresee every conceivable situation in advance. Sociopathic executives hire amoral financial and legal experts who probe every law for possible techniques of circumvention. Attempting to violate the spirit of the law should in itself be a criminally punishable activity.

    5. The authority which management and shareholders have is granted by the government. The government should not be bribing its own creation in order to get some token level of responsible behavior. Responsible moral behavior should be mandatory, with stiff penalties for compliance failure. If you want to bring jobs and investment home, simply mandate that some majority percentage of a US corporation’s business must be done at home, as a condition of incorporation.

    6. The greedy sociopaths who run corporations will naturally migrate to whatever country imposes the lowest moral burden of responsibility, which includes not just low taxes, but poor treatment of workers, and nonexistent environmental regulations. Again, countries should not be competing for the lowest possible level of responsibility. Moral behavior should be mandatory. If you can’t “compete” in a moral way, then your business should not exist.

    7. You ask, “should we be criticizing those companies for doing what is reasonable and rational and in fact necessary in the circumstances.” The answer is, yes, absolutely we should be criticizing this behavior. We should not just be criticizing it, but outlawing it. Enriching oneself is not “necessary,” and enriching oneself through immoral behavior is neither necessary nor acceptable.

  • Invasive Evasion

    You seem to take the moral position that the self serving pursuit of profit trumps any consideration of loyalty. If a soldier on a battlefield was offered a higher salary by the opposing force, and switched sides, would you consider that unpatriotic or inappropriate, or just rational acceptable self interest? How is corporate economic treason any different?

  • Invasive Evasion

    Our elections are contests between the moderate corporate republican (the “democrat”) and some crazy person living in the year 1200 (the republican).

  • Invasive Evasion

    Employees are not paid a percentage of the total profits (which they should be). Abolishing corporate taxes would not increase workers’ pay or decrease consumer prices, it would only increase shareholder profits.

    From the workers’ perspective, the largest taxes are paid to the shareholders who take away their profits and give back some token share, without actually doing any work. Workers are the source of profit for both the government and shareholders.

    Abolishing corporate taxes would be fine, as long as you raise the taxes on redistributed income, relative to income earned from work.

  • Invasive Evasion

    The tax rate, and the method used to calculate taxable income are entirely separate things. You could for example have a progressive tax rate, with no deductions, or a flat tax rate, with deductions.

  • Chip

    No, I don’t take any moral position. There is no moral duty owed or issue there. The difference with the soldier example is that the soldier takes an oath of loyalty, whereas corporations do not. I suppose perhaps you feel that US corporations should be required to take an oath of loyalty. If so, then why would anyone incorporate in the US when the possibility exists to do so elsewhere with no such impediment?

  • Invasive Evasion

    One of the ironies of the republican party is that they successfully combine Christianity (which is based on the hippie charity and pacifism of Jesus), with ruthless exploitative capitalism, and a military empire, and see no contradiction. If the fanatically Christian Green family (Hobby Lobby) sees no problem with the pursuit of profit, and the Air Force Academy can combine Christianity with mass murder from high altitude bombing, then I think your religious appeal has already failed. Religion becomes whatever people want it to be, even if it is the opposite of what the founder of the religion intended.

  • Chip

    It is an error by omission for at least two reasons. 1) By reporting only US taxes paid, Stiglitz omits foreign taxes paid and in so doing at least mildly suggests that there are none. 2) In a global economy, US taxes cannot be honestly discussed without the context of foreign taxes.

    Bottom line on the rest of your post. You have to decide whether you want to attract investment and jobs to the US or drive them away. If you want to attract them, you have to make the US more attractive than foreign countries are. What advantages do you propose to offer? Or are you fine with all of them moving away?

  • Invasive Evasion

    The government (a state) grants a corporation its privileges. Without that government grant, the corporation would not exist. I would mandate that corporations act in the best interests of the citizens whose government grants them existence, as a condition of that existence. We should not be competing to bribe corporations, which we created in the first place, to behave responsibly. Pursuit of profit should only be tolerated within moral constraints.

  • Invasive Evasion

    An oath is far too ambiguous to be useful, but more generally yes, I would require that US corporations operate within certain moral restrictions.

    US citizens attempting to bypass their obligations by creating a foreign corporation (assuming a foreign country allows it) would also be subject to restrictions. Failure to comply would get them banned from doing business in the US. Moral behavior should be a requirement for any participation in US markets, whether by domestic or foreign corporations.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent explanation.

  • Anonymous

    LOL! Benefits and wages are so low in this country that you’d have to offer these companies slave labor in order to compete and they already get that in some of the countries to which they relocate.

  • Rev David R Froemming

    All valid points. Mike McCabe says we need a new first party. Here is part of the platform.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Thomas Jefferson and Alexis de Tocqueville both understood the truly self centered nature of some personalities (psychologists know that they are 5% of the population ). DeTocqueville called it “the dangerous road for Democracy” when the wealthy focused on their fortunes without consequence to the public welfare (labor). Jefferson warned us that when the public becomes inattentive, they (people in government) would become like wolves. That has happened. Ravi Batra wrote that the 1% (acquisitors) would “cast off all values” and buy the government to get what they want. They were all writing about the same power hungry personalities that the electoral college was supposed to keep out of public office. That has happened. Both Washington and Jefferson feared the time when “the educated would deceive the uneducated”. We have people paid nearly $50 million per year to spread lies and misinformation into the political system. Those personalities know who they can buy and how to do it. But, the real point is that the overwhelming of the political system by the money of a few has “rendered the public inattentive” by reason of the “misinformation (deception) that they can buy with their money. Theodore Roosevelt referred to that as the “vulpine cunning” that the wealthy can buy with their money. The skilled economist (Mr. Stiglitz) needs to read the work of 2 skilled political scientists in “Winner Take All Politics” to understand “how truly broken the political system is” at this time. Their work explains why and how false religious doctrine (Christian Domionism) and false economic policies (trickle down) have been supported for 34 years. Boise Penrose (Ivy league lawyer) saw this before in 1865 when he stated, to a rich supporter, something like, “I like the division of labor. You give me money so I can get into office to write laws so you can make MORE money”. That shows a truly arrogant, self centered, and destructive attitude towards the public welfare. People like that can NOT be asked to “pay their fair share”. They need a higher power to force them to pay their taxes. Jefferson, De Tocqueville, and Theodore Roosevelt fully understood how morals could be over whelmed by money as it has been again.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    You missed the point that 95% of the gains went to just 1% of the people as reported by the CBO. When the stimulus policy so favors a small group, they should pay a higher tax rate. IF the stimulus method rewarded us all equally, we should all pay the same tax rate. It appears that tax policy must compensate for unequal distribution produce by stimulus policy.

  • Anonymous

    no, didn’t miss that, don’t care. I don’t care if the rich want to get richer. I just care about the people at the other end of the chain.

    It makes it better to have the minimum wage a living wage and then not tax anybody on the actual cost of basic care. That gets people off welfare, out of poverty faster. If we link it to the cost of living annually, then workers are protected. And that is where the need is greatest.

    It doesn’t mean we can’t also have a comprehensive jobs program. It doesn’t mean we can’t invest in making our schools better so that more people can get an education.

    There are always going to be rich people. There will always be people who obsess over money. And there will always be people who will get rich by everyone else being paid fairly. I see no problem with that. Being rich wasn’t my goal but I don’t have the right to tell others what to value, and I don’t have the ethical right to take a bigger share of someone’s money.

    Protect the people who don’t have enough, level the playing field so that every American who wants education has the ability to work for it, and let people make their own choices.

    What would you have the government do with all of that money if you took money from the rich? Make people dependent on government for hand outs? THAT would be horrible in so many ways. Or would you have the government hoard the money? To me, it makes far more sense to tax enough to cover our expenses, invest in taking care of the poor, elderly, or the disabled who can’t work. And let every American have the chance to work to pay their own way, to make the decision to budget their money the way they want.

    The rich will always get rich, our focus needs to be on the people who don’t have enough to support their families. They won’t benefit from taking money from the rich. They will benefit from a living wage, adjusted annually, a tax break, and investments in education and jobs. Taxing equally solves our legal obligation, and does all of the things we need to do.

    Americans are too focused on control of others and punishment. We seem to get so caught up in that instead of doing what needs doing most. Lets get people out of poverty and running their own lives.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    You , missed the point again. This kind of concentration of wealth was seen in the 1920′s and again1980 – 2014. The policies of trade, economic stimulus, and taxation themselves have caused that to happen again. In the 1920′s they also favored corporations and the wealthy with tax cuts. Read “Winner Take All Politics” for the details of how the wealthy purposefully and persistently used their money to pursue their agenda. The “Shared prosperity”, a balanced financial system, existed after WWII and that has purposefully been dismantled. Read Ravi Batra’s words that “the acquisitors (1%) will cast of all values and buy the government to get what they want”. It is profound that we are now seeing a concentration of wealth that exceeds that which was last seen in the 1920′s. That means that some of the lessons of the last great depression have been forgotten.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    There are some problems with your arguments.
    1. I agree that “consumers create demand’ that supports jobs. But, when the wealth is so concentrated by misguided policies in such a small part of the population, demand falls as a result and unemployment rises.
    2. I attended some AMWAY meetings in 1995. They knew, at that time, that “our children would struggle to achieve the life styles that we had and fewer would achieve it”.

  • Anonymous

    Flat tax with deductions is not flat tax.
    It’s a farce. The concept of flat tax is same rate. To add deductions undoes same rate.
    Just as is the farce that corporations pay too high a tax rate. Because that rate is not what they pay, due to deductions. Farce.
    Just as it is a farce to claim they pay taxes on foreign sales, because Foreign Tax Credit is so disingenuous.
    Under the hood of taxes and the US economy, the engine is being gutted. This is not sustainable. Farce, upon farce, upon farce.

  • Anonymous

    no, I didn’t miss it at all. It just isn’t my main interest. I want a fair tax system that allows everyone to have basic needs and get paid a living wage.

    I don’t care about the concentration of wealth. No matter what system anybody has, the rich get richer. Right now we have the rich getting richer and everybody else getting poorer. The rich will never starve, others are now or are one payday away from not having enough.

    The things you are talking about aren’t seriously going to change for many reasons. And most importantly to me is that worrying about the things you are talking about is complicated, time consuming, AND it won’t help the people who need it now.

    What I propose is quick, easy, and easy for everyone to understand. It takes care of the most important part. How can it be a bad thing to want people to have a living wage, get off government aid, and have access to better education so they too could be rich if they wanted?

  • Anonymous

    I disagree. When people have money to pay their bills and can cover their basic needs THAT is a game changer immediately. It gives people power. Remember, I said that the wages and tax deduction should be adjusted annually. It means that every worker will have the ability to earn enough to have basic health care, home, utilities, food, all basic needs. It won’t make as much impact on others that the rich are rich. They will keep getting rich no matter what.

    And it means that your point 2 can never happen. Jobs would be needed, with education overhauled so that everyone can have more opportunities, and our kids will be fine.

    I think you are too focused on punishing the rich or stopping them from being rich that you are missing what changes would be made if all workers knew they would always have a living wage. Maybe stand back and see how this would change the lives of so many millions of people and take another look.

  • Anonymous

    concentration of wealth has no impact on cutting demand. it is people having no money to spend, or being afraid one won’t have it in the future.

  • Chris Landee

    Very good analysis of the unjust tax system. However, to reduce the injustice and introduce the necessary changes, we must eliminate the source of the problem, which is the systemic corruption of our democracy. We need to institute public financing of elections, federal and state. See the TED talk by Larry Leissig on his efforts towards this goal.

  • Charles Shaver

    ‘Better late than never,’ it’s said; I hope so, as I’m finding it difficult to clearly and concisely explain what I find is basically wrong. Thank you, now, for a rather detailed and informative reply. You are better versed on those particulars than I and to read what you wrote makes current events even more understandable and predictable. However, regardless of lobbying, minority personality types, Media propaganda and/or excessive costly political advertising, built in checks and balances, uniform enforcement of existing law and responsible informed voting should have been keeping that five percent and Batra’s ‘acquisitors’ in-check all along.

    To me it is a question of comparative fault: are the corporations more guilty of bribing the politicians, are the politicians more guilty of accepting the bribes and violating their oaths of office and constitutional law or are the voters more responsible for electing and re-electing proved criminals, incompetents, miscreants and/or traitors, without holding all of those involved in clearly deliberate destructive acts (e.g., the Vietnam war, healthcare crisis, war in Iraq and collapse of the economy, minimally, did not just ‘happen’) responsible for their illegal actions and demanding punishment and restitution? I find it’s enough to make one ‘fedupwithpoliticians,’ corporations and the vast majority of voters, alike.

  • Charles Shaver

    In addition to what I just replied to ‘fedupwithpoliticians’ above, I like to point out there is a definite down-side to religion; minimally, despite it’s good points, it tends to stifle individualism and promote dependency. If it only applied to one’s personal faith that might be fine but existing conditions indicate it overlaps into other areas like politics. I’ve written before that I find the Founders, intentionally or not, imbedded the U.S. Constitution with natural laws and the ideals of the biblical Christ. Interestingly, those who deny the majority their due also violate at least some of the Ten Commandments and natural law; double damned, at least, in my opinion.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Charles,
    I am 67 years old. I have been reading about this since the 1980′s. The media has only been showing us “the tip of the iceberg”.
    Alexis de Tocqueville, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington ALL feared the time when the educated would use their knowledge to deceive the uneducated. That is precisely what has occurred. The “Informed voter” has been rendered “inattentive” by the misinformation that the 1 % can buy with their money. That is the point that Pierson & Hacker (Winner Take All Politics) make when they write about the fact that documents about public policy matters used to be written by those that had the necessary credentials. The “think tanks” are writing documents without any connection to the skill level of the writer.
    Pierson & Hacker also wrote about the “deferred bribe” that is probably the most destructive tool (for the 1%) to the political system. The “deferred bribe” is constructed this way. “IF you are a good boy while you are in the Congress, we will get you a job later at 1 of our firms for 10 to 15 times your pay as a representative or Senator.” That is a powerful incentive that “has no quid pro quo” that the legal system recognizes.
    Read Pierson & Hackers book. It is written by 2 “forensic political scientists” that reveal how the political system has been purposefully, persistently, and insidiously distorted by gross amounts of money.
    P.S. The founding fathers never envisioned this kind of personal wealth. Their fear of a “foreign cabal” influencing the U.S. government is very real now through multi national companies and their CEO’s.

  • Charles Shaver

    Wow, that was quick. Look, I’m 70 years old, conceived and born during WWII, and have walked the working-class walk. I’m sure you are correct in what you write but underlying all of that is the natural tendency of less greedy people born and raised religious to be dependency prone, exacerbated by higher education and family tradition (my findings).

    Consequently and summarily, not perfect myself either, no amount of political money buys my vote or tells me bad is good these days. I haven’t voted Republican or Democrat for President since Reagan, or Congress since learning of Gramm-Leach-Bliley in 2012. So, rhetorically (of course), without requiring 200 million other voters to follow in my illuminating footsteps, how do we get them to become independent in their thinking and voting in time to save our constitutional America?

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Charles, I am also an independent. I have a technical degree, a bachelor’s degree in engineering (lots of math), and a masters degree in management (study of money and personal & organizational behavior). I can tell you that the latter degree caused me to see what they were doing and saying very differently. That means that a “little more education” helped see the deceptions created by the educated far better. It is not about buying your vote. It is about money distorting what our elected officials are saying TO us. Have you seen a single politician complain about their “leadership pacs” which can receive large checks from a single donor and can be used for many purposes including hiring family members? I perceive your words about education and families to be in alignment with Jefferson’s fears of the “aristocratic spirit” of some people. Education doesn’t change that. Only 5 % of the people have “integrity that will take no bribe”. The ones with “aristocratic spirit” would be people that use education to “lord it over others”. Jefferson and Washington had confidence in the public being “good judges of character” even if they didn’t understand the details. 5 % are so manipulative that they can get around that test. Unfortunately, Mike Lofgren ( a long time Republican staffer) noted that the “religious right” voted for Republicans “regardless of their economic policies” as long as they supported their “culture wars”. That was a huge mistake. I am in agreement with you. Education and reading helped me see some of the details. Pierson & Hacker document the details of how the political system was altered “with a smile” in plain street language.

  • Charles Shaver

    Nice of you to provide another detailed explanation of what’s going on behind the scenes but, first, I’d like to reply that I wasn’t writing about integrity when it comes to no one buying my vote; it’s simply now knowing not to believe the innuendos and lies, no matter how many unconstitutionally Supreme Court approved millions were spent on those ads. It’s more a matter of knowing a little Constitution versus believing a lot of clearly minority agenda biased opinion and propaganda.

    After some thirty years of working with engineers, management, operators, technicians, etc. as a primarily diagnostic industrial electrician in manufacturing I can appreciate the effort you put into understanding all of the various aspects of what has gone wrong. But, to me, with a lot less of much more focused education, it’s more a matter now of identifying which few false inputs are resulting in so many truly bad outputs. Personally, I find the U.S. Constitution is a much simpler control system program than many I worked on in industry. As an engineer perhaps you can too. Glad to read you too are a politically independent senior.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Charles,
    I did a masters degree in management because I saw this happening in my workplace. I am the designer of the 4 heaviest centrifugal fans in the world (Seoul Korea). A proud American company was completely destroyed. Basically, 5 % of the population are narcissists with “greed that knows no limits”. 5 % readily see their lies or what they are doing for personal gain. The hard part to accept is that 5 % can get so many of the remaining 90 % to follow them in their quest because they also get something form the transactions. It is those followers that allow 5 % to do so much damage in a political system (Democracy). That is the hardest part to understand. DeTocqueville and Jefferson saw them long ago. We are in agreement.

  • Saaby000

    The only way to justify lowering top marginal tax rates is to eliminate most if not all ‘tax deductions and loop-holes’. This will leave more profits in the hands of the businesses to re-invest (if there is more demand) and to re-distribute in the form of higher wages and profit sharing (God willing)… If they would do that then it really would be a “Demand Stimulus” which would lead to more jobs.. but how do you get business owners to “trickle down” these new roune profits? Remember, the Government needs MORE tax revenue and NOT LESS tax revenue to generate a surplus that would repay our Debt.

  • Charles Shaver

    Yes, fed up one, that ninety percent, too, is something of a concern. Can’t really blame them for being so dependency prone, raised to be religious as most were (myself included), and most new immigrants are. However, it is that advantaged and better educated upper five percent who should have already awakened to the fact that nature smiles on moderation and frowns on extremism. Effectively, the support for the narcissists with “greed that knows no limits” and their bought and paid for puppets is looking more and more like the ice in the polar bear realm. And, even the follower ninety percent are subject to the natural law of authority and responsibility in this action-reaction universe. I eagerly anticipate the bright new day at the end of this current Supreme Court approved ‘white-out’ of soap flakes in place of real snow. Is anyone in the upper five percent paying any attention; no matter, unless self-preservation is important in the long run?

  • https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=40177236&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic Martin Screeton

    We have all the information we need to change, but nobody to actually change it.