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

A new 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 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.”

Stiglitz continues, “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… What I want to do is create a tax system that has incentives to create jobs. And if you tell a corporation, ‘Look, 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 full-time job and can’t get one.”

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  • Anonymous

    I have just one question to Prof Stiglitz that I’d hope Bill Moyers would ask.

    The US Tax code, by one reliable account, is 73,954 pages long.

    Prof Stiglitz is proposing to add additional complexity to virtually every tax in the US tax code, such as creating new tax credits to corporations that “invest in America” whatever that means.

    So the question is: How many more tens of thousands of tax code pages will all the changes generate, and how much more money will tax lobbyists, tax attorneys, tax accounts and lobbied politicians make?

    Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Since corporations claim they are “persons” I believe the IRS should go in and impound all their accounts, profits, CEO pay and perks, etc. and if they don’t cough up the taxes owed the corporation’s assets should be sold. Remember Willie Nelson? His accountants screwed up and he’s the one who had to pay by having all his assets seized including his home, his tour bus, his personal items, including family albums. If the IRS can do this to Willie then they should be able to do it to corporations! Let’s “willie” the hell out of them all!

  • NotARedneck

    Precisely. Eliminating the subsidies for these parasites will not add to the code, only reduce it. The companies that sell their foreign made products in the west should pay tax on their revenues with no deductions for labor costs and bribes they need to operate in the third world. Otherwise, they can sell their products to those who make them.

    What is needed is a return to the 1935 to 1975 era – high taxes that are easily avoided by making REAL investments where they sell their products.

    Incidentally, this will be good for the third world too – producing goods for themselves to consume. This will end virtual slavery, much reduce environmental degradation and allow the locals to do something about workplace safety. Multi-nationals will no longer be able to play one country off against the other.

  • Pearl Orlind Bailey

    Purchasing all three of those books. Didn’t know Stiglitz was, under Clinton, chief economist of the International bank for Reconstruction and Development. Of course, the tax system is unfair, We have a predatory oligarchy. Get rid of the R A T S (roberts, alito, thomas, scalia) in the Supreme Court, and you may rid the nation of men like the Koch Bros.

  • Anonymous

    The most important thing to realize about all those pages is that the VAST majority of them are attempts to close loopholes found or created by talented attorneys and accountants in attempts to get their upper-class clients out of paying taxes. You want a simpler tax code, you could stop trying to cheat.

  • Virgil Franklin

    This is the ultimate in welfare giveaways. I see the internet garbage debasing poor and middle class folks who need assistance and collect welfare or food stamps or Medicare. Why don’t we see more of this kind of reporting?