How Tax Reform Can Save the Middle Class

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Moyers & Company

How Tax Reform Can Save the Middle Class

A report out today finds that over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies use offshore tax havens to avoid paying US taxes.

The Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz tells Bill that such lucrative loopholes are contributing to America’s inequality problem and persistent unemployment rate. In fact, corporate greed, combined with a tax code too biased toward the very rich, is hurting our economy and reducing public investment at a time when we really need it.

Stiglitz says it doesn’t have to be this way. He has a new plan for overhauling America’s current tax system, which he believes contributes to making America the most unequal society of the advanced countries.

“We can have a tax system that can help create a fairer society,” Stiglitz tells Bill in the second part of their conversation. “Only ask the people at the top to pay their fair share. It’s not asking a lot. It’s just saying the top 1% shouldn’t be paying a lower tax rate than somebody much further down the scale – [they] shouldn’t have the opportunity to move money offshore and keep it in an unlimited IRA account.”

Stiglitz believes that taxes should incentivize corporations to act in ways that benefit our country. “If your taxes say we want to encourage real investments in America, then you get real investment in America… But I also believe that you have to shape incentives and that markets on their own don’t necessarily shape them the right way.”

The economist concludes that the barriers to solving our problems are political, not economic, and we can change what’s wrong if enough of us insist.

Watch part one of Bill’s interview with Stiglitz »

Producer: Candace White. Segment Producer: Robert Booth. Editor: Rob Kuhns.

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