When I saw Chris Hayes say this on “The Last Word” the other night, I meant to post it, but then the Colorado shooting happened. He nailed it. Scary smart.
Better late than never:
Hayes: Look, the taxes of high, of extremely wealthy people, are bizarre, strange and alienating. And the reason is that they pay people a lot of money to game the system. That’s explicitly what it is. And the more of that you see, literally if you chose someone with Mitt Romney’s net worth, at random, and you looked at their tax returns, they would look crazy. You wouldn’t be able to understand them. They would have all sort of bizarrely constituted corporations that are incorporated in the Cayman Islands. They might have a Swiss bank account as a bet against the dollar. They would have all these things.
What is so remarkable to me about the story is that the embarrassment here isn’t personal. The embarrassment is about what this says about how the entire system functions. This is how the system functions. We no longer have the ability in this country to really tax people at the top. And that is the existential statement about the strength of the American state, which is: Can you actually tax the wealthiest people in your society? If you can’t, if you can’t like Greece couldn’t, we see how that goes.”
Societies that are in decline or low on the development index have a very hard time extracting money, taxing money from the elites in their society. And that is the direction which we are headed, and that is what is represented in the Mitt Romney tax return.
O’Donnell: Okay, that is an officially brilliant observation about what’s going on here and what’s at stake.
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