In America right now inequality is too great, unemployment too high, public investments too meager, corporations too greedy and the tax code too biased toward the very rich.
But the Nobel Laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz says it doesn’t have to be this way. He has a new plan for overhauling America’s current tax system, which he says 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.