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Sam Pizzigati talks about the decline of taxes on the super-rich with Laura Flanders on GritTV

April 17, 2013

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The struggle against inequality continues as Tax Day highlighted just how little the wealthiest Americans pay in taxes. Sam Pizzigati, author of the recently released, The Rich Don’t Always Win, talked with Laura Flanders about the battle against plutocracy that everyday Americans waged in the first half of the 20th century, when the upper class ruled and inequality was at its peak. Pizzigati compares 2007, the year before the financial meltdown, when the richest 400 people were taxed just 16.6% of their total income (which averaged $345 million), to 1955 when the richest 400 paid 51.2% of their total income (after exploiting all the loopholes).

It’s almost laugh-out-loud ridiculous to think that in the 1950s the top tax bracket was 91% on those making over 200,000 a year. But the 1950s were times of great prosperity, and it was because of the little guys fighting for economic equality, over many decades, that progressive taxes were implemented.

“Why should our tax dollars be subsidizing economic inequality?” asks Pizzigati. “We shouldn’t be giving any federal contracts to companies that pay their top executives over 25 or 50 times what they pay their lowest paid workers. We can redistribute through the tax system.”

Pizzigati’s advice? “Be as bold as our predecessors were.”

Check out Pizzigati’s conversation with Laura Flanders on GritTV and pick up a copy of The Rich Don’t Always Win for more background on this historical struggle.

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