The wealthy vs. taxes

Marie said she had little knowledge of the trusts during their marriage. She knew Ed had offshore trusts for many his business assets, since, as she put it “he always said only dumb people pay taxes.”

So what can we do to get all these billionaires out of tax shelters and make them pay their fair share of taxes?

Crush the GOP at the ballot box?

That, then enact federal regulation / restriction of state trust laws. These trusts exist to prevent federal taxation at transfer from one family member to another, by eliminating any need for the transfer. That means state laws are being written / used to circumvent federal ones.

Kill all the lawyers and accountants.

Nah, just kidding.

But it is their job to find the next tax “dodge” after the last one is closed. And there is always a next tax dodge.

Try to close tax loopholes where you can. Accept that there will always be a certain amount of “spillage”. After a certain level of wealth it doesn’t really matter what the government does. Tax dodgers can simply obtain residence in another country and become a “visitor” to their former home country. A smarter move is probably to focus resources on large corporations. Facebook, Amazon etc.

Proscription lists.

Stop anyone having more than a billion. Every cent earned over a billion goes back to the government.

“Lampposts and Legislation” is the platform I’m running on.

Forbid direct and indirect transfers to offshore heavens and demand open accounts from trusts.

This is not only a huge problem, but a symptom of a larger problem.

Tax evasion, both legal and illegal, has a lot of public support. The analogy isn’t perfect, but it’s kind of like battling against speeding. If large numbers of people don’t agree with something, you will get both law evasion and laws with lots of loopholes.

It’s a public debate that has been lost over my lifetime. Government collection of money for purposes of the public good was extremely unpopular through the early 20th Century, gained massive adherence during the middle of the century, and then… well, for one thing, supporters have consistently argued all the wrong points, while opponents have chosen their arguments wisely.

(Colin Woodward’s book American Character does a great job explaining, and is highly readable.)

But the direct answer to your question is that we have to change the public’s view of federal taxes. And make no mistake about it, we are starting WAY behind in that effort. When I tell extended family or friends that I want help with tax intricacies only to be sure I have got it all right, but not to find ways to avoid paying… they look at me as though I were from another planet.

I’d bet money half the wealthiest class of Americans are paying no taxes or worse, getting money back due to loopholes: