Bill Moyers criticized both political parties on Friday for furthering the “protection racket” built to protect the mega-rich from paying their fair share of taxes while extending their influence over politics.
“Sad that it’s come to this,” Moyers said. “The drift toward oligarchy that Thomas Pinckeney described in his formidable book has become a mad dash, and it will overrun us and overwhelm us unless we stop it.”
Moyers pointed out that many members of the “one percent” pay less taxes than the average worker across the board, thanks to tax laws that were drawn up not by nature or divine providence, but by legislators.
“It’s one way they have, as Chief Justice [John] Roberts put it, of ‘expressing gratitude toward their chief donors,’” Moyers said, before launching into a mocking impersonation of Republican lawmakers doing so for billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson. “‘Oh, Mister Adelson, we so appreciate your generosity that we cut your estate taxes so that you can give $8 billion as a tax repayment to your heirs, even though, down the road, the public will have to put up $2.8 billion just to compensate for the loss in tax revenue.”
He also previewed the upcoming study by professors at Northwestern and Harvard which found that individual citizens and mass-based interest groups have “little or no independent influence” on U.S. politics compared to corporate interests, another demonstrator that, in Moyers’ view, made the argument by “courtiers of the rich” that inequality does not matter especially “repugnant.”
“Of course it matters,” Moyers scoffed. “Inequality is what has turned Washington into a protection racket for the one percent. It buys all those goodies from government: tax breaks, tax havens, allowing corporations and the rich to park their money in a no-tax zone. Loopholes, favors like carried interest, on and on and on and on.”
Watch Moyers’ commentary, as aired on Moyers & Company on Friday, below.