Nobel Laureate Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Wealthy Should Pay Higher Taxes

Friday, 13 Jun 2014 07:15 AM

By Dan Weil

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Taxes should be raised on the rich to help curb the growing inequality in income, says Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University.

"We have a tax system that reflects not the interest of the middle. We have a tax system that reflects the interest of the 1 percent," he told Bill Moyers.

The U.S. economic system has failed, Stiglitz argued. "Median American income today is lower than it was almost a quarter a century ago," he said. "Our economy has grown over the quarter century, . . . but all of that growth has gone to the top."

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It doesn't have to be that way. Politics and policy have pushed the economy in this direction, Stiglitz noted. And tax policy is an important part of that.

"We can have a tax system that can help create a fairer society. Only ask the people at the top to pay their fair share. It's not asking a lot. It's just saying those in the top 1 percent shouldn't be paying a lower tax rate than somebody much further down the scale," he stated.

"And Americans have not yet grasped the reality of where we are. That our economic system has not been delivering for most Americans."

Most Americans apparently agree with Stiglitz. According to a CNNMoney poll, a total of 55 percent believe that the richest 1 percent of households don't pay enough taxes. That compares with 25 percent who think the top 1 percent pay their fair share.

To be sure, you might be surprised to learn that 19 percent of Americans believe the top 1 percent pay too much taxes.

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