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Bill Moyers: The Plutocracy Will Go to Extremes to Keep the 1% in Control

Moyers, Matt Taibbi and Chrystia Freeland explain how the plutocrats have willfully confused their self-interest with America’s interest.

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But the fact that people are already making a very, you know, powerful and proud argument against government regulation, bankers are making this argument. I mean, how dare they. How dare they have the gall to actually argue that too much regulation of American financial services is what is killing the economy.

MATT TAIBBI: Right. Right. Just to be clear, I actually agree that the bailouts were necessary. What I completely disagree with was the way they were done. They just simply threw a whole bunch of money at this community and didn't have any conditions at all. They didn't sweep in and change any rules. You know, and after the S&L crisis, for instance, we went in and there were massive criminal investigations.

We put 1,000 people in jail. There were no such investigations this time around. So this was just making everybody well again and restoring everybody to the status quo, which I think was a major mistake because it produced precisely the result we're talking about now. It allowed everybody to think that the previous status quo was okay.

BILL MOYERS: Let me talk about the CEO class because it seems almost every day now there's a new story of some CEO, some boss of a big company who's attempting to tell voters to vote as they say.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: If you really see yourself as a job creator, someone who is not just pursuing their business interest in getting richer, but someone who is creating jobs, doing great things for America and for your workers, and you also sincerely believe that Barack Obama is a bad guy, then you feel you have to help your workers to understand this. You know, you have to let them know that you, the job creator, believe that this job creation of which they are the fortunate beneficiaries, you know, that engine is going to slow down. It's going to grind to a halt.

BILL MOYERS: Do you see this as different from what unions do in urging their voters to go out and vote for the candidates of their choice? Do you see it differently?

MATT TAIBBI: I think it's a little different just because there's an implied threat. It's very, very vague, but, you know, if the CEO of your company suggests to you that you have to vote for Mitt Romney or you have to give money to the Romney campaign, I think the tendency to, you know, to not break ranks, is going to be a little stronger than maybe it would be in a union.

But I think it grows out of this, you know, companies and corporations, they're not democracies. They're authoritarian structures. And the people who work in those companies-- they start to adopt those attitudes after a while. And especially the people at the very top.

I think they've begun to actually believe that their authority extends beyond that. And I just think that people– it’s a little bit different when it’s something your boss tells you to do something than when your union brothers tell you something.

BILL MOYERS: Matt, you have written a lot about the tax code and these plutocrats. Exactly how do they work the tax system?

MATT TAIBBI: Well the plainest example is Mitt Romney. I mean, you know, if you look at his tax returns, he paid, you know, rates of 14, 13 percent. That's totally normal in this world if you work in a private equity fund. Your income is—

BILL MOYERS: Again, he's not an exception, he's an embodiment.

 
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