Martin Bashir | July 06, 2012
>> let's get right to a very special guest. he's chris hayes and author of a wonderful new book, twilight of the elites. an often unfavorable look at the mechanisms of americans. good afternoon to you, sir. you heard glenn beck be afraid. very afraid. what's he talking about?
>> i don't know.
>> good answer. reading your book, i can't help thinking about mitt romney and the way he's defined his success an the way it presents itself. we followed " vanity fair ," that have looked at the bermuda triangle , swiss bank accounts . explain to me how that is an american success story? hiding funds for 15 years. how is that an example of american success?
>> in this way. in the current success we have, which basically says you do what it takes to get to the top and then you are rewarded with outside payments, massive amounts of wealth and a disparity that we haven't seen in about 100 years and anything you do within the narrow confines of the letter of the law is okay. that there are no normative mormo moral expectations o the way you conduct yourself. while a lot of the stuff was happening was illegal, a lot was legal, it was just wrong. and this distinction is a very important one and it's one conservatives particularly still hold. very conservative idea in that there are certain kinds of standards.
>> integrity. here's mitt romney talking about his taxes during a january gop debate.
>> the most extensive disclosure that i made was the financial disclosure requirements under the law. i pay all the taxes legally required and not a dollar more.
>> his definition of success seems to be you never break the letter of the law , but you also never honor it, either.
>> you honor it in so far as you comply with it.
>> anything illegal. no one's implying that, but do you get the impression that this is a man who following it to the letter, but not in spirit?
>> yes, that's the whole reason that offshore accounts exist, strange tax products exist, precisely for that reason. i think he gets to this question of we're going to talk about this on my show this weekend.
>> how dare you promote your own broadcast on mine.
>> what's really interesting to me, that idea stating the norm, i pay every dollaroueded and not a dollar more. what do you do to lower your tax burden and what kind of feeling do we have as a people, watching a campaign and evaluating all sort of things about candidates. their love lives, the way they've conducted their business affairs. what is our collective ex expectation and i think it would be great if we had a conversation about that. in mitt romney 's world, he pays 15% in tax.
>> most of his income.
>> but a manager at mcdonald's pays double than that. and that's fine?
>> look, not only do we have this individual context of how people of tremendous wealth are able to gain is system, legally, we have the lowest rate we've had since 1993 , right? when they were raised under clinton. as a percentage of gdp, tax revenue as a whole is the the lowest it's been since the 1950s . they're down around 8%. we have seen everything. the inheritance taxes . everything that hits people at the top has been reduced from a policy standpoint. then above that has been erected an entire industry of tax evasion , which uses all kinds of expertise to create vehicles expressley created for the intent of reducing tax burden . that's atop the policy structure.
>> and that results in massive deficit. he says he will revolve by investing in the military, cutting taxes. explain that.
>> it's ridiculous. the deficit exists because there's two part of the ledger and if you -- ripping off one part and setting it aside, it's a test of a functioning state. whether it can collect taxes . this is actually a basic developmental action that you ask of states. look at greece. this is a test for america. can we collect taxes from people at the top of the social pyramid and change policy to make the tax code more fair? these are vital questions of what the future american government can do.
>> and mitt romney has said nothing about any of those.
>> he has spoken through his anchors.
>> chris hayes , saturday and sunday mornings, thank you, sir.
>>> next, karl rove wastes no time hitting the president on