Martin Bashir | August 14, 2012
>> by ana marie cox and jeffrey sax. i'm going to start with you because i think we need to move back to the tax conversation. despite what paul ryan says, i think it is a relevant question. you know, it seems that there is, it's important and yet ryan is trying to dismiss it. romney is trying to dismiss it. and the suspicious that we heard over the last week, maybe he paid a dramatic less amount than the rest of us. politically, the idea, that the wealthy play by a different set of rules. isn't that why they don't want to have this conversation?
>> i think that's exactly it. i think by not releasing them, we keep having the same conversation. is suspicions about what's in romney 's taxes have to be worst than what's in them. there's an adage in horror movies that you never open the door to see the monster because what people imagine is going to be bigger and badder. that seems to me what the problem is. why doesn't he release them? we can only believe as he keeps not releasing them that that invisible monster gets worse and worse. even worse than that monster behind the door is the monster we can see in ryan 's tax plan, which is the monster that doesn't eat anything. he would pay barely anything under ryan 's tax plan.
>> to your point, i think the fact ryan is specific and romney is not, means the obvious question to governor romney is where are the specifics. do you agree and yet, he still doesn't want to talk about it. professor, speaking of playing by a different set of rules, "the new york times" took a look at the top 400 returns from many of the top earners. many paid less than 15%. some paid far below the rate most of us paid and some paid zero. so when we talk about the tax returns . when i think about what was happening in 2008 , 2009 and 2010 , is the reason that governor romney won't give us anything before 2010 and by that, i mean specifically doesn't want us to see 2009 because he doesn't want us to see what was going on in 2009 ?
>> i think we've already seen even from what he's shown us that he doesn't pay much in tax. much less than we do when we pay our normal income taxes because the super rich pay low tax rates on capital gains . in 2009 , because the stock market went down in the midst of the financial crisis , there were ways to off set those capital gains with some of the losses that had been incured, so in 2009 , the rate of tax he paid may have dipped almost to nothing. we don't know. but i think what's striking is that even in the normal years, they're paying much, much less. the capital gains rate is 15%. people are paying higher rates than that. this is already an abusive situation because the rich have gotten super rich over the last 30 years. most of america has been struggling and i think they want to double down on that kind of abusive system.
>> i want to go back to something you were saying. i think this point gets glossed over in the talking points . today, you had governor romney , coal miner. they're paying taxes on their income. and their wages. they don't have the swiss bank accounts and capital gains to worry about, so that's one set of rules. but then as you say, the super rich, they've got their capital gains and a whole other system in addition to income, if they have income. by which their taxes are governed.
>> well, capital gains is part of income. it's just coming through in a different way by the rise of the value of the assets they hold, so you can put income in different forms if you're lucky enough to have that kind of wealth.
>> exactly. the wage income, that's taxed. that doesn't, doesn't get pushed aside. but this capital gains income is not only set at a lower rate, but it's easier to put offshore. we know that mitt romney has a lot of money in the cayman's and caribbean and the tax havens in switzerland. that's a known abuse of the system. there are trillions and trillions of dollars meld held in these offshore tax havens and this has been a game also for the last 30 years.
>> they happen to be legal.
>> a lot is legal because our system is rigged and most americans know it. unfortunately, you have to say, as terrible as the ryan plan is in this regard, the democrats are not so bold also, because they also go to the big campaign finanier financiers. both parties, republicans worse, democrats less bad, but both parties are catering to a legalized system that is rigged for the super rich. this is our problem in the united states . we don't have the revenues now even to pay for preschool for children even to pay for keeping our roads intact and so forth. i say in my book, we're not paying the price of civilization. we're falling apart. unfortunately, it's a bit bipartisan.
>> it strikes me though that when we talk about again, moving these assets offshore, i think of tyco. that's extraction of resources that are here in the united states and the rest of us still have to pick up the tab, but i want to play something from paul ryan and get your response, so let's take a listen.
>> what i hear from people around this country, they're not asking where are the tax returns . they're asking where the jobs are.
>> emowhen i hear the it's a distraction, usually, that means they're hiding something and want you to focus on some other shiny object, right?
>> that is totally the case. they would rather talk about anything but his tax plan. of course, it's true the obama campaign would rather talk about anything but the economy. so everyone has distractions, but yeah, this is definitely. i think the whole vice presidential pick and the the times of it came at the time for romney . paul ryan is kind of the shiny object to this equation.
>> yes, he is and speaking of our friend, paul ryan , in that interview, he was talking about eliminating tax shelters . as i understand it, we've got a new ad today that's sort of poking fun at how uncomfortable that might be for governor romney because in reality, essentially, under the ryan plan, you've got governor romney would pay .82%. so even though he says oh, yeah, we're going to do away with all these loopholes and tax havens , it really doesn't matter because at the same time, he's not really paying much in taxes.
>> let's also be clear about the ryan plan not really being a plan cht it's half --
>> fair enough.
>> half plan at best and half baked certainly. because it cuts the top tax rates and it says we'll make it up by closing loopholes, but he has never told us which loopholes and so, there's a huge hit, trillions of dollars, over the next ten years, that's already announced and then he says, but we'll be revenue neutral. we've heard that before and he hasn't told us how. so this isn't really a plan. this is a come on in a way. it's a gimmick. it says we're going to cut rates, but make it up. but we won't tell you how.
>> what sort of strikes me here, just listening to it, if you don't know, if you don't have the depth of knowledge as the professor here, saying that we're going to cut all these loopholes and lower your tax rate , there's something that just doesn't pass the smell test there, right?
>> no, it doesn't and of course, the thing that they don't talk about or they talk about it as though it's a good thing, shutting down all the government things they consider sue per flous. like medicare and medicaid and just focus on social security and defense. the reason they don't talk about those is because if they did, they would cut off some of their campaign funding. those apply to people who give money to campaigns and i have to adhere, romney has said that corporations are people, too. people pay taxes, right? we work for a living and pay taxes on those things. if corporations are people and what they do can be defined as work, then there should be taxes on those wages as well.
>> how about that. thank you so much for joining me.