Paul Krugman's piece, Panic of the Plutocrats, highlights one distinction that I think many people have forgotten – there's a difference between business in the "Main Street" sense and business in the "Wall Street" sense:
What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.
Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.
Listen, I get it that we need finance. We need people who can provide capital to the Main Street businesses, and I think there are plenty of fine people working in the financial sector, but just like there are crooks and scam artists working on Main Street there are also crooks and scam artists working on Wall Street. Even if we didn't already have plenty of stories showing that the Wall Street scammers filled their personal vaults while barbequing our Golden Goose, I think the incessant screeching like that currently emanating from halls of power would cause us to say, "The lady (aka the Whining 1%) doth protest too much."
I wonder, truly, if a lot of this problem could be solved by a tax code that made sense? I have been a flat taxer for years, the old saw that “If 10% is good enough for Jesus, then why not Uncle Sam?”
If things were less complicated, think of the money saved by corporations not employing teams of tax pro’s and legal teams to evade taxes? Yes those people would have to be re-assigned, but I am quite sure the finance mavens would be able to find quality work.
Someone needs to convince me that our tax code as written is better than an across the board flat rate tax. Anyone willing to take me on, I will gladly listen.