The other defense industry

According to Jeffrey A. Winters, author of Oligarchy (Cambridge University Press, 2011), there’s the “income defense industry” which is composed of

[L]awyers, accountants, wealth management consultants, revolving-door lobbyists, think-tank debate framers and even key segments of the insurance industry whose sole purpose is income defense for America’s oligarchs. . . .

This legal, political and cultural power wielded by and on behalf of the super-wealthy 0.1% of our fellow Americans helps create and maintain the income inequality we have today. Frank Pasquale at Concurring Opinions has more (with lots of lovely links).

One comment

  1. Accountants indeed! The more I read the tax code, the more I realize it is an artificial construct, the sole purpose of which is to ensure employment for an otherwise useless class of people. There is absolutely no reason why the average taxpayer should have to hire someone to figure out how much they owe the government; it should be an easy question.

    Here’s an example:

    (1) In general
    The net section 1231 gain for any taxable year shall be treated as ordinary income to the extent such gain does not exceed the non-recaptured net section 1231 losses.
    (2) Non-recaptured net section 1231 losses
    For purposes of this subsection, the term “non-recaptured net section 1231 losses” means the excess of—
    (A) the aggregate amount of the net section 1231 losses for the 5 most recent preceding taxable years beginning after December 31, 1981, over
    (B) the portion of such losses taken into account under paragraph (1) for such preceding taxable years. (Internal Revenue Code Section 1231(c))

    As an accountant, it makes me feel ashamed to be a participant in the system. My job should not be necessary.

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