Equal treatment under the law

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.” — Anatole France

This statement is clever in how it reveals a potent lie embedded within an plain indisputable truth. Are rich and poor treated the same under such a legal system, clearly not, but technically yes.

Now, with that in mind, there is a lot of ground covered in the tax leak articles being published by ProPublica over the last month. And a primary defense I have seen is that the tax code isn’t exactly being violated.

The flimsiness of the excuse – that they are paying all the taxes they legally owe – isn’t obvious to a lot of people: weak tax rules for the super-rich, isn’t merely because the IRS forgot to close loopholes or Congress didn’t pass a law. The uber-rich co-opt regulators and lawmakers to concoct legal schemes that operate to their distinct advantage. There are a plethora of laws that punish the poor, and a alarming lack of laws that constrain the rich. This is no accident! It’s corruption, of course, but except in some esoteric points probably not technically illegal. Tale as old as time?

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