Congress may be out on its month-long August recess, but that doesn’t mean “The Daily Show” stops its skewering. Last night, host John Oliver took on our broken tax code – and used the issue to take down our broken political system.
>The tax code, Oliver pointed out, hasn’t been reformed since 1986. “That’s right,” he said. “We haven’t addressed this fundamental economic issue in any significant way since the days when Boy George could guest star on ‘The A-Team.’”
Yet the system is riddled with loopholes and tax breaks, like the “carried interest” treatment that lets hedge funds managers and other investors pay lower rates on some of their earnings, or a credit for businesses that produce electricity by burning chicken poop. That tax break is estimated to cost nearly $10 billion over five years.
“The problem is that every single part of the tax code is in there because someone wanted it to be, and if you as a politician even consider taking one out, its backers will make you pay,” Oliver said. “So you’ve got to think twice before going up against big hedge fund, big oil or big chicken poop. They’ll get you. And what’s more, it’s probably not just their current jobs that lawmakers are trying to protect. It’s also their much more lucrative future jobs” – as lobbyists.
Oliver then showed a clip of Fareed Zakaria explaining that in 1974, just 3 percent of retiring members of Congress became lobbyists. That number is now 42 percent for the House and 50 percent for the Senate.
“I’d never thought I’d say this,” Oliver continued, “but Washington really had so much more integrity back in the Watergate era. Nowadays, our lawmakers are so chicken---t, you could get a tax break for setting them on fire.”
There's much, much more from the show, so watch the full clip above.