Bill Moyers: Let me cite some examples of the biggest tax dodgers. These come from the organization, Americans for Tax Fairness. Citigroup had $42.6 billion in profits offshore in 2012, on which it paid no U.S. taxes. Exxon Mobil had $43 billion in profits offshore in 2012, on which it paid no U.S. taxes. General Electric made $88 billion from 2002 to 2012 and paid just 2.4 percent in taxes for a tax subsidy of $29 billion. I could go on, Pfizer, Honeywell, Verizon, FedEx, Apple. What goes through your mind when you hear these figures?
Joseph E. Stiglitz: Well, so, many things go through my mind but, you know, one of the things is how unfair this is and how angry Americans ought to be about this. I also think of the ethics of the question. If I were a CEO, take a company like Apple, use the ingenuity of America, based on the Internet. Internet was created, in large measure, by government...,
Bill Moyers: Right.
Joseph E. Stiglitz: By government spending. They're willing to take but not to give back. So, there's really a whole set of problems that concern it, ethics, equity, fairness, resource allocations. What they don't seem to understand is our society can't function if these large corporations don't make their fair share of contributions.
Bill Moyers: Aren't they likely to say, though, in response, "Well, we do this because the law permits it. This is what the system incentivizes."
Joseph E. Stiglitz: Well, the law does permit it. They use their lobbyists to make sure that the law gives them the scope to avoid taxes. So, this argument, "Oh, we're only doing what the law allows," is disingenuous. The fact is, their lobbyists, their lobbying helped create this law that allows them to escape taxes, pushing the burden of taxation on ordinary Americans.
Bill Moyers: So, that's the big impact on people, right? Somebody has to make up the difference between...
Joseph E. Stiglitz: Somebody has to make up the difference. I mean, we can't survive as a society without roads, infrastructure, education, police, firemen. Somebody is going to have to pay these costs.There may be small errors in this transcript.