Wonderful phrase; wish I had thought of it. It’s Jeffrey Winters’ term for the pile of lawyers and others who contrive technically-legal ways for wealthy people to avoid paying most of the tax for which they would otherwise be liable. His recent book, Oligarchy, seems to have a lot of other details we haven’t seen elsewhere.
All I actually know about Winters and his work comes from this interview, broadcast this afternoon on WBEZ. I did note one error: The U S federal income tax imposed in 1894 was the second, not the first, which was in 1861. He seems to have compiled a lot of data that we don’t usually see (some of it presented in this pdf article). Naturally, altho his work is descriptive, he is asked about the potential for the Occupants or other movements to alleviate the oligarchs’ control. One wishes that he had mentioned the importance of taxing privilege, instead of production. Perhaps he is unfamiliar with the concept.