21 September 2012

Romney's disdain for "those people" (the poor and the elderly)

Mitt Romney:

“There are 47 percent of the population who don’t pay taxes. That’s 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That it’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And so, my job is not to worry about those people; I’ll never convince them.”

Clarifying Romney’s numbers:

First of all, it's inaccurate to say that 47 percent of Americans pay no taxes at all. Most people pay state taxes, local taxes, and property taxes. Almost all pay sales tax, and most pay payroll tax. Only 18.1 percent of American households paid zero or negative federal income tax and zero or negative federal payroll tax in 2011. Of the 18.1 percent, more than half were elderly and most of the other half were non-elderly people making below $20,000 a year.

Whether it’s 47 percent or 18.1 percent, it is clear by his rhetoric and policy positions that Mr. Romney despises the poor and elderly (might as well throw in women and minorities while we’re at it).

Interestingly, among the 18.1 percent who paid no federal income taxes are approximately 3,000 people who made more than $2,178,866 in 2011 (putting them in the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers). Those people are likely hedge fund managers, real estate investors, or other wealthy financiers whose income comes primarily in the form of capital gains, which is taxed at a much lower rate than ordinary income. Combine the capital gains rate with a magical thing called a "tax-loss carryforward," which allows an investor to use last year's big loss to offset this year's gains for tax purposes, and voila — no federal income tax. Can we see some tax returns, please, Mr. Romney? Could it be that YOU are among the very group you're railing against?

In reality, Romney only cares about the wealthiest 1%, a vast majority of whom are white men like him. But, of course, it’s hard to win an election appealing to such a small minority, no matter how rich and powerful. So he does what his party has been doing for decades now: pandering to the gullible evangelical right - using deception and fear-mongering to cloud real issues, laughing (probably at them) all the way to the bank and in some cases into office.

It’s unrealistic to believe that the entirety of the “other 99%” will wise up and see Romney for who he is: a greedy and uncompassionate liar. Thankfully, enough seem to be catching on to prevent him from being the next president of the United States.

No comments: