Thursday, September 20, 2012

Debra Defends Romney on the 47% - with about 47% enthusiasm

Trying hard to justify Romney's blooper

Here she goes again. In today’s Chronicle, Debra Saunders, who I believe is secretly pulling out her hair by its roots over having to yet again, defend her boy Romney, as the good little Republican she is, uses some convoluted reasoning to tell us that Romney’s statement at that now infamous fundraiser, caught on video, and broadcast all over the internet and picked up by both the mainstream and the down stream media all week – and who took that video anyway and how did it find its way to Mother Jones I wonder?)  about 47% of Americans not paying taxes is “in the right neighborhood.” (Poor choice of words, as Romney’s neighborhood is on the other side of the tracks and up the hill from the people he purports to be talking about. I guess he has a good telescope to keep an eye on the peons below.)

While acknowledging it was a mistake to lump in the likes of senior citizens who have worked their whole life paying into the system, and now live on their meager Social Security, she says Romney “also hit on a truth: the percent of filers who pay payroll taxes for Social Security, but not federal income taxes has grown a lot.”

Taxes are taxes are taxes

Note:    Payroll taxes ARE income taxes. They come out of your income.  They go into a federal pot.  They may or may not be around to help you when you reach the age of retirement.  (Not, if Ryan/Romney have their way – they’d rather you put your money in the all mighty market and let the whims of economic forces, which the people who live in their neighborhood control, determine whether you get a pot of gold or potluck at the end of your working days). And only about 17% of people pay neither of these taxes. These include the elderly and the "working poor."

Saunders concedes Washington had good reason to provide some tax relief for the working poor, but parrots Romney’s belief that this somehow results in “over half of voters [supporting] any scheme designed to expand the federal government secure in the knowledge that they likely will not have to pay for it.”

Huh?  Where did that come from?   Over half the voters want the government to expand the government?  Which part of the government?  The military? I don’t think so.  Homeland security?  Probably not that either.   Maybe the part that builds roads and bridges, and puts out fires and catches criminals, and protects our air and water and food safety.    Those could all use shoring up.   But the part about not having to pay for it comes right out of the air. Or the Romney talking points.
The working poor pay taxes. Plain and simple. Stop lying about that.  Even if they get some federal breaks, they pay FICA, they pay sales tax, they pay property tax (and don’t tell me that if they rent, they don’t. Savvy landlords factor their tax load into that rent, and in poorest neighborhoods, abuses abound). And don't get me started on retires. They paid their whole working life into the system.  Do  Debra and her man Romney really expect us to believe these folks want more government without having to pay for it? 

The price of civilization

As Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said, “Paying taxes is the price of admission to a civilized society ”  (or some variation on that. In a legal opinion he said: "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society" and he is reported to have said (in a book by Justice Felix Frankfurter on Holmes' life) to a young secretary:  "I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization." 

What kind of society do we want?  Do we really want only pharmaceutical companies researching drugs to cure diseases? Do we want private toll roads?   Private fire departments?  Sick people too poor to pay for private insurance or private doctors, spreading germs to all?  Kids too ignorant to get any kind of job because their parents can’t send them to the private schools?  Or maybe we do. Maybe we want kids to work in factories for a pittance, like Romney saw in China, where the barbed wire is to keep people out, because a pittance looks good when you’re starving on the street.

The big lie - Tax cuts for the rich create jobs

And one last point. Debra lambasts the Obama proposal for increased taxes on the rich, reading from her Republican playbook, that to do so would “give business another reason to sit on their capital instead if hiring new workers.” Well, Debra, or someone, anyone, please show me the jobs, created in this country because of the Bush tax cuts.  Where are they, what are they?  According to one report by Forbes writer Rick Ungar (admittedly calling himself the "token leftie, much as Debra refers to herself as the "token Republican") in July of this year, during the Bush years, the increase in employment in the United States was between 4.5 and 7%.   That's a lot less than in the years without major tax cuts for the wealthy. So much for "job creators." 

As Ungar says:  Putting more money in the pockets of the wealthy may create a few jobs for the foreign bankers who get to count the extra money funneled into into the off-shore accounts of the rich, but there is nothing in the way of actual data to support the notion that putting more money into the pockets of the wealthiest Americans will inure to the benefit of those looking for work.

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