Mr. Romney, Here’s why Your Tax Returns Matter

Mitt Romney said that he had paid around 13% in taxes annually the past few years, calling false the charge by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that Romney won’t release his tax returns because they show he paid no income tax in the past decade.

But, Romney was careful not to say that he had paid income tax in the past few years. And, it was income tax that Reid was talking about.

Romney also said he was mystified as to why his tax returns were an issue, given the problems the country faces.

But Romney exemplifies the problem that the country faces. The top 1% of income earners, in the upper sector of which Romney falls, has seen its annual share of national income go from 10% only a few decades ago to over 20% today.

(Courtesy Tom Ricks)

At the same time, the marginal tax rate that this enormously wealthy but small group of some 1.2 million people pay has plummeted to its lowest levels in decades (and much of the tax benefit goes to the richest 400 persons):

Hmm. Small group of people taking much more of national income but paying much less in taxes? What could go wrong?

Thus, the Bush-Cheney tax cuts on the very wealthy have made a significant contribution to our annual budget deficits (Clinton had balanced the budget before Bush and Cheney gave billions away to their rich friends).

Romney paid 13% in federal taxes, but middle class people pay over twice that. Romney and his wealthy buddies have snarfed up much of the income growth that the US has seen in the past two decades, leaving nothing for the middle class.

In fact the average wage of the average worker has declined in the past decade for the first time since WW II.

(Courtesy this site

And, taxes on wage earners have not fallen the same way the tax rates for investors have fallen. Plus the essentials of middle class life such as college tuition, have skyrocketed, in large part because government doesn’t subvent them the way it used to.

So Mitt Romney’s tax breaks and those of the top 1% like him, are a large part of the cause of persistent high budget deficits:

That is why, Mr. Romney, your tax returns are more than personal information about you. They are icons of the growing inequality of America, both in income distribution and in tax rates. Your secretary paid a higher percentage of her income in taxes than you did. And, your tax cuts are harming government’s ability to function, creating artificial crises.

It really is is all about you this time.

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7 Responses

  1. In the 1990s how did Clinton balance the budget and pay down the national debt that again play major causes of the current “created artificial crises”?

    From the RollingStone, November 9, 2011:
    “How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich”

    “—After taking office, Clinton immediately seized the mantle of fiscal discipline from Republicans. Rather than simply trimming the federal deficit, as his GOP predecessors had done, he set out to balance the budget and begin paying down the national debt. To do so, he hiked the top tax bracket to nearly 40 percent and boosted the corporate tax rate to 35 percent. “It cost him both houses of Congress in the 1994 midterm elections,” says Chafee, the former GOP senator. “But taming the deficit led to the best economy America’s ever had.” Following the tax hikes of 1993, the economy grew at a brisk clip of 3.2 percent, creating more than 11 million jobs. Average wages ticked up, and stocks soared by 78 percent. By the spring of 1997, the federal budget was headed into the black.—”

    link to

    The “artificial crises” is quite painfully real to about 220 million Americans, 70% of the current US population of 314 million. 50% is the working class plus 20%, a portion of the middle class.

    Pains: losing a job then looking for another or another, losing your home and moving, losing health care benefits, college costs, etc. Probably most of you reading this are not experiencing any pain. That’s why you have so much intellectual talk without any solutions or actions?

    Romney and the other corrupt billionaires and millionaire don’t feel much pain. What the hell is the difference between spending $100,000 or $10,000,000 a year on non-essentials?

    –“It’s difficult to imagine today, but taxing the rich wasn’t always a major flash point of American political life. From the end of World War II to the eve of the Reagan administration, the parties fought over social spending – Democrats pushing for more, Republicans demanding less. But once the budget was fixed, both parties saw taxes as an otherwise uninteresting mechanism to raise the money required to pay the bills. Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford each fought for higher taxes, while the biggest tax cut was secured by John F. Kennedy, whose across-the-board tax reductions were actually opposed by the majority of Republicans in the House. The distribution of the tax
    burden wasn’t really up for debate: Even after the Kennedy cuts, the top tax rate stood at 70 percent – double its current level. Steeply progressive taxation paid for the postwar investments in infrastructure, science and education that enabled the average American family to get ahead.—”

    70% for the billionaires and now it’s only 35%.

    The best growth and economical times have been during the highest taxes especially for the rich and corporations. Would have quoted the articles, but couldn’t find them.

    Tax all the billionaires, the corrupt and criminal 85% and the honest 70%.

    Read more the RollingStone and you’ll agree, Romney and most of the GOP should be tarred and feathered for their lies, perjury regarding taxes and the US economy and growth.

    link to

    • President Obama should read my above post and especially the RollingStone post, and then take real honest action even if it means losing his reelection. If he doesn’t he should be exposed for his ignorance or most likely his corruption and not be supported nor reelected.

      The billionaires, millionaires and all their puppets that caused and are still contributing to the crises must pay. They are all white collar criminals and should pay for their crimes with fines, jail time and in many cases, loss of their fortunes and property. They have caused pain, suffering, loss and deaths that will continue for years, some that can’t be recovered from. Our government and country must be purged of these white collar criminals – that is or was the real goal of the Occupy movements.

      But I assume I’ll be ignored and things will continue to go down the drain.

      Now is the time for another Clinton type to step up and save America and the world from the corrupt billionaires. Any takers or suggestions??????????

      link to

  2. Romney wants to give the impression that he paid this rate on his gross income. But it really only applies to his taxable income, which could have been drastically reduced from questionable shelters and deductions. Paying 15% on a radically reduced taxable income is the equivalent of paying no taxes.

  3. Perhaps both are right! Romney did pay more than 13% taxes. He may also have paid $0 taxes. After all 13% of 0 is 0.

  4. Let me be here to greet the trolls.

    They will say that things are different now because the rich can now righteously move their magical productive skills to some other country that will tax them less.

    Right now, the only places that would likely qualify are Ireland and Russia. Russia runs on oil and gas money, and Ireland’s scheme to attract rich immigrants has collapsed with their real estate bubble.

    But beyond that, what happens when rich people and corporations can hold democracies hostage, playing them off against each other by threatening to move to the place with the most Far Right economic policies – and inevitably the most Far Right social and cultural practices to match?

    It’s been happening for 40 years now, since the Friedmanites got their foothold in Chile. The rape of Latin America has ended because voters of different countries finally saw that they were screwing each other by giving in to the ransom demands of their Wall Street-backed elites. But Europe and America were virgin territories, and their turn came with vastly greater rewards for the rapists.

    Where will they go after they’ve finished with us? Or will they ever finish with us? Once they have reshaped the US and Western Europe into submissive 19th Century societies, with their Cold War militaries still intact, maybe they will pay return visits to old colonial stomping grounds, on the taxpayers’ dime?

  5. Addendum to the libertarian trolls:

    If the above income maldistribution chart represents your dream of meritocracy, where is the resulting economic boom to justify the suffering of the rest of us?

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