Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mitt Romney: Low-Income Earners Are "Free-Riders"

Did you see the GOP presidential debate in Florida this week? It was a bunch of millionaires bickering about who owned how many stocks in Fannie Mae, what "blind trusts" were all about, defining who illegals* were, how they paid their taxes, and what Swiss banks accounts were used for.

* Mitt said he was pro-immigration, and he used his father as an example, even though his dad was born to American citizens in Mexico.

The presidential candidates at the debate complained that low income earners and the abject poor were the cause of our high cost for healthcare. You know who I mean, all those lazy "free riders" who are gaming the system to collect unemployment benefits, take drugs, and don't pay any taxes.

You know who I'm talking about, those "other" Americans, many who are grandmothers, military veterans, and college graduates - - those who are now destitute and need food stamps, just because of people like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and George W. Bush. They, and almost everyone else in the top 1%, can't possibility feel the pain of the 99%, and most probably don't care.

"If you don't have a job, blame yourself!"

We didn't outsource all the jobs that could have paid us a "living wage" just so that we could all over-work and under-pay ourselves - - or so that we might qualify for food stamps and become "free riders".

As far as taxes are concerned, according to Leonard Burman (a tax expert and a professor of public affairs at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University) the solution to our unfair tax code, is relatively straightforward...just tax the rich as everyone else is taxed. Simple. The top 1% has had these unfair tax breaks for the past 100 years.

Mr. Burman suggested we return to some of the principles of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 that was championed by Ronald Reagan - - broaden the base, lower overall tax rates, and tax capital gains and unearned income at the same level as ordinary income.

We need to simplify the income tax code and eliminate many tax shelters and other preferences (such as the special tax rate that Mitt Romney and the top 1% pays for capital gains, dividends, etc.)

But we should NOT impose a flat tax or consumption tax (like a VAT tax) as the Republicans propose, because that would only put a higher burden of taxation on middle-class and low-income earners, since the greater proportion of their earnings are spent on consumption (basic living expenses) than the top 1% spends doesn't spend proportionately to their overall income.

Here’s a quick rundown of what the Federal income tax brackets are expected to be for 2012:

Tax Bracket Married Filing Jointly Single
10% Bracket $0 – $17,400 $0 – $8,700
15% Bracket * $17,400 – $70,700 $8,700 – $35,350
25% Bracket $70,700 – $142,700 $35,350 – $85,650
28% Bracket $142,700 – $217,450 $85,650 – $178,650
33% Bracket $217,450 – $388,350 $178,650 – $388,350
35% Bracket Over $388,350 Over $388,350

* This is the special tax rate that Mitt Romney and the top 1% pays for capital gains and dividends (etc), rather than being taxed as ordinary wages, even though it's all still personal income that they're earning.

Also, what many people don’t realize is that our progressive federal income tax brackets reflects marginal tax rates, not a rate that is applied to your entire income. Here’s a quick example based on the current income tax rates…

A married couple filing jointly in 2012 with a taxable income of $100,000

Their income from $0 to $17,400 is taxes at 10%.
Their income from $17,400 to $70,700 is taxed at 15%.
Their income from $70,700 to $100,000 is taxed at 25% - they don’t have to pay 25% in federal income taxes on the full amount they earn. This works out to a less effective tax rate they pay.

And here are a few related points:

  • The personal and dependency exemption will rise to $3,800
  • The standard deduction for married filing jointly will rise to $11,900
  • The standard deduction for singles will rise to $5,950*

* A single person with no children who earns $8,700 or less should only pay 10% for federal income tax on $2,750 after their $5,950 standard deduction. This would also include unemployment benefits. A single person earning $10,890 or less is considered to be earning poverty wages.

If someone earned over $35,350, they would pay a higher tax rate than the 13.9% effective tax rate that Mitt Romney paid on $21.6 million in 2010; and Mitt also has an expected tax rate of only 15.4% on $20.9 million that he earned last year.

Last year 50% of all U.S. workers earned less than $26,364 - - and the poverty level for a family of four is $22,350. Many of them earn so little that the standard deduction and personal exemptions might only absolve them from paying any federal income taxes (but they still must pay all other taxes).

And of those families that can afford their own healthcare insurance, they paid an average of $414 per month last year. The unemployed who might have been eligible for COBRA also couldn't afford the high insurance rates. It's not that they're "free riders", they just can't afford the cost of healthcare insurance after they pay for rent, heat, electricity and food.

It should also be noted that the burden of taxation on these low-income earners is higher than on the top 1%, because 100% of their earnings are taxed for Social Security, whereas millionaires like Mitt Romney have their Social Security taxes capped on the first $110,000 of all their earnings.

During one debate in Florida, Mitt Romney called those that made so little money and couldn't afford their own healthcare plan "free-riders" for using emergency rooms in the hospitals whenever they or their children got sick or injured.

Why do all the Republicans and Mitt Romney always castigate the poor, low-income earners, and the unemployed? Especially when they are so fortunate themselves? Why do they always blame the unemployed, the poor, the "illegals", and the low-income earners for all this nation's problems?

They have a lot of nerve complaining about the poor and low-income workers, saying "45% of Americans pay no taxes at all" - - and that we "should put more skin in the game". They've already skinned us alive!

And how many people have the Republicans, the top 1%, and Mitt Romney been responsible for making people like me "free riders"? It's THEY who have created the vast income disparity, the wealth inequality, and the high unemployment rate...not us.

And it seems to me that with their unfair tax breaks for the past 100 years, it's been THEY who have been waging a class war on US, and that THEY have been the "free riders".

Tell congress to change the tax more free riders!

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1 comment:

  1. UPDATE: The Tax Reform Act of 1986 ALSO created a tax on trust funds every time a generation passed on, but it ALSO gave rich people and their heirs an exemption that shielded part of those original trust. Trusts now became even more attractive to the rich — and the longer a trust could last, the better.