Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Party of Hate, Bigotry, Selfishness, Ignorance, and Greed

But it wasn't always so. Have you guessed which party?

Thomas Jefferson founded what is now the Republican Party. A very interesting debate once took place between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson had argued that corporations and manufacturing would result in the concentration of too much property and power in the hands of banks and the wealthy elites.

That sounds very much like what President Obama might say today. But the Tea Party calls him a Socialist.

I once wrote about Woodrow Wilson's and Theodore Roosevelt's "Hamiltonian" and "Jeffersonian" philosophies, because these ideas had morphed into opposing political views today.

In 1912 Theodore Roosevelt, leader of the Republican Party and founder of the short-lived Progressive Party (and subscribing to the Hamiltonian philosophy) had called for a broad range of positive social welfare programs. He was the one and only (and perhaps the last) Republican president that's ever endorsed a federal government healthcare plan.

Now we have "ObamaCare", but Mitt Romney and the Republicans want to repeal it. They and the Tea Party call it "European" and "Socialist."

Ideologies have changed over the course of history and time. Neither Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln nor Thomas Jefferson could run as a Republican today.

Now we have a flip-flopping opportunist like Mitt Romney running for President, representing the New Republican Party of hate, bigotry, selfishness, ignorance, and greed. And they are not promoting the "kinder and gentler nation" that President George H.W. Bush had once envisioned.

Disregarding Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal, the administration of George W. Bush may have marked that moment in time when the New Republican Party was ushered in, and after Glenn Beck and the Koch brothers stoked the new "Tea Party" in 2009...which is more like the party of the old Dixicrats in 1948.

The Republican Party Today

If taxes are already historically low, and we already have too much government debt, and the rich are paying a lower tax rate than the middle-class, would you vote for a very wealthy man to be president if he's also a man who doesn't want to pay any taxes at all, but at the same time, cut Social Security and Medicare for you and your parents?

Mitt Romney and the Republicans said that the American people are more concerned about jobs and the economy than they are about seeing Mitt's tax returns...he said it was "simple minded". But his tax returns are directly connected to the debate about the economy, debt, spending, and jobs.

Romney and the Republicans are saying how concerned they are about the national debt, about "the crushing burden that our children and grandchildren will have to bear." But as the leader of our country, and considering the great debate about tax policy, Romney's tax returns are very much at the center of the discussion.

If Mitt Romney only paid 13.9% in federal income taxes on $22 million in income he earned in one year, and we are discussing the viability and solvency of Social Security, Medicare, and defense spending, it would seem that whatever reforms we need in the tax code would be better understood if the American people knew what loopholes should be eliminated.

I find it disingenuous, gluttonous, and hypocritical for someone such as Romney to complain about government spending, as though people like he were paying the lion's share in taxes.

It's almost evil for the wealthy to accuse others of not "having enough skin in the game" when it comes to the poor paying their fair share of taxes, because the poor don't have expensive lobbyists going to Congress on their behalf to influence the tax laws.

As a percent of their total annual income, the poor and middle-class pay much more in taxes and living expenses than someone with Mitt Romney's money. And the poor and middle-class can't afford to hire tax attorneys or take advantage of the same loopholes in the tax code as Mitt Romney does.

Romney's tax returns are very much at the heart of the problem on tax reform because most of Romney's income is derived from "capital gains", and both he and his running mate, Paul Ryan, wants to eliminate the capital gains tax entirely. Mitt Romney doesn't want to put ANY skin in the game.

Every year, almost $1 trillion dollars in personal income (that the top 1% earns with capital gains) is not taxed at all for Social Security and Medicare; and it is also taxed at a lower rate (15%) than a middle-class wage earner pays for income taxes (25%).

So essentially, the super-rich Mitt Romney, after already paying less as a percentage of his income in taxes than most other people, he now wants to pay no taxes at all. And then, even when he personally isn't contributing to the government treasury, he wants to dictate to others the cuts in government spending for everyone else who IS paying into the system (and not gaming it the way the top 1% has been doing for decades).

Mitt and his wife are lying when they say they won't release any more tax return because the Democrats will only "attack" them. Why would Mitt, a leader in the Mormon church, sell his soul to lead the Party of hate, bigotry, selfishness, ignorance, and greed to be President of the United States? Because his first loyalty is to his church, not to this country. And less tax revenues for the government would equate to more revenues into the coffers of his church, and may the "gentiles" be damned.

And then there's the matter of jobs.

During Mitt Romney’s time as owner and CEO of Bain Capital, he cleverly invested in, and made enormous profits from, companies that The Washington Post describes as “pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components.”

Where pioneers have gone, settlers have followed. Today, outsourcing by the country’s largest multinational corporations has become routine. The result is a process of strategic investment that often yields high profits without generating jobs or tax revenues in the United States.

Many American companies (e.g. Apple, etc.) rely heavily on subcontractors in other countries, minimizing both their production costs (cheap labor) and their tax liabilities. They can also pollute the water and air in places like China.

Pew Research says that since the beginning of George W. Bush's administration, the middle class has shrunk in size, and has fallen backward in both income and wealth. During that time 52,000 factories fled our shores, costing the U.S. over 8 million jobs during that time.

Mitt Romney, in his stump speeches on the campaign trail, has blamed President Obama for all our low-paying jobs, even though it was his time at Bain Capital that was all about down-sizing and outsourcing jobs. (Does the pot call the kettle black?)

One of Mitt Romney's most boasted accomplishments was Staples, which is nothing but a mass of low-paying jobs. Just like Domino's Pizza. And slave labor wages are also paid at Wal-Mart and McDonalds, two of America's largest employers.

Now 50% of all Americans earn LESS than $26,363.55 a year, just above the poverty line for a family of four. These are the people that Mitt Romney says should pay more, while he eliminates his own tax liability completely -- by not taxing capital gains.

Over the years, wealthy taxpayers have found countless ways to game the system, and every time the Internal Revenue Service has moved to plug a loophole, the code has become more and more complicated.

And it doesn't help that Congress (mostly Republicans) have de-funded the IRS so much that they can't hire more tax auditors to investigate massive tax evasion.

Mitt Romney also uses foreign tax credits to game the system. Maybe Mitt Romney should renounce American citizenship and move to Singapore, as did the Facebook co-founder Eduardo Savarin) rather than run for President of the United States. That would end Mitt's obligation as a citizen to pay federal income tax.

It was estimated that the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 cost the U.S. Treasury $1.5 trillion in lost revenues. Now corporate America is sitting on a colossal $2.5 trillion in un-taxed cash in foreign banks from profits made overseas.

The CEOs are earning record multi-million-dollar salaries with stocks and stock-options and paying a very low 15% capital gains tax rate (and no Social Security or Medicare taxes at all on those capital gains. About another $1 trillion a year is lost in tax revenues here as well.).

Over a quarter century ago, in 1984, the Washington, D.C.- based Citizens for Tax Justice released its first in-depth report on how much America’s top profitable corporations were actually paying in taxes. America’s top companies, this initial study found, were paying only 14.1% of their profits in taxes, less than a third of the corporate tax rate then in effect.

Their last study shows that America’s top corporations are now getting what essentially amounts to a 50% discount off their tax bills.

The STATUTORY corporate tax rate is currently 35%, but for many companies, the EFFECTIVE tax rate is half of that. So, if the tax rate was 90%, what would it matter if the loopholes allowed them to pay a mere 18%? But still, Mitt Romney and the Republicans are asking for lower corporate taxes too.

Am I the only one who gets suspicious when everything a person proposes is something that they themselves would always personally benefit the most from? If for no other reason, this should be why no one should vote for Mitt Romney. Where is HIS "shared sacrifice" for the country?

Capital gains and corporate taxes are already historically low, but the Republicans keep saying "now is not a good time to raise taxes." So then, let me ask, when is it EVER a good time to raise taxes? Would it have been back in 2001 when Bush lowered them?

The New York Times writes that "both political parties say they agree on the absolute necessity of reforming the addled and inefficient American tax code. But that would mean eliminating much of the underbrush of credits, loopholes and expenditures (such as Romney's foreign tax credits), and then maybe reducing marginal tax rates.

Of course, the devil is in the details...and Mitt Romney always provides so few. Just about every tax expenditure has a powerful interest group behind it. That is part of the reason why neither party has gotten specific about what they would put on the chopping block, and both anticipate a drawn-out fight during the tax reform process.

And of course it's usually always the middle-class and poor making all the "shared sacrifices".

And one can't help but help wonder if Congress has personal reasons for not acting sooner on reforming the tax code for the past 90 years (when capital gains was first introduced). Almost half the House and two thirds of the Senate are millionaires themselves. The fox guarding the hen house?

And then of course, there are the banks. They control our economy and Congress (big business and our government). In 1802 Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake up homeless in the continent their fathers conquered."

Maybe Thomas Jefferson was also a prophet. What would he think about Mitt Romney?

* Use this link to fact check the statistics I quote in the video.

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