Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pushing the Blame

Mitt Romney and the Republican party have recently taken to demonizing the half that "don't pay taxes" in the US. Besides ignoring payroll, Social Security, sales and property taxes, this doesn't mean much since that half doesn't make much. Income inequality is so bad right now that the top ten percent own nearly all the wealth earned, even more so when counting disposable (as in not debt based) income. Now we can see that they, in turn, pay far less. In an article on the New York Times website, the wealthiest Americans pay far lower than the rest of us. Partly due to capital gains maxing out at 15%, partly from tax shelters and deductions, even in bad years the wealthy make money. In 2009, for example, the richest 400 paid little to even zero in taxes, using quirks of the system obviously designed for them to exploit:
The data show that the ultrarich typically pay low tax rates every year, but 2009 was a special case. In 2008, people with large stock portfolios and other less liquid assets were disproportionately hit with large losses on paper. One of the oddities of the tax code is that capital gains taxes are discretionary, since they must be paid only when gains are realized. And they can be offset by losses. The silver lining in a bad year like 2008 for wealthy people is that they can “harvest” losses by selling assets, then use those losses to offset any gains. They can also carry forward the losses to offset gains in future years.
Apparently the ones who actually have money are the ones avoiding the taxes. Romney himself reportedly only paid 13.6% or so, under the rate that people considered in poverty by the US government pay, which is 15% or so. The ones who pay the highest percent are the middle class, and while true the wealthy pay the most in taxes by amount, they disproportionately make the most money to begin with. Demonizing these imaginary welfare queens and lazy poor people is beyond dishonest. The so called half who don't pay taxes work over 40 hours a week to afford housing and food, yet the Republicans dare to claim they don't pay their fare share? The exact people demonizing the poor pay less in taxes by amount earned than they do, and they will never even use that much money. When you live paycheck to paycheck, any amount paid is a big deal, but when you hold millions in secret accounts how much does it hurt you to pay some out for social programs?

The best, most ironic part is that a good portion of these bottom 50% people will go to the polls and vote for the people who rob them and blame them for it. They will show up and yell about Obama ruining the country with welfare and go collect their food stamps and Social Security checks. They will complain about the lazy poor (Read: black people/immigrants "others") while being poor. Tragic irony.

Logic Priest

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