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Wed Aug 29, 2012, 12:33 AM

Like Ann Romney, I want to talk about love

Last edited Sun Jan 19, 2014, 06:51 AM - Edit history (1)

The love of money.

What St. Paul calls "a root of all kinds of evil". (1 Timothy 6; 10)

But most people, especially in the Western world, seem to love money. Especially, according to de Toqueville, Americans. In his 1835 book "Democracy in American" he wrote "Americans desire enterprises that make 'more money'. There, in two words, you have the American character."

But it is very easy to love money. Money allows you to have a home, instead of being homeless. More money allows you to have a nicer home, and more conveniences - cable TV, air conditioning, dishwashers, microwaves, and so on. More money allows you to own a car instead of having to walk and/or take a bus or bike. More money allows you to buy a nicer bike. More money allows you to live in a nicer neighborhood, a safer neighborhood, send your kids to better schools, so they in turn can have more money.

Yet, it seems to me the people that really, really love their money, are the people who have the most of it. At least politically, they seem, most of them, determined to keep more and more of their large incomes. They are the ones who have funded the Republicans and made them all into tax-cut fanatics. From state legislators to Governors to Congresspeople to Senators to Presidential candidates, Republican candidates always seem to be about tax cuts for the rich (and for big business).

The rich love their money, and want to keep more and more of it. For example, Romney and Ryan (and McCain before them) propose to not only keep the Bush tax cuts, which were very generous to the rich, but they propose even more tax cuts which heavily favor the rich, and people (very evil people) like Brownback of Kansas and Spence of Missouri, propose to also give even more tax cuts for the rich at the state level. And to prevent tax increases on them, like Chris Christie http://journals.democraticunderground.com/hfojvt/128 and DINOs like Mario Cuomo http://journals.democraticunderground.com/hfojvt/154

The Bush tax cuts cost $424 billion in 2011, $108 billion of that went to the richest 1% and $163 billion to the top 5% and another $107 billion to the rest of the top 20%.

The rich would LOVE for those tax cuts to be permanent. They are prepared to spend several billion on campaigns and candidates in order to make that happen. Time magazine did a cover saying "Presidency for sale: asking $2.5 billion". Spending $2.5 billion to keep $108 billion in tax cuts is a very good return on investment. Looks like over $105 billion in profit to me.

Who among us would not like to have another $105 billion? That certainly dwarfs the largest Powerball jackpot of $365 million. And the top 1% will get that EACH year.

Now they just have to sell it to the voters. They primarily use 4 sales pitches.

1. Character

Republican candidates, like many politicians, will first lead with their supposed character. Bush was such a Christian, a compassionate conservative, a straight shooter. McCain was a war hero, a maverick, and a straight-talker. So, tonight Ann Romney wanted to tell the nation what a great guy Mitt Romney is. A successful man. A man who has worked hard. A man who has helped others, being a wonderful son, son-in-law, father, husband, grandfather. He's smart, funny, honest, kind, hard-working, and probably modest too. See what a great guy he is, so his policies will then naturally be beneficial. You can trust Honest Mitt. Just like you trusted Honest George. Pay no attention to that fuzzy math. It's complicated.

2. the tax cut is really for everybody

Take it from Honest George "My tax relief plan is a fair one, lowering the rate for all taxpayers. The typical family of four with two children will get $1,600 in tax relief. And the greatest benefits, the largest percentage reductions, will go to those who need them most. My plan is pro-growth. It gives our economy a jump-start by leaving more money in the hands of those who have earned it." Feb 17, 2001

My plan is directed toward individuals and small businesses. It offers relief for everyone who pays income taxes, and it keeps our national commitments to Social Security and debt reduction." Feb 8, 2001

"When you hear the debate about this kind of class warfare, rhetoric about, oh, this is for the rich, only for the rich -- I want you to think about the Joe Kempers of the world. I certainly will. A fellow who worked for our government, and now a fellow who we trust with that $3,500, because it's his money. And when he invests it, it's going to have a positive effect. All the Joe Kempers of the world taking that extra money and investing it will mean somebody else is likely to find a job, and that's important for our fellow Americans to understand." Feb 12, 2003

Again, pay no attention to those numbers definitively proving the tax cut is MOSTLY for the rich.

3. the tax cut is really a jobs plan

Again, take it from Honest George

"We need tax relief that creates the greatest number of jobs. (Applause.) The goal is to create a million new jobs by the end of next year. I've submitted a good, strong plan that will help meet that goal. The United States Congress must not only listen to your voice, but must listen to the voice of somebody looking for work. We need aggressive action out of the United States Congress now." May 6, 2003

"Next week, I will travel to New Mexico, Nebraska and Indiana to address the nation's hardworking, small business owners, families and investors. My message to them will be simple: the surest way to grow this economy and create jobs is to leave more money in the hands of the people who earn it.
I urge every citizen to participate in this important debate and to make your voice heard. Explain to your local representative or your senators what tax relief would mean to your family and your business, and please tell the members of Congress why our economy needs that relief now." May 10, 2003

4. It's about tax reform, making taxes simpler and fairer

Again, Honest George

"The third aspect of the plan is really to make the tax code more fair. We tried to address that earlier, by the way. It is unfair to tax a person's assets twice. That's why I've called upon Congress to get rid of the death tax. (Applause.) Feb 13, 2003 in Florida

"The final aspect of the plan says that we ought to get rid of the double taxation of dividends in America. (Applause.) First of all, there's just a simple fairness issue on the double taxation of dividends." May 12, 2003

"It recognizes that our tax code is unfair. It is unfair to people who struggle to get ahead. It is unfair for the single mom, who lives on the outskirts of poverty, who's working hard to provide for her family. For every additional dollar she makes above $25,000, she pays a higher marginal rate on that dollar than someone who's wealthy. And that's not right and it's not fair. It's not what America is all about, as far as I'm concerned. Our tax code makes the code more fair." Feb 7, 2001

Yet in the end it is all about rich people and their love of money. A love that is a root of all kinds of evil in this country. In the end, the "honest" politician's reform just tilts the playing field even more in the favor of those who already have most of the advantages.

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Reply Like Ann Romney, I want to talk about love (Original post)
hfojvt Aug 2012 OP
hfojvt Aug 2012 #1
hfojvt Aug 2012 #2
hay rick Aug 2012 #3
hfojvt Aug 2012 #4
hfojvt Aug 2012 #5

Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Wed Aug 29, 2012, 02:11 AM

1. consider just the Fab 400

the 400 highest income taxpayers.

In 1995, their average tax rate was 29.93% and their average income was $50,863,000

Then in 1996, President Clinton "triangulated" with the Republican House to cut taxes for rich people, and their average tax rate droppped to 22.02% by 1999 while their average income rose to $133,858,000

Still Honest George thought taxes should be even fairer, and so by 2007 their average tax rate was cut to 16.62% while their average income rose to $344,759,000.

Of course, the fact that they got average tax cuts of $18,617,000 was just an unintended consequence. Honest George was not trying to give rich people huge tax cuts. He was just trying to create jobs, give everybody a tax cut, and make the tax code fairer. It was pure blind luck that rich people got huge tax cuts from his plan. There is just no other, better way to create jobs. Or a fairer way.

I mean it is just not fair that people who slave every day for dividend income should pay the same rate as people who just have money fall into their lap by going to work every day. Bush tried to remedy that by making the tax rate on dividends be zero. That would have been the fairest solution, but Senate Democrats made him settle for just cutting the tax rate in half for dividends.

Honest Mitt will try to make things even fairer, especially if he gets a Republican House and Senate.

It will just be an accident if his plan results in the Fab 400 paying an average tax rate of less than 10%. A pure fluke.

There's just no better way to create jobs than by throwing money at rich people and letting it trickle down.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Wed Aug 29, 2012, 11:48 AM

2. unfortunately, Democrats also help to sell tax cuts by using the same rhetoric

What, after all, was Obama's big jobs plan this last year?

It was mostly tax cuts.

Payroll tax cuts, but still, mostly tax cuts. And that was the part that passed.

In this way, some Democrats help to sell some of those ideas. That tax cuts will create jobs. That a tax cut which favors the rich, like the payroll tax cut does, is really a tax cut for the middle class. http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1251&pid=42313

And, although I could not find a link the last time I searched, Obama, too, has called for tax "reform" and said that one of the goals of "reform" is to "lower the top tax rate".

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 01:07 PM

3. "Leave more money in the hands of those who earned it."

This is the underlying moral appeal of Bush, Romney, etc. There are a couple assumptions embedded in this formulation.

One is that taxation by the government is confiscation by a separate, even hostile, third party. This overlooks the fact that the government is our government and it is supposed to be "government for the people."

A second assumption is the use of the word "earned." Bush and Romney would have us accept all income as earned and not make a distinction about income that might be the result of a windfall (starting out with inherited wealth and connections, for example) or looting- legal or otherwise. Matt Taibbi describes one example of how Romney "earned" his money: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/greed-and-debt-the-true-story-of-mitt-romney-and-bain-capital-20120829

Then in 2000, right before Romney gave up his ownership stake in Bain Capital, the firm targeted KB Toys. The debacle that followed serves as a prime example of the conflict between the old model of American business, built from the ground up with sweat and industry know-how, and the new globalist model, the Romney model, which uses leverage as a weapon of high-speed conquest.

In a typical private-equity fragging, Bain put up a mere $18 million to acquire KB Toys and got big banks to finance the remaining $302 million it needed. Less than a year and a half after the purchase, Bain decided to give itself a gift known as a "dividend recapitalization." The firm induced KB Toys to redeem $121 million in stock and take out more than $66 million in bank loans $83 million of which went directly into the pockets of Bain's owners and investors, including Romney. "The dividend recap is like borrowing someone else's credit card to take out a cash advance, and then leaving them to pay it off," says Heather Slavkin Corzo, who monitors private equity takeovers as the senior legal policy adviser for the AFL-CIO.

Bain ended up earning a return of at least 370 percent on the deal, while KB Toys fell into bankruptcy, saddled with millions in debt. KB's former parent company, Big Lots, alleged in bankruptcy court that Bain's "unjustified" return on the dividend recap was actually "900 percent in a mere 16 months." Patnode, by contrast, was fired in December 2008, after almost four decades on the job. Like other employees, he didn't get a single day's severance.

I ask Slavkin Corzo what Bain's justification was for the giant dividend recapitalization in the KB Toys acquisition. The question throws her, as though she's surprised anyone would ask for a reason a company like Bain would loot a firm like KB Toys. "It wasn't like, 'Yay, we did a good job, we get a dividend,'" she says with a laugh. "It was like, 'We can do this, so we will.' "

You are absolutely correct about the super-rich having the resources and motivation to buy our democracy. Sadly, those who have much, much more than they need have one overwhelming desire- they want more. Your list of sales pitches is missing the most important one of all: fear and hate. This is why the Republicans are continuing the fraudulent "Obama removed the work requirement from welfare" pitch. It plays to the fears, ignorance, and prejudices of a large portion of their base.

Thanks for an excellent post.

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Response to hay rick (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 02:57 PM

4. the other part about earning is this


"Romney's income $21 million, tax rate 14%
Ryan's income (wages) $153,000, tax rate - 20% (not including payroll taxes of 7.65%)

Romney makes about 65 times as much as Ryan, but still pays a lower tax rate.

And most of Romney's income - $3.3 million in interest, $4.9 million in dividends, and $12.6 million in capital gains - is made without doing one iota of actual work."

The fear and hate are used to sell the idea that "government is spending too much on the poor".

Sort of the flip side of tax cuts, but not really a way to sell tax cuts.

Thanks for a thoughtful reply.

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Response to hfojvt (Original post)

Fri Aug 31, 2012, 11:49 AM

5. mammon, mammon, look at me, mammon

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6: 24

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