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Mitt Romney has been paying taxes at a rate of 13.9%. The Romneys are in the top 1% of the top 1%. Romney's tax policy, should he be elected president, promises to cut tax rates on people like himself by an additional 1/3. If candidate Romney set forth a tax policy which made people like him pay more in taxes, then that would be one thing. But Romney's policy is meant to give families, like the Romneys, a 33% reduction in their already-low tax rate.
In the fever swamps of the conservative movement, people like Romney deserve to pay lower tax rates than, say, policemen.....because people like the Romney's are "investors." In this way of thinking, very rich Americans who, you know, "invest", should have lower tax rates than policemen.
You see, policemen....we are also told by conservatives...are, in reality, "takers." It is only the very rich in America, we're also told, who are the "makers." In a conservative's world, much of it borrowed from Aesop's Fables and what not, America is made up of "makers" and "takers." Those sorry Americans who work at a job provided by someone else are "takers" in conservative legends. Those great Americans who "invest" their riches in business and thus create jobs are "makers."
Conveniently, during a time of historically low tax rates on the rich, conservatives see Americans as either "makers" or "takers." You are either a "maker"....self-employed, wealthy and duh...a jaaabs creator. Or, you are a "taker".....someone who is not rich and just works a job. Rather than being an outrageous insult to millions of "taker" Americans, conservatives see this "maker-taker" dichotomy as an accurate reflection of reality. Oddly, these same conservatives argue that they do not participate in the nasty, communist art of class warfare, like the awful President Obama does. Class warfare, you see, is the blood-sport of only the "takers."
Which brings me back to Shake & Make Mitt's tax rate. The very reason that Mitt Romney's tax rate has been at 15% or under is because Mitt doesn't work for a living. His fortune "works" for him so he doesn't have to. That is the exact reason why the GOP presidential candidate can say he is, and has been, "unemployed."
At issue here is the capital gains tax rate. Romney's ongoing income while unemployed, income which he doesn't work for, comes from the "work" his fortune does. With little exception, a capital gain is a profit made by not working. Income classified as capital gains income is considered "passive" income. Meaning that the income recipient didn't do anything to earn it.
Ever since Dick Cheney's "due" was passed in 2003 in the form of 15% capital gains and dividend tax rates, Mitt Romney and other alleged "makers" have been enjoying a lower tax rate on their passive "investments" than policemen and other middle class "takers" enjoy on their earned income, income derived from actually working, as opposed to being unemployed like Mitt.
The justification for lower tax rates on passive income of the very wealthy, as conservatives have explained it, is because the very wealthy "invest" their fortunes in jaaab creating ventures. Makers, it is alleged, put their money to work while remaining passive themselves....so that a host of new business ventures with their newly created jaaabs can be exploited by America's "takers."
How has that justification panned out from 2003 forward? This specific period has been accurately described as the lowest private sector job creation period in modern American history. Apparently, the "makers" from 2003 forward, basking in the lowest "maker" tax rate in modern history, didn't do much making, as it were.
Why is that?
Because today's "investors" don't do much investing. Instead, today's passive unearners....unearn their money the new fashioned way....they gamble. Well, the rich "investors", themselves, don't do the gambling.....others do it for them.
Capital gains unearned by buying and selling stocks, options, and other securities are gains unearned by removing money from one person's account and placing it in another's. The market in Wall Street paper shuffling is a zero sum game. For every winner there is a loser. In this, "investing" is not investing at all...not in it's traditional meaning. It is purely a game of speculation where assets are transferred from one person to another. There is no investment....nothing is produced....no new business ventures are begun....no existing businesses are expanded....and no jobs are created.
David Stockman, former Reagan administration official, put it this way recently...
....a massive amount of resources are being devoted, being allocated or being channeled into pure financial speculation that has no gain to society as a whole, has no real economic contribution to the process by which GNP is created, GDP is created and growth occurs.
Here's the disgraceful part of all of this: Conservatives, still today, insist that those very rich Americans who participate in what Stockman calls "pure financial speculation that has no gain to society....no real economic contribution..."....like how Mitt Romney operates.....should pay tax rates on all their non-contribution-to-society speculations at a lower rate than a middle class person who works instead of speculating passively.
This issue is not about "fairness"....as Obama suggests. This issue is about morality. Pushing the notion that rich non-workers should pay lower tax rates than a middle class worker and earner....for being non-productive, for not contributing anything to our economic society........is immoral.