Republicans (and Democrats) in positions of authority, politicians, benefactors, contributors, pundits, campaign staff, “job creators”, etc. are taken care of. They are going to have a great holiday. They will be totally unaffected by the minuscule tax hikes that have been proposed. They aren’t feeling the economic pain.
As an example, if the losing candidate Mitt Romney had to pay a full 40% of his earnings in taxes it would hit him with a tax burden of $8M assuming he was actually taxed on the entire annual income of $20M. Sounds like a lot, but that leaves him a paltry $12M to “sustain” his lifestyle. I could help him figure out a budget that would get him by. He may have to vacation a little less and Ann may have to cut back on the horse feed. The fact is he will NEVER pay that amount as illustrated by his returns released during the previous campaign. He showed a 14% tax rate AFTER he manipulated his return to show LESS than the deductions available to him. If his accountant had calculated his return accurately, it was revealed he would have a tax liability closer to 9%. Do the math. His tax liability is closer to $1.8M. Millionaires and billionaires will NEVER pay the top marginal tax rate. It could be raised back to 90% as it was during the Eisenhower years, because it doesn’t matter. Those top brackets are reserved for us fools and peons who don’t have very expensive, full time accountants, lawyers, lobbyists to create loopholes, deductions and several offshore accounts in tax haven countries. It is worth it to them to pay these people $1M to save $10M. As the Big Dog stated “its arithmetic”. The expense of the accountant, lawyer or lobbyist is often shared with other millionaires or billionaires with like financial interests. They never leave any stone unturned to cut corners and prevent them contributing any more than absolutely necessary to the country that helped them “build that” fortune. They pay thousands to an unelected lapdog like Grover Norquist to plaster his face on every available news show to terrorize anyone who would dare raise taxes. Tax deductible dollars well spent.
We need to take Warren Buffets advice and create two additional top brackets for people who make $1M and $10M plus. The $1M bracket would be an alternate minimum tax (AMT) rate of 35% and the $10M and above bracket would have an AMT of 40%. The capital gains tax should be 35% with no deductions. These rates could be instituted as they were after the Great Depression and WWII until the deficit is reduced and the country is back on sound economic footing. We’ve had a ten year spending spree by Republicans and unlike post WWII we have nothing to show for it. No great American manufacturing boom or upsurge in middle class income. This would be a true patriotic effort on behalf of the oligarchs if they really cared about reducing the deficit. The trouble is they don’t care about deficits; they just use that as yet another excuse to rob the Treasury, starve the poor, punish the powerless middle class and eliminate what little safety net that still exists. We need to remove the exemptions to corporations holding trillions of dollars of untaxed income offshore waiting on yet another “tax holiday”. Give exemptions or tax credits to companies creating jobs here. We need a fee on the thousands of transactions that take place every hour on Wall Street. These rapid transactions benefit no one except a handful of very wealthy hedge fund managers. Their clients rarely see the returns they are promised.
There needs to be serious bankruptcy reform. The philosophy that a vulture capitalist can exhort millions of dollars from a company, pay a few executives’ huge golden parachutes, strip mine pensions, while driving the company into bankruptcy has to be changed.
As progressives we have “allowed” the conservatives and fundamentalist ideologues to frame the narrative that this country is broke. The billions spent on the last election tell me otherwise. This country is not broke, it’s just the money is squirreled away in trust funds, offshore accounts, too big to fail or tax institutions and million dollar investments that are untouchable because a few wealthy oligarchs control the levers of power. We need to write and phone our Senators and Congress critters. Write, email and fax if that works for you. Sign petitions and march in the streets as they are doing in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Tell our President to stand firm against any attempt to diminish our safety net. This is all we have left. This isn’t about freedom or patriotism. The wealthy can hire a hundred or a thousand people to do the dirty work for them, we only have ourselves. Stand with organized labor at every opportunity. They are not the bad guys. The ultra wealthy don’t care if this country were to disappear tomorrow, because while they may be temporarily inconvenienced their lifestyle would never be permanently affected.