Friday, May 11, 2012

Work harder - hundreds of rich people depend on you

I keep hearing conservatives try to say that blaming Republicans for the war on women just detracts from the more important economic issues. While I resoundingly call bullshit on that – because if half your population loses autonomy over their bodies they won’t be contributing to the economy – I would like to take a brief break from playing “Hide The Uterus From The Republican” to a look at the economic side of the argument.

So here’s a quick summary of Romney’s tax proposal for individuals, borrowed mostly from
  • Cut personal income tax by 20 percent on a permanent, across-the-board basis
  • Eliminate interest, dividend, and capital gains taxes for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income below $200,000
  • Eliminate the estate tax
  • Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax
Romney’s campaign website says lower taxes will “stimulate entrepreneurship, job creation, and investment, while still raising the revenue needed to fund a smaller, smarter, simpler government. The principle of fairness must be preserved in federal tax and spending policy.”

The libertarian in me is clapping gleefully and leaning traitorously toward Romney (don’t worry, the woman in me is doing the diva-finger-snap with a hearty side dose of eye rolling). This seems to make so much sense. Until you figure out what it *actually* means.

So a 20 percent across-the-board cut. There are currently 6 tax brackets, the top of which is an income over $388,350 (regardless of whether you file single or joint). That bracket currently pays 35 percent, which would be reduced to 28 percent (Tax Policy Center) under Romney’s plan. That’s a big difference for say… someone like Romney, who earned around $21 million in 2010.

About 70 percent of Americans – those of us in the mostly-comfortable middle – would see tax breaks of about $4,300 on average. Sounds good so far.

But what Romney doesn’t say is that he’d allow the tax cuts enacted by the stimulus package to expire. Meaning individuals in the lowest tax brackets would get to pay more, to offset the cuts for the rich. Because everyone knows Robin Hood robbed from the poor to give to the rich. Oh wait, shit. It's a good thing Romney has no qualms about starving children to support his rich friends.

All in all, according to politifact “18 million people would find themselves in a gap where the [Romney] rate cut wouldn’t offset the loss of benefits from the Obama tax cuts Romney would let expire.”

Individuals and families who earned between $13,660 (single, no children) to $49,078 (married, 3 or more children) per year would see their taxes go up on average $700 a year. The approximately 11 percent of filers (those who earn too little to actually pay taxes) would see their taxes go up by about $900 on average. But it’s ok, because people who make $1million or more per year will see an average tax cut of $250,535. Maybe they’ll use some of that saved money to roll around in, while they cry sad, sad tears for the rest of us lazy folks.

I guess when your yearly income is $15,000, you should totally be able to spare 6 percent of it to make sure Romney has new golf clubs, because those golf clubs might lead to a business deal that might lead to a company that might one day employ someone.

Since Romney is running on a policy of fiscal responsibility (what the rest of us folks like to call ‘punish the poor people so rich people can take baths in their extra cash’), it makes sense that he’d want to cut our bloated defense-spending budget, right? You mean he doesn’t?

Turns out that Romney’s plan for the Pentagon budget would actually lead to $2.1 trillion in additional spending over the next 10 years. But fortunately, if Romney gets his way the House Budget Committee will make a good start on figuring out how to fund that by removing $261 billion from food stamp programs, Medicaid, social services and other programs for low-income Americans.

Work harder, millions of Americans – hundreds of really wealthy white male fat cats are depending on you.

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