Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Elizabeth Warren takes on Mitt Romney.. and Rings the "class warfare" bell?

Elizabeth Warren.. from politicususa

Class Warfare and Elizabeth Warren:

If you really believe that Progressives/liberals/ Democrats are the people who are starting the "class war", maybe you need a different perspective, particularly if you support Mitt Romney:

This article at Politicususa sums up "class warfare" fairly concisely:          

The right has been screaming class warfare every time Warren’s name is mentioned, but what they don’t get is that most Americans have been feeling like they have been under attack for decades. The conservative agenda of keeping wealth at the top has made life harder for every other American. Elizabeth Warren speaks to and for all of those people who are fighting to survive. No one in American politics discusses inequality better than she does.

Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC's The Last Word recently asked Elizabeth Warren about Scott Brown’s statement that Mitt Romney is in an income category that people don’t understand. O’Donnell asked Warren if she understood Romney’s income category, and she answered:
Yeah, actually, I think I do understand it, and that is that Mitt Romney pays fourteen percent of income in taxes, and people who get out there and work for a living pay twenty five, twenty eight, thirty, thirty three percent. I get it. Mitt Romney gets a better deal than any of the rest of us, because he manages to earn his income in a way that has been specially protected for rich folks. I think that’s wrong.”

Is Romney's "wealth problem" really such a problem for him?  Well.........
 Anyone who has watched the Republican debates this year understands that Mitt Romney struggles to answer questions about his taxes, wealth, and investments. His excuse for investing Fannie, Freddie, and Goldman Sachs when it was brought up during the most recent debate was that it was his trustee’s fault that he had these investments and a Swiss bank account. The problem is that Romney’s answers usually take minutes to deliver, seem evasive, and are never clear.

The discussion of Romney's means of earning money; his wealth, his tax issues continues in the comments. Here are a few noteworthy exchanges:

Is the way Romney earns his money "wrong"?

I’d say lots of people here think that making millions by doing hostile takeovers of companies, liquidating their assets, firing their employees, and bankrupting them in the name of quick profit is wrong. Can I get a show of hands, here, folks?
 He’s never, ever had to work for a living the way most of us understand work. Apart from that, (Romney's company) Bain specialized in raiding companies for their assets, then offshoring the manufacturing these companies did, where labor is cheap and environmental regulations nonexistent. 

A conservative type expounds on the conservative talking point of "double taxation":

You guys are showing your lack of understanding/comprehension on taxing dividends as opposed to working wages. The money Romney is paying 15% tax on is MONEY THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN TAXED. They are DIVIDENDS. First you earn the money AS WAGES and pay 35%… then you invest it, taking all the risk that comes with investing. THEN, the money you make AFTER your investment, is taxed at 15%, the rate for DIVIDENDS. Elizabeth Warren is sadly uninformed. Truth is he’s paid closer to 50% tax on his money. This is the same reason Warren Buffet only pays 15% and his secretary pays 30% or more. He’s paying tax on DIVIDENDS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAXED. Sorry Ms. Warren, but, your lack of understanding is showing and you are either misleading folks or outright lying…
From the same reader:
...He has already paid taxes on the money he’s invested. Those are wages. Taxed around 35%. Then, he invests it. If he makes any money on the investment, he pays taxes on that. Around 15%. THE MONEY HE USED TO MAKE HIS INVESTMENT HAS ALREADY BEEN TAXED AT 35%. I don’t know how to make it any more clear. And your last statement puzzles me. Where did I say there was any problem with paying taxes on dividends? It’s YOUR contention he hasn’t paid enough. It’s taxed twice!

But there are readers who know enough not  to accept the conservative "double taxation" talking point:

 I don’t think you understand how it works. He is not paying the 15% on the principal. He is paying the 15% on the INTEREST and dividends, the *new* money. So no, he has *not* previously paid taxes on this.


 I love this shibboleth from the right (and parroted above) about so-called “double taxation”. This is simply incorrect.
The original income has indeed been taxed. The NEW income (..that it emanates from net disposable income prior is irrelevant, it is new, additional income) is untaxed…until the 15% (…or 14% for Mitt) is levied. So – let me make it plain for you: The DIVIDENDS HAVE NOT ALREADY BEEN TAXED. Capisce?
Talk about “misleading”…

To summarize this:

He’s paying 15% tax on the profits and dividends from those investments, not on the amount of the original investments. Profits and dividends are earned by investors like Romney because of the hard work and sweat that the employees of those growing companies put in day in and day out. Those employees are getting taxed in the 25-33% brackets. Romney and others like him get the rewards from their work, and he pays only 15% on the profits for doing little more than simply sitting around and watching his bank accounts rise. 
The current tax structure is completely upside down. Those regular wage earners paying their 25-33% will likely never get the opportunities that the rich have to take advantage of the low taxes we have on investments. They’re living day to day and don’t have the disposable income the rich have to make those investments. They’re stuck in and endless paycheck to paycheck cycle…. which is exactly what the rich want. Out of fear of losing everything, it keeps wage earners fighting for their lives working hard in thankless jobs to cover their bills and keep food on the table. The rich benefit from the cycle, and keep it chugging by influencing government in areas like health insurance and educational financing, which are designed to keep people stuck and afraid…
The tax code should be flipped… giving middle class wage earners a chance to really get ahead… Don’t worry rich folk, you’ll still be plenty rich. Remember, you’re only paying taxes on the PROFIT you make from your investments.

From a Romney supporter:

And here's someone who supports Romney, the way he made his millions, and his ability to shelter money from taxes:

In fact he did it in a way that many people envy & then criticize. Why can’t you just be glad for an upstanding, impressive man who has done well in life & wants to share his experience & expertise with the American people? May we be saved from Obama & his “experience & expertise” for one more term. You wish this little ol’ comment would stop Romney. Not happenin. It’ll take more than you’ve got, obviously…dint forget to check the poles next week :-)

The reply:

Hiding money in the Cayman Islands and Swiss banks accounts impresses you does it? I find Romney’s practices: Self First – Country be damned. I pay a greater federal tax percentage of income than Mitt Romney tithes and has the audacity to call it paying taxes. I pay more so vampire capitalist millionaires and billionaires don’t have to – not really necessary for you to spin that for me again, N.“Why can’t you just be glad for an upstanding, impressive man who has done well in life & wants to share his experience & expertise with the American people?”
I am: his name is President Barack Hussein Obama. He has 3 years of experience as CiC.

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