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The Expansionist
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Mitt Romney, Mental Defective?
The Romney campaign seems to think it can talk only about what it wants to talk about and answer only such questions as it wants to answer. The overseer of the campaign, the candidate himself, seems to think that the media will compliantly lie down and let Romney avoid all specifics. Apparently the Romney people have never heard of the free press.
They are taking the same stance that the failed U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle took in Nevada two years ago:
"We needed to have the press be our friend," she tells Fox News. When the network's Carl Cameron tells her that sounds "naive," she counters: "Well, no. We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported." * * *

Candidates are always trying to manipulate press coverage, of course, but as a headline in the National Review puts it, "Did she just say that out loud?"
Sharron Angle was an idiot. Romney is copying her. Is he an idiot? Or does he not believe in Santayana's famous observation?:
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Surely Romney's people do remember Sharron Angle's stupidity. So either they are mental defectives who don't believe that she was unable to control the press, or they think that if THEY try to control the press, they will succeed, which means they are delusional.
The Angle debacle was scarcely more than two years ago, August 3, 2010, and Angle's stance was met with snorts of derision from all media and the public. But the Romney campaign thinks it can take the exact same stance, yet meet with a different outcome. Consider this quote from Albert Einstein:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Romney refuses to release his income-tax records, and pretends that the public doesn't care about that. He is obviously either lying or deluded. He is stonewalling, and finally, just today, yielded some ground but not documents, and admitted that he never paid less than 13% tax, which condemns him as a thief and cheat, no matter how he managed to do that. He had millions of dollars of income, and a personal fortune of $250 million, but paid less tax than is due from the typical American wage-earner who makes only $8,701 (single filer) or $17,401 (married, filing jointly)! If you don't believe that, check this screenprint from a webpage at TRowe Price.com, which shows the 15% tax rate as starting at $8,701 single and $17,401 married. Romney paid 13%. That is STUNNING: a megamillionaire pays less tax than someone who makes less than $9,000 per year! How on Earth can ANYONE assert that that is fair? Indeed, the 15% tax rate applies equally to someone who makes $8,701 and someone who makes $35,350! How is THAT fair?

But we're not talking here about the difference between less than $9K and over $35K being treated the same. We're talking about a man who in 2010 paid "13.9 percent on more than $21 million in income", which is less than the rate assessed against a person who made $8,701! Romney's income came "most[ly] from capital gains and dividends" — that is, passive income, while he sat around doing NOTHING. He hasn't had a job in five years, since he left the Massachusetts governorship. The guy who makes $8,701 from working like a slave at a lousy job, and earns $167 a week, pays 15%. $167 a week is vastly less than the Federal minimum wage of $7.25. Divide $7.25 into $167/week, and you see that that equates with a 23-hour workweek, which means, in almost every job, that such a worker gets no health insurance, and may not even get paid vacation. And forget about a pension! Put the other way around, if a person works 35 hours and brings in $167 a week, s/he is making only $4.77 per hour; if 40 hours, $4.18, more than $3/hour less than the minimum wage.
That is a CRIME against decency, and we really need to change everything about a tax code that permits that kind of indecency. But Republicans claim that it is FAIR that megamillionaires who lie around the pool pay less income tax than the wage slave who works his butt off. And voters let them get away with that? What the hell is wrong with us?
The claim in the San Francisco Chronicle article about Romney's 13% is that:
In 2009, the most recent year with available data, the average federal income tax rate was 7.2 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
How is that possible, given that the lowest tax rate shown in the table above is 10%? Plainly, that would have to factor in people who don't pay any income taxes at all because of poverty or high deductions that bring their income below the taxable level. For instance, my Social Security payout is $14,052, and I have almost no other income. Social Security is not taxable, thank goodness. But what of people who don't itemize but do pay taxes? How much do they pay? At what level do they pay 13%? That info may be very hard to find, but certainly the media have an obligation to root it out, and not give us some fictitious 7.2% figure that is below the lowest rate in the tax table shown above.
If the figure 7.2% actually reflects a typical working family's Federal income tax, then we are hugely undertaxed, and that would explain why we have such an enormous deficit. But I suspect the 7.2% figure is a mathematical fiction that reflects nothing like reality for most working Americans.
Contemptibly, Romney tried to excuse his evasion of tax fairness by claiming that if you count "charity", the amount he paid each year was more like 20%. How much of that "charity" was contributions to his cult, the Mormon "Church", which non-Mormons have the right not to count as charity? What proportion of Romney's "charity" went to non-Mormons in financial distress, facing foreclosure? the sick? the elderly? How much of it went to aid to public schools or tuition for college for poor kids, or any of the multitudinous programs Federal taxes support for ordinary working people? Millionaires may be able to count donations to elite private schools or yacht clubs as "charity", but such dispensations of largesse don't serve the public interest.
In any case, Romney will find that he can't hide, and can't brazen out his refusal to talk about things the people want to know. He can try. But the more he tries, the more he looks like a petty, evasive weasel, unfit for any public office.

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