Mon, Sep 22, 2014 ●
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The Universal Notebook: The rich versus the rest of us

Opinion

The Universal Notebook: The rich versus the rest of us

Mitt Romney is so out of touch with the lives of everyday Americans that he thinks middle income means people who earn between $200,000 and $250,000.

My guess is he is so far off simply because he doesn’t know anyone who earns such a paltry sum. And he can’t begin to imagine how he and his profligate family could possibly survive on, say, $49,693, the actual median household income in Maine last year.

People who earn $250,000 are in the top 5 percent by income. That’s perfect, because the top 5 percent is about all Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan plan to represent should hell freeze over and these two apostles of greed descend to the presidency and vice presidency.

Richie Romney has hardly worked a day in his life. His wealth now is all unearned income. It’s called unearned because you don’t have to work for it. It’s basically welfare. You just collect it. It’s like winning the lottery, and it should be taxed like lottery winnings. But because the U.S. Congress is a rich man’s club, labor (earned income) in this country is taxed at a higher rate than capital (unearned income). In a just society, it would be just the opposite.

The bogus rationale for lower taxes on unearned investment income is that the rich are job creators. But if that were true, given the tax breaks we’ve been giving the wealthy, the U.S. should have an unemployment rate of zero.

The rich are not job creators. They also do not work harder than the rest of us. They are just more fortunate. But the Romney-Ryan message that money is merit and, therefore, we should lower income taxes on the rich and do away with inheritance taxes and capital gains taxes that punish success resonates with the idle rich. They, like Romney, actually believe that the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay taxes are social leeches who see themselves as victims and think the government owes them a living.

Hey, Richie Rich, most of those people are Americans who worked hard all their lives and paid into a Social Security and Medicare system you and your ripped running mate want to gut for fun and profit. The 47 percent you disparage are not the parasites in this country, Mr. Romney, you and your One-Percenter buddies are.

I am not personally a member of Romney’s 47 percent. I pay taxes at a higher rate than he does. But, yes, I do regard myself as a victim. If you haven’t figured out since the financial meltdown of 2008 that we are all victims of corporate greed, that Wall Street speculators and unregulated bankers drove the economy over a cliff and took all of us along with them, you are truly beyond hope.

And of course that’s just what Romney-Ryan Republicans hope and are banking on – the ignorance of the American people.

There aren’t nearly enough smug, self-satisfied country-club conservatives to win a presidential election, but if they spend enough money to persuade enough tea party conservatives, social conservatives, and, oh yes, anti-Obama racists to vote against their own best interests, maybe they can buy this election.

On Nov. 6, it really is going to be Romney and the rich against all the rest of us. If you make less than $250,000 a year and you vote for Romney, you are indeed a victim.