Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Most Of the "47%" Will Vote For Romney

In yesterday's New York Times, conservative columnist David Brooks claimed Mitt Romney is as obliviously "wealthnocentric" as Thurston Howell III...and for good reason. Speaking to a smoke-filled room of 1 percenters, who buy politicians as if they were lap dancers, Thurston Romney said this, "...47% of the country are people who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it." What is more appalling than the words is Romney's complete lack of awareness of his audience. He was speaking to the very people who receive most of the government handouts. Government giveaways for the wealthy add up to more than $1 trillion each year. Capital gains tax breaks account for 5% of this amount. Regular capital gains are taxed like regular income (35% at the upper bracket), but capital assets held for more than a year are considered long-term capital gains and get taxed at a significantly reduced 15% rate. This is a huge windfall for the investor class, and amounts to a quarter of a trillion dollars in lost tax revenue over five years. Another huge government giveaway is the depletion allowance for big oil companies, the last people on earth who need tax breaks. 15% of their gross income can be deducted right off the top, but the IRS does have its limits. The depletion allowance can be no more than 100% of taxable income...meaning that the government refuses to give big oil companies tax refunds. How courageous! I think it is safe to say that the investor class and the CEOs of big oil companies overwhelmingly vote Republican. So when Romney lashes out at the 47% who depend on government, he is lashing out at his own constituency. When he lambasts the 47% for feeling like victims, he must be referring to plutocrats like himself who feel unfairly picked on by government regulations. And when he refers to those who believe the government should take care of them, he must mean that the government is not doing enough to coddle the rich. Or it just could be, as Republican sympathizer David Brooks puts it, "The comment suggests that [Romney] doesn't know much about the country he inhabits...[and] doesn't know much about the culture of America...The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are Republicans." Brooks eviscerates Romney's comment with this, "It's what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other." However, Brooks is off-base when he criticizes Romney for his lazy logic which reinforces the notion that "People who are forced to make it on their own have drive. People who receive benefits have dependency." Here, without his realizing it, Thurston reinforces a truism. The blue-collar, middle-class working stiffs have the drive to make it on their own without the influence or wealth to attain government handouts; the owner class, on the other hand, has a huge dependency on government benefits and has learned that it cannot thrive without them.

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