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Simplified Tax Form

© Ed Stein

[plus commentary from Ed Stein]

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” Nick Carraway observes that “the rich are different from you and me.” Mitt Romney’s tax returns confirm it. The rich have access to deductions, evasions, loopholes and favorable rates we working stiffs can only dream of. The absurd truth is that the wages earned by those of us who get paychecks from employers are taxed at the highest rate of any income. The lucky stiffs who run hedge funds and private equity firms get to take income as carried interest, whatever that means. In tax terms, it means they get to make lots of money for investing other people’s money and have it taxed at obscenely low rates compared to what we working stiffs pay. Then there are the Cayman Islands accounts and Swiss banks. Show of hands, please. How many of you have Swiss bank accounts? I don’t resent wealth; like most Americans, I aspire to it. What I deeply resent is a political system that jiggers tax law to favor the rich over the rest of us, feeding the income inequality that destroys opportunity and stagnates growth. The wealth disparity in America already rivals that of many Third World countries and our storied social mobility is rapidly becoming a fondly remembered relic of bygone days.



  1. Don wrote:

    So, if my calculations are correct, Romney makes in one day what it takes me 4+ years to receive from my Federal pension. I’m sure he understands my concerns and will keep individuals in my income bracket in mind.

    Of course, I can say the same thing about many of our elected officials. Slightly off thread, but the House just passed legislation that will freeze my pension (and Federal pay) for another year – it’s been frozen since 2010 except for this year. Keep in mind that every year that my pension is frozen affects me just that much more for the rest of my life because it will never be added back. Please don’t hit me with the recent CBO study that shows that Federal employees are paid more than the private sector. We can discuss that on some other thread, maybe, about what a laboring person should receive, including reasonable benefits, not what far too many people are stuck with limited or no benefits. Take Federal healthcare out of the equation, and the picture changes pretty dramatically. People should have health care.

    Friday, February 3, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    The money has to be circulated through taxes. The jobs have to be insourced. By freezing your pay Don, it gives you less to spend and donate to the needy. Also less to tax to help everyone.

    Friday, February 3, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Don, your right. There are many millionaires in congress, on both sides of the isle and they all get special insider information to make wise investment choices, at least until this anti-insider trading legislation passes and takes effect.
    On the subject of federal worker benefits, watch when they go after the military as soon as the war is over. Here’s a link to a think tank concocting some cost saving ideas aimed at military retirement and healthcare. They also like to compare us to civilians (who for one get OT for over 40hrs that we don’t). Use us then kick us to the curb. Fortunately they have put off bringing this up until after the 2012 election, then they’ll hit us with it.
    (by the way this think tank has 21 members and only 4 have military service, most are wall streeters in some form or another)
    Now as I’ve often stated I am for reducing our military footprint around the world. We can reduce the size of our various branches. We should prudently return to pre war levels of troops. We also don’t need a Navy that is larger then the next 17 navies combined. But those in power don’t want to give up our world wide footprint (the president wanting to expand in SE Asia), they will instead destroy from within. Already, in the National Guard the cuts are rolling downhill. They were called (and still being called) to backfill regualr army units around the world, but will be the first to feel the cuts. In the grand plan for reducing the militery Panetta already stated the Guard will have to play a larger role (like 3-4 deployments in 8 years isn’t enough for part time Soldiers). In my state we’ve already been told there is no money for schools or training that we send Soldiers to for skill training and leadership training for the rest of the year. We can’t get parts for vehicles or equipment and subsequently won’t be as prepared to respond to any domestic emergencies.
    Bottom line will be instead of having a highly trained and equipped slimmed down force able to deal with almost any contingency, we’ll have a bloated untrained ill-equipped force unable to respond to anything significant. And when we’re asked serve again (And they will call us) it’ll take 3x as long and 10x the money to build it back up.
    Cut the force size, increase the capabiities. One sharp blade is better then 5 rusty dull ones.

    Friday, February 3, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  4. jonah wrote:

    During the republican debates have any of the moderators ever asked Romney whether the tax cuts he has been receiving would continue to exist in a romney presidency?

    Friday, February 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink