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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Republicans will continue coddling the elite if elected

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 9:46 a.m. CDT; updated 11:06 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Multi-billionaire Warren Buffett has acknowledged that the super-rich have waged class warfare on the middle and lower classes, and they have decisively won the conflict. The last three to four decades have witnessed a massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the top 1 percent.

A 2011 study by the Congressional Budget Office stated that between 1979 and 2007, the average income of the top 1 percent of households increased 275 percent, while that of the middle 60 percent of households only increased 40 percent. The Bush recession disproportionately harmed the middle and lower classes, further exacerbating this inequality.

Tax policies that favor the rich have substantially contributed to this financial disparity. The top 1 percent possessed 42 percent of the country’s financial wealth in 2010. This top 1 percent paid only 21.6 percent of total taxes in 2009.

From 1979 to 2007, the top 400 incomes increased 392% while their average tax rate decreased 37%. In the 1960s, the typical corporate CEO’s income was equal to the incomes of 40 workers; in 2007 that ratio was over 1 to 300. Most of the income of the super-rich consists of capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate than income earned from actually working at a job. This is one reason Mitt Romney gets away with an effective tax rate of 14 percent on $13.7 million annual income, while workers who earn 1 percent of his income pay roughly twice the percentage in taxes. This huge tax advantage is justified by “job creation.” But where are all these jobs created by the privileging of certain sources of income? In China? With the massive increase in the fortunes of the super-rich, we would be blessed with an abundance of jobs and a very low unemployment rate if the trickle-down notion of economics was actually valid.

Multi-millionaires and billionaires are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into efforts to elect Republicans. Why are they doing this? Not to benefit the middle class. They are convinced that Romney/Ryan and other Republicans will serve their interests by deregulating Wall Street and perpetuating, even expanding, tax policies that benefit the rich. The inequality of wealth in this country is already bad enough. If the wrong politicians are elected this November, things will get a lot worse for the vast majority of us.

Robert Blake is a Columbia resident.


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Comments

Christopher Foote October 30, 2012 | 10:32 a.m.

To further Mr. Blake's point, here are the growth rates of income groups under Democratic and Republican presidencies from 1948-2005:
http://p.twimg.com/A5M-893CAAA6uaO.jpg
Note that Mr. Romney's 5 point plan will exacerbate income inequality by further increasing the economic gains for those at the top and reducing government expenditures for those at the bottom of the income distribution.
At Bain Capital, Mr. Romney purchased struggling companies with borrowed money, cut labor contracts to reduce overhead and than resold those "streamlined" companies for a tidy profit. The rich got richer and the working class (the factory workers actually making things) got poorer. He is the embodiment of Republican economic policies. On top of that he was taxed at a rate (14%) lower than virtually every blue collar worker, who pays 15% in payroll taxes. His economic plan calls for his taxes to be reduced even further. His VP, Mr. Paul Ryan, released a budget passed by House Republicans that brings his effective tax rate down to 0% (no taxes on capital gains). Based on past economic performances (see above link), I fail to see how these policies will benefit the middle class and working poor.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 30, 2012 | 11:20 a.m.

The vast majority of people who pay no federal income taxes make less than $50K. That's also the group that receives the most federal spending.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 30, 2012 | 11:27 a.m.

"Tax policies that favor the rich have substantially contributed to this financial disparity."
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Me: So have chronic piss-poor financial decisions and philosophies on the part of the electorate. This is farrrrrr more important than any tax policy.
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Me: It is my understanding that Romney contributes heavily to charities....one number I saw was 4 million/year. Factor that back into his income and recalculate his tax rate. Makes a HUGE difference in that 14% rate.....IF the original premise of his level of charitable contributions is correct. PS: Sometimes I wonder if his charity is ignored by the "14 percent calculators" because Romney has the gall to think he knows how to contribute better than the gov't!
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Me: Chris apparently does not like venture capitalists. Interestingly, he uses the correct words: "struggling companies".

And yet does not address what would happen to all those workers at those "struggling companies" if an investor (ie., venture capitalist) did not come along in the first place. Can you say, "Go out of business"?
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Me: One policy that will help the middle class and working poor is QUIT BUYING CRAP THAT MAKES RICH FOLKS RICH IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!

e.g., How "nice" is your cell phone???????

Another policy would be paying sufficient attention in high school so you know your asset from a hole in the ground.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 30, 2012 | 11:39 a.m.

PS: Assuming the 4 million charity is correct, let's do the calculations:

Givens: An annual income of $13.7 million. Romney paid 14% in taxes. That equals 13,700,000 x 0.14 = $1,918,000.

Further calculations: Romney gave 4 million in charity. So, in calculation of the AGI, $13,700,000 minus $4,000,000 = $9,700,000. He paid taxes on that value equal to $1,918,000.

His tax rate is 1,918,000 divided by $9,700,000 x 100 equals..........

19.77%

That's not 14%.

My point is this: IF the charity value is accurate, then the "14 percenters" are misleading all of us.

Either explain yourself, or quit misleading us. Or argue that the 19.77% is unfair.

INO, just like in high school math......show your work.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 30, 2012 | 11:43 a.m.

I remain convinced that the ultimate goal of liberals is NOT equal opportunity.

It's equal outcome.

I don't necessarily support the rich in all they do, or even the tax rates they pay, but I sure as hell will fight your efforts to level us all.

Because....eventually, you'll get to me.

Hence, I prefer to keep your camel nose out from under the tent.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 30, 2012 | 4:54 p.m.

Christopher - Blake states,"Multi-millionaires and billionaires are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into efforts to elect Republicans. Why are they doing this? Not to benefit the middle class."

Please name for us one Democrat connected with Obama (a multi-millionaire),now or previously, not a Multi-millionaire or billionaire! Shouldn't you guys separate the good rich from the bad? Or does D' and R' cover them all?

"Mr. Paul Ryan, released a budget passed by House Republicans that brings his effective tax rate down to 0% (no taxes on capital gains)." I believe it is now a fact that over 50% of American families are now invested in our stock market. This does not include those individuals which do or have maintained at lest one rental real estate unit for income purposes. While most are no where near the status of a "millionaire", they all have, or will pay, capital gains taxes.

The problem for you and Blake is that our U.S.of A. is no where near as "class" divided as you and the liberals would like us to be. 0% capital gains tax would go a long way toward the increase in financial activity that would create the growth, jobs and new revenue for federal government, to balance Federal Budget and begin reduction of our National Debt.

You and yours always describe government spending as a static, given. Only "more" is better and that is Our problem.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor October 30, 2012 | 5:11 p.m.

How many more millions of dollars should we have given to millionaire dem's wanting more windmills for themselves, millionaire dems wanting to make solar panels, or millionaires that build electric cars in another Country! How many middle class people would that have helped?

I see the liberals biggest problem in their decision making is that they seem to be naive enough to judge politicians based on what they say they are going to do instead of what they actually do. When Owebama promised to lower unemployment to 5 something percent with his stimulus, that sounded great. However, when all the stimulus went to already super rich connected dems and the unemployment rate stayed right where it was after billions spent, we had a reality. The reality is that Owebama is a seedy politician from the seediest political town in the Country and he helped the connected with his stimulus and not the middle class.

One day you will look back and kick yourself and say, "How could I have been so stupid as to belive that slickster?"

That day can be today !!!

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders October 30, 2012 | 5:12 p.m.

Anybody who thinks that Obummer is any less coddling of the elite than Mittens needs to start paying closer attention.

Regardless of which elite puppet wins the office, the people lose.

The divide is NOT left vs. right, but top vs. bottom. The Founding Fathers tried to create a system of checks and balances to prevent the "tyranny of the minority," yet it did not survive the Civil War, let alone the Coup of '13 when the Wall St. bankers completed the takeover of DC and thus, the country with the Christmas Eve signing of the Federal Reserve Act.

Yet people will ignore all of the past, choosing instead to focus on the hollow, meaningless rhetoric, pretending that the outcome matters while ignoring the fact that both candidates have been vetted by Henry Kissinger (as they have for at least the last 20 years).

Simply put, if you believe in the US Constitution, then voting is TREASON, as it legitimizes an unconstitutional form of government, which is nothing more than a crime syndicate.

Good luck with that! (believe me, you're gonna need it)

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 30, 2012 | 8:47 p.m.

Richard S. - Most sage Prophets of outcomes in our future, make great effort to advise and instill an alternative for "the people". You, to my knowledge, never do.

What is your point? Henry Kissinger has been in our midst for more like 50 years than 20. "The Founding Fathers tried to create a system of checks and balances to prevent the "tyranny of the minority,". Really? We shouldn't believe in our Constitution? Have you asked any Europeans or Russians (other than Putin), about that?

"Good luck with that! (believe me, you're gonna need it)" Where are you? Some cloud, or planet above us all? No offense intended, just an effort to make some sense of some of those around me.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 30, 2012 | 10:42 p.m.

Gee whiz, Frank. Richard is more conservative than either you or me! His sentence that starts with "The Founding Fathers tried to create a system of checks and balances to prevent the "tyranny of the minority"" is pretty much his main point. He believes meaningful "checks and balances" disappeared long ago. He's a strong supporter of the Constitution if I read him correctly; he just believes it isn't being followed very well.

The latter of which I agree.

And he's REALLY against the Federal Reserve.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor October 31, 2012 | 8:05 a.m.

"And he's REALLY against the Federal Reserve."

I think we picked that one up a few posts ago... :-)

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 31, 2012 | 9:00 a.m.

M.W. - What conservative preaches the uselessness of bothering to vote, in a free election?

He has twisted the concern for the "tyranny of the majority", but does nothing with it but swab us with bits of conspiracy (Henry Kissinger), and the idea of voting in the coming election is Treason, because he believes somehow, that The Government is now not Constitutional, without condemning or even mentioning the culprits of the Democrat party that has mostly controlled all the Congress and much of the Presidency for the last 100 years.

All this with no stated solution. Imo, in short, he states what we hear from many liberals who now forsee Their government being taken away. "It dosen't matter! They All do it!" While Republicans in the 1990's, proved they do not "all do it". Sorry, but imo, Richard would look familiar, if seen on the street carrying the sign, reading, "The World Ends Tomorrow!!"

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 31, 2012 | 9:12 a.m.

Mike - while checking things for the above, I noted this piece about Justice J. Roberts and Obamacare. You may have read it or something like it.

http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/lheal/t...

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 31, 2012 | 9:48 a.m.

"Richard would look familiar, if seen on the street carrying the sign, reading, "The World Ends Tomorrow!!"
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Chuckle. Well, I will have to let him speak on that particular issue.

I actually share a few of his sentiments regarding one party or the other. I'm not happy with any of them. I've seen enough politics to know that I should look askance at anyone saying they want to make the world a better place so "Vote for me!"....it seems (too often) more of a job opportunity with wealth potential at taxpayer expense while the world just remains unchanged. After all, a career politician who states he/she wants to solve a problem is generally out of a job once the problem is solved. That's why I think liberals have the poor and middle class right where they want them....dependent.

Truth is, I'm voting for Romney in hopes of what he WON'T do; I already know what the other guy has done and will likely do. That's how jaded I am.

As for the Robert's decision....well, I've read it. Your link notwithstanding, I still think he fired a poxy broadside into those that have been abusing the Commerce Clause. Only time will tell if I'm right or wrong.

(Report Comment)

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