EASTON, Md., October 27, 2011 — The GOP primary race is heating up and the silly season is in full swing. If you doubt it, then take a gander at the Republican candidates all rushing to lower taxes on the Super Rich, even as Americans want those taxes raised.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry just came out this week with his 20 percent flat tax plan, which on closer look would give the super rich a super generous tax cut, since it drops their rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. Both the millionaires and corporations would benefit.
Now here’s the cherry on the sundae: it will also exempt all investment income from taxes as well. Those folks who have lost their jobs and now pay no taxes or people who work but are so poor that they qualify for earned income tax credits will now have to pay a flat tax of 20 percent. So for them it is a tax hike.
Or — making his plan even more complicated — Perry says you can file under the old tax system if you want. It’s your call. Of course that means hiring tax attorneys to figure out what system works best for you. Something the SOB (Save Our Billionaires) Club always have ready anyway. GE keeps 975 tax experts on the payroll at all times. Do you have a private tax attorney on call?
The non-partisan Tax Policy Center calls Perry’s plan “The Free Lunch Flat Tax.” Free lunch for the rich as it will lower revenue to run the government and bestow great benefits to the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.
When CNBC’s John Harwood interviewed the Governor, he was asked if the super rich should be given tax breaks worth upwards of billions of dollars, Perry replied, “But I don’t care about that.”
Why should we be surprised by this Marie Antoinette attitude, when we learn that the man who advised Perry on drafting his flat tax is none other than failed GOP presidential candidate (1996) and father of the 17 percent flat tax, the one that fell flat with the voters, Steve Forbes.
At that time Forbes, the CEO of Forbes Media, challenged anyone to prove he would greatly benefit from his own proposal. Citizens for Tax Justice took him up on his dare and found that based on his then $1.6 million earnings that in 30 years he would save $1.9 billion in taxes while his plan would have blown a $200 billion hole in the federal budget!
Forbes is the same guy who has now come back with another candied apple laced with razor blades, better known as the flat tax.
News flash to Forbes and Perry: Americans won’t be biting this time around either.
But why, oh why, do the Republicans keep doing this?
Last week it was former Godfather CEO Herman Cain peddling his 9-9-9 apples…or were those oranges? But once the caramel was scraped away, there it was: a VAT (Value Added Tax). Would a tax by any other name smell as rotten?
Now former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is flirting with the idea of “flatter taxes,” whatever that means. Maybe we will have to wait for another 59-point document to get the details.
But if Republicans keep on with this love affair with lower taxes for the SOBs and “starving the beast,” aka the federal government, they will lose next year. Big time.
Don’t think so? Then take a look at who Americans believe is the party of the rich and richer:
“In general, do you think the policies of the Obama Administration favor the rich, favor the middle class, favor the poor, or do they treat all groups equally?”
Favor the rich 28%
Favor the middle class 23%
Favor the poor 17%
All equally 21%
“In general, do you think the policies of the Republicans in Congress favor the rich, favor the middle class, favor the poor, or do they treat all groups equally?”
“Favor the rich 69%
Favor the middle class 9%
Favor the poor 2%
All equally 15%”
(Source: CBS poll – October 19-24, 2011 — asked of adults nationwide)
Those are damning statistics that could doom any political party with the electorate. And yet, not one Republican candidate has favored raising taxes back to what they were before President George W. Bush cut them. Not one Republican in the House or Senate favors raising revenues while trimming federal spending.
Yet a Bloomberg- Washington Post poll (October 6-9) found that more than half of Republicans say the super rich should pay more in taxes to bring down the federal budget deficit. In fact 53 percent of self-identified Republicans back increased taxes on households making more than $250,000, a belief, however, that is not held by their own GOP presidential candidates.
Talk about a political party and candidates who are out of step with the American electorate and even their own party faithful. If the Republican candidates and Congressional members remain wedded to the flat tax, vat tax, flatter tax, they are condemning themselves to extinction or at least another 40 years in the political wilderness.
Who knows: perhaps the Republicans have a death wish?
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