They were hardly out of the gate in the Presidential debate last night before Mitt Romney exposed the Republican Party’s hypocrisy on tax policy.
For years we’ve listened to Conservatives harp on the fact that 47% of Americans “pay no taxes”, a talking point brought to the forefront two weeks ago when Romney used it to disparage voters at a $50,000./ plate fundraiser. At the same time, liberals, economists and tax policy wonks have argued that the 47% pay other taxes which contribute to the economy; something Republicans refuse to acknowledge because disparaging half of America plays well to their base.
Mitt Romney argued against raising tax rates on business last night by ticking off the taxes allegedly paid by an electrician in St. Louis:
“…I’ve talked to a guy who has a very small business. He’s in the electronics business in — in St. Louis. He has four employees. He said he and his son calculated how much they pay in taxes, federal income tax, federal payroll tax, state income tax, state sales tax, state property tax, gasoline tax. It added up to well over 50 percent of what they earned.”
First of all, if there really is a guy in St. Louis paying 50% of what he earns back out in just taxes, he’s either a lousy businessman, or he has an extremely inept tax preparer. The fact is, most of the taxes Romney rattled off are deductible for a small business owner; and if Romney’s the big business brain he claims to be, he knows that, which makes him a con-man.
The issue here is that Republicans give businesses credit for all of the taxes they pay, while giving none of that credit to the average taxpayer who qualifies for enough deductions/credits to eliminate their federal tax bill. Romney really does believe corporations are people; but more importantly, he treats them with more respect than he does real people.