If you take the ideological arguments out of Obama’s speech, everything sounds great. He is fond of talking about how much he loves this country and how great it is. At first glance, this comment seems to point to a man proud of the country that allowed him to grow up and become president.
“Somebody gave me an education. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle wasn’t. But somebody gave us a chance. Just like these folks up here are looking for a chance,” Said Obama
If not for the not so subtle dig at Mitt Romney’s wealth, this would have been a solid argument. Why the Obama administration is bent of dividing people between the rich and the poor is beyond me.
First off, it is irresponsible; Romney’s wealth has nothing to do with anything. It is valid (not right) to argue that the rich should pay more in the form of tax dollars, but to suggest that somehow Romney’s wealth makes him a bad choice for president is silly at best.
This is about an agenda for this nation. If Romney were poor and championed the same agenda, it would not make that agenda suddenly more plausible. In fact, President Obama is rich himself, and that does not make his agenda less plausible.
Here are a few details this statement does not allude too:
- Romney has paid $6.2 million in taxes on a total of $42.5 million in income covering the years 2010 and 2011.
- Romney has given $7 million in charity over the two years.
President Obama and his advisors are trying to argue that somehow Romney is getting off by not paying his fair share because on his income, he has only paid a 13.9 percent tax rate in 2010, and they expect to pay a 15.4 percent rate in 2011. What this argument fails to recognize is what Avik Roy has said, “is a canard.”
- This 15% Romney tax rate issue is a canard. Romney paid both 15% and corporate income taxes (usually 30%+) on his investments, as all do.
- Companies that Bain invested in paid income taxes that are thereby not passed through as profits to partnership.
Corporate tax rates are not 15%, they are closer to 45% once corporate profits are counted. This is before state and local taxes are applied to the total tax rate, which by then exceeds 50% of ones income.
If you look at the overall picture, you will see a man that has not only paid his fair share, but he is paying much more than his fair share.
Over at TownHall.com online, where I got most of these numbers, there is a quick summation from the work Jen Rubin, Phil Klein, and Jim Pethokoukis did on the issue of Romney’s taxes.
UPDATE – Jen Rubin, Phil Klein, and Jim Pethokoukis put these numbers into perspective. A few highlights:
…Here’s what $3.2 million in federal taxes — Romney’s estimated 2011 burden — pays for:
— The monthly food stamp allowance for about 23,909 people.
— The cost of educating 302 elementary and high school students.
— The base salary (before bonuses and allowances) of 178 privates in the U.S. Army.
— The federal contribution to the benefits of 636 Medicaid enrollees.
In addition to his taxes, Romney has given around 16.4 percent of his income over the past two years to charity through his family charity, the Tyler Foundation. In addition to donations to the Mormon church, here’s where else Romney and his wife Ann donated money: the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, the Center for the Treatment of Pediatric MS, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Homes for Our Troops, and the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, among others.
Another way of looking at it is that in 2011 the Romneys paid out 42 percent of their income in taxes and charity. Here’s how I got there: Total tax (line 60) + foreign taxes (line 47) + state taxes and real-estate taxes + other taxes (Schedule A, line 9) + charitable contributions (Schedule A, line 19) divided by Adjusted Gross Income (1040 line 37).
It is clear that the Obama administration is going to try to shame the country into reelecting him by pointing to other people success as a reason the economy has not taken off as he promised. Team Romney would be wise to use the numbers above when combatting the narrative Team Obama and his media cohorts are sure to use until it is clear it either has worked or will not work.
Obama has said on a few occasions that he understands that the free market has been one of the greatest goods this world as ever seen. Then why exonerate something that has done so much good. Ask any person in a third world country that is not royalty whether they would rather be middle class were they live of poor in this country. They know they have opportunities in the U.S. that they could never hope for in their own. Obama does not believe in the free market, he believes that the free market needs the help of the government to be great. In some cases, this is true. Not all regulations are bad, but that does not mean all of them are good either.
This will be argued repeatedly this cycle, much as it is every cycle. What this post is about is a dividing mentality that seems to come from today’s Democratic Party. If wealthy liberals such as this president do not feel they are doing enough, then they can give more. Heck, president Obama is not employing anyone in the private sector; by his own logic that should mean he should not get a lower tax rate. This is not true with Romney, and the businesses he has helped start and fund to save. Some did not work, some failed, and he made a lot of money in the process. It is not as that money was not earned.
I ask this, does Obama look at today’s music artist and their fancy items and think they are out of touch with the way this country really works. The answer is probably no, because the president probably agrees with many of these artist ideological leanings. Therefore, if this is about ideological arguments, then why is the president not sticking to what he believes and staying away from attacking Romney’s wealth.