Bain Capital, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Corporate State, Economic Collapse, Financial Elite, Gross Inequality, Inverted Totalitarianism, Matt Taibbi, Obama, Off-Shore tax Havens, Post-Humn Era, Romney, Security and Surveillance State, South American Death Squad Oligarchs, The Elite 1%, Wall Street Fraud, War for Profit
…if you knew you were running for president, wouldn’t you perhaps spend at least five years before running making your taxes look as clean as a whistle? I’m saying no Grand Caymans, no Switzerland, no stashing bullion in the cargo bay of Curiosity to reach the low-tax surface of Mars (ok, one of these might be an exaggeration).
Not Romney, though. He apparently had to use every manoeuvre known to man and man’s most deceitful accountant to ensure he paid low-to-no taxes. So how has he handled the fallout? Stonewalling, uncomfortable denials, and lashing out at those who attack him for his hidden returns, such as Senator Harry Reid – thereby keeping the whole story in the news that much longer (genius!).
He’s even got porn star Jenna Jameson saying she is going to vote for him because “when you’re rich, you want a Republican in office.” (Of course, other porn actors interviewed by The Daily Beast are pro-Obama, showing that even in the world of X-rated entertainment, Mitt can find a way to divide the top 1 per cent from everyone else)…
Amazingly, if you look at the polls, a large percentage of American’s(aka the clueless, MSM spoon-fed plebs) would still vote for someone who is part of the cosseted 0.001% responsible for hiding 20 to 30 trillion in off-shore tax havens and who boldly regurgitate the lie that corporations in America have the highest tax rate in the world (the nominal rate is meaningless; it’s the effective rate produced from all the tax loopholes that counts). But as they say, the propaganda-ridden minds of the American public are mere putty in the hands of the corporate-owned media machine. Mind you, I know there is no real measurable difference between Obama and Romney when it comes to our self-inflicted trajectory toward a post-human era, but voting for Romney, a financier of the criminal class on Wall Street, takes ‘voting against your own interests’ to a whole new level. I mean this guy financed Bain Capital with blood money from death squad oligarchs in South America. I understand the utter failure Obama has been for the masses who bought into the “Hope” slogan, but voting for King Romney is like saying, “I give up; please rape me and then throw me to the lions.”
In a comment section of Schecter’s piece, a reader sumarizes perfectly what King Romney is about:
Let us focus that the issue is not Rommey or the VP RP, the issue is what is behind Rommey. Rommey is the representative of global capitalism; he is not interested in the American people as a nation, but as consumers; for him the solvency of the middle class is of no importance. It is the maintenance of corporate America and global capital that matters for him. He advocates trickle down economics and the emancipation of corporations over people. [In] the end Rommey, like any other warmonger, will use war [as] an economic incentive.
– ’nuff said. So how are the American plebs doing? For starters, a recent study found that nearly half the population in the U.S. dies penniless and dependent on Social Security. Basically we are now a nation of the grotesquely wealthy, the ‘just-getting-by’, and the crumb scrapers. The ‘just-getting-by’ segment is always in danger of falling into the ranks of the crumb scrapers. And the elite 1%, as we have discussed in prior posts, have built up a security and surveillance state as well as the prison industrial complex in order to deal with those who have any funny ideas of changing that status quo.
…now back to our two corporate stooges who are vying for the coveted PR position of the corporatocracy. Matt Taibbi has a new article out which shows how our tax system favors the wealthy and how Big Money from Wall Street perverts our political system:
…We’ve known for seven months now, for instance, that Romney paid $3 million in federal taxes in 2010 on $21.7 million in taxable revenue, an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent. Which, as most people know, is less than half the rate most people pay on their income tax.
When Romney released these numbers, he said they were “entirely legal and fair,” and added, “I’m proud of the fact that I pay a lot of taxes.”
The Romney tax returns are a prime example of our increasingly two-tiered bureaucratic system, in which there is one set of rules for poor and middle-class people, and another set of rules for people like Mitt Romney. …
In Mitt’s case, the money you and I make to support ourselves is called income and is taxed up to 35 percent, but the money Mitt makes raiding companies with borrowed money and extracting draconian management fees from captive companies that have no choice but to pay them is called “Carried Interest,” and taxed at a top rate of 15%.
The ostensible excuse for this outrageous difference is based upon a built-in cultural value judgment, which says that the work Mitt Romney does raiding companies with borrowed money is more valuable than the work ordinary people do laying asphalt or teaching autistic children. Here’s what one private equity spokesperson said by way of explanation for this difference:
Steve Judge, the president of the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, a trade group for private equity funds, said carried interest is a way to reward risk takers in a way that tax havens do not. “They don’t have the purpose of incentivizing risk taking,” Judge said. “That makes it inappropriate to blend carried interest with them.”
So the carried interest tax break is a way to “incentivize” the kind of work Mitt Romney does. One wonders then if the relatively higher tax rates paid by teachers and librarians and cops is … what? A disincentive? Anyway, it’s this skewed set of obligations that Mitt Romney thinks is “fair.”
The Obama administration, if it wanted to, could make a lot of hay over this. It could say, “Mitt Romney doesn’t want to release his tax returns for years and years during the last decade. But the years for which he did release returns, he paid a rate that’s less than half of what most ordinary American professionals make – and he thinks that’s ‘fair.’”
Now, Obama has gone after Mitt’s tax returns – a little. He’s released a few ads here and there, including one called “Makes You Wonder” that called Mitt’s use of carried interest in his tax return a “trick,” a semantic move for which Obama was criticized, since it was actually nothing of the sort. Mitt Romney’s ability to pay a top rate of 15% for his work was no trick at all but a fully-legal expression of the values of our current political system, a system, again, that Mitt Romney is “proud of” and thinks is “fair.”
The reason the Obama administration hasn’t gone after this aggressively is probably the same reason it hasn’t fought harder to repeal that carried interest tax break (which Obama incidentally promised to do four years ago), and the same reason that everyone from Corey Booker to Bill Clinton has urged Obama to lay off the theme of private equity thuggery in his campaign against Romney. Big-time politicians are still afraid to explain to the American people how exactly it is that many Wall Street firms make their money, because they’re afraid to lose access to the crumbs those firms sometimes toss their way.
In the case of Romney, what we’ve mostly heard is that he’s a turnover specialist who sometimes creates jobs and sometimes eliminates them – a kind of ideologically-neutral efficiency consultant who takes a cut when poorly-run companies cut out the fat. The Obama ads about Bain have been emotionally effective, but they’re still frustratingly vague about the actual mechanics of these takeovers. We learn from these ads that a bunch of rich guys took over plants and fired workers, but what we don’t learn is how companies like Bain raise the money for those takeovers, why the plants subsequently become cash-poor, how this industry works generally, and not just at Bain.
In fact the takeover method espoused by Bain and many other private equity firms is a lot closer to the Tony Soprano-takes-over-Davey-Scatino’s-sporting-goods-store “Bust Out” model (and we’ll be getting into this more in the magazine in upcoming weeks) than it is to anything like legitimate consulting.
Barack Obama is one of the few politicians with the communication skills to explain this to middle America, but he’s refusing to go there, probably because he’s still hoping for a post-election rapprochement with Wall Street. He wants to go after Bain Capital, but not private equity in general; he wants to go after Mitt Romney’s missing tax returns, but not the tax returns of all people like Mitt Romney.
So there you have it. Both sock-puppet politicians continue to protect the monied interests, skirt the real issues, and bamboozle the sheeple. But as I said, in a post-human era of the not-too-distant future, you can’t get too riled up about such trivialities.