Percentages

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, 2008 US presidential candidate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts; beware of politicians quoting percentages. The use of percentages is a good way to conceal something that someone does not want to reveal. Case in point is Mitt Romney‘s use of percentages to obfuscate his intent on taxes. Only he and Paul Ryan and a few billionaire supporters probably know his true intent on Federal taxes, but let me give an example of what he may really mean. I am going to assume a few round numbers to make my point. I will use averages of real numbers, not percentages. Whenever a politician uses percentages, you should ask for real numbers of dollars or other real things.

For want of better numbers from Mitt, I am going to assume a $100 billion tax decrease shared among 100 million taxpayers. That is an average tax savings of $1000 per taxpayer. However, as Mitt pointed out last night, the top 5% pay 60+% of the taxes. If the top 5% share 60% of the tax reduction, they will each average a tax savings of $12,000 while the remaining 95% of tax payers will each share a tax reduction of $420. Of course, these are only averages, but they are real numbers and real dollars. Mitt’s numbers would be different, but the results would be similar. If Mitt neither raises nor lowers rates for the wealthy, their share of the taxes and the tax savings would remain the same on a percentage basis, but would change when stated in real numbers.

And we may be missing the real point. Mitt may be focusing our attention on tax rates to distract us from his real mission, eliminating taxes on capital gains and the estate tax which affects only a few very wealthy people. If Mitt is successful in eliminating the capital gains tax and the estate tax both, then his taxes will fall to nearly zero and he will be able to pass his wealth intact to his heirs. It is my understanding that currently Mitt has used tax gimmicks in the current law to design his estate to pass most of his wealth to his heirs tax-free. If the estate tax is abolished, he will not need to rely on those gimmicks any longer

Honesty is the best policy

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today (Photo credit: tvnewsbadge)

“Honesty is the best policy” is the slogan of the mythical Honesty Insurance Company. Wealthy individuals like Mitt Romney can afford to self-insure against loss while most of us are forced to buy insurance at exorbitant rates. I pay 20%+ of my limited retirement income in insurance premiums which are increasing much more quickly than the rate of inflation. Auto, homeowners, life and Medicare part B supplement insurance are all part of the burden. No sooner do I reduce coverage to reduce the payments than the insurance companies raise rates again. My wife and I have discussed self insurance for ourselves because the insurers are sometimes reluctant to pay, but we have not yet taken that drastic step, in part because the law and our reverse mortgage both require that we prove insurance coverage. Only the wealthy can escape what I consider to be the insurance rip-off.

While Mitt self-insures, I wonder if Paul Ryan is acquainted with Honesty Insurance and their motto? I doubt it from his debate performance with Joe Biden. His nose did grow considerably longer during those ninety minutes.

My Federal tax rate before I retired was approximately 10% of gross income, Mitt’s has been under 15% for a much larger income. That’s how the wealthy keep their wealth; they pay low taxes and they don’t need to buy insurance in the insurance racket. Neither Mitt nor Paul seems to believe that honesty is the best policy. In Mitt’s case, it would mean that he does not have to remember what he said.

Please see Pinocchio

Lies, damned lies and the GOP

MARTHA RADDATZ

MARTHA RADDATZ (Photo credit: RubyGoes)

Martha Raddatz, who moderated the debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, is being criticized by the Right for insisting on answers to tough questions. But that is what the media are supposed to do and that is why the media have a special place in our Constitution. The Right have browbeaten the media in recent years, falsely accusing the “lamestream media” of a liberal bias. The GOP have become so accustomed to the browbeaten media and the propaganda of FOX News, unfair and unbalanced, that they have forgotten how to respond to a professional reporter doing her job.

We must fight

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We must fight was the title of an email message I just received from Paul Ryan. In that message, he says, “We believe that on November 6th, America will rise to the occasion. Americans will fix what needs fixing. They will end four years of false steps, and choose a new path leading to more jobs and a stronger middle class.”

If the American people fix what needs fixing, we will vote the GOP out of office in the House and Senate and thus end their four years of obstruction.

Lipstick

English: Sarah Palin at the Time 100 Gala in M...

English: Sarah Palin at the Time 100 Gala in Manhattan on May 4, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“You know what’s the difference between Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan? Lipstick.” According to Charles Pierce in Esquire.