Sunday 23 September 2012

Romney's 47 Percent

By now, I assume, virtually everyone has seen the YouTube video of Mitt Romney's speech in Boca Raton, Florida, where he offered extemporaneous and all-too-revealing remarks about the American population. But just in case you've been living under a rock, here is a juicy chunk of what he said:

“There are 47 percent who are with him, (Obama) who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.” Romney said his job “is not to worry about those people.”

My question to Mr. Romney is this: Why stop with theses people? I can think of a number of (fictional) people who not only paid no taxes, but in fact paid negative taxes. What, you might ask, are negative income taxes? The short answer is that they make more income after paying taxes than before. How? Subsidies, giveaways, bailouts, waivers, and so on. In Canadian and American law, Corporations are fictional persons -- and therefore, one might assume, subject to inclusion within Romney's list of freeloaders. There is one significant difference, however: this elite not only pays no income tax, but receives government handouts far exceeding what the 47% receives. Here are the top 20 of this elite, and their tax rates:

Corporation               2008-10     2008-11

Pepco Holdings              –57.6%     –39.5%
General Electric            –45.3%     –18.9%
PG&E Corp.                  –21.2%     –18.4%
Wisconsin Energy             –4.9%     –13.2%
NiSource                    –16.4%     –13.0%
Paccar                      –32.8%     –13.0%
Integrys Energy Group       –11.3%     –11.6%
CenterPoint Energy          –14.7%     –11.3%
Atmos Energy                –11.6%      –9.6%
Tenet Healthcare            –11.6%      –8.2%
American Electric Power      –9.2%      –6.4%
Boeing                       –1.8%      –5.5%
Ryder System                 –7.3%      –5.4%
Con-way                      –9.1%      –5.4%
Verizon Communications       –5.2%      –3.8%
Duke Energy                  –3.9%      –3.5%
Interpublic Group            –3.3%      –2.5%
NextEra Energy               –2.2%      –2.0%
CMS Energy                   –2.2%      –1.4%
Navistar International       –2.0%      –1.3%

You can see the whole list, taken from a report issued by the Citizens for Tax Justice, issued in November, 2011, here:
Years ago, the New Democratic Party (NDP) used to call these corporations "corporate welfare bums", a tag pretty similar to Romney's characterization of the 47%. Perhaps Mr. Obama ought to respond to Mr. Romney in this way, rather than his empty :remark, "I represent everybody."

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