DON’T DO IT MITTENS! KEEP THOSE TAX RETURNS SECRET!
There is no legal requirement that candidates for Federal public office or the U.S. Presidency must publicly release their Federal tax returns. It’s just been a habit since Republican Candidate for President George Romney made such a multi-year disclosure in 1968 while running against Richard Nixon – and he didn’t even get the nomination.
In this election cycle, Republican candidate (and presumptive party nominee) Willard Mitt Romney (son of the late George Romney) has flatly refused to publicly release more than his 2010 return. President Obama has released many of his tax returns which are at best described as prosaic but they do put him comfortably within the bottom half of the top 1% of Americans with respect to income and wealth.
2012 INCOME AND WEALTH DISTRIBUTION IN THE U.S.
Many Americans have already learned that Governor Romney “Mittens” has earned from $10 to $20 million a year for many years and has amassed a fortune of over $200 million. He’s obviously among the wealthiest 0.01% in this nation. To be among the top 1% income earners requires only a paltry $350,000 in annual income but to make it in the .01%, one needs an annual income over $1.5 million.
While the U.S. has the most billionaires in terms of accumulated wealth, it is estimated that well over
1 million Americans 30,000 taxpayers (corrected) have total assets that exceed those of Mitten. The median net worth of the top 1% has been estimated to be around $9 million but even that top income bracket is highly skewed to the very wealthiest. Of course the other 310 million Americans are wholly insignificant with respect to this short discussion of our special 3 million inhabitants who own/rule us.
The average annual individual salary in the U.S. is only around $35,000 per year and the median U.S. annual household income is around $50,000 (half earn more & half earn less). The vast majority of Americans will NOT find anything meaningful to compare in perusing Mitten’s tax returns. If calculations excluded the incomes and wealth of the 1% or even top 10%, the average and median figures for the 90 to 99% of wage earners might be even smaller and more dismal than when they started to flat-line, decrease, and lose to inflation since the late 1970’s.
The U.S. already has income and wealth inequality levels similar to many of the “banana republics” of Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Comparing ourselves to Western Europe, Canada, Australia and other post-industrial advanced nations in most every measurement of human progress, education, health and overall well-being is simply too embarrassing in 2012. However, we can always beat out the Central African Republic – a nation too poor to even have a name.
UNDERSTANDING OVERALL U.S. TAX POLICY
Since the early 1980’s, U.S. tax law has greatly favored the wealthy over everyone else. Capital gains and interest income are taxed at a flat 15% rate – even though there are no meaningful factual, ethical, or moral policy reasons to treat this income differently from wages, salaries and other type of income. In addition, there are numerous exclusions, credits and “loopholes” that are only available to high-income earners who have at their disposal a small army of tax accountants and attorneys ready to serve.
Marginal tax rates apply to earned income over the numeric limits of each bracket. All Americans pay the same tax rates for the same amount of taxable income, but those who make more pay a higher rate only on their wage income that exceeds the prior tax bracket. When a marginal tax bracket rate is increased or decreased, it only applies to those individuals (or married couples) who earn the extra money – but it does not increase their tax rates on earned income covered by the lower tax brackets.
When Mittens pays an estimated average tax rate of 15% on all his income, this does not mean that his salary is not taxed the same as everyone else – in stages according to the tax tables. Of course if you have most of your income in the form of capital gains and carried interest, then it is preferentially treated at a lower tax rate – and these rates apply to all people having such “special” income – regardless of the tax rates on their wages. It’s not Mitten’s fault he pays an average tax rate below many people who make far less – blame the tax code and credit his crafty accountants and attorneys.
HIDING BEHIND CORPORATIONS AND IN TAX HAVENS
Our wealthy oligarchs make endless use of interlocking and secretive corporations – often organized in different tax-haven nations – and some U.S. states. These “persons” exist principally to serve some tax-avoidance schemes and scams, as they are excellent means to avoid personal liability for criminal activity. Many “corporations” exist solely to avoid disclosing taxable income or they exist to have income paid in low-tax jurisdictions. To think all these empty “legal fictions” have the same rights and privileges of any U.S. citizen is a testament to the complete stupidity, lunacy, partisanship and incompetence of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Much of the wealth of the 1% has been and is currently derived from corrupt crony capitalism, no-bid government contracts, incomprehensible complex tax laws, business fraud, lax business regulators, protected monopolistic operations, and public bailouts. Less than 20% of the super-wealthy attribute their fortunes from inheritance but that percentage will certainly go up over time. The wealthy among us are found in the standard professions (law, medicine), entertainment (sports, music, acting) and the most are among our business leaders in finance/banking/real-estate and those who head very large global enterprises.
Most of the fraudulent tax evasion of the 0.01% (and perhaps by Mittens) has not been prosecuted by the IRS – except against the outright foolish ones. It has been estimated that the world’s global elite has placed over $25 trillion in various tax-havens nations that are independent from their places of residence or citizenship, or where they conduct the majority of their business enterprises.
A recent 2010 tax amnesty program (not available to normal wage/tax slaves) permitted those holding secret funds in Switzerland, Singapore, Lichtenstein, the Cayman Islands, and elsewhere to come clean so long as they start reporting and paying income taxes on those accounts moving forward. All the possible criminal, tax and financial repercussions of not reporting all income in prior tax years have been officially wiped clean. Wouldn’t it be nice if that amnesty were available to the vast majority of Americans? But then our lobbyists don’t write or enforce the tax laws.
WHAT WOULD WE LEARN FROM DISCLOSURE
So why do many have this vicarious need to see Mitten’s tax returns? His #1 wife Ann (aka Marie Antoinette of “Let them eat cake but no more tax returns” fame) is definitely insulted and not at all pleased with the demands from the “uppity” little people. We’re not about to argue whether her horses are a money-losing business venture that is able to offset other taxable income, or they constitute a “hobby” that should not rationally offset any other income. Or when publicly-elected officials own barren land but put a few cows on it in order to qualify for Federal Agricultural subsidies, we really cannot argue with our elite “oligarchs” on what is legal for them and definitely illegal for the rest of us.
Who really wants an open and truthful public debate about our warped and complex tax system? Certainly not the 1% when they prefer to scare the 99% that they’ll take away social security and Medicare. They endlessly and falsely repeat that our sovereign nation and the world’s only hyper-power is “broke” and can’t print more money (create numbers on a computer out of thin air which is exactly what the Federal Reserve and US Treasury do all the time) – unless it is to make endless bailouts to the 1% who wholly control our corrupt, dysfunctional system. (Government debt is not the same as household or business debt, just as a bank considers a mortgage or loan to be an asset when it is a liability for everyone else.) If you buy into such dribble, gibberish and lies, you are a complete imbecile.
What would we really learn about Mittens and his wealthy family that we really don’t already know or suspect? Would public disclosure of his taxes change his policy positions, campaign contributors, or explain his basic personality? We already know the wealthiest among us don’t wish to contribute any more than absolutely necessary to helping U.S. society, our national defense, and any safety net social programs. Definitely all the uncouth, dirty, messy, uneducated and poor that constitute about 50% the nation are of no interest to Mittens, Obama and our elites.
The only wealth redistribution the oligarchy wants is to maintain the upward movement of wealth that has been going on for 30 years at the expense of everyone else courtesy of their paid servants in Congress. If you haven’t figured out by now that those who own and run our largest businesses and Federal government simply don’t give a damn about the rest of America and humanity, you are in serious delusional denial of reality.
THE TRICKLE-DOWNSIDE OF FULL DISCLOSURE
This de-facto disclosure requirement – particularly if it were enacted into law – could work against the vast majority of Americans who might seek public office in order to change the status quo. Even if disclosure is not required for candidates at all levels of political office, it could soon be by means of challenges. A candidate for a disputed local city council or county leadership position might disclose some of his or her returns and challenge opponents to do the same. What might deter the other candidates from disclosure might be the obvious and simple fact that they earned less than the one who disclosed. In a nation that measures everything and the value of human beings on the sole basis of money – this could be a major conundrum.
While many people foolishly admire financial success as an unspoken qualification to hold elective public office – we don’t want too much success. Where that line is made is anyone’s guess but it won’t work in favor of candidates whose annual income or accumulated wealth is noticeably lower than other candidates. A corollary of this dynamic currently works for the unemployed in our society who are disfavored from being considered for jobs merely because they are not currently working full-time. Imagine the chances of a part-time community activist who had his home foreclosed upon a few years ago when he lost his public teaching job who is running against a wealthy businessman who has more than two-thirds of his “employees” working through subsidiaries in Asia at slave wages – and they are both registered Democrats? Who do you think most moronic voters would support?
Once a candidate runs for major state-wide office or for Congress, and unless the person is very wealthy, he or she must raise large campaign contributions in order to run an effective and competitive campaign. Those wealthy backers will probably go over the candidate’s personal, business and tax history – but also his or her malleability, corruptibility and desire for power to determine whether to back that person.
Notice that many politicians who are temporarily out of office are provided cushy jobs in well-connected law, consulting or lobbying firms, private think tanks that are fronts for major political organizations, or well-paid fabricated positions within private businesses or non-profit entities controlled by large campaign contributors. The oligarchy picks, nurtures, and maintains their chosen puppets for decades. It goes without saying that since the vast majority of candidates who raise and spend the most money get elected, we can readily assume the majority of the U.S. electorate is truly shallow, ignorant and easily manipulated.
TO WHOM ARE OUR POLITICIANS ACCOUNTABLE?
Even if Mittens spent his entire fortune on running for President (greatly upsetting his children and wife #1) he would still need to raise 3 times that amount from other wealthy donors to match the Democratic fund-raising efforts for President Obama just to stay financially competitive. Even though a total of $2 billion will be spent on the 2012 Presidential election to choose a mere puppet of the oligarchy, those are the rules set for by our Supreme Court where the only protected 1st Amendment Free Speech is that preceded by a large number of dollars. Thus the actual beliefs and policy proposals of both candidates are essentially irrelevant. Most important in American elections are the agendas of the largest campaign contributors from America’s oligarchy. And their agendas, not surprisingly, are very similar.
Regardless of who is elected President, the overall trajectory of the U.S. will remain the same because both candidates have been essentially chosen for us by our elites and they are mere puppets who will serve their masters. Notice that Obama failed to prosecute any of the many major criminals on Wall Street who created the financial crisis that continues unabated – and Romney pledges to do even less. If the Chief Executive refuses to perform his essential constitutional duties of enforcing the laws against the most powerful and wealthy criminals in society, then what else is he good for? Taking us to war?
THE PRESIDENT IS AN EMPTY SUIT – IT’S CONGRESS THAT HOLDS THE MOST POWER
The real power to effectuate national policy lies with Congress – where the majority of Representatives and Senators are corrupt servants of the wealthiest individuals and corporations of this nation. Sadly the majority in Congress does not understand basic human decency, modern monetary theory and monetary sovereignty of a nation that is constitutionally enabled to exclusively control its currency without capitulating to our unaccountable and secretive banking/financial elite. Of course the majority of Americans do not understand these important things either – thanks to the endless lies spewed forth by our “leaders.”
Our corrupt oligarchy likes the status quo just fine – because it serves their interests of continuous wealth transfers to them through endless public and private sector debt creation and vast public spending on their controlled corporations. Simply because the status quo does not serve the short or long-term best interests of the vast majority of Americans and the overall health of the planet for sustaining humanity, is of no importance. Thus whatever Obama or Romney say, Congress will have the final say. If it is split or slightly favoring either political party, one can be assured that essentially nothing will be accomplished for the next two years unless it is absolutely necessary for the benefit of our oligarchy.
It is laughable when people call themselves or others various old monikers such as “conservative,” “liberal,” “progressive,” “tea-party,” “moderate,” “independent,” “capitalist,” “socialist,” “communist,” “Republican,” “Democrat,” “Monetarist,” “Keynesian,” “Nazi,” or anything else. Over the past few decades these words have been stripped of all meaning by a perpetual debate devoid of historical facts, ongoing reality and clear thinking. It has been driven by disingenuous arguments by and between low-information voters and calculating manipulators working on behalf of the oligarchy. Many well-meaning people still cling to the fantasy that there are meaningful differences between the 2 parties that justify voting.
WE ARE RULED BY SOCIOPATHS AND PSYCHOPATHS
Since the 1980’s we entrusted and continue to entrust our society, constitution, prestige, wealth and power to a bunch of sociopaths and psychopaths. They naturally trashed the nation, the rule of law, and have seriously imperiled the country’s and humanity’s survival. Their selfish, narcissistic, greedy, amoral and criminal actions have served only their misguided short-term interests for wealth and power at the expense of all other human beings. Our leaders have lost all credibility and are no longer entitled to any trust in their words or actions.
Not only those born without any empathy, compassion, consciences and souls, are to blame for our current mess. Over the past few decades, most of the nation’s professional class (intelligent people trained by the Ivy League) has turned into a group of corrupt, mindless courtesans and servants working for our controlling sociopaths and psychopaths so to maintain the machinery of the status quo. These courtesans have rationalized the outright sale of their consciences and souls in exchange for limited success, wealth and political power because they are “inherently superior” to the rest of us who were not born to the “right” parents or who did not attend the “best” schools. They have become neo-sociopaths and pseudo-psychopaths to fit within the system. They have buried their consciences, souls, ethics and morals under mountains of worthless justifications and dangerous delusions.
Approximately 4% of any population group may be true (born) sociopaths and psychopaths. Another 6% have probably chosen to become these people by ignoring and burying their consciences and souls to better succeed within our system. Not everyone in the top 1% belongs to these groups but their percentage is much higher than the overall population. If we can blame any single group for our nation’s and humanity’s multiple messes, then sociopaths/psychopaths constitute the prime culprits.
This does not exculpate the rest of society many of whom are apathetic, willfully ignorant, congenitally stupid, easily-manipulated-and-frightened, religious fanatics, and bigoted control-freaks. A plurality of the U.S. electorate and a corruptable political elite enabled the entire structure to be put in place. One could argue that when we met evil incarnate, we welcomed it.
WHY LEGITIMIZE A COMPLETELY BROKEN AND CORRUPT SYSTEM
The U.S. and our merged economic/business/political systems are on a rapid downward trajectory towards collapse. No one who opposes it should participate in legitimizing its continued existence. Our elections are merely diversionary pieces of entertainment to convince us that we still have any say in our government’s actions or policies. We don’t. Instead we have to realize that a very small elite runs everything for its sole benefit. Our nation’s oligarchic rulers care nothing for the truth or credibility after engaging in unprosecuted crimes for decades. We now live in a rigged casino where 90% of us are economic losers from the moment we are born.
I urge Mittens NOT to disclose any more tax returns. 1.) They won’t tell us any more about him than reviewing his business record and public statements; 2.) They are not required and such continual calls for disclosure will work their way down the political hierarchy to the detriment of less wealthy candidates for public office; 3.) Eventually the majority of voters won’t care; and 4.) If you want the entire system to collapse faster, then Romney should be elected President with strong Republican majorities in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
As I pointed out in prior TMV posts, this year’s Presidential election will depend upon the economic news in October – even though the current top puppet is arguably not principally responsible for most of it. Another factor will be white male (and some female) rage at the recent news that more than 50% of babies born in the U.S. are now “non-white.” Motivated religious zealots, racial and sexual bigots, and low-information voters – who dominate the extreme conservative/right/wing-nut part of the U.S. electorate and who have been so enraged by having a mixed-race (black) man as President, may be the deciding factors this year.
I will not vote to reelect President Barak Obama, nor will I vote to elect Governor Mitt Romney this November. Neither candidate has the courage, ethics or long-term vision to lead any nation – not the Central Africa Republic – yet alone the United States. Over the next 4 years, either one will simply serve as a puppet for our elite oligarchy.
I cannot in good conscience endorse anything offered by the criminal status quo and the only two corrupt political parties permitted under by the oligarchy and our current system of government. I will gladly stay home and do nothing as my constitution right and duty.
When a majority of Americans finally realize that peaceful change is impossible in this country, then they will turn to violent revolution as the only alternative. If you don’t believe me – just see what happens on this planet before 2020.
Respectfully submitted by Marc Pascal from Phoenix, Arizona.