Mitt Romney's Tax Return

US presidential candidate Mitt Romney has released his tax return for the last two years. He made some 45 million US$ in those two years and since most of that was capital gains he paid an effective tax rate of under 14%. Maybe some republican leaning American linqers can help me out here. What is so terrible about raising taxes in the US for the rich (that is, bringing them back to where they were befor Bush junior) given that they pay these low rates and also given the ever increasing rift between the rich and the eroding middle class in the US?

A republican spokesman today said in Romney’s defense that in the US we celebrate success. Well, what about a teacher or a nurse? They cannot have a successful career by that definition? They don’t bring value to society? Interestingly Newt Gingrich always points to Romney’s millions but he also made 3 million dollars last year! The political system in the US seems really rotten to me, especially the concentration of money and power.

Taxes are for little people, Friedemann. If you don’t get that, you don’t get Capitalism! :wink:

Well, I thought you were a tad more right leaning than I am so I was hoping you could give me some good arguments why tax increases for the rich are evil.

BTW, out of curiosity I checked out the net worth of other US politicians. Simply astounding! Al Gore is worth some 100 million (in his movie “An Inconvenient Truths” he wants to make us believe that he flies economy class, what a joke!), Bill Clinton 85 million, even Obama’s chief of staff is worth 28 million.

Guiliani is worth 65 million, much of it coming from speeches and of course his involvement with law firms where he reels in politically connected clients. Mitt Romney has some 240 million.

I’d be curious to hear this too. As I understand it, Republicans believe that rich people will put their money to better use than the government will, and that this will ultimately benefit society, aka trickle-down economics. Listening to Republicans, you also tend to hear Ayn Rand-type talk about the “job creators”, the Producers of society, winners and losers, and whatnot. I’m not sure that Republicans see severe wealth and income inequality as a problem. Why should winners compensate losers?

At any rate, I don’t understand their worldview at all. It seems so crazy to me that I must have just a caricature of it. I can’t understand in the least bit why any of those candidates (with the exception of Ron Paul) has the least bit of appeal. I don’t agree with Ron Paul’s worldview - I think the society he envisions would be very hard on the people living in it - but at least I can understand what it is.

Just saw Friedemann’s second post. It’s probably worth remembering that politicians on both sides tend to be rich and well-connected - or they become that way very quickly.

I remember seeing a statistic comparing how often the same people show up in high positions in government, corporate boards, high positions in academia, the military, etc. The US scored very high - it seems like they have an elite class that moves back and forth between these different positions - at least more so than other developed countries.

Unfortunately there is no excellent Republican candidate this time round. Gingrich is probably the ‘least worst’ option (and he wouldn’t be any better if he were Gingpoor…boom-boom…)

But jokes aside, politics has always been a rich man’s game in the US, and rich folks have always paid less tax than ordinary folks; it ain’t necessarily fair, but that’s just how it is guys! (Let’s face it, LIFE isn’t fair! :-0)

Is Capitalism the perfect system? No, but show me a better one…

Capitalism isn’t just one thing though. It’s not as if anything other than the status quo doesn’t qualify as capitalism.

There are different shades of capitalism of course. What struck me in a recent article is that social mobility in the US is actually relatively low, so the notion that especially in the US anyone can make it to the top is a myth.

In Germany our head of state is currently embroiled in a scandal because he apparently received a loan from an entrepreneur friend under very favourable conditions. That was at a time when he was the head of a regional government (equivalent to a governor in the US so favoritism and possible quid pro quos was an issue here). What is interesting about that is that the amount was relatively modest compared to the fortunes of US politicians, some 500,000 Euros. Now, that shows me that our political system is in somewhat better shape in terms of concentration of money and power. The US head of state who does not even seem to be particularly keen on amassing huge amounts of money is still worth some 7 million dollars. He wouldn’t have to take up a loan to buy a house.

Another issue is of course financing of election campaigns and political parties in general in the US. Private fundraising is key in the US and therefore the interaction of money and the political class even more problematic.

Anyway, as a foreigner, I don’t want to get too critical of domestic American politics. I just share Freidemann’s confusion.

Taxation is the forceful extraction of another’s wealth. Taxation is the threat of violence against another human being so for me taxing anybody is evil, rich, poor it’s all the same - just evil.


how do you pay for maintaining a functioning state?

MCattack. I suppose your ok with private groups forcefully extracting your wealth, which would be the case without a tax payer funded police force.

An article from a while back that I found interesting: Opinion | Stop Coddling the Super-Rich - The New York Times

There seem to be a lot of issues here.

  1. Tax on dividends. This usually around 10-15% in most countries, including Germany for example. It is usually felt that taxing dividends amounts to double taxation. Corporations and individuals pay tax on profit or salary income.
  2. Income inequality. Yes, more equal societies are more pleasant to live in. Yes, corporate compensation in the US is ridiculous, as are income levels of lawyers, show business people and professional athletes, and increasingly retired politicians who give speeches.
  3. Corruption. A Canadian politician was pursued some years ago by the police for cashing in his business class ticket and flying economy. A favourable loan to a politician from a friend would attract attention in most countries. If a leading politician phoned the editor of a magazine and tried to bully him into not publishing information about such a loan, and unbelievably left a threatening message on voice mail, as I believe was the case with the President of Germany, yeah, there would be a scandal in most places.
  4. We live in democracies and vote in governments that tax us, so taxation is no more evil than any other law that is voted by our elected representatives.
  5. Useful public goods and services in transportation, defense, education, health, recreation etc. are, in my view, a benefit to all, a great way to organize society. I believe, with Dawkins and others, that we have an inbuilt preference for reciprocity in our relations with people and that this has evolutionary origins.
  6. Income inequality often springs from opportunity inequality. Some measure of income redistribution through taxes is a good idea in my view.
  7. There are so many flagrant examples of waste in government spending, useless feel good programs, bloated social welfare and education expenditures that exist more for the benefit of the people employed in those sectors, subsidies to corporations that have lobbied for help, etc. that in Canada and many other countries we work half the year (on average) for the government. This is a problem.
  8. I guess this all means that things are never perfect, now back to studying Czech where I can learn about the problems in that country.

“MCattack. I suppose your ok with private groups forcefully extracting your wealth, which would be the case without a tax payer funded police force.”

A good one, LOL!!

Why would you want a functioning state? It is like asking “how can I maintain this cancer I have in my body?” Maintaining a parasite is the last thing a healthy body wants.

The entire philosophy is based on a contradiction - I need the state to forcefully take from me in order for it to protect me. I think statism, as a philosophy is dying, people in my generation don’t see the benefit of paying 50% of everything we work hard for, for terrible services and never ending abuses of state power. All of the services could be provided for a fraction of the cost and without threats and intimidation.

If you want to read about how free societies could work read Stefan Molyneux or Murray Rothbard.

I don’t believe it! I have found someone who is even further to the right on the economy than I am. Gulp! :-0

@Rank, I might be further to the right than you as well (although not quite as far right as Mac Attack there, but close) but have been forcing myself to stay out of this conversation, every time I get sucked into a political “conversation” here at LingQ I lose hours of valuable study time and no one from either side ever manages to convince anybody differently.

You know, Odiernod, I would like the state to be as small as it possibly can. But no state at all…!? Zero taxation!?? I mean, that just isn’t for real, is it? :-0

(Like someone pointed out above, how could you possibly have any kind of functioning society without a police force, or a military, or a fire rescue service, etc? None of these vital services can be provided by private enterprise…!)

“None of these vital services can be provided by private enterprise”

Why not?