Email letters, Jan. 25, 2012

Low tax rate doesn’t mean low taxes

The newscasters are getting carried away. I hope The Daily Sentinel will keep readers focused on the issues. Before we crucify Mitt Romney on a cross of capital gains tax rates, consider:

Many in the media are acting shocked that Mr. Romney could be paying taxes at a rate of 15 percent. They fail to acknowledge that we have long had a capital-gains tax rate that was lower than the top tax rate. It has been higher in the past. Even those in lower income brackets now pay a capital gains tax at 0 percent. Fair? Why does the media ignore this?

It is not Mr. Romney’s fault that his income falls into a 15 percent tax bracket. Our friends in Congress have approved and encouraged the capital gains tax rate for years. Mr. Romney’s working career was his choice and he was able to accumulate assets that produced income that Congress characterized as capital gains.

The media, papers and newscasters keep saying that he is paying less in taxes — they don’t want to say that he is paying far more in dollars to the U.S. Treasury.

Congress has determined that in our economic system, we need to have incentives to invest in business. The president is saying that “hard work and responsibility” should be rewarded. Well, take a look at Mr. Romney — is he a slacker, smoking pot, demonstrating in the courthouse square, failing to contribute to society, etc.?  No, we must admire that he has worked hard and been responsible.

The criticism of Mr. Romney’s income and tax bracket is coming from unprincipled agitators who are appealing to the emotions and prejudices of the populace. They fail to point to the positive qualities and ideas of this individual.

He paid some $3 million in taxes last year. How much more do we want him and others similarly situated to pay? We have had a 70 percent tax bracket in the past. Is that the goal? Those in the top 1 percent pay 29.9 percent of all federal taxes according to a recent Wall Street Journal editorial (citing the 2011 Congressional Budget Office). 

Let’s get mad at Mr. Romney because he is not accomplished in rhetoric or because he’s a man, religious, has slick hair, tithes, etc. But don’t abuse him because he’s been successful. You know what happens to the super-rich in Russia, don’t you? We don’t want that here, do we?

We do have a progressive tax system — those who earn more pay more. And if some earn too much income from interest and dividends, then they are taxed under the Alternative Minimum Tax System, to be sure they are paying their share.

Beware of those who push for a flat tax, because many low income earners now pay no tax at all, but receive a payment from the Treasury. Even Mr. Gingrich is reported to boost a flat tax concept with no taxes on capital gains — Mr. Buffet and Mr. Romney would love that. Obviously, a quick sound-bite, such as “flat tax”, doesn’t cover all the issues. Do we want to have a progressive tax? Remember that the devil is in the details.

Beware the demagogues who want to confuse us by complaining about a low tax rate as though that means that one is paying low taxes.

What is fair? Should those who risk capital by investing in business get a tax benefit if the business succeeds?  What about those who do not risk? (Is there something in the Bible about this? Heavens.)

Be cautious of all this sniping about Mr. Romney’s taxes. Clearly, the tax code needs revision and updating.  Who is helping to change it?  Will the changes be fair?

RICHARD W. ARNOLD
Grand Junction

Romney is out of touch with working Americans

Bowing to intense political pressure, still presumptive Republican presidential nominee Willard “Mitt” Romney has released his 2010 and 2011 (estimated) tax returns. If there were more perfect examples of the inequity and unfairness of our economic and political system, I can’t think of any.

The most prominent revelation is that Romney, a former venture capitalist tycoon, makes more money ($59,452) in one day, than the average American family makes ($49,445) in one year. And just to rub salt into the wound, he can do this without working. That’s right, while the rest of America is trudging off to work (if lucky enough to even have a job) Mitt can just lounge around one of his three (that we know of) luxurious homes, sip lattes and do absolutely nothing. Only regular people are forced to make money by the sweat of their brow; privileged people like Romney make money off of money.

Also not surprising is that in 2010, Romney paid taxes on his income ($21.7 million) at a rate (13.9 percent) less than one-half of the rate paid by most of the rest of us.

But possible future first lady Ann Romney attempted to put all this in perspective the other day when she told a Florida audience, “I want to remind you where we know our riches are. Our riches are with our families.”

Yeah, right, lady. It’s obvious Mrs. Romney is even more out of touch with the real world than her husband.

E. MICHAEL ERVIN
Grand Junction

Serving in the military changes a person

Regarding Don McBee’s letter “Don’t judge marines by civilian standards” in the letters section on Jan 24, 2012: I have tried for several days to write a letter with the hope I could make the average, person never charged with protecting our freedom, understand the transition a young person goes through in a combat zone. Don McBee has done that in a way even the laymen should be able to understand. Mr. McBee, I thank you and I salute you, sir.

GEORGE BUTCHER
Delta

Bishop once again shows his compassion

The Jan. 25 article about Tillie Bishop’s position supporting in-state college tuition for resident children of immigrants here illegally showed again Tillie’s compassion for his fellow human beings combined with his long history of acting in our state’s best interests. Way to go Tillie, we appreciate you.

CHUCK BUSS
Grand Junction

Flat tax would eliminate capital-gains tax rates

Mitt Romney paid the federal government over $6 million in taxes last year. Most of this money had already been taxed at the corporate level as well. The president still wants to take more, and The Daily Sentinel editorial argues that Romney’s tax rate may help the president make his case. How much more is fair?

The president inadvertently is actually making a stronger argument for a flat tax, where every taxpayer pays the same percentage of income. A flat tax would be fair for all taxpayers, without dividing and classifying us into separate groups. But the President opposes that. 

The reality is that the president has an insatiable appetite to spend, borrow and tax too much. Barack Obama added over $5 trillion in national debt without much of anything to show for it. 

The President has shown no desire to make government leaner, smarter and more efficient. He doesn’t have an argument to take more of our money. Instead, President Obama should send Mitt Romney a thank-you note for his $6 million contribution.

ALEX CHAFFETZ
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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Richard Arnold - You said, “The media, papers and newscasters keep saying that he is paying less in taxes — they don’t want to say that he is paying far more in dollars to the U.S. Treasury.”

Would you please be specific as to what “paying far more in dollars to the U.S. Treasury” (other than taxes) actually means? What is he paying the treasury for?

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