A note to President Obama while you’re here in Dayton

Barack, hope and change worked last time. And, yes, you’ve done amazing things in the first 4 years- like the affordable health care plan.

But, we’re still hurting here in Dayton Ohio. This is the Main street you talked about- the one where jobs aren’t what they used to be. Where our homes are losing value because the banks threw our neighbors out, and then the houses had their copper plumbing and wiring stripped bare. We’re the ones who’ve had to pay for $4 a gallon gas while the oil companies made record profits. We’re the ones who continue to see our health care costs rise.

Mitt Romney isn’t the enemy right now. What the enemy is people who’ve lost hope. They aren’t as likely to go out and vote for you as last time.  You’ve failed to clearly talk about what you can do if re-elected. Concrete, clear, concise changes that will make things get better. So, here’s a short crib sheet:

  • Stop corporate welfare through “economic development” tax breaks, job creation breaks, relocation assistance by any government entity lower than the federal level- where all incentives will be available to anyone who qualifies- not just the big donors to campaigns (yes, there is a correlation and we look like a pay to play state). Mitt’s right, government has to stop picking winners and losers.
  • If you want to see small business take off- it’s time to give the GSA a lesson in what’s reasonable for a small business to fill out to do business with the federal government. We need a GSA EZ schedule for true small businesses, $6 million a year or less is a start- but, I’m talking about $1 million or less. 250 pages of paperwork isn’t doing anybody any favors.
  • Speaking of government contracting- we have these areas called HUBzones that are struggling to see investment. How about an innovative way to force investment- unlimited H1B visas for companies that locate offices in these distressed areas- as long as the employees all live in the zone? I think we could eliminate HUBzones a lot faster that way and solve some immigration issues as well.
  • Then there’s Wall Street. It’s time to change the culture upside down. Investing isn’t done in a flash and you don’t invest in a company for 12 seconds. That’s roulette. Either put a transaction tax in place, or tax the hell out of anything held less than a year. And to remove volatility, let’s start with the only tax break on stock holdings is on actual dividends- not on trading values.
  • When it comes to the commodities markets- take the speculators out and shoot them. If you aren’t actually purchasing corn, sugar cane or jet fuel, you can’t bid on it. End of story.
  • Health care is totally screwed up as well. Since when were hospital administrators worth 10x a year more than actual doctors saving lives- and all, while calling their hospitals non-profits? Let’s get honest, if you are a non-profit, you aren’t going to get to skip out on paying property taxes etc and pay your CEO $4 million a year. That’s for profit. It’s 10x what you make. And, don’t tell me a company like CareSource, which is entirely funded with tax dollars should be paying their CEO $3 million a year because they are saving the taxpayers money, the VA doesn’t pay their people that way, and they are doing a much better job with a much less healthy community. Non-profit means non-profit. Let’s get that straight.
  • While you and Mitt keep arguing about tax rates- most of us don’t really believe that’s the enemy. We get taxed plenty and the cuts you make aren’t really as important as reeling in credit card interest rates, bank fees, and when the bank slaps on an insurance policy at 8x the cost of the one you’d have bought had you still had a job.  Tax rates aren’t the problem- the gap between the haves and the have nots is the problem- and it’s time to talk about it in real terms. So- above and beyond, while the poor kids have been off fighting in America’s longest war, the rich haven’t had to sacrifice a thing. They’ve gotten richer by shorting America. Buying up devalued real estate, playing positions on Wall Street than encourage offshoring jobs. This has to stop. It’s pretty simple too- just explain that until unemployment drops below 8% there’s a rich people tax. It can also be in place as long as US men and women are dying protecting their wealth. War used to cost everyone, now, it’s only affecting the poor.

These ideas don’t make for sound bite slogans- or slick promises that can’t be kept like creating millions of jobs (I’m in advertising and we’re not allowed to make claims we can’t back up- you should have to live by those rules).

Anyway- you will be speaking in Island Park in 30 minutes- and I’m not there, because I have to work in my small business that employs 7 people. But, I wish you the best on November 6th. Unfortunately, I can’t believe that we can count on the best man winning, thanks to Citizens United, and us having the best politicians money can buy- but, I hope your backers can out spend Mitt’s people so we might have a chance at not going backwards.

Thanks for reading. Now, go out and talk about specific plans you can implement. I’ve given you some starting points. You’re welcome.

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27 Responses

  1. Robert Vigh October 23, 2012 / 4:09 pm
    Please eliminate the deficit and reduce the debt. Please stop destroying individual freedom with healthcare overhauls. Please stop proclaiming that one person has a right to other people’s work and property.
    I would vote for Obama if he would do these things. But, instead I have to vote for someone I do not like in the hopes that they will do some of these things.
    I mean I really do not like Obama. I have watched the value of our currency fall, with inflation being caged by recession. That entire “I will not raise taxes on people of xyz”….what do you call inflation? What do think is going to happen as the years roll on after we have dramatically increased the money supply? He has essentially taxed us all.
    And the blatant commercials of “Make wealthy people pay more”…………more than the 60% the top 5% already pays and more than the 100% the top 50% of the population pays? Thank Mr. Obama for creating the most divided politics I have seen in my lifetime and placing the hammer on individuals. I am disgusted that I have to vote for a republican instead of wasting it on a libertarian.
     
     

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  2. truddick October 23, 2012 / 6:12 pm
    Robert, I dislike people spreading lies.  The top 1% pays a lower tax rate than the middle or poverty class.  Yes, they nominally pay a higher federal income tax rate (which they often reduce through special loopholes) but people like myself pay a higher percentage by far in property tax, sales tax, excise taxes, FICA taxes.  Honest wealthy people, like Gates, Buffet, Perot, all have confirmed that as the truth.

    Please do not repeat that conservative think tank lie ever again.  It’s unbecoming of any citizen. 

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  3. Bubba Jones October 23, 2012 / 6:41 pm
    Wow, truddick!!  Way to endorse that First Amendment thing!!  That is so becoming of a citizen.

    Since you’re obviously a lot smarter than Robert, can you please tell all of us SPECIFICALLY what “special loopholes” that the wealthy use to reduce their taxes? I’d love to know just how all that loophole stuff works!

    Sure it’s true that “people like myself” might pay a larger percentage of our overall incomes in property, sales, excise and FICA taxes.  But we also pay a larger percentage of our overall incomes in food costs, transportation costs, etc. since those costs are often somewhat fixed.  (Yes, I know that the wealthy drive more expensive cars and will eat in more expensive restaurants.  But we all pay the same price for a gallon of gas or a box of spaghetti at Kroger.)  Are you advocating that our grocery bills should be income based?  I actually did have an idiot once seriously tell me that speeding ticket fines should be based on income since a rich person can afford to pay a $150 speeding ticket more easily than a low income person.

    And while you’re at it, Professor, can you tell us how much revenue (on an annual basis) that restoring tax rates to the Clinton era rates will raise?  And what is that amount expressed as a percentage of the average deficits over the last four years.

    Everything that Robert wrote is true.  If you actually spent some time in private sector instead of hiding in academia, you might realize this. 

    (OK, Robert – I’m going to now compete with you for “bozo votes”! LOL ) 

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  4. John Ise October 23, 2012 / 7:38 pm
    Obama could be better, but compared to Romney, it’s a no-brainier.  Andrew Sullivan nails Romney for what he is, a lying shape-shifter:

     Yes, it’s amazing that a human being can have so few scruples, such an effortless ease with lying, and literally junk his entire program overnight with nary even an explanation. It;s amazing still that polarization in this country would allow evangelicals and Tea Partiers not to start worrying about this chameleon. But this is Romney. He aims to please. He markets “himself” as a product to different demographics. And marketing works, if you are prepared to turn yourself into a soulless, content-free, power-seeking robot.

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  5. Bubba Jones October 23, 2012 / 7:56 pm
    And, once again John comes through with a response that is 90% cut-and-paste from someone else’s thoughts!!  THANKS for sharing, John! :)
     

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  6. John Ise October 23, 2012 / 8:32 pm
    You’rewelcome.

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  7. Dr. Funkenstein October 23, 2012 / 11:00 pm
    Dear Barry, your hoax and crime scam worked last time. You forced those of us that keep our bodies healthy and only use health insurance when we are legitimately sick to be lumped in with those that abuse the system. You brought out a fat black kid and pretended that obamacare was for him when it was written to cash out the pharmaceutical corporations and trail attorneys that got you elected. You then got millions more from health insurance companies because you allowed them to keep 20% of our premiums for themselves and made them even richer by making us buy their products. The decent responsible people are no long going to stand beside the racist black people, racist illegal immigrants, USA hating, Jew hating, Christian hating and women hating Muslims, every Marxist, communist and nazi, labor union criminals, lazy government workers, felons, intentional welfare moms, HS dropouts, drug addicts and sexist women that make your terrible political party their home. Long live the republic! Freedom for our people will come!

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  8. joe_momma October 24, 2012 / 8:28 am
    “Robert, I dislike people spreading lies.  The top 1% pays a lower tax rate than the middle or poverty class.” Truddick
    This is not completely accurate.  The top 1% has a tax rate of 35% on any salary income over $388,350.  Most middle and low income households pay a top marginal rate of 15 or 25% on salary income.  However, most of the top 1%’s income generally comes from investments which are taxed at a lower rate (15%  for a  long term investment – greater than 1 year).
    Unless you are in in the 0% or 10% tax bracket then your tax rate on long term capital gains is 15%, it is essentially a flat tax. 
     
    In short the reason the 1% pays a lower overall tax rate than you is not because of a loophole, its because his income mix is different than you.  The majority of his income comes from investments.  And again…investment income is pretty much a flat tax and the same rate is paid by everyone…

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  9. Robert Vigh October 24, 2012 / 9:20 am
    Truddick,
    I will assume you did not understand what I was saying. The top 5% of the population covers 60% of the total tab. The top 50% covers the entire tab. Roughly half of the populace pays a net 0 in taxes. I was not speaking of actual tax rates.
    Now, let me demonstrate something that is not a lie, but has certainly been twisted this year. Pushing that Romney is some kind of evil rich genius that only pays en effective 14% tax rate. Do you know why that is? It is because he got a huge deduction. Want to know what his huge deduction was? He gave away 30% of his income to charity. Yep, rich people can reduce their effective tax rate by taking enormous deductions by giving their money away.
     
     

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  10. David Lauri October 24, 2012 / 9:31 am
    @Robert Vigh, you have access to Mitt Romney’s tax returns?

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  11. Bubba Jones October 24, 2012 / 9:58 am
    Here’s a February 2012 article from BusinessWeek (hardly a conservative magazine) that supports what Robert is saying.  And, in keeping with John Ise’s fine tradition of cutting and pasting….

    Still, the large amount of cash donations reflects that Romney wasn’t engaged in an aggressive strategy to use charitable contributions to lower his taxes, said Miranda Fleischer, an associate professor of taxation at the University of Colorado Law School.
    “In 2011, about 75 percent of what he gave was in cash and that’s not necessarily the most tax-advantageous method,” she said.

     Have you looked at his tax returns, David L?  Is there anything earth-shattering that you’d like to share with us about them?  If memory serves, his income in 2011 was about $10M less than in 2010.  Cut down by the recession???  Does anybody want to speculate what Romney was trying to hide by not releasing (and apparently filing) his 2011 tax returns until late September of 2012 while the rest of us had to file ours by April 15?? 
    I never cease to be amazed by the fascination with Romney’s wealth that those on the left exhibit.  Of course we all know that the wealthy are evil and greedy.  And this story points out that Romney certainly fits the bill.  This story shows the same thing.  I’m sure there are dozens of other stories along the same lines that the Romney campaign has managed to keep under wraps.

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  12. PizzaBill (Bill Daniels) October 24, 2012 / 3:44 pm
    ECONOMICS & TAXES
    This little story about some beer drinkers explains a lot.  A good lesson for our country.
    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
    The fifth would pay $1.
    The sixth would pay $3.
    The seventh would pay $7.
    The eighth would pay $12.
    The ninth would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

    So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. ‘Since you are all such good customers, he said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’
    They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

    And so:
    The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
    The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

    Each of the six was better off than before and the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

    ‘I only got a dollar out of the $20′, declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,’ but he got $10!’

    ‘Yeah, that’s right’, exclaimed the fifth man. ‘I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!’  ‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man. ‘Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’

    ‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison. ‘We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!’

    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

    The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

    And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

    David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

    For those who understand, no explanation is needed.  For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible. …you are now free to vote.

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  13. John Ise October 24, 2012 / 4:48 pm
    Not sold on Mitt Romney being the ever changing Plastic Man of American Politics?  Check out Multiple Choice Mitt that has him on every side of every issue (146 at last count).  I’m going to paste the link here so Bubba’s head will now explode.
    http://www.multiplechoicemitt.com/

    Not exactly a politician of conviction…

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  14. David Esrati October 24, 2012 / 6:42 pm

    @Bill- the professor is doing a bit of smoke an mirrors with that story. I could do a search and find someone else to debunk it- because I’m sure it’s out there- but, here is the missing part.

    Even those on welfare pay taxes. Yes- they pay rent, even if it’s subsidized- and that rent goes to pay part of the property taxes. If they have a car- they pay gas taxes. When they buy clothes and furniture and other necessities- they pay sales taxes. When they buy $1 burgers from Burger King and eat in- they pay a restaurant tax. If they have a phone- they pay taxes (look at your phone bill sometime). As a percentage of their income- they pay a lot in taxes.

    Even the people you pay $10 an hour at your esteemed and worshiped house of pizza, pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than what most of these arguments are about- much higher.

    And- as to the wealthy taking their money overseas- I’m sure they would love their investments in Lebanon or Syria right now- or in Venezuela when Senor Hugo decides to “nationalize” your business – don’t come crying to me.

    Of course, if we continue to let the gap grow between rich and poor- we’ll end up with class warfare and the only thing left for the poor to eat will be the rich.

    I don’t have a problem with being rich- but being rich when I was growing up and being rich now- are two totally different things. Orders of magnitude. Exponential.

    Wars cost money and lives. The rich need to realize that freedom isn’t free. And- if you want to take your money overseas- take yourself as well. It’s not all that wonderful where the “grass is greener”

    and after writing the above- I looked at Snopes.com and found that your story isn’t properly attributed- nor is it considering all the facts: http://www.snopes.com/business/taxes/howtaxes.asp
    Here is an entertaining link (with obnoxious music) that refutes it: http://www.viralgrapevine.com/how-tax-cuts-work-by-david-r-kamerschen-refuted-the-real-way-tax-work-removing-the-internet-garbage/

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  15. Allison October 24, 2012 / 8:43 pm
    Screw it, I’m voting for Pizza Bill.

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  16. David Lauri October 24, 2012 / 9:33 pm
    Wait, is Pizza Bill moving the Pizza Factory and South Park Tavern to Galt’s Gulch?

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  17. PizzaBill (Bill Daniels) October 24, 2012 / 10:27 pm
    David Lauri:  Love the Atlas Shrugged reference, and many of you comments.  We have to have a beer or soda sometime.
    David E:  We’re talking about federal income tax in the post.  And I agree that “wars cost money and lives” and I’ll go on to say that they are a tremendous waste of resources- both economic and human- but such is the world we live in, which is horrible.  And my post had nothing to do with your “war” digression.
    It’s more than a bit disingenuous when people drive around with bumper stickers that say “I Payed More In Taxes Than Mitt”.  Right.  How many millions did they pay?
     

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  18. bobby October 24, 2012 / 11:46 pm
    “Yea -they pay rent, even if it’s subsidized-and that part of the rent goes to pay property taxes.”  This is correct if they are living in Section 8 housing. It is incorrect if recipients are living in housing projects owned by the former DMHA or non profits.

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  19. John Ise October 25, 2012 / 12:44 pm
    The Washington Post endorsed Obama but hits some on-point notes on Romney that I’ve…wait-for-it…copied and pasted here:

    The sad answer is there is no way to know what Mr. Romney really believes. His unguarded expression of contempt for 47 percent of the population seems as sincere as anything else we’ve heard, but that’s only conjecture. At times he has advocated a muscular, John McCain-style foreign policy, but in the final presidential debate he positioned himself as a dove. Before he passionately supported a fetus’s right to life, he supported a woman’s right to abortion. His swings have been dramatic on gay rights, gun rights, health care, climate change and immigration. His ugly embrace of “self-deportation” during the Republican primary campaign, and his demolition of a primary opponent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for having left open a door of opportunity for illegal-immigrant children, bespeaks a willingness to say just about anything to win. Every politician changes his mind sometimes; you’d worry if not. But rarely has a politician gotten so far with only one evident immutable belief: his conviction in his own fitness for higher office.

    So voters are left with the centerpiece of Mr. Romney’s campaign: promised tax cuts that would blow a much bigger hole in the federal budget while worsening economic inequality. His claims that he could avoid those negative effects, which defy math andwhich he refuses to back up with actual proposals, are more insulting than reassuring.

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  20. Hall October 25, 2012 / 4:16 pm
    “It’s more than a bit disingenuous when people drive around with bumper stickers that say “I Payed More In Taxes Than Mitt”.  Right.  How many millions did they pay?”

    It’s amazing how people put so much weight into a percentage when they clearly don’t have a clue what it means anymore. I wonder how many people can tell you how much a $10 pizza will cost them if you give them a 20% discount !!

    I debated Mitt’s 14-15% tax rate vs an average person’s tax rate (let’s say it’s 20%) and asked “who paid more in taxes?” and the response is often “not Mitt!”. When you explain how much 14-15% ends up in a dollar figure, they don’t believe it !! They think “that can’t be right!”.

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  21. Donald Phillips October 26, 2012 / 1:33 pm
    You poor free market visionaries. Moloch has enchained you to mundanity. But you’re right. Get the guv’ment off our backs. Dismantle civil society. Commodify everything. Hire Pinkertons to enforce it.
      
    What this nation needs is is a good five dollar cigar and more free market fetishism!  

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  22. David Lauri October 30, 2012 / 9:32 am
    Robert Vigh points out that “rich people [like Romney] can reduce their effective tax rate by taking enormous deductions by giving their money away.” Bloomberg News reports that Romney really knows how to manage his taxes.  See “Romney Avoids Taxes via Loophole Cutting Mormon Donations“:

    In 1997, Congress cracked down on a popular tax shelter that allowed rich people to take advantage of the exempt status of charities without actually giving away much money.
    Individuals who had already set up these vehicles were allowed to keep them. That included Mitt Romney, then the chief executive officer of Bain Capital, who had just established such an arrangement in June 1996.
    Romney used the tax-exempt status of a charity — the Mormon Church, according to a 2007 filing — to defer taxes for more than 15 years. At the same time he is benefiting, the trust will probably leave the church with less than what current law requires, according to tax returns obtained by Bloomberg this month through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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  23. joe_momma October 30, 2012 / 1:38 pm
    “Robert Vigh points out that “rich people [like Romney] can reduce their effective tax rate by taking enormous deductions by giving their money away.” Bloomberg News reports that Romney really knows how to manage his taxes.  See “Romney Avoids Taxes via Loophole Cutting Mormon Donations“: – DL

    Good one.  Trust establishment is hardly just for the rich and famous.  It’s basic blocking and tackling for any financial planner now.  My wife’s school district provided a financial planning seminar for teachers with UBS and they spent quite a bit of time covering trusts.
     
    And hey…they aren’t just for the rich “right”….socialists love them some CRTs too….
     
    http://www.npr.org/about/support/majorgifts.html
    http://www.peta.org/donate/ways-to-support-peta/Charitable-Remainder-Trusts.aspx
    http://my.rainforest-alliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=2010_donationpage_estateplanning
    http://greenpeace.givingplan.net/pp/giving-through-charitable-remainder-trusts/3066

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  24. Diane October 30, 2012 / 2:50 pm
    Yes, Joe! I’m a single parent, definitely no where near “rich,” but even lowly I have a family trust. What’s the big deal?

    I don’t understand why the left insists on demonizing anyone possessing some financial savy as if they’re the devil incarnate. If a person lacks the intelligence or the initiative to figure out how to legally apply US tax code to his or her advantage, how is that my fault? Romney’s fault? Republicans’ fault?

    David Lauri – “Robert Vigh points out that “rich people [like Romney] can reduce their effective tax rate by taking enormous deductions by giving their money away.” Bloomberg News reports that Romney really knows how to manage his taxes.”

    So? Is Romney breaking any laws? Do you expect him to volunteer to pay more in income taxes than he is legally required to pay? Do you pay more every April 15th out of the goodness of your heart? I fnot, then why the double standard? 

    If you don’t like the current tax laws which permit these loopholes, deductions, credits and the like, which I agree are complicated and unfair in many respects, then take it up with your state representative, congressman or the IRS. 

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  25. John Ise October 31, 2012 / 11:12 am
    So Romney comes to Dayton for a political rally and after Sandy’s devestation turns it into a “relief rally”.  He bags canned goods for the photo op and then skedaddles.  Akll the while fleeing questions about closing down FEMA, privatizing its functions, and calling disaster relief “immoral”. 

    Ya Know, F-You Mitt Romney.  

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