Friday, May 11, 2012

Blame It On The People

Richard Mourdock wasted no time.

Fresh off toppling veteran conservative Senator Richard Lugar in the GOP primary on Tuesday, Mourdock (as reported by Think Progress) told a town hall meeting in Columbus City, Indiana

what he meant by that was that slavery was either going to be totally eliminated from the United States or it was no longer just going to be restricted to the Southern states, it was going to go everywhere. I am here to suggest to you that we are in a house divided. You know this past April, when our federal taxes were paid, 47 percent — 47 percent — of all American households paid no income tax. In fact, half of that 47 percent almost, actually got tax money back from the government that they never paid -– because a few years ago we revised the welfare program to make it part of the tax code.   When 47 percent are paying no income taxes — they do pay Social Security — but they are not paying income taxes, and 53 percent are carrying the load, we are a house divided.

The good news:   Mourdock acknowledged that these citizens pay Social Security.      The bad news (aside from the strained, offensive analogy to slavery):   Mourdock didn't mention they pay also some Medicare, as part of the FICA, other federal taxes, and a multitude of state and/or local taxes.    

And of course the Senate hopeful didn't mention the real freeloaders.        According to a report of Citizens for Tax Justice, from 2008 to 2010, 78 companies paid zero taxes or less at least once.    In 2010 alone, 37 corporations paid no income tax, including State Street Corporation, which paid a rate of -121.0%, getting $885 million back from American taxpayers on $731 million in profit-  a tax rate of negative 121.0%.

Overall, the effective corporate tax rate is at a 40-year low.    Earnings of the Fortune 500 set a record in 2011 as their earnings (a total of $824.5 billion) grew by 16.4% over 2010.       "Big U.S. companies," The Wall Street Journal observed, "have emerged from the deepest recession since World War II more productive, more profitable, and less burdened by debt." Extensive layoffs and greater profit have resulted from an increase of $40,000 in annual revenue generated per worker over the last five years.

Republicans whine about average Americans not paying federal income tax, blaming individuals and couples with little income; elderly people, because Social Security payments are exempt from federal income taxes; or low-income families benefiting from the child credit, the child care credit, or Ronald Reagan's favorite anti-poverty program, the earned income tax credit.  "The big man plays while the little man plays," sang the late Johnny Paycheck many years ago, a situation enthusiastically pushed by the GOP.  

With the socialist in the White House, corporate profits are at a record high, productivity per worker up; the real corporate tax rate and employment, down.     Still, if you're a Republican, like Richard Mourdock, you get to blame the middle-class while accepting piles of cash from the corporate sector.    Sweet.


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