Since Mitt Romney released his tax returns, liberals and Democrats have used him as the focal point of discussion around taxation in America. It’s a fair game when you consider Romney is running for president. Truth is, I’m not shocked he paid less than 15 percent in taxes. If anything, it verified what most of us already believe: rich people have the wherewithal to work the system to pay less in taxes than the rest of us.
Out of curiosity, I ran the numbers on my 2011 income taxes. Turns out I paid 19.9 percent in state and federal taxes. Just like Warren Buffet’s secretary, I paid taxes at a higher rate than the rich people.
People might argue it’s my own fault for paying more than Romney because I don’t earn more money, or I should get more creative when I do my taxes. Well, wouldn’t that be nice?
Look, I’m the average American. I go to work. I pay my bills. I live within my means, try to save a few bucks. And once a year, I do my taxes. I don’t have an accountant, but I’ll spend $50 on TurboTax to file my income taxes.
What’s my point: that’s how most Americans do it. So why does it feel like we, the middle class, are getting hosed when we’re trying to do everything the right way? A guy who made $21 million last year and never lifted anything heavier than piece of paper paid taxes at a lower rate than middle class Americans. The same middle class Americans who live with daily anxiety over their jobs and the prospect of being unemployed at the drop of a hat. These people, like me, paid taxes at a higher rate than Mitt Romney.
This is not a cry for redistribution of wealth, or socialism or anything like that. Rather, this is a cry for fairness. When school systems are getting cut to the bone and our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, we learn the top percent of wage earners also pay less in taxes than us.
Most middle class Americans aren’t even asking for a tax cut (a favorite GOP staple). We’re asking for the one percenters to pay at least what we pay.
It’s time to level the playing field. I could only hope Congressional Democrats and Republicans would have the courage to do what’s right and close the loopholes that favor the one percenters.
A boy can dream, eh?