Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney and the "taker class"

I'll let the national media and sensationalist bloggers hash out Gov Romney's statements about the "taker class." But just so we're all on the same page, here is what he said-
“These are people who pay no income tax,” but they are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” 

I'm going to jump right ahead to where this argument will inevitably lead (once the mainstream media has finished their attack and decided to actually discuss the issue) (also known as when MSNBC and Fox News have found something else to talk about). 

The real question at the bottom of all this will be whether or not you think/feel/believe that someone who is on welfare should have to pay taxes.

On one hand there is the argument that if they are on welfare that obviously they cannot afford to pay taxes. 
Counterargument to that is could they get by if they didn't have to pay taxes and the welfare was removed? Or what if the precise dollar amount of the owed taxes was subtracted from the welfare payment? Could they get by then? 

There is also the argument of the free lunch. If taxes were removed and the welfare given, exactly what incentive is there ever for the recipient to find work? Why would they want to end the free lunch?

I admit that when I first lost my job a few years back that it came as a very rude awakening that I would be taxed for my unemployment benefits/insurance (UI). After all, I had paid taxes for years that entitled me to the UI. After all those years of paying taxes I was barely getting enough in UI to get by. And now they expected me to pay the same amount of taxes on the UI? It seemed contradictory to me to say the least. Take money from the government just to give money to the government? Senseless!

Except I never felt I was "taking" money from the government. The real answer comes just before that statement. "All those years of paying taxes." I had earned my UI. Every year since I was 14 years old I have had to pay taxes on my income. I've paid state and federal taxes for a very long time. The way I saw it, I was cashing out what I had put in to the system. I had helped contribute to the safety net. 

It still makes little sense to me to have to pay taxes on what is essentially the pay out of my taxes. But there is a big difference between welfare and unemployment insurance. I never qualified for welfare. (After all I am an able-bodied, single, adult, Caucasian female, with no dependents. They don't provide welfare to that category.) I only qualified for the part of the system I contributed to. But the welfare system is for those people who haven't contributed, who don't collect unemployment. 

Should those people be taxed? Should the poorer class be taxed? Or should the working or upper classes have to pay taxes to support them?

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