Feb 2, 2012
It seems more likely than ever that Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate for President. Let’s consider what a Romney presidency would mean to workers.
Over the past year workers across the nation have seen their rights come under attack. In every single one of these fights, Mitt Romney has stood against them. He campaigned in Ohio for SB 5, the assault on public employees' collective bargaining rights that was overturned by voters. When President Obama took a stand against obstructionism and made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, the agency charged with overseeing workers’ rights, Mitt Romney called the appointees “union stooges.” Just recently, Indiana became the first state in over a decade to pass so-called right-to-work legislation. This law will lower wages, decrease benefits and prop up corporate profits at the expense of a worker’s salary and dignity. Mitt Romney, in his support of a national right-to-work bill, sees this law as a model for the entire nation.
Along with supporting a national plan that marginalizes workers, Governor Romney supports repealing the estate tax. This would allow for large familial fortunes, similar to his own, to be passed down from generation to generation without incurring a penny of federal taxes. If there was ever an obvious attempt at pandering to the ultra-wealthy, this would be it. The estate tax only affects people with estates in excess of $5 million ($10 million for couples). In 2011, it’s estimated that a mere 8,600 individuals will be affected by it. Repealing the estate tax simply fuels the fire of income inequality that is squeezing the middle class into poverty.
Then, there’s Mitt Romney’s proposed tax policy. The Economist called his plans “Very progressive, by 15th century standards” and came to the conclusion that “Mr. Romney's tax plans represent a large net transfer from the poor to the rich.” His tax plans call for federal tax rates at the bottom 80% of the income distribution to be lowered between 0.6% and 3.4%. For the top 1%, who already received substantial tax cuts in ’01 and ’03, Romney calls for a staggering 8.6% decrease. This tax plan tilts the economic scale towards a privileged few with the promise that it will all one day trickle down to the masses. The workers don’t want a trickle – they yearn for and deserve a rushing tide of prosperity. This is a tax recipe for a 15th century King and his poor peasants – not a thriving society with equal opportunity.
This election isn’t just about policy making. It’s about the larger forces that shape our society. Mitt Romney and his proposed policies don’t seem to grasp the fact that having a job means so much more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity, respect, and one’s place in the community. It’s about looking at your family and feeling proud of the fact that you’re able to support them and their dreams. Workers aren’t looking for a hand out; they’re looking for a hand up.
If Mitt Romney’s campaign rhetoric and proposals have proved anything, it’s that he has no connection to or understanding of the middle class. He’s out of touch and we need to do everything to ensure he stays out of office.
Posted by Casey at 1:42 PM