Originally published January 23 2012
Gingrich as wrong as Obama on tax rate 'most Americans' pay
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Newt Gingrich must have been getting desperate in theRepublican primary,because he took to channeling President Obama. By making an incorrect assertion regarding Romney's federal income tax rate, ostensibly to "prove" how "out-of-touch" the multimillionaire former Massachusetts governor is with ordinary Americans, Gingrich echoed Obama's class-warfare mantra. All he accomplished, in reality, is demonstrating how out of touch he is, both with the tax code and the Americans who pay - and don't pay - income taxes.
On Tuesday, Romney told reporters, in response to goading from rivals and the media about releasing his tax information, that he pays "closer to the 15 percent range than anything." He went on to explain his low rate thusly: The bulk of his income is earned from investments, and investments are taxed at about 15 percent (Congress set the rate purposely low so as to - wait for it - spur more investment, which creates more income, which creates more income taxes, but that's a discussion for another day).
The tactic Gingrich chose to try to make his point, unfortunately, was a familiar one: Paint Romney as a rich, elite "1 percenter" who doesn't understand, and can't relate to, Middle America. Why familiar? Because it's the same class warfare ploy President Obama has used often since before he was even elected as a way to divide and conquer the masses.
Only, Gingrich's assertion is as wrong as Obama's. Quite simply, the 15-percent rate Romney is paying just happens to be a lot more than what the vast majority of Americans pay in income taxes. Indeed, in about half of U.S. households (46 percent according to the IRS) Romney's rate is 100 percent higher because those households don't pay any federal income taxes.
It's disgraceful enough to hear the president of the United States use such a divisive tactic to keep the country in a perpetual state of class warfare - especially in a nation that has so richly rewarded him and his own family, and especially since he ran in 2008 as the great uniter.
But perhaps the greatest crime here isn't the petty, partisan political posturing going on - it's the destruction of a truth that few in the media bother to notice and even fewer bother to explain. In their zeal to paint successful people as the enemy, too many of our leaders, media outlets and so-called "news organizations" fail to understand the long-term damage such portrayals do not only to the national dialogue but to our psyche about who we are as a people and, more importantly, who we want to be. It used to be Americans looked up to, encouraged and tried to emulate the kind of success achieved by men and women of Romney's socioeconomic status; nowadays, we have an entire cottage industry of politicians and pundits who foster envy and distrust of those who are accomplished, as if it is inherently bad or evil to want to succeed. If you listen closely, you can probably hear Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin laughing in their graves.
Gingrich's populist attempt at making Romney look like a greedy rich guy who doesn't "pay his fair share" of taxes will probably resonate in many circles because it is a tactic designed to play to our base suspicions, fears and jealousies about those who have more than we do. But that still won't make the comparison accurate. As a result, though, I can't decide what Gingrich should be more ashamed about - being an echo chamber for Obama's class-warfare-ism or just being wrong about who is really paying the bulk of income taxes in America.
Truth be told, Newt, it's guys like you, Obama and Mitt Romney, not Joe Sixpack.
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