Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I'm Rooting for Romney. Really.

It seems Mitt Romney has won the Republican primary in Michigan, defeating Rick Santorum in a close race.

As a Democrat who is going to vote for Barack Obama in the fall (a pointless action in red-state Oklahoma!), I am glad to see him win.

While I understand the Michael Moore Operation Hilarity perspective, I think having Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate for president keeps a lot of issues that I would consider important on the front burner.  Issues like privilege and wealth and income inequality.  With Mitt Romney as a candidate, allies of Barack Obama will be making arguments that the system that rewards the wealthy at the expense of the 99% will be perpetuated and strengthened under a Romney administration.  We will get to continue asking questions like, "why is it fair that Mitt Romney pays an effective 14% tax rate when those who make a tenth of what he makes pay almost twice what he does?" and "why was it logical for Mitt Romney to be against the GM bailouts but for the bank bailouts?"

We may also get to hear debates about policies long taken for granted, like "why should capital gains be taxed lower than wages; has this economic theory been proven?" and "what is the cost/benefit of a government's increasing regulation in terms of the overall welfare of its citizens?"

This is in addition to the fact that Mitt Romney is an unlikable candidate.  He does not inspire that warm fuzzy Reaganesque feeling in his fellow Republicans.  He inspires more of the McCain/Dole/Kerry "hold your nose and pull the lever" feeling that has lost elections in the past.  He has been saying all the right things for Republicans in this primary, but many Republicans don't believe that he means them.  He has an inauthenticity problem.  Although it's not entirely true.  I have no doubt that he really does have friends who are NASCAR team owners, and that he really does believe that "corporations are people."

And if I'm wrong and Barack Obama loses?  The consequences of a Republican victory in November are less dire with Mitt Romney than with Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul.  Romney has flipped before, and he is perceived as one who would flip again.  And even if his electorate holds him to his word in the campaign, his campaign has for the most part been perceived as more moderate than his fellow Republicans.  Did he say he'd get rid of Obamacare on day one of his presidency?  Maybe.  Do I think he's going to actually do it?  No. 

So, all in all, I'm feeling pretty good about the 2012 presidential election.  And that feeling will carry me all the way to 2016, when our nation will elect President Marco Rubio to the first of his two terms. 

6 comments:

Bryan said...

We will get to continue asking questions like, "why is it fair that Mitt Romney pays an effective 14% tax rate when those who make a tenth of what he makes pay almost twice what he does?"

Romney's effective tax rate is very probably much higher than 14 percent. I don't know why he allows the impression (can't help it being from Massachusetts?). The CBO calculated effective tax rates for those with the highest incomes. They're high because much of the income is double-taxed at the corporate level.

More importantly, fairness isn't the point of a tax system, or shouldn't be. If you disagree then you're in favor of legislating morality. :-)

Bryan said...

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/57xx/doc5746/08-13-effectivefedtaxrates.pdf

Steve said...

Corporate taxes get passed along not only to the shareholders of companies, but also the consumers of the products as well as to the company's employees. Capital gains don't come entirely from the same pool of corporate income that gets taxed anyways. And arguing that corporate taxes are unfair because of double taxation is like arguing that a sales tax is unfair because of double taxation of income.

One thing you're very good at, Bryan, is framing a debate so that there are only two mutually-exclusive choices. Either I believe taxes shouldn't include anything about fairness, or I believe that the government has the right to legislate morality. I think this is a false choice. I think the government has the right to create economic incentives for activity that is beneficial to society and that hasn't been achieved by the private sector, and also that the poor ought to pay less as a percentage of their income than the rich. I don't think one would conjure up an image of a progressive taxation scheme when one hears the words "legislating morality," but if that's what you want to call it, fine.

Bryan said...

Corporate taxes get passed along not only to the shareholders of companies, but also the consumers of the products as well as to the company's employees.

If you look at the CBO's charts they take that into account.

(A)rguing that corporate taxes are unfair because of double taxation is like arguing that a sales tax is unfair because of double taxation of income.

Perhaps, but the argument here simply concerns effective tax rates. The federal government is getting that cut from corporations and it directly affects the net income of people like Romney.

One thing you're very good at, Bryan, is framing a debate so that there are only two mutually-exclusive choices.

Fairness and utility are not mutually exclusive in a tax system. But only one can be the point of the tax system. And if fairness is the point then the tax system is legislating morality. Didn't know it was a debate, btw. I didn't really expect you to respond. :-)
I think we actually agree about the point of the tax system, though I expect we'd disagree about the means of achieving the goal.

(I)f [legislating morality i]s what you want to call it, fine.

You described the goal of fairness as an "ought." That's the normal way of describing a moral value. QED. The point shouldn't really be controversial. All laws are moral precepts at some level. People come up with laws essentially because "there oughta be a law!" We mainly object when the law adversely affects us or when we think the morality is from a religion. I just think it's amusing that people object to legislating morality, almost as though there should be some law against it since it's wrong to legislate morality. ;-)

Unknown said...

Steve, you're an idiot, thinking that Obama has all the solutions. He doesn't care about you, and he too is paying only the 14% you are referring to, and don't think for a moment that he is going to willingly pony up more money in taxes. He won't abide by his tax suggestions for the rich, he will make an exeption for himself. Nor will he go on the healthcare plan he is pushing for. If it is so great, why doesn't he and all the senators go on the plan. They won't! If he truly wants what best for all, then why does he exclude himself for all that he proposes? Open your eyes, and stop worshiping a guy that doesn't care two cents about you.

Steven said...

Ooh, a troll!!!