Friday, August 12, 2011

An Obamite response to Romney's "Corporations are people"

I've never presumed to script my own fantasy speeches for politicians I support -- especially Barack Obama, who, we tend to forget at this low point, has written a few good ones.  But what the hell...I found myself imagining Obama being asked to respond to Mitt Romney's response to a liberal questioner at an Iowa event yesterday --
"Corporations are people, my friend..Of course they are...Everything corporations earn goes to people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? People's pockets. Human beings, my friend."
-- and started vocalizing a doubtless overly nuanced and prolix response  -- sort of like Obama's in press conferences.  So here it is: 

"Of course corporations are composed of people, and of course all the money they earn go into people's pockets. The question is, whose pockets, and in what proportions?  We've gone from a world 30 years ago in which CEOs earned 30 times what they average worker earns to a world in which they earn 300 times as much. Part of that shift is due to injustices in the tax code -- massive tax cuts for the rich that allow them to pay less than their fair share.

Now, it's also true that if you overtax corporations, you run the risk of killing, or weakening, the golden goose, the engine of job growth. We have a Swiss cheese tax code in which corporations pay a higher marginal rate than those in most developed countries -- but in practice pay less, because there's so many specialized tax breaks. Since the 2008 campaign, I've expressed my support for corporate tax reform that lowers that corporate income tax rate while closing those loopholes. In fact, we want to do the same thing for the individual tax code  - close loopholes, lower rates, and in the process raise enough new revenue to support a sustainable deficit reduction plan that won't gut essential services like Medicare and Medicaid.  The additional revenue would come mainly from the wealthy, who have done so well in recent years and had their taxes cut so radically by George Bush.  But that's anathema to the Republicans. Their mantra is you can never raise taxes, no matter how radically you've cut them or how large the national debt is.

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