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taxdodgers.jpgOn Thursday, July 12th, after addressing a group from the NAACP, presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney made the following stunning statement:

"If you’re looking for free stuff you don't have to pay for? Vote for the other guy, that's what he';s all about, okay? That's not, that's not what I'm about."
1. That statement is grossly offensive.
2. He's dead wrong. He is the guy who's all about giving away free stuff ... to millionaires and billionaires!

Welfare for the Wealthy costs this country trillions of dollars a year, both in government handouts to Mitt Romney and his wealthy elite friends, and subsidies paid to billion dollar corporations and industries. Mitt Romney is actually asking us to elect him, in part, precisely because he wants to further increase the Welfare payments the wealthy are already receiving.

Follow us below the squiggly to see how deeply conservative Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) described this affront in his scathing report titled, "Subsidies of the Rich & Famous," when he appears to have either gotten a pang of conscience or went off-script (emphasis ours):

The government safety net has been cast far and wide, with almost half of all American households now receiving some form of government assistance. But most taxpayers will be asking why when they learn who is receiving what.

From tax write-offs for gambling losses, vacation homes, and luxury yachts to subsidies for their ranches and estates, the government is subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Multimillionaires are even receiving government checks for not working. This welfare for the well-off – costing billions of dollars a year – is being paid for with the taxes of the less fortunate, many who are working two jobs just to make ends meet, and IOUs to be paid off by future generations.

This is not an accidental loophole in the law. To the contrary, this reverse Robin Hood style of wealth redistribution is an intentional effort to get all Americans bought into a system where everyone appears to benefit. ...
Got that? Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans who are touting his tax scheme are intentionally deceiving you into thinking that Welfare for the Wealthy benefits everyone.

It does not. Tom Coburn again:

The government’s social safety net, which has long existed to catch those who are down and help them get back up, is now being used as a hammock by some millionaires, some who are paying less taxes than average middle class families. Comprehensive information on the full range of government benefits enjoyed by millionaires has never been collected previously. This report provides the first such compilation. What it reveals is sheer Washington stupidity with government policies pampering the wealthy costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year.
This is a partial list of the largesse that Senator Coburn is calling Welfare for the Wealthy*, and that Mitt Romney wants to force the rest of us to keep doling out:
  • $74 million in unemployment checks to people who report an AGI of at least $1,000,000 in the same year they collect those benefits.
  • $21 billion in gambling losses.
  • $9 billion in Social Security Retirement Benefits.
  • $316 million in farm subsidies.
  • $89 million for preservation of ranches and estates.
  • $75.6 million in residential energy tax credits.
  • $18.15 million in child care tax credits.
  • $7.5 million to compensate for damages caused by emergencies to property that should have been insured.

So our political leaders need to start calling this what it is every time they open their mouths to talk about it, and so do you.


It isn't "tax breaks" for the wealthy, it's Welfare for the Wealthy.

And it needs to stop. It's unconscionable that we as a country should have to bathe the already super rich with billions of taxpayer dollars. They don't need Welfare and if we want to thrive as a nation and put a dent in our debt, these Wealthy Welfare Kings need to let go of the government apron strings and learn how to support themselves on their own income and stop taking ours away from us (because that's what taxes are: the country's income for doing the job that we hire it to do).

"The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see, in some Resolutions of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance against giving Congress a Power to take, as they call it, the People's Money out of their Pockets, tho' only to pay the Interest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They seem to mistake the Point. Money, justly due from the People, is their Creditors' Money, and no longer the Money of the People, who, if they withold it, should be compell'd to pay by some Law

"All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it." ~ Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father

*If you have an issue with the inclusion of any of the items on this list as "Welfare for the Wealthy," take it up with Tom Coburn, who classified them as such — we may or may not agree.

Now read how to address the 40-Year-Long Stagnant Worker Wages problem in America »

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

    by jillwklausen on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 11:19:53 AM PDT

  •  re: gambling losses: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kestrel9000, vgranucci

    So, I walk into a casino, put $10 down and win another $10.  I then $10 and walk out of the casino w/ the same $10 I walked in with.

    Under the current system, my taxable income is $0.  If we eliminate the loss deduction, I'm taxed on $10.  That hardly seems fair.

    •  Too bad. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jillwklausen, elizabethawilke

      Casual gamblers are allowed to report just the net winnings from a gambling session; professional gamblers report their gambling losses as Schedule C business expenses.
      The $21 billion given away in deduction for gambling losses refers to allowing casual gambling net losses on Schedule A (itemized deductions), the same as medical expenses and mortgages.

      The moral argument is that we allow itemized deductions for behavior and expenses that are necessary for survival or beneficial to society, and gambling losses aren't appropriate.

      Our cause: a More Perfect Union

      by Roby NJ on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:12:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Roby gambling losses are restricted (0+ / 0-)

        The inclusion of gambling losses on this list is disingenuous. You can only deduct gambling losses to the extent that you have gambling income. It is NOT a deduction against earned or investment income. Here is a section out of an IRS publication on this topic.  

        "You may deduct gambling losses only if you itemize deductions. However, the amount of losses you deduct may not be more than the amount of gambling income reported on your return."

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:32:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Uh, that's what I'm saying (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elizabethawilke

          Net winnings (losses) are everything you win minus what you lost in a day.

          The other commenter was implying that he'd have to pay taxes on $10 won even if he lost the $10 before he left the casino. That's not true.

          The moral case for eliminating the ability to claim aggregated net losses as Schedule A itemized deductions is that it's just too bad, your problem, if you went to the casino and lost on most of the days you went. You still have to pay income taxes for the days you came out ahead. If the $21 billion figure is correct (those are Coburn's numbers), that's the cost of the schedule A deductions on tax revenue. Yes, the total schedule A deductions cannot exceed total reported gambling income, but that's not at issue.

          Does that help?

          Our cause: a More Perfect Union

          by Roby NJ on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:16:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Roby, it's not a daily event (0+ / 0-)

            The IRS allows you to calculate this on a tax year basis. There is no requirement that it there is a daily calculation. However, you have to keep very detailed, believable records likely backed up with chip purchase and redemption records at the casinos. I am not a gambler so I am just going by the IRS documents and what I have read in the past.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:31:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wouldn't make sense (0+ / 0-)

              Then it wouldn't make any sense to have a gambling loss deduction at all, since they can't report losses greater than wins anyway.

              All wins over certain thresholds are reported by casinos to IRS so gambler has to enter as income, regardless of whether they came out in the red for the year.

              That's why casual gamblers want to continue to be able to list their aggregated daily losses on itemized deductions.

              Our cause: a More Perfect Union.

              by Roby NJ on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:17:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The problem with the economy (4+ / 0-)

    ... is that rich people don't have enough money.  Therefore, to fix the economy we have to give rich people more money.  That's why they have to have their taxes lowered, even though most of them don't pay any anyway.

    The Fed, you ask?  Why look over there -- Halley's comet!!!

    Republican fiscal policy in a nutshell.

    Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. --- Howard Zinn

    by Dallasdoc on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 11:33:29 AM PDT

  •  Social Security (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, cardinal, coffeetalk

    is based on the premise that if you pay in, you can take out when you retire. Not so sure I want to change that to a needs based program.

    "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."--Will Rogers

    by vgranucci on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 11:34:33 AM PDT

    •  Remember the list comes from a teabagger (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cardinal

      As a general matter, we want people - even rich people! - to use green technology in their houses, so why would we get rid of the energy efficiency credits?

      •  Rich people will put in energy efficient systems (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elizabethawilke

        with or without the tax "incentives" to do so, because they are the "latest and greatest" in the building industry, it is the hoity-toity "thing to do," or they found a cool gadget they want to show off.  They don't DO this stuff FOR the tax credits, but they take advantage of them anyway.

        They aren't the ones who need the tax breaks as an encouragement to actually make the changes to energy efficiency.

        Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

        by jillwklausen on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:13:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  jill - it's a bad list (0+ / 0-)

          I understand it's not yours, but it is a terrible list. First we have 130+ MILLION tax filers so any number that is in the millions is peanuts from a federal tax perspective. The two numbers that are in the billions are both suspect.

          Gambling losses can only be declared up to the amount of gambling earnings. If you have to declare your gambling winnings as taxable income surely it is only fair that you can offset your gambling losses. Gambling losses are NOT deductible from wages, salary, investment or any other kind of income except gambling income.

          We have never had a means test for Social Security and the amount that high income earners receive is the same as any other employee who has 40 quarters at the annual cap at the time of their employment. There is nothing unfair about that and it is clearly in line with FDR's philosophy that SocSec should never be seen as a redistribution program but rather one where you earned a benefit through your contributions and those of your employers. As coffeetalk has noted in this thread the rich actually receive the poorest return on their SocSec contributions.  

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:43:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't like or trust the list either, but (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elizabethawilke, VClib

            It does represent some welfare for the wealthy largesse from we the people that aren't justified, i.e. UI.

            And let's clarify that schedule A deductions are not offsets per se. Schedule A now allows itemized deductions for casual gamblers, giving them equivalent standing to mortgage interest and excessive medical expenses. Coburn's moral argument is precisely that it is not in society's interests to allow the casual gambler's losses to be included. Schedule A deductions are not for balancing profit and loss -- they have social meaning. And for probably the only time in my life, I agree with a conservative. I see no unfairness.
            Professional gamblers have it different, they can defuct all losses as well as travel expenses etc. as Schedule C business expenses. I think the only restriction is not able to carry over losses to subsequent years.

            Our cause: a More Perfect Union

            by Roby NJ on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:56:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Roby - I was unaware of the IRS change (0+ / 0-)

              on gambling losses. Do you have the new code and when it was changed? I always thought that gambling losses could only offset gambling income.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:35:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No change. This is how it is. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                The moral argument is that they have to pay taxes on their wins, and shouldn't get to deduct ANY of their losses.

                One day you go and win big, cash out $10K -- that's income you gotta pay taxes on. You go the rest of the year and by the end lose $15K, right now you can at least list $10K of that on schedule A. (Losses filed on schedule A can't exceed wins filed on 1040).

                Coburn is saying casual gamblers shouldn't even be able to list that $10K on itemized deductions. I agree.

                Our cause: a More Perfect Union.

                by Roby NJ on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:22:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  OK thanks (0+ / 0-)

                  That's what I thought, and matches the code that I found when I was looking for a source document. My view is that if you can only take documented losses when you have taxable gambling gains that it is structured in an equitable manner. It would be unfair to tax only gains, but not allow losses to offset them. However, you would probably need to keep very detailed records regarding your losses which would be easy for something like sports betting in Nevada where you have a ticket for each bet and a verifiable outcome. It would be much harder for table games.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:47:51 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  The rich take out of SS WAY more than they put in (3+ / 0-)

      Because everyone does, which is the point of letting the government take a small amount out of our paychecks to "invest" for us so we can withdraw larger payments upon retirement.

      Except that the rich only pay into the Social Security program up to the first 108K of any salary they earn.

      Do they need those Social Security benefits to survive like the middle and working class folks do? Of course not! But Republicans want to SLASH THOSE PROGRAMS for the people who ACTUALLY NEED them without acknowledging that one thing they could do to make the program more solvent is make the people who are drawing OUT of it, pay INTO it on all their income, not just some of it.

      Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

      by jillwklausen on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:10:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. That's wrong. the "rich" take out less, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        proportionately.

        If you earn $109,000 (I think that's the cap) and you earn $250,000, you pay taxes on $109,000 and -- this is important -- you get the exact same amount in retirement income regardless of what you earned above $109,000.  Your retirement benefits are based on what income you "insure" -- pay taxes on -- NOT on what income you earn.  

        And, here's why the "rich" get less.  The payout proportion is higher at low incomes.  Someone who "insures" (pays taxes on) $50,000 gets a higher percentage of that in retirement benefits than someone who "insures" (pays taxes on) $109,000.

        Lower incomes get back more of what they pay in than higher incomes.  The amount you can "insure" stops at $109,000 -- but the payouts do, too.

        That's why FDR designed it that way -- he expressly wanted it to be a "you get what you paid for" (slightly more beneficial at low incomes) so it could not be designated as welfare.

        •  Okay dude, I'm not going to argue numbers with (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elizabethawilke

          you.

          Nobody gets out exactly what they put in or we'd all STARVE on SS.

          We put in $X and take out $X+Y.

          The bottom line is, this isn't OUR list, it's Republican Senator Tom Coburn's list of what HE is calling "Welfare for the Wealthy."

          Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

          by jillwklausen on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:39:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Oh Mitt of the Quiet Rooms why do you hate Amercia (0+ / 0-)

    My little mash-up ~

    Obama:

    If you’re  the 1% looking for free stuff you don't have to pay for, looking for more subsidies, more handouts, more corporate welfare, vote for other guy. That's what he's all about, okay? That's not, what I'm about.

    You’re Damn Right Obama Cares. Why Doesn’t Romney?. ~HELEN of margaretandhelen.com

    by denig on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:32:20 PM PDT

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