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Robert Reich
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Friday 21 September 2012
“Romney just released his 2011 tax returns, showing he paid $1.9 million in taxes on more than $13 million of income last year — for an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent.”

What Mitt Romney Really Represents

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It’s not just his giant income or the low tax rates he pays on it. And it’s not just the videotape of him berating almost half of America, or his endless gaffes, or his regressive budget policies.

It’s something that unites all of this, and connects it to the biggest underlying problem America faces — the unprecedented concentration of wealth and power at the very top that’s undermining our economy and destroying our democracy.

Romney just released his 2011 tax returns, showing he paid $1.9 million in taxes on more than $13 million of income last year — for an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent. (He released his 2010 return in January, showing he paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent.)

America has had hugely wealthy presidents before — think of Teddy Roosevelt and his distant cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt; or John F. Kennedy, beneficiary of father Joe’s fortune.

But here’s the difference. These men were champions of the working class and the poor, and were considered traitors to their own class. Teddy Roosevelt railed against the “malefactors of great wealth,” and he busted up the oil and railroad trusts.

FDR thundered against the “economic royalists,” raised taxes on the wealthy, and gave average working people the right to form unions — along with Social Security, unemployment insurance, a minimum wage, and a 40-hour workweek.

But Mitt Romney is not a traitor to his class. He is a sponsor of his class. He wants to cut their taxes by $3.7 trillion over the next decade, and hasn’t even specified what “loopholes” he’d close to make up for this gigantic giveaway.

And he wants to cut benefits that almost everyone else relies on — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and housing assistance.

He’s even a warrior for his class, telling his wealthy followers his job isn’t to worry about the “47 percent” of Americans who won’t vote for him, whom he calls “victims” and he berates for not paying federal incomes taxes and taking federal handouts.

(He mangles these facts, of course. Almost all working Americans pay federal taxes — and the federal taxes that have been rising fastest for most people are Social Security payroll taxes, which aren’t collected on a penny of income over $110,100. Moreover, most of the “47 percent” whom he accuses of taking handouts are on Medicare or Social Security — the biggest “entitlement” programs — which, not incidentally, they paid into during their working lives.)

Money means power. Concentrated wealth at the top means extraordinary power at the top. The reason Romney pays a rate of only 14 percent on $13 million of income in 2011 — a lower rate than many in the middle class — is because he exploits a loophole that allows private equity managers to treat their income as capital gains, taxed at only 15 percent. 

And that loophole exists solely because private equity and hedge fund managers have so much political clout — as a result of their huge fortunes and the money they’ve donated to political candidates — that neither party will remove it. 

In other words, everything America is learning about Mitt Romney — his tax returns, his years at Bain Capital, the video of his speech to high-end donors in which he belittles half of America, his gaffes, the budget policies he promotes — repeat and reenforce the same underlying reality.  

So much wealth and power have accumulated at the top of America that our economy and our democracy are seriously threatened. Romney not only represents this problem. He is the living embodiment of it.

This article was originally posted on Robert Reich's blog.



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ABOUT Robert Reich

 

ROBERT B. REICH, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future;” “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org. Robert Reich's new film, "Inequality for All" is available on DVD
and blu-ray, and on Netflix in February.

Right now there is a man from

Right now there is a man from the Heritage Foundation on C-Span's Washington Journal telling us how we must cut social security and medicare.

C-Span caters to the Heritage Foundation citing them more often than any other source. The Heritage Foundation is a right wing propaganda mechanism.

This nation is so screwn.

When a relative came to live

When a relative came to live with us we lived in a 3 bed rm 1500 sqft house with a son and a daughter, 8 & 11 years old. The relative had to share my daughter's small bed rm. Believe me when I say it was too small a house. The year was 1986. We were under water financially with the small house so my husband invested his small inheritance in a down payment on our current house which was twice the size and had 5 bedrooms. It was old and beat up but we could just make the payments assuming we kept the other house rented. We bought this house in1988.

Eventually we updated the smaller house and sold it in 2008 for a bit less than twice what we paid for it and had invested in the update. OK, I tell you all that to say this....THANK GOODNESS for a LOW CAPITAL GAIN TAX. Do you see that having a low capital gain tax is good for all Americans as well as just the rich? If we had had to pay the capital gain tax currently being proposed as so wonderful by "some" Democrats I would have rather just burned it down.

OK, say you are a rich man who owns a property worth $20 million but you paid $10 million for it. You would like to sell it but you don't HAVE to sell it. So if you have to pay 15 % on the $10 million profit, you sell the property and the money flows through the economy or you invest it elsewhere or just maybe you feel like buying a really nice sailboat that pays the salaries for a whole bunch of average Joes. BUT WHAT IF you have to pay 50% or 70% capital gain tax. Are you going to sell your property and give "Uncle Sam" over half of the profit? Hecky darn NO!!!! you are going to hold the property 'til Hecky freezes over. And so we Average Joes sit around and wonder why the economy is slow. The point is the high capital gain tax just slows down an already slow economy and moves the USA from a recession to a depression.

My husband and I are enjoying our retirement primarily because we draw our retirement checks from Oklahoma Retirement Systems. Oklahoma does not print this money. The money for our retirements come from investments Oklahoma makes in the stock market. If Oklahoma had to pay a high capital gains tax on its investment profits, then there would not be enough to pay our retirement checks; Oklahoma's retirement system would soon be in the red; and we would not get our "promised" retirements and would soon be very sad poor people rooting for the Democrats so that they could put us on the dole. We are of course only an example of millions of regular people nationwide who are currently paying into and drawing from pension plans and 401Ks all across the nation.

Now, imagine that you invested in a nice table saw back before the Carter administration (when coffee was , say $0.70 a pound). You paid $200 for the saw. Now suppose you don't need the table saw any more and would like to sell it for $400. Unfortunately, the $400 you'll be paid will be in Obama-bucks which will buy a lot less coffee than it did when you bought the saw. Now you should gladly pay 50% capital gains on the $200 "profit?" I really don't think you would think that very fair!

So, no, I do not think there should be a high capital gains tax and I do not begrudge Mitt Romney his income or the amount of taxes he paid which some think is too low.

Your vignette is touching but

Your vignette is touching but I can find no explination in it why capital gains should not be taxed at exactly the same rate as earned income. I'm happy for you and your big house than you've retired in; great to see the grandkids run around, right? But how does that exempt you or anyone else earning a capital gain such a privilege? Republicans say any talk of this priviledge smacks of class warfare, but it is the FACT of their privileged rate that reeks of "warfare", because every nickle they avoid paying to the treasury means some working stiff, or even a business man like me, who makes a good income and an honest living, must make up for in added taxes? So if your retirement check doesn't get taxed at a higher rate, why should the rest of us suffer? Your "Obama bucks" is some fabrication. I remember the coffee you could buy in 1976 and it was absolutely terrible. Does the name "Folgers" call to mind anything other than inky colored stale hot water?

I, too, receive retirement

I, too, receive retirement from a system that has made investments. RMoney didn't pay social security on his entire income. And now he and his ilk are crying out about social security going broke. How many more years would SS be funded if all the millionaires paid the same % as the rest of us? RMoney paid .2% in payroll taxes. How much did you pay?

Maui, Rene, Jon, etc. A vote

Maui, Rene, Jon, etc. A vote for a 3rd party is a vote for Romney. Do you want to elect him? If not, you need to vote for Obama. You'll probably see a big change in his attitude during the 2nd term. After all, he won't worry about being elected again and will do more of what he promises. From 2010 until now he was stymied by the Greedy Old Pricks who wouldn't vote for any of his ideas. He wanted to have more people working and have their home saved from foreclosure. He's tried to get Congress to pass bills to help Americans but they're against all that because he's for it. During 2009 and 2010 with the cooperation of a Democratic Congress several large bills were passed benefitting the American people. Do you think Romney understands your life? Do you think the Green Party has a ghost of a chance? Only to help defeat Obama.

While I do intend to vote for

While I do intend to vote for Obama, I am far more aligned with the Green platform. The Obama admin has been very good for the Banksters what with the bailouts despite the crash being the direct fault of the Banksters mismanagement of monetary system, aka pure greed. So Obama is just doing what he is told. I will say that Dr. Stein would get huge resistance from Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Pharma, the Military Industrial Complex, et al because they are raping us and they don't want us to stop their little party. The political system is meant to keep things status quo. The American Ideal of democracy is an illusion. Hell, even the idea of representative democracy is a lie. Our democracy represents the power of money and not people. Do you sleep well?

YellowD.. I cannot really

YellowD.. I cannot really agree that a vote for Stein is a vote for Romney. I do firmly agree, Romney is the worst choice and in a close vote (and with the GOP-stapo out in force intimidating voters, perhaps?), we all have to be careful to not tip the balance with a vote for a 3rd party candidate. But in states that are strong for Obama, why not vote the heart and make a statement? Rene' mentions Illinois... that looks strong for a few 3rd party votes.

The current bunch of

The current bunch of 'entitled' repubs remind me of a bunch of dogs that look at their bowl that has food for today and the future and say 'let's eat is all now'. The dogs don't have a concept of future and apparently those wealthy that want to take it all which will destroy our country and government and then pay no taxes are just like the dogs. As mitty boy said, he dosen't need the bottom 47%, which incidentally he ignores is much larger, because it includes all of us that are working or have worked and paid into SS and Medicare and expect our elected officials to keep the public trust and not Ayn Randian it or Reaganomisize it with voodoo economics of trickle down like Bernanke is doing again with QE3.

Obama's heart is in the right

Obama's heart is in the right place. Without some of the Republicans in Congress helping him, it will be business as usual. That will have to be good enough, because the alternative will destroy our country.

JOANWILE: Great!!!

JOANWILE: Great!!! Favorite!!! Like !!!
I would like to know how we can break the hold that Grover Norquist has on the Republican party. He will be the reason that we all go over the Fiscal Cliff in 2013.
Stop him and all problems will start to recede. ( Tax the Rich )
If Romney gets in, he will still be driven by the Uber-Rich Uber Right. Mitt was a normal Republican once...Now he is a Golem.

We'll never have the vote (of

We'll never have the vote (of gratitude) from the rich. They feel entitled to exploit any and all, to be able to grab as much wealth as they can from society, and to make law to these ends.

The Kennedys and FDR were never the friends of the working classes; but they did understand that it was the a'holes toiling below them that produced the wealth that kept a'holes like them at the top and that some sharing of the nations wealth was in their own best interest. The current crop of elites, inheritees or "self made"that seem to believe it's their divine right as given in economic theory to be able to exploit all the nations wealth, labour, resources and capital for their sole enrichment with as little escaping their wallets as possible. They disdain the working classes "with furrowed brow and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command," reminding one of aristocracy...like the French and Russian.

The disturbing thing about

The disturbing thing about this and other commentary by Reich is that by omission it implies that there is a real difference between the parties. Wake up! They are both so utterly corrupt that playing one side of this record is just plain stupid.

MAUIPAUL: Are you very young,

MAUIPAUL:

Are you very young, or just unacquainted with what the Democratic party has done for the middle class during the last century?

It really gets tiring to see so many people just throw up their hands and say, "I don't give a damn! I'm not going to vote because both parties are the same!"

And guess what? Fewer and fewer people who feel the disgust even bother to vote, so they really have no cause to complain.

I suggest you study a little history of the United States in the 20th century and up till now. No, I'm not blind to the warts on the party I'll vote for, and I do wish Bernie Sanders was running on a third-party ticket, but he's not, and Jill Whoever may be the kind of person I'd really click with, but she doesn't have a prayer of getting elected, so I'm not going to waste my precious vote, and I've been voting all my life, since I was 21, and usually for the candidates that lost, as America has leaned more and more to the Right. Well, I'm a senior now, and I won't miss a vote this year, thank you.

Americans have to stop

Americans have to stop letting liars escape. Mitty will not pay 14.1% in federal income taxes for 2011. His real tax rate is about 12.3% -- less than the 13% he claimed as his lowest rate. All this liar has done is not take a deduction for about $2 Million of his "gifts." As soon as the election is over, Mitty can file an amended tax return in order to claim the tax credit on the $2 M and his rate will drop below 13%. He can also hype his business expenses and claim other capital gains losses and end up paying less than 10% for Federal Income taxes.

Mitty says he does not have to show us his income tax returns for the years he did not have the foresight to fudge them to make it look as if he pays more than he actually pays. On the other hand, we do not have to vote for him.

I know that Americans are among the least educated people in the industrialized world, but how dumb do we have to be not to realize that this guy doesn't really pay his federal income taxes? If he paid, he would show us the tax returns. This part is not rocket science.

THE 47% RESPONDS OH, MY GOD,

THE 47% RESPONDS

OH, MY GOD, MITT
I'M APPARENTLY UNFIT
TO DESERVE YOUR CONCERN

I 'M ON MEDICARE, YOU SEE,
AND SOCIAL SECURITY
AND YOU MAY AS WELL LEARN

I BELIEVE THE FED
SHOULD HELP 'TIL I'M DEAD
IF I CAN'T DO IT ON MY OWN

GOVERNMENT SHOULD PROTECT ME
CERTAINLY NOT NEGLECT ME
NONE CAN MAKE IT ALONE

NOT EVEN YOU, FOR ONE
A WEALTHY MAN'S SON
WHOSE PATH WAS PAVED WITH GREEN

DON'T TELL ME THAT YOU
HAD NO HELPING HAND OR TWO --
HAVE THE GUTS TO COME CLEAN

YES, I BELONG IN THE TENT
OF YOUR SCORNED FORTY-SEVEN PERCENT
EXCEPT THAT I PAY MY TAX

PROBABLY MORE THAN YOU PAY
ON ALL THAT LOOT HIDDEN AWAY
IN YOUR HUGE CAYMAN STACKS

SO, GO AHEAD AND IGNORE ME
FEEL FREE TO DEPLORE ME
SAY YOU DON'T CARE WHAT I DO

WHEN WE PUSH THE LEVER,
YOU'LL BE THE GRIEVER
AND WE WON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOU!

JOANWILE, From a fellow

JOANWILE, From a fellow poet and progressive...absolutely superb!

There's certainly no greater

There's certainly no greater compliment than yours, a fellow poet. I really appreciate your comment.

Bravo! Thanks for the effort,

Bravo!

Thanks for the effort, JOANWILE! Very good!

I'm very flattered and

I'm very flattered and gratified. Thanks, Ron!

Woe and Jeff: I too will be

Woe and Jeff: I too will be voting for Jill Stein's Green New Deal in November. I am so tired of voting for 'the evil of two lessers'. I didn't think that of Obama until he got into office, brought Bush's economic team on board and continued their party. Add in the 'kill list', union-busting, no action on climate change and his pro-corporate stance on the explosion of the natural gas extraction industry, read fracking, and I just can't vote for him or that party again. He is a puppet just like the rest of them. I am going to vote my conscience and for the values that I believe in, and they are all in the Green Platform. We have the privilege of having a Green candidate running for congress in our area. There was an historic three party debate this week, and although she was not as polished as the dem/pubs, Paula Bradshaw, IL 12, espoused the importance of the platform issues, so much so that people who came in support of the dem/pubs found themselves clapping in support of her statements throughout the debate. This was cause for hope to me. As far as throwing my vote to Romney, in case you hadn't noticed, our votes no longer matter anyway. Voter suppression is rampant and getting very little notice, the voting machines are privately owned and wide open for corruption as we have seen repeatedly in stolen elections, and the mysterious body called the electoral college makes the call anyway. So what is really stopping the Revolution that many call for but don't act on? I urge the progressives who read these articles to read the Green New Deal and place your vote for the party that truly supports everyday people. Solidarity with People and Planet.

Yeah, RENE, vote for someone

Yeah, RENE, vote for someone who doesn't have a ghost of a chance of getting elected, and help old Willard. But at least you voted your delicate conscience, didn't you? Surely it's not your fault. Besides, people who think as you do say both parties are the same, but you're clever enough to know that, so you'll help the greater of the two evils get into office.

But it won't be your fault, will it? You'll sleep soundly, with a clear conscience, because you made a statement with your vote. Right?

(Trouble is, RENE, no one gives a damn about your statement. The worst possible candidate will steal the election because of the people with ultra-sensitive tastes and consciences.)

RON IN NM: RENE: RENE,

RON IN NM: RENE: RENE, vote your heart. Better yet, convince everyone to vote that way and you will make a difference.

JON02794: I know what it is

JON02794: I know what it is to vote your heart. I once voted for Dick Gregory for president because he was the only anti-war (Vietnam era) candidate on the ballot. But the fact is that I probably, with many others who felt the same way, helped Nixon to win that election. I was just tired of the Democratic Party taking my vote for granted.

So I know what it's like, because I've been there. I've also voted for Green Party candidates right here in NM.

But I feel this election is simply too vital to waste your vote making a statement. It's 2 years after the conservative Supreme Court made that terrible Citizens United decision, paving the way, as never before, for the plutocrats to buy this democracy, lock, stock and barrel. Can we let Romney, the real beneficiary of this move by the Court, walk away with the election?

Secondly, there's the matter of Climate Change, which gives me great concern for my sons and my grandchildren. I've read extensively on this subject, and know that even the best computer models and most experienced climatologists cannot really tell us how bad it will be in the decades to come.

I don't believe that Romney-Ryan will do the slightest thing to alleviate the American contribution to Global Warming. In fact, they might do just the opposite, to please their friends and supporters in the energy industry.

These are the two primary reasons I oppose Romney and favor Obama, and I think it makes a helluva difference who gets elected this November. Time is running out, I think. This is not the time to be making statements by your vote.

RON IN NM, "Exactly," what

RON IN NM, "Exactly," what do think the Obama administration is going to do about climate change? Let me give you a hint; "exactly" what he's done so far...which equates to nothing! And contrary to your opinion, this is "exactly" the time to be making statements with your vote. I've been a Democrat for 40 years. Steadfast, loyal and true. Where the hell is the country today? You voted in defiance to the Vietnam war for ( never going to win) Dick Gregory. Who got us into that war? Read some history. Our involvement began during the Truman administration (a Democrat), his refusal to recognize Vietnam (Indochina) as a sovereign state and continued with Eisenhower and massive military subsidies to the French, who simply picked up where they had left off before WWll. Kennedy and Johnson, two Democrats, then cemented our "obligation" to halt Communism by subterfuge and jingoistic propaganda. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result. The country has gone to hell not because the Republicans took us there. Anyone with half a functioning brain (and a conscience) has known what the Elephant was about for over 100 years. Simply put: the protectors of wealth and power. It has been the abdication of principles by the Democratic party, particularly since Reagan was elected, that has brought us to where we are today. Follow the money...Romney is indeed a monster. Obama is simply his shadow.

Unfortunately the American

Unfortunately the American economy and the American democracy are NOT threatened. They are in very serious trouble. The American economy is much weaker to what it could have been because of the inequality. Trillions of dollars that could have been invested in a green economy are wasted in the financial economy in the form of speculation that doesn't create anything, except money for the speculators. Also a new credible report by the Tax Justice Network, an NGO, shows that between $ 23 trillion and $ 31 trillion, that's between $ 23.000 billion and $31.000 billion, about twice the American GDP, are hidden in offshore accounts, in tax havens, by the economic elites and big international banks, among which are those bailed out by Obama... As for democracy, it doesn't really exist of course, what we have is a plutocracy, or oligarchy, using the democratic institutions and processes to push its own interests. So, the question is: What's wrong with you American people? How can you stand this situation and not throw the rascals out?

Not only does Romney

Not only does Romney represent and exemplify the problems we face--problems that have deep political and economic roots--he is also manifesting deep rooted problems with our current "culture." Our culture enables him, and others, to take these outrageous positions and feel "natural" about it. It enables the mainstream media to report most of these statements and actions, except for an occasional crass "blunder" such as the 47% speech, without blinking an eye, or in the case of Fox News acting indignantly if others take exception. The current cultural milieu has many people convinced that such concentration of wealth and power is legitimate, as is the case with the myth of the "meritocracy" where everyone is said to have an equal opportunity to rise to the top if they are talented, work hard and play by the rules. The current culture creates a curtain that hides from view the illegitimate ways in which power and privilege are created and maintained--one that, for example, hides how the rules of the "meritocracy," that is not really based on merit, are made. In this culture, it is not so easy to learn that the rules are made by, and for, those already at the top to enable them to stay there and decide who, if anyone else, such as family members, can join them at the top. As we work to address these fundamental political and economic realities, we must also attend to changing the culture which supports misguided values and distorted perceptions. Mr. Reich's blog and other blogs on progressive sites such as Nation of Change are one good step toward doing this, if we can help others find their way to these sites to read them.

Add to that the bought

Add to that the bought influence that allows us to ambiguate and conflagrate, and confuse, our American values of equality and justice for all, to support the atrocities of Israel against the originals of Palestine.

"Let them eat caviar." he

"Let them eat caviar." he spouts from his lizard lips.......

"— and the federal taxes that

"— and the federal taxes that have been rising fastest for most people are Social Security payroll taxes, which aren’t collected on a penny of income over $110,100."

What??? Last I heard the worker's portion of the payroll tax had been cut by Obama. I may be wrong, but I don't believe the payroll tax had seen an increase since the early '80's when it was adjusted upward to account for the baby boomer "bump" to ensure the solvency of Social Security (which it would have done handily except for the government's hand dipping into the cookie jar). Beyond that, this "tax" is qualitatively different from income taxes which are general revenue. The New Deal initiative of Social Security was a pact between the government and society at large to provide a means to the working class of retiring with some semblance of security. If we are no longer willing as a nation to honor that pact, fine, lets have that discussion and see who stands where. But this continual blurring of the distinction between a funded program for a specific purpose and "entitlements", a pejorative term some apply to food stamps and Medicaid, is wrong. Even here, Professor Reich seems to confuse the payroll tax with income taxes.

Look, there's no confusion

Look, there's no confusion here: a tax is a tax is a user fee. Whatever. You are partially correct that SS is a contract essentially redistributing earnings from active employees to retired employees. It's still bucks out of our wallet now with a promise to pay when we're retired. Obama only continued the slight reduction is SS withholds begun in the Bush II regierung. Reich aided in writing some of the original legislation of the the Regan tax reform that brought SS up to balance with receipts and expenditiures. The same could be done today. Nobodys's confused.

Social Security is what

Social Security is what politicians on one side of the isle bring up to get the other side of the isle off another conversation.

SS is solvent until 2037 if left untouched. To make it solvent to 2087 requires raising the pay in from 110K to 125k and possibly upping the age limit by one year.
Who in America would oppose such measures.
Congress has known this for years and as always ,refuses to do their job.

Bernie Sanders has all of it laid out on his website just in case you need to educate your representative.

Timm, I'm a long time fan of

Timm, I'm a long time fan of Bernie's and wish he would lead the charge to form a much needed third (independent and progressive) party. As for the Reps and Dems, you can't see a sliver of daylight between them any more. They're both beholden to the oligarchy. And regarding "educating" my representative, I live in Idaho, one of the most politically locked down states in the union. It's electoral "winner take all" here, so as a Democrat or an independent, voting in a national election here is just a "feel good that I did my civic duty" exercise. I did actually have an email exchange with the representative from my district on changing the system in the state to a proportional system of allocation for electoral votes. His reply was chilling; he said that "democracy is a bad system of government because the uninformed electorate vote irresponsibly" or words to that effect. So much for bending HIS ear.... I fear we've rounded the bend.

President Obama was quite

President Obama was quite emphatic concerning "tax inequality" during his '08 Presidential campaign. Once elected, he should of, and could of, made this a top priority. He would have had the support of a large plurality of American citizens once he delineated the facts. Instead, he paid fealty to the Wall. St. benefactors who made his election possible and capitulated to the GOP when it came time for the Bush tax cuts to expire. The tax structure as currently configured has been championed by the Republicans for well over 100 years. It was the abdication of principles exhibited by the Democratic party, beginning in earnest with the election of Ronald Reagan, that has led us to this precipice. As someone who has voted Democrat in every election since 1974, including a vote for Mr. Obama, I believe progressive citizens must begin the process of breaking the two-party stranglehold that is currently in place. I will be voting for Green party candidate Jill Stein. Every revolution has humble beginnings. It should be obvious, even to the most obtuse, what has been transpiring over the last 30 plus years is clearly not working to the benefit of a majority of Americans. Mitt Romney is simply another reminder of Marx's maxim that "all life is a struggle of class warfare." Obama has merely been a "shadow boxer" in the quest for income equality. On a side note; Professor Reich: Please read author James Bradford's excellent book entitled "The Imperial Cruise." In it you will be introduced to the "real" Teddy Roosevelt.

WoetoPoe: If you do vote for

WoetoPoe: If you do vote for Stein, hopefully you can vote often and also cast a vote for Obama!? (Just kidding)

I agree with your concerns about Obama fealty to Wall Street. I hope that, in time, Obama will prove to us he will bring real reform to the financial sector, and help stop the growing wealth gap and decay of the Middle Class. He certainly is the only viable choice (Romney is a disaster that just keeps growing). I do hope, too, that those who vote for Stein (wish I could, but not this time around) will fall equally from both sides; it would be horrible if Stein votes came mostly from Obama and tipped the victory to Romney.

Jeff, I wish I could share

Jeff, I wish I could share your optimism concerning Obama enacting reform to the financial sector, stopping the growing wealth gap and reinvigorating the middle class. Go back and look at his cabinet selections and that of his personal financial advisers and the balloon of hope is deflated quite rapidly. I absolutely concur with you on the disaster known as Romney. He is the modern embodiment of a functioning Social Darwinist. I live in California, which Obama almost assuredly will win without my vote, so I have decided to change my allegiance. In all honesty, if I resided in, say, Ohio, I might have second thoughts. I still sincerely believe America is entrapped by a thoroughly corrupt two-party system.
As one who has read volumes of American political history in my 56 years I can assure you that the worst is yet to come and that we must begin the process of change at some juncture or we simply won't recognize the country we've grown up in. Thank you for your response.

OK WTP, I feel your pain.

OK WTP, I feel your pain. Obama has been a BIG disappointment. No Kidding.
But politics isn't about just making a choice. It's not like going the the grocery store and choosing your peanut butter. Voting a third party that has absolutely no chance of registering anything other than a handfull of points on election day isn't really making a choice: It's making sure the Republicans win.
If you really want to have some inpact then organize your values. Write, call,
demonstrate. Like Roosavelt said in 1935 to a socialist: "Make me DO it" (reform). Look, the tea party took over the Republicans. Why don't Greens
focus their demands at the Congressional level towards Democrats?

GABRIEL2001, I have

GABRIEL2001, I have "organized" my values. I write for a progressive, monthly newspaper in the city I live in. I have marched in in-numerous protests concerning everything from abortion, war, GM foods and prison reform to name but a very few. I've written hundreds of letters to our regular local paper. My wife and I help support three children overseas and donate to many altruistic charities. I also have served as an unpaid softball coach at an inner city high school for the last ten years. The two-party system is corrupt. Lie to me and tell me it isn't. We have to change this someday or the entrenched manner by which politics is conducted in this country only becomes more blatant, more pernicious. I live in California. Obama will win here. My vote "won't" hurt him here. I've also protested many things "he's" done. The tea party is indeed nauseating. So is predator drone strikes on innocent people, Wall St. cretins walking free when they should be in jail and Bradley Manning being tortured for the crime of telling the truth. Perhaps a "full dose" of Republicanism is what this country needs. Millions of Green Party votes "will" send a message just as they did when Socialist party candidate Eugene Debs garnered a million votes in 1912. Seen as an act of mass rebellion, it might propel an "actual" Democrat back to the White House in 2016. Think it over. Thanks for your response.

That is a good point... your

That is a good point... your living in California makes a Stein vote very unlikely to tip the balance, yet does nudge us toward a critical need: more real choices than the two really failed parties we have.

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