The Tax Structure
People often cannot understand why Americans vote against their self interest. Some claim that Americans imagine that someday they will be in the upper classes and they don’t want to face the higher tax rates. In fact it’s much simpler.
- They cannot imagine what the rich people really make.
- They don’t understand the difference between income from your labor and income from your investments. Investment income, money making money is not familiar to people who labored for generations.
- When the tax rates are discussed, the first thought is: ” Wow, 35% of what you earn, that’s not fair”. They imagine their meager income in the blank, since they cannot imagine the rich American’s income from #1 above. Empathy is not for the rich person, the leap is made to their meager income.
- They don’t understand arithmetic. Most people have a hard time figuring out a tip in a restaurant, understanding taxation arithmetic is horrifying.
- They don’t get the nuance that the higher rates are applied to an amount above X, not the whole income, with a large dose of exemptions and deductions.
- They don’t get it that rich people spend a good part of their income and time finding ways to avoid taxation.
- People’s eyes glaze over when the discussion of taxes takes place. They just know they don’t like it.
- Basic lack of a civics education that provides understanding of how the government works and what is paid with the taxes.
So, all the discussions about taxes should be made under this basic understanding of the audience. A visceral aversion to something they don’t understand and don’t care to understand because it is so complicated. All that most people think: ” I don’t like to pay taxes”. The rest is confusion and avoidance. Of course this confusion and avoidance is the political game of both parties.
Romney and the Republicans, know how to push the key words that first bring empathy and then confusion. In this three card monty, the voter just takes away one message: ” more taxes no good for anyone, this is the only way I will be safe”.
Unless the Democrats understand these short comings in the voters they will miss the Romney opportunity. Because of the shortcomings in the list above, voters will miss the obvious: ” Romney is the Marie Antoinette moment of the GOP”. Of course, they also enjoy the confusion and ignorance of the voter. In fact, he is worse than Marie Antoinette, at least she had some redeeming qualities and was thrown into a situation to be the stooge for the aristocracy. Romney is a product of America’s aristocracy and dedicated to preserving it at all costs.
I am waiting to see who will start speaking in plain language, with clarity and with the desire for the voters to understand and not to perpetuate the confusion. First they create a complex system, then they try to sell you nuance in the system. The game is rigged against the majority of taxpayers and voters. Voters need basic education about their system before they can make decisions.
We are in a fog and we are led by people who manage the fog machine.