By James J. Devine
Many believe Republican presidential nominee Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney is refusing to release his 2009 tax return because he paid no taxes despite income in the millions of dollars, but the greater concern for most Americans is that the man who could become leader of the free world thinks you and most other working families do not pay enough.
An editorial cartoon from 1913 by artist John Scott Clubb shows ‘the idle rich’ joining ‘the working class’ on a treadmill of ‘governmental expenses’ because that year Congress enacted an income tax (reflected in the drawing as a yolk around the wealthy man’s neck).
As it turns out, people have been paying taxes for government services long before there were benefits of any kind returned to the common folk.
Kings of old levied assessments on landowners who skimmed off the labors of people who were ‘allowed’ to work in fields from sunrise to sunset but those taxes paid for comfort and conquests to serve the monarchy, not programs to enrich the lives of serfs and slaves.
Government services that do something for the vast majority of people are actually something of a modern invention and — as the 99-year-old cartoon illustrates — getting the rich to contribute is also an idea of recent vintage.
What makes Romney and other Republicans particularly dangerous is that they would roll back progress for people, ending social insurance for retirement before its 80th birthday or dissolving Medicare — the government health insurance program for everyone over age 65 — and replacing it with a discount voucher for coverage from private companies motivated primarily by profit.
They would do away for free public education for every child, instruments of justice and law enforcement other than those needed for control of the masses, environmental protection and regulations that preclude the wealthy and powerful from unfairly exploiting or robbing the poor and middle-class.
Republicans are naturalists, who recognize that ‘survival of the fittest’ is the rule because life is cruel and business is heartless, so we exist as we do where it is every man for himself.
People who believe in Christianity or subscribe to common sense understand that we are all in this together, and a benevolent society allows us to overcome the brutal savagery of untamed nature. We reject the idea that someone has to lose every time someone else succeeds and that every life is cheap except our own.
The barbaric Republican ideology would put create a world where one in ten-thousand can enjoy a life of relative comfort and security but the rest of the people would toil and slave away in service, living short and unhappy lives.
Anyone who contests their obscene vision is called a ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’ because the GOP manipulators care about as much for truth as they do for the well-being of everyone who is not among their tiny cabal, which is to say none at all.
Romney probably paid no taxes in 2009 but if he and Paul Ryan got their way, millionaires and billionaires would always be free of having to share their wealth with the likes of you.
Instead, you would work your life away, quietly and without complaint, serving your betters and doing as you are commanded to do because you are not good enough to walk among the strong and the powerful.
You are average and unworthy of the life suited to those who are strongest, richest and in charge — so you had better get used to it because the Republicans, with their voter suppression laws and the ongoing erosion of civil liberty, intend to tear down the ‘nanny state’ government that protects you by eliminating the failed system of democracy.
Or at least, they will if you don’t wake up soon, recognize that you are not among the winners in their perverted view of things and put democracy to work keeping bullies and plutocrats out of elected office.
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