One of the biggest problems with Washington is that it’s rigged for those who’ve already made it, like successful corporations and billionaires, instead of small businesses and the middle class. I’m all for people succeeding and becoming millionaires, but everybody willing to work hard ought to have a fair shot at it. And once they make it, they ought to pay their fair share to help the folks behind them get ahead.
This is one of the places where Scott Brown and I see things differently.
Just last week, Scott Brown said in an interview that he thinks Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett should get special tax breaks that are not available to most Americans. I don’t think that’s fair.
Senator Brown opposes what’s called the Buffett Rule, which would get rid of the special tax breaks that allow a billionaire like Warren Buffett to pay taxes at a lower rate than his secretary. President Obama, in his State of the Union speech, called on Congress to enact the Buffett rule to require people making more than $1 million a year to pay at least 30 percent in taxes. Senator Brown told a newspaper that higher taxes would hurt millionaires.
People in Massachusetts tell me all the time that it’s pretty obvious what’s wrong with Washington. “We work harder than ever, but it’s harder than ever to get ahead. Instead of helping us, Washington helps the big guys.” They are right.
Look at the tax laws. Huge corporations like GE can pay zero in taxes, while small businesses and working families suffer. How did that happen? The lobbyists that represent large corporations have fought for twists, turns, and complications that will let their clients off the hook, and their friends in Congress have gone right along. Things are so out of control that a recent report (highlighted on BMG) found that 30 corporations pay more for lobbyists than they pay in federal taxes. I think that’s wrong.
Lately, Senator Brown has been telling the people of Massachusetts that we don’t understand Mitt Romney’s tax bracket. No, we understand. Mitt Romney pays 14 percent of his income in taxes. Many people who work for a living pay 25, 28, 33 percent of their hard-earned dollars. Mitt Romney gets a better deal because he earns his income in a way that has been specially protected in the tax code to help people like him.
This isn’t the first time Senator Brown has been more concerned with protecting millionaires than helping working families. Just last fall, Brown opposed three jobs bills that would have made a big difference in Massachusetts. The first could have supported 22,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. The second would have prevented layoffs of teachers, firefighters, and police officers. The third would have supported 11,000 jobs rebuilding roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Each bill would have been paid for with a small tax on people making more than one million dollars a year. Senator Brown and every other Republican voted against those jobs.
This isn’t about criticizing people for making a lot of money. This is about basic fairness, and it is about our values. Do we really believe that we should protect tax breaks for those who have already made it while we tell our children to take on more debt to get an education or tell our seniors that they will have to get by on less?
I think that’s wrong and that Washington – and Senator Brown – don’t get it.