Paul Krugman points outthat “tax cuts are a much bigger story in rising inequality than the right wants to hear. Piketty and Saez (pdf) have looked at tax rates including imputed corporate taxes, and here’s what they get:
“Tax rates for the super-elite, the top .01%, have fallen in half since Mitt Romney’s father ran for president; or to put it differently, after tax income for this group has doubled due to policy alone. And bear in mind that the US economy flourished just fine under those 60-70 tax rates …”
Mitt Romney is one of the super-elites, with the low tax rates and doubled take-home income — and he wants to be president.
Zack Beauchamp from Think Progress observes: ”…Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) attempt to defuse the controversy surrounding Romney’s taxes may be a new low for the campaign: Mitt Romney shouldn’t be criticized for using off-shore tax havens because “it’s really American to avoid paying taxes, legally.” [...] A recent report by the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) found that tax dodging shifts $100 billion onto taxpaying Americans.”
Romney’s response?“Mitt Romney said on Monday that his offshore investments were managed by a blind trust and he had no knowledge of their whereabouts. “I don’t manage them. I don’t even know where they are. That trustee follows all U.S. laws. All the taxes are paid, as appropriate. All of them have been reported to the government. There’s nothing hidden there. If, for instance, you own shares in Renault or Fiat, you still have to disclose that in the United States.”"
Romney’s campaign is working under an ideology of “what you don’t know can’t hurt me.” And teabaggers are only too happy to work under that ideology with him. But imagine the outrageous outrage, the far-right media spin, and the impeachment charges if President Obama had any amount of money in offshore accounts or wouldn’t release but one year of his tax returns. These folks have such a hypocritical set of double-standards, it’s not even funny.
“The United Nations-authorized intervention in Libya has pitched ethical issues of the highest importance, and has split progressives in unfortunate ways. I hope we can have a calm and civilized discussion of the rights and wrongs here.”
Some have charged that the Libya action has a Neoconservative political odor. But the Neoconservatives hate the United Nations and wanted to destroy it. They went to war on Iraq despite the lack of UNSC authorization, in a way that clearly contravened the UN Charter. Their spokesman and briefly the ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, actually at one point denied that the United Nations even existed. The Neoconservatives loved deploying American muscle unilaterally, and rubbing it in everyone’s face. Those who would not go along were subjected to petty harassment. France, then deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz pledged, would be “punished” for declining to fall on Iraq at Washington’s whim. The Libya action, in contrast, observes all the norms of international law and multilateral consultation that the Neoconservatives despise. There is no pettiness. Germany is not ‘punished’ for not going along. Moreover, the Neoconservatives wanted to exercise primarily Anglo-American military might in the service of harming the public sector and enforced ‘shock therapy’ privatization so as to open the conquered country to Western corporate penetration. All this social engineering required boots on the ground, a land invasion and occupation. Mere limited aerial bombardment cannot effect the sort of extreme-capitalist revolution they seek. Libya 2011 is not like Iraq 2003 in any way.
Allowing the Neoconservatives to brand humanitarian intervention as always their sort of project does a grave disservice to international law and institutions, and gives them credit that they do not deserve, for things in which they do not actually believe.
The intervention in Libya was done in a legal way. It was provoked by a vote of the Arab League, including the newly liberated Egyptian and Tunisian governments. It was urged by a United Nations Security Council resolution, the gold standard for military intervention. (Contrary to what some alleged, the abstentions of Russia and China do not deprive the resolution of legitimacy or the force of law; only a veto could have done that. You can be arrested today on a law passed in the US Congress on which some members abstained from voting.)