David Post: I'm confused

  • Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012 12:01 a.m.
    UPDATED: Monday, September 24, 2012 4:22 p.m.

The old man was sitting at the kitchen table, holding a hanky over his weeping eyes.
"What's the matter, Pa?"
"I'm confused."
Family and neighbors were pouring into the kitchen in the movie, "Moonstruck." The mother had just demanded that her husband terminate his affair and he meekly agreed. One brother had just proposed to his reluctant brother's long-suffering fiancÚ. And the grandfather was crying.
Mitt Romney has a similar effect. I'm confused. I can't figure out where I fit into his view of America. Am I a 99-percenter, a 50-percenter, a 47-percenter or a 100 percenter?
Being a 1 percenter, in the top 1 percent of income and wealth, would be nice. But I'm not. Even being a 13 percenter and paying tax at Mr. Romney's income tax rate would help. My rate is much higher because I work for a living and don't have overseas investments.
Mr. Romney recently criticized 47-percenters for being 0-percenters and paying no federal income tax. He says they won't vote for him anyway. Since I pay income tax, he must be counting on my vote.
On the other hand, some say he has been a 0-percenter on some of his tax returns. If he is a 0-percenter, can he vote for himself in good conscience? It takes real political courage to call half the country a bunch of moochers who feel "entitled" when you belong to that club. If he were a 35-percenter, paying the top tax rate, surely he'd proudly tell us, but we'll never know because his lips are sealed.
Learning I'm not a 50-percenter was a surprise. I thought I was doing pretty well. I got a good education, have graduate degrees, repaid my student loans, live pretty comfortably, don't live paycheck to paycheck, own my home and have some savings and retirement. Then Mr. Romney said the average middle income family earned $250,000. OK, I'm below average.
Even worse, this 50-percent thing makes me feel horribly guilty. Is my company a sweat shop? We don't pay any of our employees enough to be a 50-percenter. Or even half of a 50-percenter if someone else in their home earns enough to lift the household up to that $250,000 average. It's a wonder all of my employees haven't quit and taken an average job somewhere else.
If 47-percenters pay no tax and 50-percenters earn $250,000, that means only 3 percent earn between the point where the 0-percent bracket ends and the $250,000 threshhold. Paul Ryan is good at charts and graphs. Bet that's a good one.
To clear it all up, Mr. Romney now says that his campaign is "about the 100 percent of Americans."
Are non-Americans now 0-percenters?
I'm so confused.
Get me a hanky.
David Post lives in Salisbury.

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