Posted 9 months ago on July 30, 2012, 6:29 p.m. EST by flip
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JAMES STEELE: Well, it’s an interesting position for somebody who’s against new taxes and wants to cut the deficit, that here you had somebody heading an Olympic committee where that entire operation raided the federal Treasury like no other Olympics in history. And they got everything: Salt Lake—infrastructure around Salt Lake, sewer lines, land exchanges that transformed the average snow resort, ski resorts into world-class resorts. All of these things happened one way or another under Romney’s watch. And that’s what astonished us about this comment he made where he was dissing the London Olympics, I mean, because—that they’re not operating right, they’re not doing this right. I mean, the whole—I think he’s so vulnerable on that issue, and everybody who had anything to do with the Salt Lake Olympics is very vulnerable on that. The thing that struck us so much—and here was Utah, a state famously with a great antipathy to paying any kind of taxes, but they had absolutely no qualms whatsoever about raiding the federal Treasury to take care of all of their needs for really the next generation. So, the fact that he would make this point in London just, frankly, astonished us.
DONALD BARLETT: Jim’s right. I mean, Utah got out of this anything they wanted. The states—other states would have had to have paid for on their own, Utah got from the federal government. And so, it’s—the other thing is this hypocrisy of people like Romney who want everyone in the middle and the bottom to pay their own way, but they themselves have no trouble grabbing as much money as they can get out of Washington. And they do it all the time. And it’s just—it’s just astonishing. But people generally don’t know it. The news media does not do what it should do on this area—never has. And so, there—part of the problem here is because most people today get their news from TV, and it’s not public TV, as you well know, it’s commercial TV. And commercial TV is not about to do this kind of work. It just isn’t.
AMY GOODMAN: It’s interesting, with NBC covering the Olympics around the clock, we’re not seeing any of the protests that are taking place and the increasing anger of the small businessmen in East London who are getting wiped out, the whole issue of not criticizing the corporate sponsors, the corporate sponsors—
DONALD BARLETT: Right, right.
AMY GOODMAN: —getting huge numbers of seats, yet they don’t fill them. These arenas are now empty, and so the British government is trying to get soldiers in there, their families, school kids—someone.
JAMES STEELE: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: But it shows that these seats—and these arenas, these stadiums were sold out years in advance, and now no one’s there, because the corporations aren’t people.
JAMES STEELE: Yeah, the Olympics, like so many—
DONALD BARLETT: Oh, well, yeah. Yeah, wait a minute.
JAMES STEELE: Like so many of these other issues. I mean, like Don said, I mean, Romney and so many of the policies that he advocates will benefit very few. I mean, his tax structure, the tax structure of the wealthy in this country—the tax structure of the whole country is now geared just solely to benefiting the wealthy. I mean, some of the statistics are amazing. I mean, the wealth of the top 1 percent in this country is greater than the wealth of the bottom 90 percent. That is a staggering figure.
And one of the things that has made that possible has been a whole series of tax changes over a long period of time, mainly in the last 10 years. I mean, one of the things they’ve done in the last 10 years that we just cannot get over was in 2003 when they made dividend income taxable at 15 percent. This was the first time ever that dividend income was treated differently than somebody earning a wage or salary. And the idea that that somehow should be more favored than somebody working in the sweat of their brow is absolutely ridiculous and appalling.
DONALD BARLETT: There’s going to be, you know, in the coming weeks—you know better than anyone—just a constant, you know—I don’t know what you call it. But out of Washington on taxes and how we’re penalizing entrepreneurs and all of that garbage—and I say "garbage" for this reason: if people focus on two numbers—that’s all you need to do—in 1955, the top 400 households in this country, they paid 51.2 percent of their income in taxes. That’s 1955. In 2007, they paid 16.6. And everybody’s talking about a deficit. Of course there’s a deficit, and there’s going to always be a deficit until they impose the tax system that had existed in this country in the ’40s, the ’50s, the ’60s and the ’70s, in which people at the top who had money paid serious taxes. No one—but no one at the top pays serious taxes today remotely close to what their, you know, peers would have paid back in the ’60s and ’70s.