He definitely went there last night.
Romney has raised eyebrows for opposing the auto-industry bailout. In his address, Obama chided, “[s]ome even said we should let it die.” This is largely true of many Republicans in Congress, who could not bring themselves to applaud a proposal to reverse tax incentives that encourage outsourcing and discourage repatriating jobs to the U.S.
Where Romney has called for allowing the foreclosure crisis to run its course, Obama said that “responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief,” before introducing a mortgage modification plan to Congress that will give “every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year…by refinancing at historically low interest rates,” which was met with silence by the GOP.
Perhaps most famously, Romney has suggested that public appeals for addressing inequality and bringing equity to the tax code evince envy on the part of advocates who have pressed those issues into the national dialogue.
“When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich,” Obama retorted. “It’s because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference - like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet.”
All in all, President Obama laid out an aggressive vision of progressive solutions for America. He wants to ensure the super-rich who earn over $1,000,000 a year pay at least 30% income tax. (Remember, Mitt Romney paid only 13.9% on his $21.6 million in 2010 income!) He also proposed eliminating tax breaks for shutting down US factories, renewing investment in clean energy, making mortgage refinancing more accessible to more distressed homeowners, making college more affordable to more students, and even more. And by reforming the broken tax code and ending the wars we've been mired in the last decade (Iraq is over, and hopefully Afghanistan will end soon), we can easily afford this.
Last night, the President made an important point. When the super-rich, like Mitt Romney, avoid paying the taxes they're supposed to be paying, they're essentially stealing from America. When Mitt Romney hides some of his money in Swiss bank accounts to avoid paying taxes, he's taking away from seniors trying to pay for their prescription drugs. When Mitt Romney throws some of his money into investment funds based in the Cayman Islands, he's taking away from college students trying to keep up with their tuition. And when Mitt Romney tries to hide behind capital gains tax rates that allow him and other super-rich folks to pay less in income taxes than struggling formerly middle class families, he's taking away from those families as they're doing everything possible to stay afloat.
Take another look at what the President said last night.
Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes…Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.
We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference – like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That’s not right. Americans know it’s not right.
It's not right... But it's not stopping the G-O-TEA from continuing to make excuses for it. Yet no matter how much Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich try to paper over their "legal" tax evasion, it's nonetheless tax evasion that takes away from what makes America great. It's about time we do something to fix this. We can't wait any more.