Normally, I associate the word “die-hard” in politics with someones parents. Thus I am always amazed that so many people in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and yes, even in their 50’s, are still so strongly ingrained as to side with one of the two major parties or the other. No matter what the issue, they look to their parties’ spin, and take that side. These days, when it comes to the actual candidates, I think voting decisions are based more on hatred of the opposing candidate than an affinity for ones own. Basically, Democrats think the country will be ruined if Romney gets elected, and Republicans think the country will be ruined if we have four more years of Obama. Well guess what? It is the first time both parties have been right since Roosevelt(you pik’em, Franklin or Teddy)! Our nation is composed of Obama-haters and Romney-despisers. Personally, if Obama wins re-election, I cannot help but imagine how disappointed I will be the next morning. On the other hand, if Romney wins, I cannot help but to think the same thing. Currently, all I can ponder as we head into election day is “Is there not a better choice than these two to represent us?” By us of course, I am speaking for the people of Long Island City, and with us in mind, here’s a little pop quiz for you readers:
Q: If 47% of the population are moochers, and Romney pays a 14% federal tax rate, where does the money come from to pay the former?
A: Who do? You do. The 52.9% (100% – 47% – .1% = 52.9%)
OK, maybe my single-question exam is a little simplistic, as other news outlets have parsed to death and ripped apart both the 47% as not really being a valid number, and the 14% as having not violated any tax laws. Yet my arguments for using this one question is that it embodies the economy/taxes/deficit problem, in other words our pocketbooks. In so doing, the editorial staff here at LICtalk has honed in on what we believe is the #1 question facing the citizens of LIC: which candidate represents the 52.9% of people like us?
Let’s take the 47/14 quandary and put a local spin on it. Implicit in the 47% number is the hatred of redistribution of wealth. Normally this is associated with taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Yet we have come a long, long way from the New Deal of FDR, devised in response to the depression of the 1930’s, and the Great Society of LBJ, created to eliminate poverty and racial injustice. In fact, right here in LIC we have the perfect example of how (too?) far we have gone: Hunters Point South. HPS will include up to 5,000 units of housing, 60% of which will be affordable to middle income families(now altered to 100%). Affordable units are targeted to households with incomes between $55,000 and $158,000, the poor need not apply. OK, we have now established $158,000 as a level where people still receive subsidies(please don’t tell me about how the numbers are different in NYC, and I won’t tell you about total compensation including pensions, pension stuffing, health care for life, and retiring with the previous three in one’s fifties). Now let us turn to the people who pay the subsidies of those earning $100K+. The top 14% federal tax rate is paid not by those in the top 1%, where a lot of people in NYC are situated, but by the top one-tenth of 1%. Therefore, if the tax rate on the top one-tenth is 14%, and that of the total top 1% is 28%, then the actual tax rate for the lower 9/10ths of the 1% must be very high to get a blended average of 28%, and this skew probably extends down to other top deciles as well. Funny, but this is exactly where I suspect the majority of people in LIC fall. I mean, let’s face it, if one made $13 million a year, you’d probably be living in an apartment overlooking Central Park, not the East River(looking west anyway). Now as far as I am concerned, complaining about what Romney paid in taxes is spilt milk. On the other hand he had the chance to state “Yes, my taxes may be legal, but they are not necessarily fair” on a national stage …and didn’t utter a peep. Therefore, the worry persists that he will let stand our current system, and in light of whom has supported him with millions, accelerate it in a continued opaque manner. Thus, no matter which candidate gets elected, you know who will take the brunt of the hit going forward as we try to reduce our deficits? That’s right, the 52.9%.
Obviously there are many, many other issues to which I have given absolutely zero consideration. Yet in my mind the inattention to the 52.9% typifies the missing link and lack of a suitable, pragmatic alternative on these other issues. Has the choice really come down to ‘Who will I feel less queasy about on the morning of November 7th?’ Call me idealistic, but I believe the people of Long Island City and the United States merit superior candidates than Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Therefore, in 2012 LICtalk endorses no one for President. We deserve better and so do our children.