One of the big political stories yesterday was Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney correcting his top advisor, Eric Fehrnstrom, thus giving us the accurate description of how the individual mandate to purchase health insurance will be enforced. Yesterday Mr. Romney called it a tax and on Monday of this week Mr. Fehrnstrom called it a penalty. So it’s a “tax penalty”. Neither Mr. Romney nor President Obama has ever promised not to create a new tax penalty that is needed to promote the common good.
And just like existing tax penalties, relatively few ever have to pay them.
The other big political story yesterday was my friend Nick Shaxson’s article in the August issue of Vanity Fair. Nick, Rebecca Wilkins (Senior Counsel on Federal Tax Policy at Citizens for Tax Justice) and I gave a Congressional staff briefing on offshore tax haven abuse in April last year. That briefing was sponsored by the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition.
The three of us in this photo taken on the Capitol steps are joined by another friend, Chuck Collins (naturally on the left), a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies.
And as we should all know by now that when the wealthy and multinational corporations hide their money to avoid paying our taxes, the rest of us end up subsidizing all the benefits of America—our infrastructure, education, military, courts, etc.—that have helped these “free riders” be financially successful.