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A letter to Mitt

Dear Mr. Romney,

I am a business owner - someone you rightly call a “job creator.” Thanks for recognizing what I do and who I help.

I feel, though, that I have to correct a few things you’ve been saying about me lately. Not because you are wrong, but because what you say just doesn’t apply to me.

  • My company and I file separate tax returns. My return is a personal tax return; my company files a corporate tax return.
  • My company hires workers, I don’t. My personal income isn’t used to pay wages; it’s what I take home regardless of how many workers we have. In fact, in bad times I’ll fire someone to make sure my own income doesn’t decrease.
  • My company tries not to hire people. They are a cost and my business profits, in part, by reducing costs. We only hire additional employees if consumers buy enough to warrant it.

And just so you know, it isn’t only businessmen who are rich. I have a friend who plays professional baseball. He makes $11 million per year and has two assistants, a maid, a cook, and a trainer. If his tax rate goes up, he will still employ those five people because he needs them. If his tax rate goes to zero, however, he won’t suddenly need another assistant.

My friend, the actor, is the same way. He won’t put on another cook just because he saved $20,000 on his personal income taxes. He could hire someone else, but he won’t.

So for me, Mr. Romney, and for my friends, taxing us less isn’t going to create another job either directly or indirectly. I cannot consume any more than I already do. Lower taxes won’t convince me to buy a new iPod, boat, or car. Rich people like us aren’t kept up at night thinking, “Damn! If I didn’t pay so much in taxes I could buy a new Rolex or a Ferrari.” Am I right?

So when it comes to the upcoming election, I worry that the link between your tax policies and who they benefit is too obvious; and that the sneaky Liberals will find a way to exploit it. (I must confess, I don’t know your friends - they may not be rich. Maybe they’re struggling to pay the rent and keep the lights on like everyone else.) I’m afraid we may lose this election if the average-income conservative realizes that your rationale for keeping the Bush-era tax cuts for the super-rich doesn’t hold water.

So I’d like to ask for your help. Is there a way we can make tax laws NOT apply to politicians? What I’m asking is: Can we pass a law that all politicians pay a flat tax (45% maybe?) on all income starting from their election until they die – no matter what the rest of the population pays?

That way no one could say that the “don’t tax the rich” arguments are selfish. I know you worry that your policies seem self-serving, so maybe you can offer this law as an olive branch to the Liberals who are too myopic to see your true goal – helping the unemployed (and the economy.) I still don’t get how me being rich helps the poor - but I’m not running for president, right? Ha ha.

Something I don’t understand about your opponent is that Mr. Obama is rich like us, yet he’s willing to tax himself more. Warren Buffett thinks he should pay more taxes as well.  That seems just plain crazy. Don’t they know that lower taxes will give them more money?

The reason Buffett gave may surprise you, just as it surprised me. He thinks a stack of bills sitting in a vault are worthless. There was something else about how America gives us the opportunity and infrastructure to amass wealth, so we owe America part of our profits – but he lost me there.

I have also heard that: “The more times a dollar changes hands the more valuable it becomes,” with this explanation:

When I buy a book, the printer earns a dollar. He buys an apple and the farmer earns a dollar. The farmer buys a steak and the rancher earns a dollar. The rancher buys some milk and the dairy earns a dollar. The dairy hires a lawyer and the dollar comes back to me. That’s five people who earned a dollar each because I spent one.

Someone once told me that taxing the rich is a way to get cash out of the banks and into the hands of people to spend. I guess they’re saying the economy grows when money is spent, not when it sits in a Swiss bank account.

Do you have any money saved up overseas Mr. Romney?

Thank you for your time,

David Sneed

(Editor's note: The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. We'd like to hear your opinion! Tell us why Mitt Romney or President Obama is better for business in 500 words or less and send to lryckman@cobizmag.com.)

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David Sneed

David Sneed is the owner of Alpine Fence Company,and the author of" Everyone Has A Boss– The Two Hour Guide to Being the Most Valuable Employee at Any Company." As a Marine, father, employee and boss, David has learned how to help others succeed. He teaches the benefits of a strong work ethic to entry and mid-level employees. Contact him at  David@EveryoneHasABoss.com

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