By Vicky Dickson
So Mitt Romney and his multi-millionaire donors think my husband and I are freeloaders, according to a video thatâ€™s been circulating recently. We are able bodied and of working age, and weâ€™ve paid no federal income tax since 2008. Apparently, weâ€™re just part of the problem that a Romney presidency would fix.
Except that weâ€™re also part of a group that Romney claims to love: Weâ€™re small-business owners. And the reason weâ€™ve paid no federal taxes during those years is that the weekly newspaper my husband co-founded in 2007 has always operated at a loss, which weâ€™ve funded through the sale of stock we owned. It was thanks to the Bush tax cuts â€“ and their provision that capital gains and dividends for those in the 10 percent and 15 percent tax brackets have been taxed at 0 percent since 2008Â â€“ that weâ€™ve had no federal tax obligation.
We havenâ€™t exactly been gorging on entitlements. But there is that $50,000 local economic-development loan we received from a program that was originally funded by the federal government. Thereâ€™s no way a bank would have lent anything to our money-losing business, so that 2 percent loan has helped us keep our doors open. But the budget necessitated by Romneyâ€™s proposed tax cuts would squeeze such discretionary funding out of existence.
The federal help that small-business people like us really need is help with medical costs. Our newspaper has never been able to afford medical insurance for our employees. And our individual policy costs $5,366 a year â€“Â despite the fact that it carries a $10,000 deductible. So the yearly cost of medical care for my husband and I approaches $15,000, which amounts to 30 percent of the median household income ($50,964) in this country.
So, Mr. Romney, we are concerned about our employees, and about all the people who are going without health insurance because they donâ€™t have the money to pay for it. Thatâ€™s why we voted for the man who had the wisdom to try to provide access to health care for all the people he governs â€“ and the courage not to disavow his actions when they became politically inconvenient. Thatâ€™s why we voted for Obama. Thatâ€™s why weâ€™re voting for him again.
Vicky Dickson is co-owner of The Carrboro Citizen.