Elizabeth Warren: Candidate of the People?

Posted: Apr 17, 2012 5:14 PM

For as long as I can remember President Obama and his acolytes have been touring the country lecturing the masses ad nauseam about why the rich should pay their “fair share” in taxes. Remember this? But in Massachusetts, interestingly enough, this is not merely a theoretical proposition. As it happens, residents of the Commonwealth have the explicit option to pay more. Put simply, although the standard income tax rate is 5.3 percent, upper income earners – if they so choose – can voluntarily pay 5.85 percent instead. Nearly 2,000 people in 2008 alone took advantage of this option. Consequently, since Elizabeth Warren reportedly earned over $716,000 in 2011 (she’s worth at least $14.5 million), it’s inconceivable that the Harvard professor would pay anything less than highest possible tax rate, right?

Well, according to the Boston Globe, she’s remaining mum on the subject:

But Warren, who owns stock and other investments worth more than $3 million, would not say whether she voluntarily pays a higher state income tax, which the Massachusetts form allows.

“The Buffett rule is about making sure that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share, it’s not about funding government through voluntary contributions,’’ her campaign said in an e-mail.

Ah, this is all so very interesting. In other words, the same demagogic Senate candidate who stated publicly last summer she (a) provided the intellectual foundation for the Occupy Wall Street movement and (b) is running for public office on behalf of middle class families might have chosen to pay a lower tax rate when she was quite capable of paying a higher one? Go figure. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with Americans wanting to keep a larger percentage of their earnings, unless of course that individual had staked her entire Senate candidacy on income inequality. True, it’s certainly possible she opted to pay the top marginal rate -- but if she did -- why not say so publicly? Her silence on the issue is confounding at best, and suggests the former consumer advocate might not be the so-called candidate of the people as she claims to be.