Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tightrope Walking

Earlier this election season, I heard a number of Republican attacks that referred to Mark Dayton as a "trust fund baby." It wouldn't have caught my eye so much if not for the fact that I'd also just seen an official GOP video warning people of Mark Dayton's intentions to "empty the trust fund."

It made me wonder how they'd be able to balance trying to appeal to the most wealthy citizens of Minnesota while denouncing Dayton's wealth. It seemed like a tightrope act that I wouldn't be eager to attempt.

Here's where it gets tricky: how do you maintain an argument that simultaneously defends one's right to a trust fund and demonizes another for possessing one?

It continued today with accusations that Dayton is holding out of state trust funds in order to avoid state taxes. Dayton says they are using old data and that he currently has no offshore accounts. He points to his 2009 income tax forms as proof. (For the record he is the only major party candidate to release his income tax forms so far.)

Which, using current Republican claims, may raise an even more interesting question...I've attended/watched/listened to a number of debates so far this season and on more than one occasion I've heard Tom Emmer specifically state that when Dayton is talking about taxing people who make $150,000 or $170,000 in taxable income, he's talking about the middle class. (An interesting claim in a state where the median household income tends to be about $50,000.) So since Mark Dayton's adjusted gross income last year was $172,475, does that mean that the "trust fund baby" is actually just a middle class Minnesotan?

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