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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Taxing narrative

The tax returns say Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren are no Mitt Romney. And definitely not Ted Kelly.

The senator and his challenger have both lived The American Dream, rising from humble roots to good jobs at good wages. Both pay effective tax rates far higher than Mitt "I'll Have Someone Feel Your Pain" Romney, who has lamented that he supplemented his 15 percent bracket capital gains income with "not very much" speech income of $375,000.

It's time to end the class warfare rhetoric about "elitists" and look at the meaning behind the words and the barn coats. Yes, this means you Scotto.

The jabs at Warren's success as a law professor seem aimed at turning the discussion away from the junior senator's positions of financial reform and the source of his campaign income.

Warren, on the other hand, has devoted her legal career to studying bankruptcy law and her public career to taking the side of consumers in the wake of the debacle left by the financial misdeeds of banks of mortgage brokers.

While Brown has not led a lavish lifestyle, the returns do reveal that our Cosmo Man apparently does have a streak of vanity, deducting job-related expenses of $1,401 for TV makeup and grooming." And questions do remain about the cost of the barn coat and whether Brown needed his equally famous pickup truck to haul a horse trailer for his daughter's hobby.

This election should not be about either candidate's personal wealth and status. It should be about two very different public careers: one that has focused on working with the financial service industry, the other working for the consumers who have been harmed by that industry's irresponsibility.

Brown and Warren have both climbed the ladder of success. One of them has a clear record of trying to keep that ladder available to all. The other appears to be on the side of those trying to pull it up.

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