Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah has proven to be one of the few Republican elected officials willing to denounce former President Donald Trump and the far-right faction of the party currently inhabiting Congress. Romney twice voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trials and has since become persona non grata among the party's base.
That doesn't mean Romney has dispensed with age-old Republican principles, such as protecting the nation's richest from any increase in taxes, even at the expense of expanded protections for the middle class.
Romney specifically spoke out against proposed capital gains tax expansions, which would tax the super wealthy on investments as the investments accrue value, instead of just when these investments are sold.
Romney told Fox's Bret Baier:
"It's not a good idea to tell billionaires, 'Don't come to America, don't start your business here.' ... You're gonna tax people not when they sell something, but just when they own it and the value goes up. What that means is these multibillionaires are gonna look and say, 'I don't wanna invest in the stock market, because as that goes up, I'm gonna get taxed. So maybe I will instead invest in a ranch or paintings or things that don't build jobs and create a stronger economy.'"
Romney's analysis that the super rich will abandon the stock market over a capital gains tax increase seems far-fetched. The top 10% of wealthy Americans already own nearly 90% of stocks. The top 1% hold more than half of corporate equities and mutual-fund shares.
However, comments defending America's wealthiest aren't new coming from Romney. As the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, Romney dealt his campaign a death blow in the final weeks after video surfaced of him railing against the "47 percent" of Americans who didn't pay income taxes.
Romney said of these people, most of whom are explicitly excluded from the tax code due to poverty:
"There are 47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it."
It's long been established that Romney, who himself is worth around a quarter billion, would rather increase taxes for working class Americans than on the wealthiest.
He took some heat for his Fox News comments online.
Others found Romney's comments downright insulting in how outdated they were.
Increasing taxes on the wealthy are a key component in financing President Joe Biden's ambitious infrastructure agenda, which could create millions of jobs if passed in its full form—rebutting Romney's claim that the United States can't create jobs by taxing billionaires.