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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Man, Mitt Romney's Taxes Must Be Really Bad

Posted by on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Even Republicans are now begging Mitt Romney to put out his tax returns and "take the hit for a day or two." And Romney is flat-out refusing. That's what the new Obama ad that Dominic posted this morning is all about. Here's some of the text of that ad:

Romney admits that over the last two years he’s paid less than 15 percent in taxes on $43 million in income. Makes you wonder if some years he paid any taxes at all. We don’t know because Romney has released just one full year of his tax returns. And won’t release anything before 2010...What is Mitt Romney hiding?

This isn't a deliciously brilliant ad like the one that appeared over the weekend, but it's a solid attack ad. And as a graduate of Glenn Beck University, I have to note that this Obama ad steals a page from Glenn's I'm-just-asking-questions-here school of inquiry. That's a smart move in this case.

I can't imagine that the Romney campaign hasn't run the public-relations calculations on these tax returns. And if they've run the calculations and they're stonewalling on releasing the returns, that means that whatever is in these returns is a campaign-ending issue. So now they're betting that the imagination of the American public isn't as terrible as the truth of what's in these returns. That's a risky bet.


Comments (45) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
You got that right.
Posted by Will in Seattle on July 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Releasing them now would be like detectives releasing a clue that only they and the criminal know.

It seems likely that Axelrod and his plumbers illegally accessed IRS records as they indicated they know something that only a person who had broken into the computers would know. Now 1040Gate has Democrats twisting in the wind...when did the breech occur, and how far up the chain of command did the order go??!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM · Report this
"I can't imagine that the Romney campaign hasn't run the public-relations calculations on these tax returns."

Of course they have.
And those numbers showed that releasing the taxes would do more damage to their campaign than continuing to tell the voters that Romney has decided that they do not need that information.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on July 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
@2 - Yes. Romney's tax release problem is Obama's fault.
Posted by Mike in Olympia on July 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Cracker Jack 5
I don't know what you're smoking, Bailo, but it is making you paranoid as all hell.
Posted by Cracker Jack on July 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 6
Bailo: in the other thread you were being stupid in, even a Stranger writer jumped in to note your stupidity.

Howzit feel to be that stupid?
Posted by Dr_Awesome on July 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM · Report this
malcolmxy 7
What would it matter if he even got a refund on $42 million in income? Last I checked, he didn't write the tax laws. He simply used a bit of clever accounting (or, his accountant did) to circumvent them.

When's the last time you paid more taxes than you absolutely had to?

"Man, I really should have paid more taxes this year. Maybe if I just write out this McDonald's gift certificate to Uncle Sam, we can call it even and move on to a more equal partnership."

Find yourself thinking this regularly, do you now, Paul?
Posted by malcolmxy on July 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
sloegin 8
But John Kerry's wife didn't release any tax returns, so neener neener.

Which makes you think Romney is running for First Lady when the R's push that line...
Posted by sloegin on July 17, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 9
Barack Obama has said publicly, "I should pay more taxes."

Sweet...put your fuckin' money where your mouth is and do something about it. You are the president of these united fucking states, after all.

(um...signing the Bush Tax Cuts back into law wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but I'm sure those didn't apply to you, right Mr. President?)
Posted by malcolmxy on July 17, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
Great stuff Paul. I was dreading the elections, but now I'm starting to enjoy it. @2: your tin foil hat is loose...
Posted by Slog Tipper David on July 17, 2012 at 12:05 PM · Report this
Zebes 11
Maybe it isn't something campaign-sinking... they're just holding out for some groundswell of teabaggy support. Imagine a bunch of republicans ralyling around some idea of financial sovereignty and the IRS as a tyrannical force that needs to be resisted at every stage.

It's a dumb idea, but then, they've leveraged dumb, government-hating ideas into wins before.
Posted by Zebes on July 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM · Report this
stinkbug 12
How many days before Romney hops on a plane to London and Israel?
Posted by stinkbug on July 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Fred Casely 13
The headline I want to see before this is over is "Emanuel: Romney a 'Fucking Pussy' For Not Releasing Returns."
Posted by Fred Casely on July 17, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 14
@7: i assume the taxes are nice & legal. but i bet they're unsavory - grey area tax shelters, every trick in the book, and the bain "retroactive retirement" severance package which ended in 2009. they'll feed the obama narrative, and rmoney knows it - yesterday he said as much - "they'll pick over it and make a mountain out of it" - which says to me that he admits there are molehills there.

@9: he is doing something about it - letting them expire on all of us because the Clown Congress can't negotiate in good faith.
Posted by Max Solomon on July 17, 2012 at 12:12 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 15
We don't know for certain that Rmoney has renounced his US citizenship to avoid taxe$, but then again he hasn't denied it.
Posted by Original Andrew on July 17, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 16
@9: Yeah, I always wonder why Obama doesn't just wave his magical president wand and make everything better. It is almost like there is some kind of system in place that does not allow him to just do whatever he wants, and solve complex problems instantly.

Like the Bush tax cuts. It is almost like he wanted to end them but did not as part of a deal to get his health care act passed. But no, he probably just did not want to end them.

Well, he is certainly a failure as a president for this reason. Just instantly make it all better Obama, GAWD!
Posted by Theodore Gorath on July 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this

If he paid no taxes or even got a refund, it would destroy a huge republican talking point. They crow on and on about how 50% of all people pay no income tax. They imply that the people who do that are poor freeloaders. If Mitt is one of those people, it destroys the narrative.
Posted by arbeck on July 17, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this

White House Consultant Tied to Bugging…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
"Last I checked, he didn't write the tax laws. He simply used a bit of clever accounting (or, his accountant did) to circumvent them."

I guess you should check that magical dictionary of yours a little more closely.
Oh, is this another subject that you have to search Wikipedia for?
You see, Bain paid lobbyists to have the tax laws changed.

Now, if someone with access to Romney's returns cross-indexed them with the changes that Bain paid for ... well that's a problem.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on July 17, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 20
Let's say that these contentious tax returns we've been hearing so much about would show that in some recent years, perhaps the years when Romney was in a quantum state vis a vis Bain Capital, he paid shockingly low taxes. Not necessarily nothing at all, but, single-digit rates. Like, 9% on tens of millions in income. Over several years.

Romney is smoking at the ears, absolutely fuming, because he knows that he did nothing illegal, yet there's nothing he can say to vindicate himself without absolutely destroying the popular foundations of the platform of his campaign and his party.

Poor Romney - as punishment for perpetuating the system, he must mutely and personally suffer the country's criticism for all the system's injustices. Romney is capitalism's Jesus, its unjustly punished martyr and savior.

(Whoa, shiver. What happened there, it's like I was channeling my inner Mudede or something.)
Posted by Eric Arrr on July 17, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 21

I do believe he has a "magic" veto stamp which he could have used to drop the illusion that he gives a shit about anyone but the rich, just like Romney. Instead, he signed the Bush Tax Cuts into law.

And, he did it for the ACA? The same ACA which, on the day it passed, saw every major health care corporation's stock price rise? That ACA?

Excellent compromise. Just like the telcom immunity vote he made. Just like everything else he's done after talking out of one side of his mouth to get the support of people like you and then anally rape you as he's telling you how hes making it all better.

It's magic alright. It's just that there's a bit of a science to it.
Posted by malcolmxy on July 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 22

One of the those douchebags was on The Daily Show shortly before TDS's vacation, claiming that rich people "need" more tax cuts. He also claimed that average, working Americans are doing just fine.

It's amazing how shameless they are. Nothing a good guillotine won't fix.
Posted by keshmeshi on July 17, 2012 at 12:28 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 23

Legislators are not forced at gunpoint to listen to lobbyists.

Know why they're called lobbyists? They used to have to sit in the lobby until someone in the legislature called upon them to speak.

If you give someone control of something, you can't exactly blame that person for taking control, but regardless, I missed the part in the constitution where lobbyists vote on our tax laws.
Posted by malcolmxy on July 17, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 24

Republican talking points are stupid (since Rupert Murdoch writes them, though, I suppose I should expect that)
Posted by malcolmxy on July 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 25

I'll believe it when I see it.
Posted by malcolmxy on July 17, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Pick1 26
@21 Yes, because throwing out the magic veto stamp has 0 repercussions. If you don't like it, don't do it!

That's idealist bullshit.

"The problem with theory and practice is that, in theory, everything that works in theory should work in practice. In practice, it does not."
Posted by Pick1 on July 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
"Legislators are not forced at gunpoint to listen to lobbyists."

That's a great point. Of course no one has ever said that they were. Except maybe inside your head you've heard people say that. Have you?

"If you give someone control of something, you can't exactly blame that person for taking control, ..."

What was that you had just previously posted?

"Last I checked, he didn't write the tax laws."

So a complete 180 turn in your argument in 28 minutes.
So Romney, through Bain lobbyists DID have a role in writing the tax laws.
Maybe you should spend less time imagining a magical dictionary and more time educating yourself on our political system?
Or just get used to embarrassing yourself in public.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on July 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM · Report this
@Malcolmxy, are you trying to make a point or just being a contrarian?
Rather than simply arguing against whatever someone says, make a point. It'd make you much less irritating.
Posted by CbytheSea on July 17, 2012 at 12:58 PM · Report this
I suspect Romney is waiting until after the Republican convention to release the returns. If he released them now and they were bad, it be easier to for the party to maneuver someone else into his candidate spot. After the convention, it would be much harder. It's also a more confined time frame at that point, and his money advantage will be worth more then.
Posted by j-lon on July 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
@18 - WTH? Is that supposed to have anything at all to do with the discussion at hand?
Posted by Calpete on July 17, 2012 at 1:59 PM · Report this
passionate_jus 31

One of the main differences between the average person getting tax deductions and Romney doing the same is that Romney is worth more than 250 million dollars.

In 2010, he made $60,000 A DAY doing nothing.

My fiance is a physicians assistant. In 2010 she made just over $70,000.

She pays just over 30% of her income in taxes.

Romney pays 15%.

If you don't see the problem with that then you are an idiot.
Posted by passionate_jus on July 17, 2012 at 2:01 PM · Report this
Christampa 32
@ 28- Malcolm is just being a contrarian. He never has an actual point to make, other than that everyone else is always way wronger about everything than he is. He also has an abysmal signal to noise ratio; he rarely addresses direct arguments against him, and just stops posting once he's been proven wrong.

He's like SeattleBlues, except less Fake Rich.
Posted by Christampa on July 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 33

The point I am making is that using the tax laws to one's own favor is something everyone does, within the means they are able to do it (which I believe I made in my 1st post that got everyone up in arms). Noting how bad Romney's taxes are should be a signal to people that our tax laws are bad, not that Romney's tax returns are.

And, yet again, Romney has had no role that anyone else who chose to lobby Congress has had in the formation of those laws (a right that we all have...I have no idea why people don't stop bitching and start a public lobbying, The Better Business Bureau dwarfs all other lobbyists, nearly combined, so to bitch about Bain Capital's lobbying efforts is to say that you have no idea about the lobbying process).

If I had to sum it up in a single sentence, I would say that everyone who is choosing to argue about this subject are partisan lemmings, because this is all pretty fucking stupid.

Tax Policy is actually one area where Romney is better than the president. Romney is calling for a 15% flat tax on corporations.

...but, but...this lowers their taxes!!!!

No it doesn't. The effective corporate tax rate under the current tax laws is 13.7%. A flat tax of 15% would be a nearly 10% increase in the tax rate corporations pay (1.3/13.7 = ?)

Sorry about the contrarian stuff, but when you realize how ignorant and aggressive someone is, it's kinda fun to crank their knob up to 11.
Posted by malcolmxy on July 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 34

Please explain how the amount of money Mitt Romney makes in comparison to your wife's income is germane to the topic of how good or bad of a president Romney would make, and why his tax returns are a reflection of his ability to hold executive office.
Posted by malcolmxy on July 17, 2012 at 3:37 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 35

It was not a turnaround. It was a standard debate practice. First, you demonstrate why your opponent's argument is incorrect, and then you note how even if the facts your opponent was arguing were correct, they'd still be a fucking idiot, but it would appear that I needn't have used that tact, because you are quite capable of demonstrating this all on your own.

If I cared enough to remember who you were, I'd make a note of it, but I truly do not.
Posted by malcolmxy on July 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 36

To ask it another way, Tiger Woods made $169K/day last year and while he didn't do nothing, all he did do was hit a little white ball into a cup adorned with a flag.

How does this fact demonstrate that he is a bad professional golfer? Or a bad person? Or, having the same, or less, qualifications to be president as Mitt Romney?
Posted by malcolmxy on July 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM · Report this
Why do you feel the need to put "a campaign-ending issue" in bold? It's a bold statement in itself. Why not through a "fucking" in there too. Also, it's 100% speculative, so maybe it should be transparent instead of bold. Obviously I'd love if it were true, but it isn't and won't be (in my own speculation, of course).

I wrote a lot more but erased it. Once I get going you know...
Posted by michael bell on July 17, 2012 at 3:50 PM · Report this
thene 38
Paul, I appreciate the headline here, because I've spent the last few days wondering what the hell could possibly be so bad. Tax returns are such a wonky topic - what would be in there that the general public would even care about? The Republican base would probably be proud of him if he'd paid very low taxes. So what the hell is he hiding? What could be more damning than the ongoing coverup and the accusations of shiftiness, at this point? Ngl, though, I'm curious as to whether he's really tithing his 10% to the LDS or not.

It occurred to me that if the Obama campaign know what's in the tax returns, they probably heard it from a disgruntled someone from either the McCain campaign or from whichever tax accountants Rmoney uses. A fair number of eyes have passed over those returns at this point and data security is enough of a joke that word could have easily got around without anyone in the IRS risking their job over it.
Posted by thene on July 17, 2012 at 3:52 PM · Report this
Malcolm, I totally get your point, but you are stuck there and not thinking beyond it.

I think the perspective is that if he is using loopholes each year to save 250 million dollars, how willing do you think he will be to make tax reform that doesn't allow him to use loopholes to save 250 million dollars.

Whereas Obama may be less likely to do tax reform now, for political reasons, I think he is much more likely to help reform tax code to help people, more than I think Romney would.

Now you could argue this is speculation to, but I probably won't see your response.... So just think about that.
Posted by michael bell on July 17, 2012 at 4:00 PM · Report this
malcolmxy 40
@39, I have no idea. All I can do is to go on people's word until they break it (to me) or their actions.

Everyone seems to argue that Obama is waiting for some moment to spring into action when he will finally become Hope and Change Man. Why do they think that?

Leaders lead. Assholes like President Obama who wait until it is politically advantageous to do something are assholes.

Romney is probably as asshole as well, but I still don't see how him using the laws to his own benefit just like everyone else does makes him anything but human.

I think you'd be surprised which president's economic policies had the greatest benefit to working americans as opposed to corporations and the perpetually wealthy. I know I was when I finally researched it.
Posted by malcolmxy on July 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM · Report this
"It was not a turnaround."

Maybe in your magical dictionary it was not. But it really was.
You said something incorrect.
When that was pointed out, you claimed the opposite.

"First, you demonstrate why your opponent's argument is incorrect, ..."

Except that YOU were the one with the incorrect claim which YOU then flipped 180 on.

It's fine if you cannot admit that you are wrong.
But all you're doing right now is embarrassing yourself in public.
As you often do.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on July 17, 2012 at 9:19 PM · Report this
w7ngman 42
#40, I give up... which one?
Posted by w7ngman on July 18, 2012 at 3:43 AM · Report this
@33, "Romney has had no role that anyone else who chose to lobby Congress has had in the formation of those laws"
Really? You believe that the letter's I've sent to my congressional representatives and Obama asking them to let the Bush tax cuts expire on everyone, including me, have had the same sort of impact as the hundreds of millions in lobbying and donations from Bain, Romney and other wealthy folks? That's very idealistic of you. I just wish it were realistic too.

In the end, we will almost certainly find that Romney has done nothing illegal on his tax returns. What we will learn is how Romney made his money (was he still on Bain's payroll 3 years ago?) how wealthy people dodge taxes (we already know about offshore tax havens) and whether Romney's tax proposals are entirely self serving.

For example, if Obama pushed to eliminate taxes on book royalties we would all know that it's an entirely self serving proposal because his tax records show that he's made most of his wealth through book sales. If we find that virtually all of Romney's money comes from capital gains then his proposal to eliminate capital gains tax is clearly self serving. Voters can determine for themselves if this matters to them, but only if they see his tax returns.

Let's say, hypothetically, that Romney, like many corporations and a number of wealthy people, paid no taxes for 10 years. Even if it was totally legal that makes his argument that we need to lower taxes on the wealthy kind of stupid. People deserve to know these things about their presidential candidates. Why would you insist on denying critical information to voters?

@34, it matters because he's claiming that the economy is bad because rich people pay too much in taxes yet he's paying less in taxes than middle class people. Also, because our tax code is designed, theoretically, to be progressive where wealthy people pay a larger percentage of their income in taxes. Romney, and many others, do not yet they still insist that we should lower their taxes further.
Posted by Root on July 18, 2012 at 9:44 AM · Report this
@36, that would be no indication of Tiger's golf skills or whether he's a bad person. Now, if he were running for office on the platform that taxes on sports players and corporate endorsements should be eliminated then voters should know where he gets his money so we could decide if he seems to be pushing policies that are in the interest of the country, or if they're just in his interest.

Again, proposing policies that are solely for your own personal benefit is not illegal and does not disqualify you from running for president but voters have the right to know so they can decide whether they want you representing them.

@37, I don't know, if we were to find that he hadn't paid any taxes for 10 years, that might be a campaign ending issue. If we were to find out that he was on the Bain payroll for 10 years past when he said he'd retired that might be a campaign ending issue. I'm not saying either of those things are true, but we won't know until we see the tax returns.
Posted by Root on July 18, 2012 at 9:51 AM · Report this
I am still at a loss as to why anyone engages with malcomxy.
Posted by clashfan on July 20, 2012 at 7:13 PM · Report this

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