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Subject: Romney's tax returns rss

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Chad Ellis
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Romney has stated that he's only going to release his 2010 and (when they're complete) 2011 tax returns. This is unusual (most Presidential candidates offer up far more) but what really makes it stand out is the contrast with his father, who released (IIRC) a dozen years worth of returns and specifically said that only one or two years could be misleading and thus wasn't real disclosure.

I doubt Romney has anything really bad in his returns -- just things that help paint him as someone we already know he is (i.e. really, really rich). But not releasing them seems like really poor political judgment, especially since he already got this lesson in the primaries. (Then he said he wouldn't release them until after the primaries; he was forced to offer up his 2010 returns when the party base clearly didn't accept that.)

Other than the hypothetical smoking gun that he really can't afford to let people see, can anyone offer up a reason why this is sound politics on his part?
 
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Dammit, internet ate my post. angry

Basically, Romney should release his tax returns right around but not exactly when he leaks information about how much money he gives to charity. A generous rich guy is more likeable than a selfish rich guy. This all depends on his willingness to give away his money to gain favor and whether it can be pulled off without looking too much like a political ploy.
 
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You should have let the internet eat that last one, too. There is NO political gain to be had with anybody other than DW Tripp by not releasing the tax returns. DW will see it as a bold move that indicates Romney is not afraid to tell everybody in America to fuck themselves in the ass with a claw hammer, and of course this will remind him that Obama merely wanted people to fuck themselves in the ass with ball peen hammers. Honestly, as long as everybody is sticking hammers up their own asses, the Romney supporters will claim victory.
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Erik Henry
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I guess in one sense* it's arguably similar to the birth certificate controversy. They feel they've already provided enough information (short birth form/2010 return) to answer the relevant question(s) and they don't like being forced to do something they don't feel should be necessary, so they just sit tight and hope it will go away. Probably not the best approach, but somewhat understandable.


* But in another sense it's very different. Obama had already provided more than most candidates, Romney apparently has done less.
 
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I believe that we have no more right to see Romney's returns than we do to see a potential employee's returns during her job interview. But for a candidate to get away with that line of logic, he would have to hold that line from the start of the campaign: I'm sorry, folks, but that's my personal life and I'm not going to discuss it.

To not do it now seems boneheaded.
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I'm certain that when the time is right Romney will hammer those tax returns right up Obama's ass with a pneumatic hammer. The special kind, with claws on one end and a peen on the other.

Can't wait to see the look on Barry's face when he realizes what just happened to his ass.
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When Romney was vetted by the McCain campaign as a potential veep pick in 2008, he gave McCain's team his tax returns going back twenty years. Steve Schmidt, McCain's campaign manager, said six months ago he didn't think Romney should release them unless there was serious demand for them; a couple of days ago he said now, he thinks Romney has to release them.

That, to me, implies that you're sort of right in that there's nothing incriminating in them, but there's probably plenty in them that's legal-but-politically-dangerous. Establishing how Romney avoids paying his expected tax rate, for example. The things he lists as deductions (that horse dressage is probably the tip of the iceberg). How his IRA ballooned to $102 million in a decade when that's basically supposed to be impossible. That sort of thing. And there's probably a ton of it. (The tax returns would also show us how much Romney tithed to the Mormon Church, and if Romney tithed less than the expected percentage - which is possible - that could hurt him with his base, who don't think he's really a religious conservative like they want to begin with.)

Still, there is an argument not to release them yet, which is that if the Romney campaign lets the cry for "release the returns" get to fever pitch, to the point where people are all DID YOU DEDUCT DEAD PUPPIES FROM YOUR TAXES, and then releases them and there are no dead puppies so they can be all "see, Romney barely paying taxes at all isn't such a big deal! No dead puppies!" and make the thing a non-issue. But that's a gamble predicated on the idea that there isn't anything in those returns that will piss the average voter off (even if it is legal). And there probably is something like that, if not a lot of it.

But. The returns will also confirm how much money Romney was earning from Bain - including the years where he says he had nothing to do with the company. (Frankly, making $100,000 for doing nothing is attackable in and of itself.) The likely answer here is the reasonable one: Romney was still a signing officer receiving money from Bain and still either fully or technically in a position of power during a period where Bain was outsourcing and offshoring jobs. At that point, the Obama campaign just asks: did Romney agree with the executives who were supposedly actually running Bain when they did those things? And this is a question Romney can't answer satisfactorily: either he disagreed with them but did nothing even when he had the legal power to do so, or he agreed with them.

Basically, it's a no-win situation for Romney, which is why he was never going to be a great candidate. But we all knew that going in.
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Aetheros wrote:
he would have to hold that line from the start of the campaign: I'm sorry, folks, but that's my personal life and I'm not going to discuss it.


I totally agree with that sentiment, but then again I'll never be president.

He shows them, or it'll hurt his chances. Elections are a bitch. Don't like it, leave politics.
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There's nothing in the taxes that can help him, but there are things that can hurt him. The campaign has done the political calculation to figure out either the best time to release them for minimizing that damage, or perhaps never release them at all.
 
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mightygodking wrote:
When Romney was vetted by the McCain campaign as a potential veep pick in 2008, he gave McCain's team his tax returns going back twenty years. Steve Schmidt, McCain's campaign manager, said six months ago he didn't think Romney should release them unless there was serious demand for them; a couple of days ago he said now, he thinks Romney has to release them.

That, to me, implies that you're sort of right in that there's nothing incriminating in them, but there's probably plenty in them that's legal-but-politically-dangerous. Establishing how Romney avoids paying his expected tax rate, for example. The things he lists as deductions (that horse dressage is probably the tip of the iceberg). How his IRA ballooned to $102 million in a decade when that's basically supposed to be impossible. That sort of thing. And there's probably a ton of it. (The tax returns would also show us how much Romney tithed to the Mormon Church, and if Romney tithed less than the expected percentage - which is possible - that could hurt him with his base, who don't think he's really a religious conservative like they want to begin with.)

Still, there is an argument not to release them yet, which is that if the Romney campaign lets the cry for "release the returns" get to fever pitch, to the point where people are all DID YOU DEDUCT DEAD PUPPIES FROM YOUR TAXES, and then releases them and there are no dead puppies so they can be all "see, Romney barely paying taxes at all isn't such a big deal! No dead puppies!" and make the thing a non-issue. But that's a gamble predicated on the idea that there isn't anything in those returns that will piss the average voter off (even if it is legal). And there probably is something like that, if not a lot of it.

But. The returns will also confirm how much money Romney was earning from Bain - including the years where he says he had nothing to do with the company. (Frankly, making $100,000 for doing nothing is attackable in and of itself.) The likely answer here is the reasonable one: Romney was still a signing officer receiving money from Bain and still either fully or technically in a position of power during a period where Bain was outsourcing and offshoring jobs. At that point, the Obama campaign just asks: did Romney agree with the executives who were supposedly actually running Bain when they did those things? And this is a question Romney can't answer satisfactorily: either he disagreed with them but did nothing even when he had the legal power to do so, or he agreed with them.

Basically, it's a no-win situation for Romney, which is why he was never going to be a great candidate. But we all knew that going in.


He gives money to the IRA?
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Mac Mcleod
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I wonder...

If enough eyes get on those tax returns, you might find some illegality which the IRS missed.

I had the impression that many other candidates for this job had established a pattern of showing tax returns. While it is not a legal requirement, it's not passing the stink test.

It has no effect on my voting for or against Romney.

From what I've seen of the lower income republicans, they will easily ignore any problems found in these returns (even dead puppies) so it would only be swing voters. To some extent, it will be okay because it was done by romney, even if the day before they would have disagreed with it. (Sort of like Palin- who most republicans irrationally promoted to an awesome expert and potential candidate when she was clearly no such thing).
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Mac Mcleod
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This just in...

http://news.yahoo.com/republican-governors-romney-release-ta...

Quote:
Republican Governors to Romney: Release Tax Returns, Offer More Specifics
 
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Chris B
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I'd like to see his birth certificate too. surprise
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Dan Schaeffer
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Drew1365 wrote:
maxo-texas wrote:
I had the impression that many other candidates for this job had established a pattern of showing tax returns. While it is not a legal requirement, it's not passing the stink test.


Candidates also have a habit of releasing college transcripts.


Do they? Bush's and Kerry's transcripts were published, but not through any action of their campaigns.

L.A. Times wrote:
In 1999, the New Yorker published an apparently purloined copy of George W. Bush's Yale transcript before he became the Republican nominee for president. Bush, it turned out, was basically a C student. Was this a scandal? Hardly. He never cast himself as an intellectual or brainiac, and, despite his Harvard MBA, often made fun of highly credentialed people.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was assumed by many to be Bush's intellectual superior. But months after he lost to Bush, his college transcripts were inadvertently sent to the Boston Globe and he was revealed to be a C student as well, earning four Ds his freshman year. (Stung by allegations that his Vietnam War service was not what he had claimed, Kerry had given permission for his Navy records to be turned over to the newspaper. The college records were part of those documents.)


Media outlets have requested and received records, but I don't think it's been a habit of the campaigns.

By contrast, seven out of 34 presidential/vice presidential candidates since 1976 have NOT released tax records.
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That should be have not.
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Drew1365 wrote:
maxo-texas wrote:
I had the impression that many other candidates for this job had established a pattern of showing tax returns. While it is not a legal requirement, it's not passing the stink test.


Candidates also have a habit of releasing college transcripts.


False. Bush had a stolen copy of his released for him in the New Yorker. McCain disclosed his class rank, but not his grades. Clinton never released his, Kerry's were published months AFTER the 2004 election.

Moreover, Romney hasn't released his either. If the former birthers who are pushing this argument want to avoid the perception that this is all about race (and they are only doing this because of their racist assumption that he *must* have been a terrible student who got to benefit from affirmative action), maybe they shouldn't only be demanding that the black guy release his transcripts?
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What's interesting is that anyone that Romney appoints to his cabinet and any other appointment that requires Senate approval, will have to turn over 3 years of tax returns. Romney has only provided one. So he will be asking the people who work for him to do something that he won't even do himself. That is a leadership failure.
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Golux13 wrote:


This actually understates the case a little because that figure is for everybody who ran for President in the primaries, not just the general election. General election candidates have been disclosing their tax returns basically forever.
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slatersteven wrote:
mightygodking wrote:
When Romney was vetted by the McCain campaign as a potential veep pick in 2008, he gave McCain's team his tax returns going back twenty years. Steve Schmidt, McCain's campaign manager, said six months ago he didn't think Romney should release them unless there was serious demand for them; a couple of days ago he said now, he thinks Romney has to release them.

That, to me, implies that you're sort of right in that there's nothing incriminating in them, but there's probably plenty in them that's legal-but-politically-dangerous. Establishing how Romney avoids paying his expected tax rate, for example. The things he lists as deductions (that horse dressage is probably the tip of the iceberg). How his IRA ballooned to $102 million in a decade when that's basically supposed to be impossible. That sort of thing. And there's probably a ton of it. (The tax returns would also show us how much Romney tithed to the Mormon Church, and if Romney tithed less than the expected percentage - which is possible - that could hurt him with his base, who don't think he's really a religious conservative like they want to begin with.)

Still, there is an argument not to release them yet, which is that if the Romney campaign lets the cry for "release the returns" get to fever pitch, to the point where people are all DID YOU DEDUCT DEAD PUPPIES FROM YOUR TAXES, and then releases them and there are no dead puppies so they can be all "see, Romney barely paying taxes at all isn't such a big deal! No dead puppies!" and make the thing a non-issue. But that's a gamble predicated on the idea that there isn't anything in those returns that will piss the average voter off (even if it is legal). And there probably is something like that, if not a lot of it.

But. The returns will also confirm how much money Romney was earning from Bain - including the years where he says he had nothing to do with the company. (Frankly, making $100,000 for doing nothing is attackable in and of itself.) The likely answer here is the reasonable one: Romney was still a signing officer receiving money from Bain and still either fully or technically in a position of power during a period where Bain was outsourcing and offshoring jobs. At that point, the Obama campaign just asks: did Romney agree with the executives who were supposedly actually running Bain when they did those things? And this is a question Romney can't answer satisfactorily: either he disagreed with them but did nothing even when he had the legal power to do so, or he agreed with them.

Basically, it's a no-win situation for Romney, which is why he was never going to be a great candidate. But we all knew that going in.


He gives money to the IRA?



Individual Retirement Account, not the IRA you are thinking.

Back in the 80's the Economist mentioned in an article that McDonald's matched their employees contributions to their IRAs, you can imagine the uproar that caused. I think the correction article was longer then the original.
 
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jmilum wrote:
That should be have not.


Correct. Edited.
 
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ElCid91 wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
mightygodking wrote:
When Romney was vetted by the McCain campaign as a potential veep pick in 2008, he gave McCain's team his tax returns going back twenty years. Steve Schmidt, McCain's campaign manager, said six months ago he didn't think Romney should release them unless there was serious demand for them; a couple of days ago he said now, he thinks Romney has to release them.

That, to me, implies that you're sort of right in that there's nothing incriminating in them, but there's probably plenty in them that's legal-but-politically-dangerous. Establishing how Romney avoids paying his expected tax rate, for example. The things he lists as deductions (that horse dressage is probably the tip of the iceberg). How his IRA ballooned to $102 million in a decade when that's basically supposed to be impossible. That sort of thing. And there's probably a ton of it. (The tax returns would also show us how much Romney tithed to the Mormon Church, and if Romney tithed less than the expected percentage - which is possible - that could hurt him with his base, who don't think he's really a religious conservative like they want to begin with.)

Still, there is an argument not to release them yet, which is that if the Romney campaign lets the cry for "release the returns" get to fever pitch, to the point where people are all DID YOU DEDUCT DEAD PUPPIES FROM YOUR TAXES, and then releases them and there are no dead puppies so they can be all "see, Romney barely paying taxes at all isn't such a big deal! No dead puppies!" and make the thing a non-issue. But that's a gamble predicated on the idea that there isn't anything in those returns that will piss the average voter off (even if it is legal). And there probably is something like that, if not a lot of it.

But. The returns will also confirm how much money Romney was earning from Bain - including the years where he says he had nothing to do with the company. (Frankly, making $100,000 for doing nothing is attackable in and of itself.) The likely answer here is the reasonable one: Romney was still a signing officer receiving money from Bain and still either fully or technically in a position of power during a period where Bain was outsourcing and offshoring jobs. At that point, the Obama campaign just asks: did Romney agree with the executives who were supposedly actually running Bain when they did those things? And this is a question Romney can't answer satisfactorily: either he disagreed with them but did nothing even when he had the legal power to do so, or he agreed with them.

Basically, it's a no-win situation for Romney, which is why he was never going to be a great candidate. But we all knew that going in.


He gives money to the IRA?



Individual Retirement Account, not the IRA you are thinking.

Back in the 80's the Economist mentioned in an article that McDonald's matched their employees contributions to their IRAs, you can imagine the uproar that caused. I think the correction article was longer then the original.


I don't need to. In the 90's I worked in McDonalds and this question was raised by an irate customer (to give context to my reply it was during the gulf war) My response is "I know nothing about that, but I do know that Americans are great at killing British fusiliers" It was explained to me (in no uncertain terms) that I should not say things like that, and what IRA meant.
 
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Chad Ellis
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Given how many conservative politicians and pundits are publicly calling on Romney to make his returns public and how clearly the discussion of what he might be hiding has focused on things that might be embarrassing rather than illegal, this rant from former Gov. John Sunnunu was pretty bizarre:

Quote:
It just shows how stupid the Obama campaign is to think that someone who has been a public businessman all his life and governor of Massachusetts -- if he didn't pay his returns, you don't think the IRS would be knocking at his door?

If that were true the IRS would have knocked at his door and we would all know about it. So by definition in running that ad, the Obama campaign has once again demonstrated that they are clearly and unequivocably a bunch of liars.


I think I've seen one, maybe two, pieces that have even raised the possibility of an actual illegality -- along the lines of, "taxes are so complicated and Romney's returns are so complex that if an army of people pore over them looking for a violation they could find one even if it wasn't deliberate". Almost all of the commentary is about political risk -- that Romney's returns could be harmful to him because:

1. As with his 2010 returns they show that he consistently paid an extremely low rate,
2. They will show consistent use of tax avoidance schemes which, although legal, are unavailable to the non-rich and are generally thought poorly of, or
3. They will show some other politically awkward fact, e.g. that he was earning significant salary compensation from Bain after he claimed to have left.

The Obama ad itself makes no implications about illegality -- it explicitly states that Romney has used things like tax havens to reduce taxes. It does say Romney's low rate makes you wonder if in some years he paid any taxes at all, but it's a stretch to say that this is an implication of tax evasion since the one organization that does have those returns is the IRS.
 
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It just gets me how someone who makes that much money and benefits from living in this country so much can without guilt pay less taxes than the many who are making a fraction of their income and paying more.
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maxo-texas wrote:
It just gets me how someone who makes that much money and benefits from living in this country so much can without guilt pay less taxes than the many who are making a fraction of their income and paying more.


It makes me wonder why Congress thought they could make a complicated code and not have loopholes galore. Oh yeah, they did it on purpose!

I have zero issue with the people reducing their tax burden by legal means. I do wish we had a tax formula that went

(income* - standard deductible) * rate = tax

Well, ok, while I am wishing, I would prefer a pure consumption tax rather than an income based one.

*this includes all income from all sources included imputed and benefits**

** benefits valued at a cost that the provider would make available to anyone.
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