Do you care that Mitt Romney is rich? I don’t. Maybe he can’t be bought off.
The liberal Washington Post ran an article on his wealth. It stressed that he paid 15% in taxes. Well, after 98 years of the tax code, that’s the way it goes.
Some Democrat politicians commented.
Asked during a round of TV interviews Tuesday about Romney’s tax rate, given that he’s a multimillionaire, White House adviser David Plouffe said: “We need to change our tax system. We need to change our tax code so that everybody is doing their fair share.”
Other Democratic Party voices were less restrained. “He used every loophole in the book available to the wealthy and corporations to avoid paying his fair share,” said Democratic National Committee Executive Director Patrick Gaspard.
We can see where this is headed: “Soak the rich! Vote for Obama!” Obama has spotted his opportunity. He now calls for new taxes on the rich.
He paid 15% or 14%, depending on how you factor his $3 million in donations. Note: this is above the 10% tithe. He is a generous man. He should not be catching flak from political hacks who do not tithe. Let’s see their tax returns!
The returns outline both the dimensions of Romney’s finances and the complexity of the tactics used to reduce his effective tax rate close to the low 15 percent paid by many middle-class Americans. Among the new details contained in the documents are Romney’s continuing profits from the private equity firm he founded but no longer runs, a Swiss bank account closed just as Romney launched his White House run and new listings of investment funds that were set up in offshore locations from the Caribbean to Ireland and Luxembourg.
Off shore banks? Good for him! It’s a shame that American regulations are making it hard for all but the very rich to get foreign bankers to open an account.
Tax law experts familiar with the formidable financial portfolios of investment fund managers said Romney’s returns would at the very least reinforce the rising public issue of income inequity.
“The average American has a hard time understanding their own two-page tax return let alone Gov. Romney’s 200-page return,” said Joseph Bankman, a Stanford University professor of business and law who has testified to Congress on tax issues. “What would jump out at anyone is the sheer amount of money and low tax rate he pays, as well as the enormous complexity of his financial transactions.”
The rich have gamed the system, ever since 1914. What’s new? Nothing. This is what Congress has delivered and Presidents have signed. But the rhetoric about fair taxation goes on forever, as if Congress wanted fair taxation (or anything else). Look at their retirement plan if you think they want fairness.
At the same time, Romney gave nearly $3 million to charity — about half of that amount to the Mormon Church — which helped lower his effective tax rate to a modest 14 percent, according to records his campaign released Tuesday.
Here is my thought: It’s a shame he’s not a Presbyterian.
Romney’s income puts him in the top 0.006 percent of Americans, based on the most recent Internal Revenue Service data, from 2009. That year, only 8,274 filers reported income above $10 million.
He could be worth up to $250 million, based on previously released financial information.
Good for him. If politics penalizes him, then we are living in an age of envy, which may well be the case.
Romney had long refused to disclose any federal tax returns, then hinted he would only offer a single year’s return in April. But mounting criticism from his rivals and a hard loss in last week’s South Carolina primary forced his hand.
Politically, that was a mistake. But how would you feel about bering pressured to reveal your taxes?
“Gov. Romney has paid 100 percent of what he owes,” said Benjamin Ginsberg, the Romney campaign’s legal counsel. Ginsberg and other advisers insisted Romney did not use any aggressive tax strategies to help reduce or defer his tax income.
That’s my criticism. Why not use aggressive tax strategies? Why pay a dime more to our spendthrift uncle than the law requires?
The former Massachusetts governor had been cast by his GOP opponents as a wealthy businessman who earned lucrative payouts from his investments while Bain slashed jobs in the private sector. Rival Newt Gingrich released his 2010 returns last Thursday showing he paid almost $1 million in income taxes, a tax rate of about 31 percent.
Ron Paul did not criticize him.
Romney’s advisers acknowledged Tuesday that Romney and his wife, Ann, had a bank account in Switzerland as part of her trust. The account was worth $3 million and was held in the United Bank of Switzerland, said R. Bradford Malt, a Boston lawyer who makes investments for the Romneys and oversees their blind trust, which was set up to avoid any conflicts of interest in investments during his run for the presidency.
In 2009, UBS admitted assisting U.S. citizens in evading taxes, and agreed to pay a $780 million penalty as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.
Malt said he closed the account in early 2010 for “diversification” and because it “just wasn’t worth it.” He sidestepped a question about whether he did so because the account could have been a political liability, saying it “might or might not be inconsistent with Gov. Romney’s political views.” Malt has sold off other accounts in recent years — including investments in firms that did business with Iran and China — because of possible political inconsistency or embarrassment with Romney’s political positions.
A Swiss bank. The horror of it!
Is the Washington Post liberal? (Is the Pope German?)
Romney’s 2010 tax return also shows a number of foreign investments, including funds based in Ireland, Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg. The documents also detailed another investment fund routed through a Bain Capital affiliate set up in Bermuda.
In other words, he is a wise investor. He gets currency diversification and geographical diversification.