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Will Envy-Driven Voters Elect the Next President?

Written by Gary North on January 25, 2012

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.

Do you?

Continue Reading on www.washingtonpost.com

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28 thoughts on “Will Envy-Driven Voters Elect the Next President?

  1. top 1 percent of earners, those with incomes of $343,927 or more, pay 36.73 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 5 percent – those with incomes above $154,643 – pay 58.66 percent. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent pay 2.25 percent of all federal income taxes. As a society, we’ve accepted it, but that fact doesn’t make it fair.

    yet, this isn't fair enough for the bottom grubbers! even if you stripped all the wealth from the wealthiest it would put a dent in the deficit spending, which $1.8 trillion.

  2. Funny how we never hear a word on all the very rich people we have in government & if they are sooo concerned about money, why don't they just write a huge check to the irs & solve some of the problem? This is only being done to pit us against each other & I am sad to say that many people are falling for it

  3. I don't care how rich he is, if he earned it honestly, more power to him, THAT is what America is all about, get educated, work hard and strive to succeed! I would like to know if any of his money was earned by raiding pensions of some of the companies that Bain took over and closed, that would upset a lot of folks. The fact that people this rich can get around paying a the higher percentage than those in the middle and upper middle class is a problem with our Tax Code. If you earn your money, you are going to do everything you can to keep as much as you can, that's fair, but the system is a mess and people like Romney are the ones who have the money to lobby Congress to get those breaks that other can't get, again, our Tax Code is at fault and should be SCRAPPED!

    The problem I have with Romney is not his money, but that I don't think he will be a strong leader. Just because he created jobs and saved businesses and the Olympics, does not mean he can run our Nation, it is NOT the same. And I certainly don't think he will be strong when it comes to dealing with terrorist Nations and the threats coming from Russia and China. He is far to easily manipulated, and the leaders of these Nations are MASTER MANIPULATORS. No, we need someone who can stand up to our enemies, and throw their crap back in their faces! That man is NEWT! He is a Bull Dog, he is tough, he is knowledgeable and experienced. His arrogance and intellect will give us a Great advantage in dealing with these bullies. Romney is to weak.

    Romney has met, and probably exceeded all of the goals he set for himself, becoming President is just another Goal for him, I honesty don't believe he is running because he wants to save our Nation, I think he is running because it is a position of power, the highest goal anyone can achieve in this Nation. It is a prize to him and he has spent the last 6 or 8 years campaigning and bribing Americans in his quest. But once that goal is met, then what? Will he be another Odumbo, playing golf and jetting around the world because he does not want to be bothered with the details of the job? NO SIR, I will NOT take that chance!

  4. he cant be bought off?? maybe hes rich becasue hes already been bought off

  5. The left wing has us arguing LIKE FLEES OVER A DOG. Vote them out.

  6. How sad but, how true: tell a big lie, tell it long and loud and, soon, everyone will believe it. Mitt, like most private sector workers probably owe no tax as the tax law and tax code apply only to federal income (whatever that is). Earnings received by embedded workers in the private sector engaged in activities of common occupations fall outside the taxing scope of the central govt. The 16th amendment only addressed private earnings derived from a federal entity by over riding the apportionment requirement for such earnings; it did not expand the taxing authority to cover all private sector earnings, as is currently thought.

    This is perhaps the greatest scam in history as millions of people unknowingly give away their property to the central govt. while thinking they are obeying the law. A deceived man does not know he is deceived and, from all available evidence, the majority of Americans are deceived when it comes to federal income tax law. It is the very old paradigm of "they can't all be wrong" when, in fact, they most assuredly are!

    The facts about the income tax, it's genesis, it's history, it's matriculation since 1913, it's revisions, and it's present application can be found at losthorizons.com. Don't continue to be one of the deceived; get the facts, learn the truth, and then take action to restore the rule of law to the tax issue.

  7. Bill McCroskey says:

    One thought says it all in my opinion. 'This country doesn't have a revenue problem …this country has a SPENDING problem.' Raise taxes another 25% with no 'loopholes' for the top 1% and refigure the deficit … doesn't hardly make a DENT in the 15 trillion dollar (and that is low balled) debt we or our heirs will be dealing with one way or the other. Ron Paul's last name is SO prophetic ….he is the 'Paul' Revere of the 21st century ….will the citizens of this country take heed?

  8. Collect all debts owed to the U.S.A. including from the UN and get that org. out of our country.

  9. Isn't it odd that you never hear about the investments of the Democrats in congress and overall, they are the richest. It's about time we blow the lid off of this little secret kettle.

  10. jammin2011 says:

    I don't care how much money Romney makes. I do care about his thoughts and ideas about America. I don't agree with him a lot of the time, and I'm not really seeing a leader in him, but I would vote for him in a second. We need someone who can speak without reading a pre-written speech on a teleprompter.

  11. All of the candidates and incumbents are worth way more than I am currently – that is part of why they can take the time to run for office.

    But a overall tax rate of 30% is too much on anyone – and if the Warren Buffet's feel they are under taxed, the Dept of the Treasury will accept any and all contributions. He gave a significant amount to Bill Gate's charities instead of the Govt – wonder why? Probably because he was well aware it would be spent much more wisely there that through the bloated bureaucratic system we have built. Any charitable organization with the overhead of our Federal Govt would have been shut down long ago.

  12. The general demographics is the richest (and particularly old wealth) and the poorest, it is those of us in the middle who are the Republicans.

    Not to mention the fact that close to 50% of the population pay no taxes or receive Earned Income Credit.

  13. Bill McCroskey says:

    Right on !!

  14. Giving more money to this gov. is insane,it would be like giving your children a bigger allowance next week because they spent last weeks allowance foolishly!!!!!!!! WHEN ARE WE GOING TO JUST SAY NO TO DOPES. LENNY

  15. Don't know if Mitt can be paid off or not. I do know that Paul is one that can't be paid off.
    All the rest probably.

  16. He gave money to the Gates' charitible foundation, and the Gates' foundation gave Buffet's charity money. In other words, all they did was exchange money and then write it off as a charitable deduction to avoid paying some taxes. It wasn't altruism. I think that we should tax charities as well as churches, with only the true financial "charity" deductible (not "operating expenses"), since they have become more "Big Business" than anything else, and then perhaps they would be held more accountable. Then, we should specify that only charity spent in our own country is deductible, OR subtract that amount of money from our foreign aid obligations. So, why don't we hear any of the nominee's addressing this problem!

  17. Bob Marshall says:

    "An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation. We became property of the government when we accepted our Social Security card. It amazes me how many people actually believe we are free. We are free to the extent the government allows us to be free. This should be evident to most people that in 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act and the Federal Income Tax Act, then the Internal Revenue Service in 1933 we became slaves to the state. Through each administration we are losing more and more freedom and liberties. We must accept some of the blame because millions have been asleep at the wheel. " If we expect to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, we expect what never was and never will be…if we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every citizen to be informed." Thomas Jefferson. We had better take this wise founders advice before it is too late.

  18. "Don't worry about the mule, just load the wagon." The Master sets the weight of the yoke (taxes) and the slave will carry it. If the slave(s) revolts, as Dr. North has often stated, "Men with guns and badges show up! The representative slave is lashed, an example for all to witness.
    There is one and only one legal way to gain your greatest freedom, liberty, private property rights and privacy in this world today. Become an expat – renounce your citizenship, 3-5-flag-it and that's that! I've been a PT for 35-years now, tout au contraire, those that say, "It can't be done – poppycock!" All the complaining in this world will only leave you hopelessly expended in the end. So the real question becomes – what is the VALUE of your life really worth to you? For the Master, you are nothing more than a tappable resource. And that’s the way it is sports fans.

    Capt. A.
    Principauté de Monaco
    UTC +1:00 CET

  19. Have you noticed how the Demacrates want romny and dont want newt or paul I think palosi nos newt has alot of crap on the demacrats and the Rino and they are scared to death there lies are not working and we are not listening to there crap anymore they are not going to tell me who to vote for and I will not listen to there crap anymore

  20. To me, this is a positive for Romney. It was all legal. He was not a fool by paying more taxes than he legally owed. Do you really prefer someone who is foolishly manages his own money to be president?

  21. toosmarttovoteGOP says:

    Very true. It would, indeed, put a SIGNIFICANT dent in the deficit.

  22. toosmarttovoteGOP says:

    Why? Because THAT would be an act of PATRIOTISM of which these FASCISTS know NOTHING.

  23. Bob, pls see my comments made earlier about the taxing authority of the central govt. It is this common misbelief that everyone owes federal income taxes that is our ruination; it just ain't so! Oh, I know everyone says its so and everyone acts as if its so but the reality is everyone does not owe the tax! Most likely, everyone that works in the private sector, engaged in activities of common occupations to earn a living does not owe any tax on what is so earned. The American people have never given authority for such a tax to the central govt. and that includes the 16th amendment. Please see the site referenced in my comments above, read what is there and then set yourself free of this scam.

  24. If I understand this correctly, Romney has paid his taxes according to the current law. No more no less. He is current on his debt to the IRS.
    Now, I also understand that a great number of government workers and more to the point, White House personnel, owe millions of dollars in unpaid taxes to the IRS, if you add the rest of the government workers that amount is increased to billions. Why don't we go after those deadbeats and collect from them before we start pointing fingers at Romney or anybody else.

  25. I don't care how rich Romney is and i don't care that he is Mormon I just dont want him as president we have already had four years of what he will give us he is a twin to mccain

  26. Kevin Beck says:

    I'm just shocked that he had to turn to banks in other countries to handle his investments (sarcasm intended). If America would treat capital better, then he wouldn't have any need to own a foreign bank account.

    Besides, the $3 million he DID pay to the IRS was more than what 97% of the taxpayers in this country paid. If those morons want to attack him for being wealthier than anyone other than a Kennedy has been when running for President, then they are just pathetic. Criticize him instead for his just-like-a-Kennedy thoughts about government.

  27. Truth Prevails says:

    Do you care that Mitt Romney is rich? Spoken like a true boot licker!!!

  28. i would not vote for mitt the flip if he was running for best of show at the local pig slop