Just Like Your Dad Did

I was offline yesterday and didn’t get a chance to respond to DougJ’s post in the comments, so I wanted to say a little more about why I think that Romney is such a bad candidate for Republicans. It boils down to his tax returns, and how I think they’re going to drive a conversation that’s toxic to him and Republicans.

Reading through yesterday’s comments, it sounds like a lot of you think that the returns are a one or two media cycle story and that Romney’s early release will make them fade away. If that’s true, I’m wrong. But I’m willing to bet that Romney will end up releasing far more that the manicured two returns he’s letting out on Tuesday and that those returns will be the source of a number of candidate- and brand-damaging stories:

“Given all the attention that’s been focused on tax returns, given the distraction that I think they became in these last couple of weeks,” Romney said in the broadcast interview that he would release his 2010 returns and estimates for his 2011 returns at the same time “so there’s not a second release down the road.”

That last part of the quote is a big fat tell. When a politician declares the end of something, it’s almost always the beginning, not the end. If you watch the way John King went after him with the point about his dad releasing 12 years of returns, and how badly the crowd reacted to his answer, I think it’s clear that the media is going to push for more returns. That’s because paying 15% on millions year after year, and hiding income in the Caymans, is an issue even media elites can relate to, because they pay well over double that rate on their fat salaries. It doesn’t take any special research, or even false empathy with the little people, for them to understand that point. So they’re going to keep dogging Mitt on this one, and I think he’ll ultimately release at least as many years of tax returns as Obama has (11 years, counting 2011).

These current and further releases will damage Romney with primary voters as well as voters in the general. For their entire modern history, the Republican Party rhetoric and policy have attracted the voter who feels a deep resentment about paying income tax. Perhaps this voter will look at Romney’s taxes and feel hope that he, too, might someday pay 15% instead of the 25% or 35% he’s paying now, but I doubt it. I think they’ll be as pissed as John King when they learn, for example, that Bain took advantage of a loophole that allows management fees, which are really wages and should be taxed at 35%, to get capital gains (15%) tax treatment.

I agree with DougJ that Newt’s unfavorables are awful, and that he’s an almost certain loser in the general election, but I also think that Mitt’s unfavorables don’t reflect the tax issue. I don’t know if Romney can hit Newt’s lows, but do Republicans really want to nominate someone who so clearly illustrates how their fealty to Grover Nordquist has allowed a few privileged elites to have the same tax rate as a person making $8,700?






133 replies
  1. 1
    jayboat says:

    Love the John Hiatt reference. Winning!

  2. 2
    EconWatcher says:

    You know, this was all fun and games until it dawned on me that Newt could actually pull this out and grab the nom. If he does, then the future of the world depends on the EU getting its act together this year. Do you want to bet everything on that?

    And don’t try to tell me Romney would be just as bad. True, he’d probably sign every piece of social and economic legislation the Republican Congress put in front of him.

    But think about Newt as Commander of Chief. A man of genius and vision, who has been underestimated his whole life, suddenly given the firepower to make his mark on history. Think about it real hard.

  3. 3
    Cacti says:

    @EconWatcher:

    A man of genius and vision, who has been underestimated his whole life, suddenly given the firepower to make his mark on history. Think about it real hard.

    vs. a 64 year-old man, still trying to prove himself to the ghost of his dead Daddy, plus prove he wasn’t a coward for hiding out in Provence during Vietnam.

    A thimble’s worth of difference I say.

  4. 4
    Morbo says:

    It just shows that the privileged elites are harder workers. And anyway, the poor have the highest living standard of any poor people in human history! Something, something, flat tax!!

  5. 5
    SteveinSC says:

    It’s not hard to answer the “it will only be a one or two day story.” We and the Beltway cognoscenti are paying attention to all this but most voters still don’t know George Bush is not the President. When this shit starts flying later in the year it will be news to the average dick. As to which Romney narrative wins, the job creator or the job destroyer, is yet to be determined.

  6. 6
    Guster says:

    @Morbo: You mock, but if I were Romney’s advisors, I’d tell him to run with it.

    Actually, I guess I’d tell him, “Release them all and give a speech about how there IS a problem with you paying 15%. You should be paying 10%. We should _all_ be paying 10%. And that there IS a problem with rich guys like you having to park money in the Caymans. It’s only because of big government nannystate policies that ram regulation down your throat to help inner city hoodlums play midnight basketball that you NEED to park your money elsewhere. You’ll make America money-friendly again. Then money from everywhere around the world will flow _to_ us instead of away. Just like it should. A conservative vision for the future. 10% taxes and we WELCOME wealth.”

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    Yeah, I think Mitt has handled this spectacularly awfully, and is going to have to release a lot more than he wants to.

    Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society, and for maintaining and improving our infrastructure.

    Time to have a good long discussion on what kind of society we want to be.

    Let the Republicans own the race to the bottom.

  8. 8
    jibeaux says:

    This has got to exist somewhere, but I don’t know where. People will be doing their taxes soon, and based on the fact that there are folks taking 1040-EZs to their local temporary tax preparer, I’m going to guess that most folks have no clue what their effective tax rate is. I’d like to see a simple online calculator where you plug in a few values from your tax return, add in your payroll taxes because that’s only fair, and it calculates your overall effective tax rate. It could be called “How Much More Are You Paying Than A Billionaire?” or something?

  9. 9
    beltane says:

    Newt and Mitt represent the two pillars of the Republican ethos quite nicely, so nicely that they should consider sharing the ticket. One the one hand you have entitlement and unbridled greed while on the other hand you have hatred and unbridled greed. The Republicans have become the party of the Seven Deadly Sins; they may as well go for broke and choke on their depravity like a drunk guy choking on his vomit.

  10. 10
    rikryah says:

    I still can’t let this go, and maybe I should.

    Willard has been running for President since 2007.

    2007.

    What was supposed to happen if he had beat John McCain for the 2008 Nomination?

    Did he think he wasn’t going to release any returns then?

    And, since he has been running since 2007 – without a break in between…

    WHY wouldn’t he have 2007 – present tax returns ready for publication?

    Did he really, during this time, not believe that he was going to release those returns?

    Is he really arrogant enough to think that he would be able to get away with the bulls— move of ONLY releasing the 2011 return?

    REALLY?

  11. 11
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    This is America. Romney’s biggest problem is not that he made a buttload of money by screwing the lower class over, or that he pays so little in taxes. It’s that he cannot convince people that he can empathize with their inability to pay their bills even though he will go warm his hands over a small fire that burns $100 dollar bills.

  12. 12
    liberal says:

    @EconWatcher:

    But think about Newt as Commander of Chief. A man of genius and vision, who has been underestimated his whole life, suddenly given the firepower to make his mark on history. Think about it real hard.

    I completely agree.

    While Newt would increase the likelihood of an Obama win, the risk of handing our firepower to someone who seems to have more than a few marbles loose is too great.

  13. 13
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    (Where’s my edit button?!)

  14. 14
    Schlemizel says:

    do Republicans really want to nominate someone who so clearly illustrates how their fealty to Grover Nordquist has allowed a few privileged elites to have the same tax rate as a person making $8,700?

    Yes, yes they do. Because if you don’t agree that that is fair you are against everyone that dreams of a better life!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA – I could barely make it through that load of shit with a straight face.

  15. 15
    liberal says:

    @jibeaux:
    Really good suggestion.

    Though a big question is whether you’d want to throw payroll taxes into it.

  16. 16
    Schlemizel says:

    @Guster:
    Jay-zuz, I hope his people are not smart enough to do this, you have easily identified how this becomes a winner for Willard.

  17. 17
    MattF says:

    Romney’s got lots of negatives, but they need to be combined into a narrative, and that’s not going to happen by itself. Plutocrat, liar, flip-flopper, affect-disordered– all true, but it has to be put together.

  18. 18
    jibeaux says:

    @liberal: Well, I would. Payroll taxes are a statistically insignificant portion of the taxes Romney pays, but they’re a huge bite for most Americans. I think it’s fair to count them. But it wouldn’t be hard to design the calculator such that you choose whether to include them or not and it can run the percentage for you either way.

  19. 19

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Remember, if it pisses off liberals, it has a way of uniting Republicans.

    The thing about tax returns, they are the sort of raw meat the blogosphere and all the journalists minus access love, because it establishes something like a timeline in a murder trial. It just begs to be referenced, cross referenced, unframed, reframed, holes shot, stabbed and whatnot.

    Right now, the only thing delaying Romney’s corronation, is the fact that many of the rank and file can’t stand him and simply don’t want to get behind him.

    Dissatisfaction that has nothing to do with taxes.

    If it is perceived that these are shots coming from the lamestream media, and the #ows, and the jealous petty liberal elites, it could have the contradictory effect of turning ornery base republicans towards RawMoney.

    In my ideal world, the people who right now want anyone but RawMoney as the candidate would push this story from the right, and we can all kick back and laugh.

  20. 20
  21. 21

    Are you sure that the 15% tax rate is the only problem? He has displayed a lot of resistance. One would think that he had a bigger problem than legal tax rates.

  22. 22
    Punchy says:

    Why the fuck does it take a Presidential Candy’s tax returns for Joe TwoPack to learn that the rich only pay 15%? This info is readily available on roughly 1,683,230 websites. Yet nobody sees this until Romney drops his 1040 papyrus on CNN and Fox?

    The ignorance and stupidity of this country is just stunning.

  23. 23
    RalfW says:

    @Guster
    I was thinking the exact same thing, flat tax! And not as snark.

    I’m pretty sure we’ll see that approach, so I think the 1%/99% OWS narrative has to stay operative too.

  24. 24
    jibeaux says:

    @MikeBoyScout: Yeah, that’s pretty good, but it’s not personalized. I guess I’m picturing something where you can figure out exactly what rate you’re actually paying.

  25. 25
    mistermix says:

    @Linda Featheringill: It’s that plus the income hiding strategies, of which the Caymans tax shelter is probably just the start.

  26. 26
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @24 jibeaux: Understand. Turbotax software does that automatically. Not sure about the rest.

    I suspect most are not interested in knowing their effective tax rate any more than they are interested in understanding what a marginal tax is.

  27. 27

    Mitt’s the kind of guy who would smash a perfectly good guitar and now he’s in Florida singing “Have A Little Faith in Me.”

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    One problem is that you have to have a specialized degree to really understand the tax system at the Federal level in this country. It’s that damn complicated on purpose, and the purpose is to allow the 1% to get out of paying actual progressive taxes as they should.

    One thing I learned in my gig at a small phone company was that the wealthy have this tendency to think they’re entitled to discounts and rate breaks because they’re wealthy. Normal people just pay the bill. Rich people, asking for premium services, demand discounts that would effectively mean providing services to them below cost. So that the 99% customers are effectively subsidizing their service.

    They don’t want to pay full freight, and think that this is an entitlement they have.

    They want to freeload. ON EVERYTHING.

  29. 29
    Judas Escargot says:

    @EconWatcher:

    But think about Newt as Commander of Chief. A man of genius and vision, who has been underestimated his whole life, suddenly given the firepower to make his mark on history. Think about it real hard.

    I have been. The implications have not been promising.

    While part of me appreciates Gingrich making Romney actually earn something for once in his life, Newt seems to be emerging as some sort of weird 1968 Nixon-Wallace hybrid. And given the shrinking GOP coalition, a Nixon-Wallace hybrid could be just what they need to pull it off, and take the WH.

    We can laugh at how stupid the electorate is to even entertain Newt as a possibility, but this is the closest to Mussolini-style fascism the US has gotten in a long, long time.

  30. 30
    handsmile says:

    Unlike mistermix, I was online, and online here, far too long yesterday. Having read through the various threads devoted to post-game analysis of the South Carolina primary and distilling the prevailing views there, I have a question or two about current opinion on who will be the 2012 GOP presidential nominee.

    First, I’ll stipulate that Santorum and Paul have no chance of the nomination whatsoever (whether Paul would launch a third party candidacy is not relevant here.)

    I wholeheartedly agree with mistermix that Gingrich is “almost a certain loser in the general election,” although I would excise the “almost.” But with the debacle of Romney’s campaign last week, the apparently perpetual appeal of the “Anyone but Mitt” sentiment within the GOP primary ranks, now augmented by the tax issues highlighted by mm above, is the coronation of Mittens the First still inevitable, just now delayed until Super Tuesday?

    My view is that the nomination of either Newton Leroy or Willard may well presage a reprise of Goldwater 1964. Much to my greatest joy, especially if it promotes Democratic gains in Congress.

    The notion of a brokered convention in Tampa Bay, with neither candidate having secured sufficient delegates, was dismissed by ADJ et al as a political junkie’s wet dream, and many other commenters pointed out its historical and practicable improbabilities. (My opinion on this remains that given the wildly improbable dynamics of this GOP primary season and the virulent mood of national discontent, that such a scenario is not so far-fetched.)

    If both the disgraced Speaker and the Mormon former governor of Massachusetts are too bloodied and bloody awful, then who and how? Even given the animus among the various GOP factions, will the authoritarian ethos of the party compel the faithful to rally to one designated leader later this spring?

    [My apologies for even more longwindedness than usual.]

  31. 31
    Punchy says:

    Odds update: Newt went from 4-1 down to now 2.5-1 to win the R nommy. That’s a HUGE change. Disturbingly, there’s now posted odds for Newt to win the presidency, at 7-1. The mere thought of him winning makes me physically ill.

    Mittens ought to be very concerned.

  32. 32
    Schlemizel says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    There is a very old black and white film from England I wish I could remember the name of it. Two wealthy men make a bet that if they gave some bum a large denomination bill he wouldn’t be able to spend it all.

    Don’t remember if it was a 100 pound note or maybe bigger but every time he tries to use it people assume he is an eccentric millionaire & give him stuff for free. This is not a new phenomena.

  33. 33
    Zach says:

    How much money did Mitt Romney and the various corporate entities he profits from make from the 2004 foreign-income repatriation tax holiday. Bain doesn’t have the same reporting requirements that other companies do, but publicly-traded financial firms profited hugely — Citi (3.2B), JP/Chase (1.9B), Merril (1.8B). The holiday was a temporary 5.25% tax instead of a 35% tax on foreign profits. So that’s 6.9*29.5% = $2 billion in free money… or the total wages of 40,000 median American families… more than 100,000 Americans.

  34. 34
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Yeah, there’s more going on there, of this guy who has more money than anyone needs working very hard indeed to make sure that he has even more of it by avoiding paying taxes at the full legal rate, even if it is 15% versus a higher percentage for people who actually do physical labor for a living.

    It’s just so fucked up that rentiers pay lower rates on their rentier income than people who actually have to work. It’s totally bassackwards from the way it should be.

  35. 35
    Waynski says:

    Little remembered among the Villagers is that when Obama first got in office, the Feds had caught UBS (swiss bank) red-handed helping Americans evade (not avoid, evade, big difference) their taxes. In return for not charging UBS criminally, which would put them out of business in the U.S. (see Anderson, Arthur), UBS took the unprecedented move of letting the Feds know which rich ‘mericans were hiding their money in Switzerland. At that point the Obama administration told all of the one percenters that within a certain window of time (end of 2009, as I remember) they could re-patriot their money (UBS or not), pay their back taxes and some fines, and all would be forgiven. The Feds promised to get medieval on the asses of anyone who didn’t comply. So, (or danque, if like Mittens you speak French, which is by the way spoken in Geneva), what I would really, really love to see is his 2009 tax returns. What I’m suspicious of may not be the smoking gun, but he’s hiding something and everyone can smell it.

  36. 36
    Cacti says:

    @handsmile:

    The notion of a brokered convention in Tampa Bay, with neither candidate having secured sufficient delegates, was dismissed by ADJ et al as a political junkie’s wet dream, and many other commenters pointed out its historical and practicable improbabilities. (My opinion on this remains that given the wildly improbable dynamics of this GOP primary season and the virulent mood of national discontent, that such a scenario is not so far-fetched.)

    I see a brokered convention as a possibility also, for the reason that the “conventional wisdom” ain’t quite what it used to be. The election President Obama in 2008 was the vanguard of a new electoral calculus for the 21st century. Republican voters saw this, and have been in a full-on panic for the past 3 years.

    Just winning with a coalition of white evangelicals, white country-clubbers, and white libertarians is no longer enough to take the White House (pun intended). Thus you see the three factions of the Reagan coalition fighting to see who will steer the future direction of the party.

    This is the most divided I’ve ever seen the GOP in my lifetime. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

  37. 37
    Schlemizel says:

    @handsmile:
    My guess is the Rs would love a brokered convention if they could make a peaceful deal. (would the baggers tolerate this? probably not but lets assume they will).

    I think they would love to run an unsullied Daniels (Jack? Charlie?, I forget, the assclown from Indiana). This would give them a dependable resource should he win, who has not been damaged by the fight and could build his own narrative from scratch.

    But I can’t imagine this happening for a lot of reasons. Its more likely there would be a compromise ticket with one of them at the top & the other offered some cabinet slot. Or maybe, depending on the vote totals a couple of slots promised. Imagine Willard just needing a little push to get over the top & offering Huntsman SoS and Ol Frothy HHS.

  38. 38
    Chris says:

    @rikryah:

    Willard has been running for President since 2007. 2007. […] Is he really arrogant enough

    Yes. Full stop. The man thinks he’s entitled to the presidency, and discovering that you needed to do things like show your tax returns, IMO, was as much of an unpleasant surprise to him as finding out you needed to feign interest in the lives of the peons.

    As much as the rational and sane part of me agrees with EconWater @ 2, the schadenfreudy part of me thinks there are few people in national politics who’re as badly in need as Mitt Romney of being slapped in the face with the fact that there are some thing in this life you can’t have no matter who your parents were and no matter how much is in your bank account.

  39. 39
    Princess says:

    Somewhat OT but has anyone noticed the name of Santorum’s money bomb? It is called “Conservatives Unite Moneybomb.” Or, for short you could call it C.U.M. Does he have a mole on staff or are they all just that stupid?

  40. 40
    Elie says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Romney couldn’t carry the argument off effectively. He would have to be a very different campaigner and very different personality.. His team could write the speech for that but he could never deliver it effectively.

  41. 41
    shortstop says:

    Linda: it’s that, plus the income hiding strategies mistermix mentions, PLUS the fact that he snagged about $10 million last year, almost all from investments. As I said in another thread, do not underestimate the power of that big black number to shock and piss off, especially when so many are struggling badly and especially in a year when we’re actually having a national conversation (sort of) about massive income inequality.

    Another reason this isn’t going to go away is that Mitt will continue to make boneheaded remarks that are supposed to say “I’m one of you regular people” but will instead emphasize the great divide. He cannot help himself.

  42. 42
    Chris says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    While part of me appreciates Gingrich making Romney actually earn something for once in his life, Newt seems to be emerging as some sort of weird 1968 Nixon-Wallace hybrid. And given the shrinking GOP coalition, a Nixon-Wallace hybrid could be just what they need to pull it off, and take the WH.

    Okay. This. All of it.

  43. 43
    Face says:

    Does he have a mole on staff

    I’m guessing his wife/wives could answer that.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Romney has the same problem that Bush the Elder did: he is obviously uncomfortable with campaigning, and resents the fact that you need to actually attempt to relate to the serfs when what SHOULD happen is that they unquestioningly adore you and pull their forelocks and know better than to stick their grubby muddy hands at you expecting for you to deign to touch said grubby muddy hands, getting all those peasant cooties all over you.

    People pick up on that vibe. They don’t like it very much.

  45. 45
    Waynski says:

    Just one more thing on this regarding why I agree with mistermix. We all know the Washington press corps is stupid and can be beaten into false equivalency arguments by the Rs at the drop of a hat, but the difference here is that Mittens is treating them like employees, like they’re THAT stupid, and even sycophants pee in the master’s tea now and again. Also too, there is no other side to this. It’s all about Mitt. There’s no Democratic boogeyman to blame anything on here, which makes it all the more delightful. There’s nothing the Villagers love more than an own goal (see Clinton, Bill), and this is Romney’s own goal. I’m with double M. I don’t think they’re going to let this go.

  46. 46
    Alex S. says:

    I can see why Jeb Bush didn’t endorse either one – there isn’t much difference between them. Ok, Mitt’s chance to beat Obama might be higher, but he might just as well do more damage to the republican brand than Newt could do. Mitt is the poster child of a spoiled, sheltered republican. Newt is ‘just’ raw resentment, but he’d mobilize the base and get close to McCain’s share of votes. Give him a ‘serious’ VP and they can bullshit their way to some acceptable result. With Mitt, I’m not so sure, his argument is electability, but what happens if becomes clear that he won’t be able to beat Obama? The base is going to abandon him…

  47. 47
    Redshift says:

    That last part of the quote is a big fat tell. When a politician declares the end of something, it’s almost always the beginning, not the end.

    And this illustrates the almost criminal level of political malpractice in the Romney campaign. They don’t understand the basic fact that a news story staying alive depends on new information, and the absolute worst thing you can do is hope to get away with releasing partial information. It only highlights the fact that there’s more information you’d rather keep hidden. It’s just blood in the water.

  48. 48
    Elie says:

    @Cacti:

    I agree with your assessment that the three factions in the Rs are battling. The biggest problem that I see is that they are so violent and destructive in nature, that they will sully the whole electoral process — just as they sully governance trying to prove that government doesnt work. They are a terrible bunch of folks who need to be voted out of office and then contained as one would social criminals… I have no doubt that they would destroy this country just so that “the coloreds” won’t have the opportunity to lead it and participate fully. I truly believe, just as they did for the Civil War – they will destroy the union unless it is run by what they think are the right people. In the Civil War, they literally had their homes and business burned to the ground so that white people could own other people… You don’t think they wouldnt do that again?

  49. 49
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Princess:
    Yutsano drew our attention to it yesterday. A good laugh was had by all.

  50. 50
    Redshift says:

    @jibeaux: One thing to keep in mind is that people don’t understand percentages. Any calculator should include a raw amount that’s how much more Mitt would be paying in taxes if he paid the same rate as you — how much he’s ripping you off.

  51. 51
    Alex S. says:

    So Rasmussen has Gingrich up in Florida by nine… (h/t Sully)

  52. 52
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @Chris:

    As much as the rational and sane part of me agrees with EconWater @ 2, the schadenfreudy part of me thinks there are few people in national politics who’re as badly in need as Mitt Romney of being slapped in the face with the fact that there are some thing in this life you can’t have no matter who your parents were and no matter how much is in your bank account.

    George W. Bush notwithstanding.

  53. 53
    liberal says:

    @jibeaux:
    Thing is the right-wingers will do their usual switcheroo: you can’t count payrolls taxes because they’re in return for a specified future benefit. In other contexts, of course, those are promises that it’s morally OK to break.

  54. 54
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Redshift:

    There’s a calculus involved here.

    On one hand, you can release all the information, and it might sink you, or it might not.

    On the other hand, you can let it drip drip drip, and it will sink you with pretty much metaphysical certitude.

    Like utter idiots, they go for option two, and seal their doom.

  55. 55
    beltane says:

    I’m really sick of commenters in places like DKos expressing abject terror at the possibility of a Gingrich nomination. Ironically, they are the very same people who complain that Obama isn’t a fighter. Any supposed progressive who doesn’t look forward to the opportunity to wreak vengeance upon this pig-eyed sack of suet should stay away from politics completely.

  56. 56
    jibeaux says:

    @liberal: Sure, but if I die at 50, I don’t get a refund on any of that. Anyway, I think Redshift has the right idea too….even if your effective tax rate is 16%, think how many more dollars Mitt would pay going from 15 to 16%. Why, it’s probably more than that little bit he got from speaking fees.

    (Husband had a good question about this. Why is anyone paying a man who has been campaigning for president near-continously since 2007 to speak? It’s like if you went to one of those shady high-pressure time-share vacation home pitches, but instead of getting a free gift, you paid them.)

  57. 57
    4tehlulz says:

    OT, but this strikes me as a very stupid move by Elizabeth Warren:

    >Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren have signed a ban on third-party ads in their hotly contested US Senate race after posturing between both sides over the agreement….Pro-Warren groups have already outspent pro-Brown groups by about 3-to-1 in Massachusetts, an alarming trend for Brown, whose party is in the minority in the state.

  58. 58
    askew says:

    The thing is that Romney has been running for President since 2007 at minimum. So, I’d imagine returns for 2007-2011 are much cleaner than the returns from 2001-2006. Those are the returns I want to see. And I am worried the media will give him a pass if he just releases 2010 and 2011 returns.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    Elie says:

    @beltane:

    I think that the ugliness of that potential campaign should give you pause. Do you really want to “beat” that back — all the naked racism and resentment? And do you think that the target would really be Newt and not the 30% or more of the population that he would represent? Do you think our country could survive that without deeper wounds than we could afford? I don’t.

    Give me Mitt… ugly enough by himself — he will try to use every dog whistle he can — but we might could just survive this brutal election season with him as the opponent…

    Please do not believe that a campaign with Newt would just hurt Newt…

  61. 61
    Zach says:

    @4tehlulz: The only way that ratio stays in Warren’s favor is if it isn’t a close election. So, it’s a smart move on her part in that respect. However, I imagine that Brown will look the other way if (1) it’s a close election and (2) third parties spend money. He’ll say he has no control over them and it’s un-American to tell people when to speak and what to do with their money… would Samuel Adams have stood for that?!?

  62. 62
    Sammy says:

    I keep reading about a brokered convention, but with the Rep’s being so winner take all, is it even possible if Newt or Mitts win every state?

  63. 63
    Judas Escargot says:

    @4tehlulz:

    Yep, she took the bait, sadly. And I heard Scott Brown’s new “Aw, Shucks, I’m the underdog” ad on WBZ this morning. And here’s the agreement:

    Brown said his campaign would have to donate 50 percent of the value of any spending on his behalf to a charity of Warren’s choice, and she would have to do the same to a charity of his choosing if he was targeted with an outside ad benefitting her.

    If I were a GOP billionaire, I’d anonymously create a new SuperPAC today and start running ads in Mass, pronto– against Brown.

    Warren just got thrown an anvil.

  64. 64
    giltay says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I have a vet that makes housecalls and takes personal cheques. Last time he was in, he told how much he prefers working with poor people’s pets rather than rich people’s. Poor people pay their bills promptly, their cheques don’t bounceand they don’t try to weasel out of every part of the bill.

    @Waynski: Psst. It’s “donc”, not “danque”. Je vous en prie.

  65. 65
    EconWatcher says:

    @beltane:

    Shorter Beltane: Bring it on!

    Well, count me as someone who’s very worried about a Gingrich nom. But I’ve never complained that Obama is not a fighter. And his preternatural cool is exactly what would be needed in a fight against a bomb-thrower like Gingrich.

    I just think you can never be sure how crazy voters will get if they’re desperate, scared, and angry. And events overseas and beyond the control of the President could make this country desperate, scared, and angry in the blink of an eye.

  66. 66
    beltane says:

    @Elie: Yes, a Gingrich nomination would be horrible for the country and would also do severe damage to our reputation internationally. However, if Newt ends up as the nominee the correct response is to fight, not to curl up into a fetal position and hope for the best.

  67. 67
    4tehlulz says:

    @Zach: No it isn’t, unless you think her campaign account is going to dwarf Scott Brown’s.

    This is one of the few places where third-party spending would favor the Democrat, and now that’s off the table. Utterly fucking stupid move.

  68. 68
    marv says:

    @Elie:
    “Give me Mitt… ugly enough by himself—he will try to use every dog whistle he can”

    The problem for me is that Mitt himself is a kind of dog whistle. I think the “Republican establishment” is so into Mitt’s electability because they know a significant chunk of “moderate white independent voters” will vote for Romney thoroughly convinced that it isn’t simply because he’s white, and I just find that to be the most disgusting lie of all.
    (Sorry I don’t know how to do that cool thing of putting what you wrote in some kind of a box. I’m so old that the next time a teenager honks at me in traffic and flips me off, I’ll probably turn into a Republican myself.)

  69. 69
    Mark says:

    Let’s also talk about marginal tax rates on wages. A single parent with two kids pays 30-37% between $20k and $40k in income because the EITC phase-out is done wrong. At $42k, they’re paying 18% marginal rates.

  70. 70
    Elie says:

    @EconWatcher:

    In most “civilized” governments, the legitimate structures and processes are usually respected enough by the populace to “handle” periods of great stress and hardship. In our current situation, we have been experiencing at least two decades of anti-government rhetoric where almost every government institution and process is under suspicion and attack, making it less able to facilate “peaceful transitions of power” – ie – elections.

    I am not confident that giving the Republicans a real emotional butt whipping does anything but pour kerosene on a slow burning fire. You don’t want to get into an all out tribal war right now… and that is definitely what Newt wants — not just to win — but as someone upstring pointed out, to “get even” with all his perceived detractors. Newt is not balanced mentally. To me I see a very dangerous and uncontrollably reckless person that I hope is managed and defeated by the Republican party instead of in the general election…

  71. 71
    Redshift says:

    @askew:

    And I am worried the media will give him a pass if he just releases 2010 and 2011 returns.

    That’s one thing I’m not worried about. Even Politico has already said that it’s not enough.

  72. 72
    The Other Chuck says:

    He will release one or two years, call it done, and then summon the same poutrage against the liberal media who demand more. Like good lapdogs, pretty much all the media outlets will comply. The claim that Romney did not release his tax returns will be retroactively changed to “Pants On Fire” on politifact.

  73. 73
    Elie says:

    @marv:

    Romney is not the same destructive bomb thrower that Newt is. Newt will tear down the house and then apologize later… he is CRA-ZEE. Romney is not crazy. I don’t want CRA-ZEE anywhere near the power of the Presidency…

  74. 74

    @4tehlulz:

    The third-party ads:

    I’m not sure about this, either. On the other hand, I suspect that Elizabeth is rather shrewd financially and perhaps there are reasons for her to go along with this.

    Maybe she could explain it to us.

  75. 75
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Elie:

    To me I see a very dangerous and uncontrollably reckless person that I hope is managed and defeated by the Republican party instead of in the general election…

    We’re basically witnessing an early test to see if Romney is strong enough to hold the crazies within his own party at bay.

    If Newt gets the nom., no regrets– IMO, that would indicate that Romney was too weak to control the crazies in Congress anyway, and it wouldn’t have made all that much difference.

  76. 76
    Donut says:

    @jibeaux:

    It’s pretty easy to find this info – the IRS has tax calculators.

    Also, if you visit just about any CPA firm’s web site, they usually have all kinds of free and easy to use tools online.

    I just searched for the term “cpa firm chicago tax” and was able to find some of these tools in about 30 seconds of clicking:

    http://castillocpa.com/taxcenter2.php

    http://www.cpasitesolutions.co.....x1040.html

  77. 77

    If Romney has been loathe to show us his tax returns merely because he thinks it’s nobody’s business, that would be a big mistake. Nobody would believe him. It has gone on for long enough now that he needs to confess to some sins and show the evidence of wrongdoing. Otherwise, people will think that he is a real crook and is hiding something really big.

  78. 78
    Elie says:

    @beltane:

    Of course we fight…and fight and fight.

    If Newt is the nominee, our “house” will be pretty much of a wreck. Ever heard the term “the cure was as bad as the disease”?. Its like when folks speak with longing for “revolution”. Yeah, its great until you are in one. Yeah, sometimes you have to. Sometimes you have to have war. But to most who have ever witnessed that kind of battle, no one but the reckless chant “bring it on”, without real worry and concern. The damage will not be discrete or narrowly borne.

    Lets hope he is not in that position and that what is left of the Republican party will do the right thing.

  79. 79
    catclub says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: “getting all those peasant cooties all over you.”

    Adn yet it was George Bush the younger who had the intense relationship with hand sanitizer after ‘meeting the people’.

  80. 80
    Elie says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    I think that your assessment that it would not make much of a difference is incorrect…

    Sometimes its good just to be lucky. Right now, Gingrich wasn’t able to get onto all the states’ primary ballots — a saving grace, thank the Lord. And if the brokered convention selects him as their nominee, well, it won’t be because Romney is not “strong enough” but because the cra-zees completely run the Republican party. I think its close to that, but I hope not quite all the way gone — yet.

  81. 81
    shortstop says:

    @Elie: You’re making a lot of excellent points. I agree that Newt is too much of a risk — not because he will beat Obama (he won’t) but because he has no incentive not to set the world on fire just to watch it burn.

  82. 82
    Kane says:

    Why is Romney such a bad candidate? Perhaps this quote from a recent Romney stump speech provides some insight:

    “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....mark-steyn

  83. 83
    EconWatcher says:

    @Elie:

    I agree with everything you’ve said. But Jeb Bush’s refusal to make an endorsement in Florida might suggest that the party establishment will not intervene to kneecap Newt. Hard to imagine a more establishment figure than Jeb, and he can’t even weigh in to state a preference?

  84. 84
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Kane:

    Obviously, OvenMitt feels a need to compete in the 2012 Sarah Palin Memorial Word Salad toss-off.

  85. 85
    Suffern ACE says:

    @4tehlulz: How would that even work, anyway? My money. My free speech, so the court sayeth. Since You Aren’t the Master of Me, I can buy whatever ads I want. If Congress can’t pass laws to take away my free speech right, how can two senate candidates agree to take that away?

  86. 86
    chopper says:

    @Face:

    innit funny, the mormon has fewer wives than the catholic.

  87. 87
    General Stuck says:

    After thinking about it some, I have concluded that the powers that be in the GOP, will not intervene at the convention if Newt’s current momentum propels him to the nom. As it looks like it very well could, per polling in FL.

    The GOP was dead in the water after Bush and the 2006/2008 elections. A beached Carp flopping on the bank. Then the tea tards breathed some life back into a moribund party and the goopers gladly embraced the radical crazy to stave off electoral death. The tea party energy propelled them to a victory in 2010, and as the late great Molly Ivins was fond of saying, “you dance with them that brought ya”

    If they are going to stop Newt, they will have to do it on the front lines of the ongoing primary. Good luck with that. Sending Romney to the show would be the equivalent of the dem party nominating Ben Nelson, so there you go.

  88. 88
    Danny says:

    Keep in mind that Dubya while campaigning showed no signs at all that he was going to be a dangerous Commander in Chief. And yet he was arguably the worst CiC of the 20th century. An empty suit taking advice from republican foreign policy “talent” – we’ve been down that road. Romney just recruited freaking John Bolton as his FP goto guy for god’s sake! Romney is likely to be at least as big a disaster as Gingrich.

  89. 89
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @General Stuck:

    Their problem is that Romney is just plain a shitty candidate, without regard to whatever policy positions or ideology he embraces.

    He’s not authentic. Voters pick up on that (again, without regard to policy choices or ideology) and are turned off.

    Noot may embrace dog whistles broadcast with a klaxon, he may be ugly, but he comes across much better on the stump with the GOP base even as he repels others than Romney does.

  90. 90
    wrb says:

    @EconWatcher:

    But think about Newt as Commander of Chief. A man of genius and vision, who has been underestimated his whole life, suddenly given the firepower to make his mark on history. Think about it real hard.

    We’ve been having the vision. Just imagine his Benny Hill-like glee as he contemplates his air force, navy and missile command.

    The only hope is convincing him that the priority should be Militarizing Mars in preparation for the imminent arrival of the space aliens.

    If he focuses on earth, it is in trouble.

  91. 91
    Suffern ACE says:

    I was kind of thinking Newt or one of the not Romneys would win in places where Republicans always win while Romney would win in places where they don’t and wouldn’t carry in the general anyway. At one point I thought that Newt wouldn’t win my home state New York primary, but the Republicans here did just nominate Carl Paladino for Governor last cycle, and he makes Newt look like a straight arrow.

  92. 92
    Elie says:

    @EconWatcher:

    I think that is what it looks like on the surface — but I wouldn’t bet that is the case behind the scenes.. I still think that the Bushes helped undermine Rick Perry — for whom they have had a long standing dislike

    He can’t appear to side against the cra-zees openly. Remember, they are a sustantial part of the party right now. That of course, in no way prevents him from “doing the deed” behind the scenes… The Bushes are very good at that Lucretia Borgia stuff…

  93. 93
    gogol's wife says:

    @Kane:

    Priceless!

  94. 94
    wrb says:

    @wrb:
    edit “same vision”

  95. 95
    General Stuck says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yes, and I should have completed my thought on the Ben Nelson analogy. Would we believe him if he presented himself as a genuine liberal after a lifetime of paling around and voting with republicans? No one is going to buy that, and sooner or later the thin reed of claiming he could beat a real republican, would come to the forefront of primary voters as a big lie.

  96. 96
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Kane:

    I believe in an Marklar where millions of Marklarns believe in an Marklar that’s the Marklar millions of Marklar believe in. That’s the Marklar I love.

    There, that’s better.

  97. 97
    General Stuck says:

    @General Stuck:

    No one is going to buy that, and sooner or later the thin reed of claiming he could beat a real republican, would come to the forefront of primary voters as a big lie.
    Reply

    And if he actually did win a GE, would dems really believe Nelson would govern as a liberal? Leopard/spots

  98. 98
    wrb says:

    @General Stuck:

    would dems really believe Nelson would govern as a liberal? Leopard/spots

    No, but he’s spent his career crossing and standing up to Democrats.

    When has Mitt not bent in the breeze?

  99. 99
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @General Stuck:

    But beyond just that, OvenMitt doesn’t come off well as a person to a lot of voters. His constant pandering tailored to the crowd he’s in front of can’t be sold by the individual pushing it. It’s a different sort of BS than he used to deliver at Bain Capital, and he shows no sign of approaching journeyman skill level at it, let alone master. Noot can spew the BS and sell it to an inclined crowd. Ron Paul can, too. OvenMitt can’t even get to first base with it.

  100. 100
    General Stuck says:

    After reading any number of winger blogs, they are full of conclusion that America hates Obama and his policies. When the only polling result that could affirm such a conclusion, are the dissatisfaction over the economic conditions. Obama’s job approval and favorables are both up near 50 percent, which puts the lie to their assumptions. And at some level they know it, and are reacting by coalescing around a more pure right winger, mostly for psychological reasons over pragmatic ones, or pragmatic ones the GOP establishment has been trying to sell them on Mitt. And to feel they followed their beliefs in defeat.

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yes, and his pandering is just one more reason the base is turning away from the Mittster.

  101. 101
    handsmile says:

    @EconWatcher: (#83)

    There’s no benefit to Shrub’s less stupid brother making a public endorsement in the Florida primary. Why antagonize any faction given the abrupt weekly shifts in GOP primary voters’ preferences? Also, he may believe that he will need the party ultras should he pursue a presidential exploratory bid in 2016. (Of course the name “Bush” will remain toxic in national politics for the next decade at least.)

    Linked below via TPM is a worthwhile article, “Top Tea Partiers Bummed About Both Mitt and Newt,” examining the distaste among those same ultras for the current menu of GOP presidential candidates.
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.....hp?ref=fpa

    I do want to highlight one statement from that article:

    As for FreedomWorks… [i]ts biggest priority this year is to help Republicans win control of the Senate, ideally with more right-wingers.

    A drum that I’ve been long beating upon here is that the Senate will be the greatest challenge for the Democratic Party in 2012. Control of the Senate (Ds now hold a 2 seat majority, with 23 seats up for reelection) provides far greater leverage in approving appointments to the Supreme Court. And obtaining an ironclad, far-right majority on the Court is a key part of the Republican Party’s “long game.”

  102. 102
    MCA says:

    I sympathize with some of the fears stated here about Newt as, horror of horrors, PoTUS, and obviously the likelihood of that happening is infinitely higher if he wins the nomination than if he doesn’t. I guess I’m on the other side, though, and still willing to pull for him for the time being, for a couple reasons.

    – I still think his chances in a general are slim to none, while Romney’s an underdog but assured of his 42%. The record that the 27%er id is willing to overlook will be on full display in a general, and it’s ugly. The financial industry has settled on Romney and will be loathe to give any money to the guy who took down theirs, so he’ll be poorly funded. He’ll provide ample ammunition to rile up the liberal base to match the far right’s excitement, whereas Romney doesn’t scare people on our side the same way.
    – He’s the perfect symbol of the dead end result of the Southern Strategy, and could be their Goldwater for the early 21st century. Romney’s got a chance in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia. Gingrich wouldn’t even get off the ground in the purple places, because non-tea party independents aren’t going to go for his schtick of resentment, victimhood and dog whistles. He could lose Florida and Ohio, too.
    – His extremism and former insiderdom would be a club for Obama. He could just talk all day about Newt’s record in Congress, and then turn to Gingrich’s current inflamatory rhetoric, tie it to the most do-nothing Congress in history, and ask voters if that’s what they want more of.

    In short, I’m willing to settle for the 1% chance he becomes President for the tradeoff of the real possibility he cripples the Republican Party for another 4-6 years, if not longer. If losing with a guy like Gingrich moderates that party somewhat, it’s not a bad thing for the republic.

  103. 103
    Brachiator says:

    Reading through yesterday’s comments, it sounds like a lot of you think that the returns are a one or two media cycle story and that Romney’s early release will make them fade away. If that’s true, I’m wrong. But I’m willing to bet that Romney will end up releasing far more that the manicured two returns he’s letting out on Tuesday and that those returns will be the source of a number of candidate- and brand-damaging stories

    A lot of speculation on how people might react based on what might be in the tax returns.

    Tuesday can’t come too soon for some people.

    @Linda Featheringill:

    If Romney has been loathe to show us his tax returns merely because he thinks it’s nobody’s business, that would be a big mistake. Nobody would believe him. It has gone on for long enough now that he needs to confess to some sins and show the evidence of wrongdoing. Otherwise, people will think that he is a real crook and is hiding something really big.

    It is very unlikely that there is any evidence of wrongdoing in Mitt’s tax returns (yeah, that’s speculation). He just seems clueless about the idea that the tradition of releasing this information applies to him.

    It will be funny to see if people create elaborate conspiracies that Mitt has somehow fudged or hidden his real, actual Long Form Tax Returns.

  104. 104
    Jay in Oregon says:

    It’s just so fucked up that rentiers pay lower rates on their rentier income than people who actually have to work. It’s totally bassackwards from the way it should be.

    It’s understandable that people want to avoid paying taxes; no one likes to part with money that they don’t have to.

    The galling part for me is that they want to pretend that it’s somehow moral and right that the working class be forced to pay for their fuckups.

  105. 105
    WereBear says:

    I’m not one to parse out The Worst Republican.

    Because they all are.

  106. 106
    Elie says:

    @handsmile:

    the Senate will be the greatest challenge for the Democratic Party in 2012. Control of the Senate (Ds now hold a 2 seat majority, with 23 seats up for reelection) provides far greater leverage in approving appointments to the Supreme Court. And obtaining an ironclad, far-right majority on the Court is a key part of the Republican Party’s “long game.”

    Completely agree…. makes me shiver

  107. 107
    BenA says:

    @WereBear:

    I’m not one to parse out The Worst Republican.

    Because they all are.

    I agree, I think a lot of this is just angst about the election. My angst is directed at secondary issues… I wonder who between Newt and Mitt will turn out the base better and will effect swing districts in congressional elections. Mitt wont turn out the base, but Newt maybe so far behind that the base will just not even bother because they’re getting trounced.

    That being said, a Republican gets elected president, and we’re I say there’s an 80% chance we’re in Iran within two years… doesn’t matter if it’s Newt or Mitt.

  108. 108
    catclub says:

    @BenA: I think an invasion of Iran is over the dead bodies of many generals. They KNOW that Iran is three times bigger than Iraq, and at least two times smarter than Saddam, as well.

    I am not saying we do not invade at all, but the path will be paved with dead generals if we do.

  109. 109
    Judas Escargot says:

    @BenA:

    That being said, a Republican gets elected president, and we’re I say there’s an 80% chance we’re in Iran within two years months… doesn’t matter if it’s Newt or Mitt.

    Minor edit.

  110. 110
    wrb says:

    I think Mistermix might be right in thinking that a Romney run wouldn’t be perfect for directing attention to wealth disparity but a Gingrich run wouldn’t be bad either.

    Newt looks like he’s going full populist/anti-vulture in the primary. Once he get inflamed with that message will he really drop it?

    A general in which the candidates are competing at soaking the rich the more thoroughly wouldn’t be all bad.

  111. 111
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @catclub:

    Also, the terrain in Iran SUCKS for mechanized operations. It would be a slow slog. No Blitzkrieg in Iran, unlike all those nice tank-friendly plains of Iraq.

    Invading Iran would NOT be a cakewalk, even with five times as many troops and an adequate occupation force planned for in advance by professionals, not dilettants like vonRumsfailed.

  112. 112
    Brachiator says:

    @wrb:

    Newt looks like he’s going full populist/anti-vulture in the primary. Once he get inflamed with that message will he really drop it?

    Yep. Newt will come up with a thousand “new” ideas, but it won’t amount to much. His attacks are more specific to Romney than they are the tax system.

    A general in which the candidates are competing at soaking the rich the more thoroughly wouldn’t be all bad.

    Soaking the rich is more a topic for bloggers and activists than it is the general public.

    Voters care about the economy and jobs.

    Candidate: We’re going to soak the rick. Really take it to them. I’m talking a 99 percent tax bracket for the 1 per cent.
    Voter: Will I have a job after all this soaking is done?
    Candidate:Probably not.

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Invading Iran would NOT be a cakewalk, even with five times as many troops and an adequate occupation force planned for in advance by professionals, not dilettants like vonRumsfailed.

    I cannot imagine a universe in which a sane president would order an invasion of Iraq, even if someone thought that it would be a cakewalk.

    Equally ridiculous is the notion that there could have been an adequate occupation force in Iraq, planned by anybody.

    By the way, I am not sure yet whether even Newt believes his own war mongering BS. Romney is a cipher. My gut tells me he would do something stupid just to prove that he wasn’t a flip flopping coward.

  113. 113
    4tehlulz says:

    @Suffern ACE: Well, groups voluntarily giving up their speech rights is one way…

    The other thing is, assuming at least one side actually sticks to the deal, can candidates give campaign money to charity? Wouldn’t that be illegal?

  114. 114
    handsmile says:

    BenA/Catclub/JudasEscargot/Villago Delenda Est:

    Re Iran: You may not have to wait for a Republican beast to slouch into the White House.

    Earlier today EU foreign ministers agreed to impose an embargo on shipments of Iranian crude oil to its member nations.

    Last month, Iran’s First Vice President Mohammed Reza Rahimi declared that its navy would blockade the Straits of Hormuz, not permitting “even one drop of oil” to pass through that vital shipping channel if Western governments took such an action.

    In response to the threat, both the Pentagon and State Department issued statements that any disruptions to shipping in the Strait would not be tolerated. Bolstering that point, yesterday a flotilla of US warships, led by the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, accompanied by French and English naval vessels sailed through those waters.

    A leading Iranian parliamentary official today rebuked that exercise, “If America seeks adventures after the closure of the Straits of Hormuz, iran will make the world unsafe for Americans in the shortest possible time.”

    All perhaps just saber-rattling, but the ratcheting up of sanctions on Iran by the West, as well as the series of killings of Iranian nuclear scientists over the past six months, actions strongly suspected of being conducted by Israel’s Mossad, deserves far greater and graver attention.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl.....intcmp=239

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl.....washington

    Preemptive ETA: Invasion, no; probably never. Military action this year, alarmingly possible.

  115. 115
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    That Romney has hidden millions of dollars in assets in the Caymans should exclude him from holding any public office in this country. If the taxes paid by ordinary citizens aren’t a requrement for a man because he’s just too damn rich to pay all that loot to the government, then he shouldn’t be running for the office of head of that government. Sounds more like some Banana Republic dictator’s way of handling his riches.

  116. 116
    catclub says:

    @handsmile: Thanks for that ray of sunshine!

    I knew about the coming imbargo, had not heard the saber rattling, or ship manuevering bits.

  117. 117
    Boxer says:

    The fact that the ultra-wealthy can get away with paying such low taxes is awful, and needs to change, but I can’t help but notice how often the meme is popping up lately about how Romney is paying as high a tax rate as someone who makes $8,700 per year.

    That’s false. That’s not how graduated tax brackets work, completely ignores the EITC and ignores the automatic exemptions every person in the US gets.

    I imagine Romney was saying he paid 15% or so after all of his exemptions, not that the highest his tax bracket ever went was 15%.

    Now, for a single person with only standard deductions, no dependents, and no home, I’m sure the 15% tax rate is still a pretty damned low income, but let’s not just ignore how tax codes work.

  118. 118
    Warren Terra says:

    RE the Caymans, apparently an agreement in 2009 meant that their institutions would start sharing foreigners’ financial information with their governments’ tax authorities. Since that time, the Caymans cannot (easily) be used to shield income from taxation.

    One obvious question this inspires is whether it’s a coincidence that Rmoney plans to release only his 2010 return – dating to after this agreement.

    Really, I don’t see how Rmoney makes this go away without at least matching what Obama did in 2008 and releasing seven years of returns – half what his own father demanded.

  119. 119
    Brachiator says:

    @Boxer:

    I imagine Romney was saying he paid 15% or so after all of his exemptions, not that the highest his tax bracket ever went was 15%.

    If all of Mitt’s income is from capital gains, it is taxed at 15%.

    Even better, let’s say that someone sets up a trust for a married couple with 2 kids, and the trust income is $90,000 in capital gains and Qualifying Dividends. The tax is ZERO.

    This is why the GOP loves those Bush tax cuts. And why the Democrats have been dumb in agreeing to extensions of these cuts.

  120. 120
    Waynski says:

    @giltay: Merci.

  121. 121
    Calouste says:

    @Kane:

    Seems like someone put:

    10 Print "America"
    20 Goto 10

    In one of the Romneytronic’s subroutines.

  122. 122
    eyelessgame says:

    The weird thing is that Mitt could handle this in one sentence in a way that would completely satisfy his base and win him the nomination. It would be batshit insane, but – well, I say that as though it were a bad thing. Here’s what Mitt could say:

    “I agree with the people who are saying that it’s wrong that I paid a lower tax rate than the rest of you. But it’s not that my taxes are too low – it’s that everyone else’s are too high! No one should have to pay more than 15%!”

    He’d rally the faithful, at a cost of boxing himself in to an insane policy once elected – but I don’t see why he doesn’t do it.

  123. 123
    Brachiator says:

    @eyelessgame:

    He’d rally the faithful, at a cost of boxing himself in to an insane policy once elected – but I don’t see why he doesn’t do it.

    Well, someone might ask him to be specific about how he would fund the government, and what programs he would cut, to get to this magic level.

    But the biggest thing, is that I think to say that no one should have to pay more than 15 per cent would be a gutsy move.

    Mitt ain’t got no guts.

  124. 124
    barry says:

    @Schlemizel: “I think they would love to run an unsullied Daniels (Jack? Charlie?, I forget, the assclown from Indiana). This would give them a dependable resource should he win, who has not been damaged by the fight and could build his own narrative from scratch.”

    IOW, a guy with no national or even primary campaign experience, no staff whatsoever, and no name recognition, starting less than 3 months before the election.

  125. 125
    slightly-peeved says:

    In his recent speeches, Obama’s had two main themes; inequality in America, and assholes in Congress preventing him from fixing it.

    Mitt is the poster boy for income inequality, and Newt is the poster boy for assholes in Congress. I think Obama can run a strong campaign against either.

    as to the damage they can wreak as President, I think Mitt would be even more enthusiastic about turning the US into Brazil than Newt would.

  126. 126
    slightly-peeved says:

    I saw Mitch Daniels on TV the other night. A tiny, balding, man who used to be Bush’s budget adviser? That’s the Republican’s idea of a white knight?

  127. 127
    Boxer says:

    @Brachiator:

    Yeah, I know how capital gains tax works. I’m not doubting that Romney pays 15% of what he takes in.

    I’m saying that people who earn $8,700 don’t come close to paying 15% of what they take in. That’s not how graduated taxes, standard deductions, and the EITC work.

    For a single person with only the standard deduction to pay 15% of what they earn (regardless of their tax bracket), they need to earn roughly $53,000/year. It’s still not a fair system, but claiming that People making 10k/year pay 15% federal taxes overall is ignorant at best and dishonest at worst. It’s like the right-wingers who will pretend that you can earn less money by getting a raise. The system is already plenty unfair. We don’t need to engage in indefensible hyperbole to try to make it seem even more unfair than it already is.

  128. 128
    Brachiator says:

    @Boxer:

    I’m saying that people who earn $8,700 don’t come close to paying 15% of what they take in. That’s not how graduated taxes, standard deductions, and the EITC work.

    A single person who earned $8,700 would pay no income tax at all.

    A single person earning $53,000 is in the 25 per cent tax bracket, without respect to the standard deduction. And yeah, the effective tax rate might be lower, but you need a standard of comparison.

    It’s not hyperbole to say that if Mitt’s income is coming from capital gains, he has an advantage over most American wage earners. And it makes no sense to compare his income to the lowest paid wage earners.

  129. 129
    Boxer says:

    @Brachiator:

    Yes, this is what I’m saying! It does make no sense to compare it, yet I’m seeing mistermix and many other bloggers doing this now without regard to how ludicrous it is.

    Again, I know what tax bracket someone who makes $53,000 is in. But being in a given bracket and paying a given amount are two totally different things and the latter is far more important than the former.

    Imagine a man earned $500,000 of income, putting him in the highest bracket in the nation. Imagine he simultaneously made $12 million taxed at 15%. It would be pretty dishonest of him to say “I pay 35% of my income into federal taxes” when in fact he only paid 35% taxes on about 120K of his income, wouldn’t it? Why is it not considered dishonest or ignorant for mistermix to do that with his closing quip above?

  130. 130
    Boxer says:

    @Brachiator:

    You are arguing against a point I didn’t make, hope this helps.

  131. 131
    Brachiator says:

    @Boxer:

    Yes, this is what I’m saying! It does make no sense to compare it, yet I’m seeing mistermix and many other bloggers doing this now without regard to how ludicrous it is.

    OK, I see what you’re saying. It’s tough for most people to write about science, economics, or taxes, because you have to know the subject and also be able to simplify often complicated concepts.

    The guy who had $500,000 in wages and $12,000,000 in capital gains cannot say that he paid 35% of his income in federal taxes. He can only say that he is in the 35% tax bracket. With nothing but the standard deduction, he would have paid at an effective tax rate of 15.59% if single.

    Still, you have to construct some average taxpayer to compare Mitt against. And you have to see the actual returns to really be able to get to the nitty gritty. Mitt seems to be saying that he’s got lots of capital gain income. This still gives him an advantage over most wage earners.

    But one of the whole points of blogs is speculation.

  132. 132
    Brachiator says:

    By the way, Newt’s return is out. Some semi-informed speculation that he was doing goofy stuff with S Corp income.

    Good Times.

  133. 133
    Goto Tengo says:

    I occasionally visit this site; this would be my first-time comment. I’m not sure where I could submit this as a possible piece of opposition research that could be used, if he’s the nominee, against the Romney campaign in the fall.

    It’s my analysis with heavy quotation of a book written by Stuart Stevens, Romney’s chief of strategy. It’s a travel memoir written in the 90s where Stevens gorges on expensive food for thirty days, no expense mentioned. I think it makes a good point of re-inforcing the idea of Romney as the president for the interests of the 1%.

    There’s also some worthwhile material on how much Stevens hates Germany, Brussels, and a joke about Mormons.

    http://italkyoubored.wordpress.....tt-romney/

    If anyone could tell me the best place to submit such material for later possible campaign use, I’d appreciate it. If there is a more appropriate thread for this, let me know.

    Thank you, and I appreciate your good work.

Comments are closed.