Wealthy And Stealthy

Ann Romney now famously said about her husband’s tax returns:

We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life.

And that’s that.

This morning I heard Joe Scarborough say that it is quite likely that Romney didn’t pay any taxes some years and had offshore accounts he doesn’t want to talk about. But, he assured us, that all was done legally and no one is suggesting Romney broke any laws.

Of course no one is suggesting he broke any laws in his rather nimble manipulation of the tax code. And that is the point. Romney not only wants to hide his relationship with offshore accounts and dodges and low or no tax rates, he also doesn’t want to reveal that what he has done is perfectly legal, even if it is perfectly unseemly to most folks.

The rich are different from you and me largely because they play by different rules, rules they mostly make up for themselves so that everything is “legal.” And God forbid that the rabble find out just how different the rich are and how the rules are designed to promote and preserve their well-being. Which is why, in her patrician wisdom and as a member of the stealthy class, Ann Romney can say:

We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life.

6 Comments

  1. It was a revealing slip of the tongue destined to live for a long time on YouTube. I thought Lawrence Odonnell (or was it Rachel?) had a good point about it last night, pointing out that the Romney people sent Ann out into journalism land unarmed with any reasonable counter to what would be the obvious prime question to be asked. There appears to be no one on the Romney campaign staff to represent the commoners.

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  July 20, 2012

    To all,

    A written above you all believe that Romney (acutally Romney’s accountants and lawyers) , “…rather nimble manipulation of the tax code”

    Define “nimble” please.

    I have great confidence that the IRS examined each and every return filed by Romney over the years quite carefully and as far as I know he was never fined or penalized for such returns much less file a fraudlent return. Do YOU trust the IRS in such matters?

    If you believe “nimble” means taking advantage of every “loophole” possible, then I agree he returns were “nimble indeed”. That is why lawyers and accountants get paid a lot of money to construct such complex returns.

    Of course a “rich man’s tax returns” are different from the ones that “common folks” submit. Any idiot would know that. But it is not illegal or even immoral to file such “nimble” returns, is it?

    Is Romney “hiding” money in off shore accounts? Probably that is the case because it is still legal to do so, depending on how you define “hiding”. Now if he was “laundering money” off shore, that would be a different matter.

    This whole debate is all about politics and spin. The crux of the problem is the damn TAX CODES, which I have repeatedly “ranted” about, myself.

    All this goes away if politicians would “clean up the tax codes” such that every American filed a tax return on a post card and paid taxes accordingly. THAT is possible from an accounting point of view but impossible from a political perspective, at least today. But I would sure vote for such a change to the tax codes, would you???

    Anson

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    • King Beauregard

       /  July 20, 2012

      Okay, how are you going to define “income” on your postcard-sized tax form? The amount that appears on your W-2s? I don’t imagine Mitt even gets W-2s.

      Nobody of any significance is inferring that Romney broke any laws in his tax filings; but it sure looks like he is a proponent of a system where the rich prosper and the rest of us get stuck with the bill. That’s the sort of thing voters should know about.

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  3. Jane Reaction

     /  July 20, 2012

    Ann Romney takes her place alongside Barbara Bush of Katrina shame. There is something about those overfed cows.

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  July 20, 2012

    King,

    If you read my blog you would see that “income” is ALL income, making no difference where it comes from, a wage, an IRA, a capitalt gains, or even a government subsidy. All of that is money into an individual pocket. Fine. Add it up and tax it appropriately with no social engineering attempted to “redistribute income” .. Let that redistribution happen in accordance with legislation, democratically passed and signed by Presidents.

    It is really simple. Add up all your income for wherever you receive it ahd pay a tax on that income, period.. For example, I receive SS but only pay a tax on 80% of my receipts of such income. Why? It is income from somewhere and provides me with a standard of living deems correct by the government!!!

    All income gets added up for every American, then we decide how much, democratically government needs to spend and we adjust the tax rate on ALL Amerians to fund the government needs or spending decided. Is that not just “simple” at least if you want to stick with an Inocme tax as the primary source of government revenues?

    FIRST, as I have suggested before, decide how much government needs to spend, democratically. Then adust the tax rates on income, or whatever, to meet those spending requirements. OMG, can you see any politicain agreeing with such a comon sense aprpoach???

    We want a budget to spend $3.5 Trillion and we want a budget to spend $2.5 Trillon Then let each side annouce the tax rates to achieve such spending goals and see who Americans will vote for!!!

    Anson

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    • King Beauregard

       /  July 21, 2012

      You are saying “add up all income” like it’s necessarily a simple thing, but it is not. The fact that wealth can come from a variety of sources — hourly wages, salary, Social Security, capital gains, inheritance, rental property, etc — is exactly why the tax code gets so complicated, trying to catch all these forms of income. The system doesn’t get more inclusive, or fair, by allowing more latitude to weasel out of taxes by failing to be clear on what income is.

      The current 1040 form uses the front page just to capture all the types of income a person can have. Strip that down to a postcard-sized document and you’ll be creating all sorts of non-taxable income. That, by the way, is the reason that your party loves the notion of a flat tax: it’ll be whatever percent of a person’s W-2 wages, which in the case of Mitt Romney, might amount to a token $1 a year.

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