Thursday, August 16, 2012

Romney: "I paid taxes every single year"

Romney on his tax status:

I just have to say, given the challenges that America faces – 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty – the fascination with taxes I’ve paid I find to be very small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face. But I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. So I paid taxes every single year. source

Mitt Romney, while answering questions on the campaign trail, conveyed a sense of indignation that he has to answer questions regarding his tax status:
How dare you ask me about my tax level.

He suggests that this thread of questions is nothing more than a Democratic/Obama creation to divert voters' attention away from the important issues facing our country.

He could not be more wrong!

The paltry 13% tax level -- or lower -- he pays underscores the very nature of the growing divide in America between the concentrated wealth of the 1% and the struggling to get by middle-class. Furthermore, the tax shelters, tax loopholes Swiss accounts, Cayman Island accounts and Bermuda accounts all show a pattern of someone trying to evade tax responsibilities by stashing money abroad -- very unpatriotic and non-presidential.

However, most importantly, Romney is a proud member of the uber wealthy that bemoan the 13% or less in taxes they pay. Hence, Romney is championing for even greater tax cuts for this class and higher taxes for the middle-class:

Mitt Romney’s plan to overhaul the tax code would produce cuts for the richest 5 percent of Americans — and bigger bills for everybody else, according to an independent analysis set for release Wednesday.

The study was conducted by researchers at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, who seem to bend over backward to be fair to the Republican presidential candidate. To cover the cost of his plan — which would reduce tax rates by 20 percent, repeal the estate tax and eliminate taxes on investment income for middle-class taxpayers — the researchers assume that Romney would go after breaks for the richest taxpayers first. source

The biggest irony is that George Romney (Mitt's father) is the one that set the precedent for full tax disclosure when he ran for president in 1968:

On December 12, 1967, George Romney's biographer previewed his coming book for the popular magazine Look, and offered a glimpse of what it was like to cover the almost compulsively open governor of Michigan.

Romney, T. George Harris wrote, "has a pronounced tendency to act as he sees fit, even if it might lead to embarrassment." The governor had answered a question about Mormon undergarments despite knowing that "it might inspire a national giggle," and his wife spoke with unusual openness about their marriage.

There was, though, one exception to this pattern: "He balked when I badgered him for a copy of his latest Form 1040, the Federal Individual Income Tax Return," Harris wrote. "Release of the document, while it might serve a political purpose, would not prove very much, he argued. One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul."

Romney's son has defined his campaign in opposition to his father's, with a strict zone of privacy that extends to his personal finances; he finally released two years of tax returns, and has refused to release more. George Romney, however, called Harris back and surprised him.

"Stumped by this argument, I was not prepared for the move that it eventually led him to make: He ordered up all the Form 1040's that he and Mrs. Rome had filed over the past twelve years — including those profitable ones from when he saved the American Motors Company from bankruptcy and became a millionaire on the company's stock options."

Harris learned a great deal from the numbers, notably that the Romneys had given 23% of their adjusted gross income to charity, about three quarters of that to the Mormon church. One year, they gave away all but $390 of Romney's salary and bonus.

Romney also payed an income tax rate several times that of his son's roughly 15%: He payed more than half of his income in taxes some years, and paid a total rate for the period over 50%. source

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rush Limbaugh: Paul Ryan is us...

Rush and Ryan: kindred spirits
If there is any doubt what side of the bread Paul Ryan, Romney's handpicked VP running mate -- some say it was a Tea Party shotgun marriage -- butters, we now have a gleeful Rush Limbaugh gushing:

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh jubilantly announced Monday that with the addition of Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket, a true conservative is finally on the ballot.

“We now have somebody on the ticket who’s us,” Limbaugh said of the newly named Republican vice-presidential nominee. “[Somebody] who can explain all of this, who believes all of this in his heart, in his soul, and he can do it with optimism and a smile on his face.” source


We now have someone on the ticket that is as far-right as me (Rush Limbaugh) and doesn't look like a Kenyan born, colonist hating, socialist and Muslim like Obama. Paul Ryan will continue to fight for more Reaganomics/Supply-side-economic policies that support tax cuts for the very wealthy. He will cut social programs for the lazy poor people and he will gut the un-American social safety net. And since Ryan is handsome and mild mannered, he can hide his anti-middle class/working class and poor policies behind an adorable smile.

In other words my fellow ditto-heads, Paul Ryan is a Sarah Palin, but with substance.

All jokes aside, Paul Ryan may be a decent, humble and hard-working American; he may truly believe in his economic/budget policies; however, Paul Ryan's greatest economic muse or mentor is Ayn Rand and her views were very extreme and dangerous:

Ryan has referenced Rand repeatedly over the course of her career, saying her writings got him into economics and policy. Ryan told the New Yorker recently that he has been reading Rand since high school; it was “Atlas Shrugged” that got him interested in economics. In March of 2003, Ryan told the Weekly Standard he was still a huge fan.

“I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it,” he said. “Well... I try to make my interns read it.”

If you’re behind on your mid-century philosophy, Rand invented Objectivism, a philosophy which holds that laissez-faire capitalism is the ideal economic system and that all people should pursue their own rational self-interest, not the good of others.

She laid out her theories in two novels, “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”, which have long been popular on the ideological right. While Rand is influential among libertarians and conservatives, she saw both groups as insufficiently wedded to capitalism. Still, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas are Rand fans; Barry Goldwater was one too.

In politics, as in life, it is all about the company you keep...!

Monday, August 13, 2012

What selecting Paul Ryan means for Romney

When Mitt Romney announced he selected Paul Ryan as his VP running mate it spoke volumes about the state of his campaign and the Republican party.

Paul Ryan, GOP congressman from Wisconsin, is considered the ideological leader of the Tea Party elected congress.

He authored the Ryan Budget which places emphasis on more tax cuts for the wealthy, less government regulation for corporate America, radical reform of entitlement programs like medicare -- in fact most Democrats believe he wants to totally dismantle the American social safety net.

Paul Ryan's budget -- passed by the GOPTP House of Representatives -- is so radical that ultra-conservative Newt Gingrich called it "right-wing Social Engineering."

This is the guy Mitt Romney selected? Why?

  • Romney is still not embraced by the party base: the enthusiasm for Mitt among his own party is not exactly his cup runneth over. So, even though Mitt exclaimed he was severely conservative -- a description that even had Rush Limbaugh scratching his head --  he was forced to appeal to his base instead of independents in the middle.

  • The Tea Party won the battle against the GOP establishment. In other words, the Tea Party -- a fake grassroots movement financed by the billionaire Koch brothers -- has won the heart and souls of the Republican party.

  • Mitt was tanking in the polls: Romney initially wanted the election to be about him being the anti-Obama guy. He wanted to stand side-by-side with Obama and ask the American people who did they like better. After being defined by team Obama -- the rich guy who pays little or no taxes -- and after multiple gaffes -- just think his disastrous international tour -- Romney realized his strategy was not working.
As Howard Kurts stated in the Daily Beast:

Mitt Romney is playing to his right by naming Paul Ryan as his running mate, instantly transforming the election into a debate over the Wisconsin congressman’s divisive budget-slashing plan
In a single stroke, Romney energizes the right wing of his party by picking the man who many Republicans revere as the intellectual leader of the party’s drive to shrink government. But he also hands President Obama and the Democrats a titanic target with a paper trail, given Ryan’s budget-slashing plan, approved by the House, that would turn Medicare into a voucher program.  source