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Mitt(wit) Romney and the Taxman

Mitt Romney is continuing his flip-flopping ways.

Shortly after announcing his candidacy for President, Republican Mitt Romney declared that he would not release his tax returns for inspection by the electorate (not to mention his opponents and the media). Then, after facing criticism from his GOP opponents and the media, he flip-flopped and said that he would only release tax returns in April when he was the Republican nominee. Unfortunately for the multimillionaire Romney, last week he let it slip that he thinks he only pays a 15% effective tax rate. Inasmuch as the vast number of working/middle class wage earners pay a much higher tax percentage according to the income tax marginal brackets, the heat was turned up on Romney to release his tax returns immediately. Average Americans wanted to know if our tax system is so unfair that the wealthy benefit while the ordinary (not very wealthy) wage earner is penalized. Next it was revealed that Romney stashes tens of millions of dollars in offshore Cayman Island accounts and thereby deprives our nation of tax dollars while less affluent Americans bear the burden of paying their full share of taxes. Consequently, as a result of added pressure, Mitt Romney flip-flopped yet again and decided to release his 2010 and estimated 2011 tax returns on Tuesday of this week.

The returns show that Mitt and Ann Romney, who are worth from $190 million to $250 million, earned $21.7 million in 2010 and paid a 13.9 percent tax rate, lower than that of a person earning $50,000. The 2011 estimates show an income of $20.9 million, with the couple paying a tax rate of 15.4 percent, closer to the estimate that Romney gave but still substantially less than most average Americans pay. The Romneys’ income came entirely from investments, mostly from capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate than other types of income including wages. We also learned that Romney not only stashed cash in the Cayman Islands, but also in other tax-avoiding venues such as Luxembourg and in those infamous Swiss bank accounts.

During a time when millions of average hard-working Americans are still suffering from the economic meltdown of 2008 and considering the fact that income inequality between the top 1% and the other 99% has been increasing at an astronomical rate, many believe an unfair tax system deserves much blame. Mitt Romney exemplifies the top 1%, and Americans want to see if he benefits from an unfair advantage. The Huffington Post adds that “Over the course of the 2012 primary campaign Romney has made a series of gaffes that have helped create a caricature of the candidate as an aloof plutocrat. He made a flippant $10,000 bet during a televised debate. He emphatically declared to a crowd in Iowa that “corporations are people.” In a statement that has been somewhat taken out of context, Romney declared, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” When announcing that he had an estimated 15 percent tax rate, Romney glossed over the $374,327 he earned in speaking fees as “not very much.”

Did Romney’s release of his 2010 and estimated 2011 tax returns ease the nation’s suspicion of an unfair tax code which benefits the rich while punishing the less affluent? Not at all. It magnified the fact that the rich (who earn virtually all of their income by means of capital gains, dividends and private equity fees) pay a much lower percentage of those earnings in taxes than do average working/middle class Americans (who earn their income via wages) and are taxed at much higher marginal rates. Also, inasmuch as a large number of average wage earners live pay-check to pay-check and have very little excess money to invest, they are barred from taking advantage of the low capital gains and dividend rates that the wealthy enjoy. This state of affairs does not (and should not) sit well with many people.

To add insult to the tax-paying injury of average Americans, Mitt Romney’s proposed tax plan would not increase the tax burden on the super wealthy to level the playing field. Instead of raising the 15% tax on capital gains etc. which Romney and his rich friends pay, Romney’s plan would keep that tax at the present low level but reduce the capital gains tax for middle class Americans to zero. Problem is, inasmuch as most average Americans do not earn very much (if anything) by means of capital gains, they would benefit very little (if at all) from Romney’s plan while the rich would continue to have an unfair advantage. Romney’s tax plan is just smoke and mirrors.

Please remember to click on the song link below to familiarize yourselves with the tune and to have more fun singing along with today’s topical song parody.

Taxman song link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqK97av7I3s

TAXSCAM

 (sung to The Beatles song “Taxman”)

Let me tell you
‘Bout Mitt Romney
He just pays 2
While you pay 3

Mitt loves a tax scam
Yeah, Mitt’s the taxman

Fifteen percent
Is much too small
Be thankful that Mitt
Pays at all

Mitt loves a tax scam
Yeah, Mitt’s the taxman

He won’t pay a tax
To fix the street;
Don’t you know that Mitt
Is a tax cheat?
Now that truth’s been told
He’ll face some heat
But if Romney talks
He will be beat
(Tax Scam)

(tax break)

Mitt loves a tax scam
Yeah, Mitt’s the taxman

He hides his pay out there offshore
(Ha Ha Mr. Willard runs)
Cuz Mitt don’t want to pay some more
(Ah Ha! He’s a cheat)
Mitt loves a tax scam
Yeah, Mitt’s the taxman

How Mitt avoids tax rates too high
(Tax Scam)
Declares just pennies with his lies
(Tax Scam)
Mitt loves a tax scam
Yeah, Mitt’s the taxman
And we’re working for no one but he
(Tax Scam)

Mitt(wit) Romney’s Series Of Unfortunate Events

It is shaping up to be a very bad week for GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

First he faced the controversy surrounding the shady and potentially illegal $ 1 million donation to the Restore Our Future “super pac” formed by three of his former political aides for the express purpose of electing Romney in 2012. The pac received a $ 1 million donation from a corporation known as “W Spann LLC”. That is OK. The recent Citizens United case held that corporate donations are legal. But here is the catch. The Citizens United case did not alter federal elections law which makes it illegal to donate money in the name of someone else so as to hide the identity of the true donor. NBC News did some real investigative journalism and discovered that W Spann LLC was formed by a big Boston corporate law firm in March, made the donation in April, and then dissolved itself in July. Furthermore, the corporate documents did not identify the principal of the corporation but it did list a Manhattan address shared by the office of Bain Capital of which Romney himself was a former owner. The Boston Globe contacted Bain Capital for information but was told that “the entity in question is not affiliated with Bain Capital or any of our employees.”

The Bain Capital statement however, proved to be elusive at best. After it was speculated that an investigation would be conducted by the Justice Department, the true donor suddenly emerged from the shadows on his own volition. It turned out that the individual in question is a man known as Edward W. Conard. It was also revealed that Conard was employed by Bain Capital until 2007 and continued to list his affiliation with Bain Capital when making other sizeable campaign contributions to Romney and other Republicans in recent years thereafter. As the result of the investigation, Conard has now requested that his donation be publicly noted under his own name rather than the allegedly fictitious skeleton corporation. It is anybody’s guess as to why Conard wanted to hide his true identity in the first place. MSNBC however, reports that “campaign watchdog groups said Saturday that they will continue to press for a Justice Department investigation into the contribution, saying that unless such a probe is conducted, it will open the door for other donors to conceal their campaign contributions through shadowy “pop up” corporate fronts.”

That was not the only distressing news faced by Mitt Romney this week however. Politico reported that the Obama campaign is preparing an all out blitz of attacks against the Mitt(wit) if, as expected, he wins the GOP nomination. The report states that Obama’s campaign will unleash “a ferocious personal assault on Mitt Romney’s character and business background.”

Politico went on to state, “The onslaught would have two aspects. The first is personal: Obama’s reelection campaign will portray the public Romney as inauthentic, unprincipled and, in a word used repeatedly by Obama’s advisers in about a dozen interviews, ‘weird’.” And, “The second aspect of the campaign to define Romney is his record as CEO of Bain Capital, a venture capital firm that was responsible for both creating and eliminating jobs. Obama officials intend to frame Romney as the very picture of greed in the great recession — a sort of political Gordon Gekko.”

David Axelrod, the president’s chief strategist has said,
“He was very, very good at making a profit for himself and his partners but not nearly as good [at] saving jobs for communities. His is very much the profile of what we’ve seen in the last decade on Wall Street. He was about making money. And that’s fine. But often times, he made it at the expense of jobs in communities.”
Things got even worse for Romney yesterday when he was viciously heckled by attendees of his speech at the Iowa State Fair.  While defending corporations from increased taxes, Romney told an audience member who disagreed, “Corporations are people my friend. Everything a corporation earns ultimately goes to the people.” At that point a large number of the audience derisively laughed at the remark. At another point, when an audience member suggested that the cap after which wage earners no longer contribute to Social Security should be raised so that the wealthy would contribute more to the program, Romney shouted back, “You want to raise taxes? You want to raise taxes?”. Needless to say, Romney’s speech did not go as planned.

Of course Romney will also face much criticism for his policy flip-flops which seem to increase by the day. He was in favor of a woman’s right to choose before he was against it. He was in favor of strict hand-gun regulation before he was against it. He was in favor of a path to citizenship immigration policy before he was against it. Most striking of all, he was the author of the first comprehensive health care reform law which was spearheaded by a personal mandate to purchase health insurance before he was against the new national law which is a virtual clone.

Like Lucy Ricardo, Mitt Romney is going to have some ‘splainin’ to do!

Please remember to click on the song link below to familiarize yourselves with the tune and to have more fun singing along with today’s topical song parody.

“The Brady Bunch” theme song link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou-FeOoKDq4

THE ROMNEY BUNCH

 (sung to the theme song of “The Brady Bunch”)

Here’s the story of a man named Romney
He was governor of Mass. but made us hurl
Now his story has been told, like no other
Jobs lost in a swirl

Here’s the story of a man who’s shady
He cannot hold one position of his own
Changes his mind just like the weather
Still, he seeks the throne

His convictions are as strong and firm as Jello
What he knew wasn’t much more than a hunch
Just like Newt, he is not very manly
Mitt Romney and his campaign are out to lunch
The Romney Bunch
The Romney Bunch
Yeas they are all so lame, the Romney Bunch