Posted by: mutantpoodle | January 17, 2012

Man of the People

Most people have suspected that Mitt “I’m Unemployed” Romney was paying a taxes at a far lower rate than most of us mere mortals, and that was why he resisted releasing his tax returns.

Well, today Mitt confirmed it.

What had been known as the Buffet rule, because Warren Buffet has pointed out how unfair it is that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary, if about to be renamed the Romney rule, and Mitt Romney will have to defend his paltry tax rate to millions of people who pay well more, in tough times.

That will be fun to watch.

For all the talk about Mitt’s “electability”, he’s got a few albatrosses hanging from his neck.

First, he doesn’t wear well over time, and people are about to see a lot of him.

Second…well, I’ll let Greg Sargent pick up the slack:

1) At a time when the 2012 presidential election is expected to focus heavily on tax fairness, the GOP is set to nominate someone who is worth as much as $250 million, but pays a lower tax rate than many middle class taxpayers.

2) At a time when polls suggest public anger at Wall Street conduct is running high, the GOP is set to nominate someone who presided over corporate restructuring deals that resulted in mass layoffs and economic suffering — even as he raked in an enormous fortune in the process.

3) At a time when majorities support higher taxes on the wealthy and are increasingly preoccupied with inequality and the shrinking middle class, the GOP is set to nominate a candidate whose tax plan, by one analysis, would cut taxes on the top 0.1 percent by nearly half a million dollars, while marginally raising them on many lower end taxpayers.

4) At a time when Democrats are salivating to paint their opponent as the candidate of the one percent, the GOP is set to nominate a candidate who regularly says things that (fairly or not) can be used to feed this narrative. To name just a few, Romney has said that “corporations are people”; confided that he likes to “be able to fire people” who provide him services; and has refused to say whether any and all questions about inequality and Wall Street excess are rooted in anything other than “envy.”

Did I mention, too, that he’s just not a likable guy?

This election will be about the economy, unless it gets a LOT better in the next 6-7 months, and the GOP’s standard bearer is tied to the perception that the game is rigged for certain people. Not the best way to make friends in tough times.

In Lyndon Johnson: Architect of American ambition, Randall Bennett Woods relays the story of a campaign Johnson worked on where his candidate was giving a speech:

“The first time Mr. Kleberg ran for Congress,” LBJ said, “he was back home making a tub-thumper campaign speech against this opponent. I was sitting on the steps at the side of the platform, listening. Mr. Kleberg said: ‘It isn’t easy, but I guess I can understand why the good citizens of the hill country might let themselves be represented in Washington by a man who drinks too much. It isn’t easy, but I guess t can even understand why the good citizens of the hill country might let themselves be represented by a man in Washington who carouses with city women while his wife and children are back here working the land. But, as God is my witness, I will never understand why the good people of the hill country would let themselves be represented by a man who takes female sheep up into the hills alone at night!’ ” Well, the president said, “I jumped up and shouted, ‘Mr. Kleberg, Mr Kleberg, that’s not true.’ He just looked down at me and said, ‘Then let thc son of a bitch deny it!'”

Mitt Romney doesn’t have a livestock issue, but his problem is that he can’t deny those things that will make people question whether he understands them and has their best interests at heart. On the contrary, he has (wisely, I think) offered a full-throated defense of his time at Bain. (We’ll see what he does on the “I pay lower taxes than you” issue.)  But these issues aren’t going away, even if they’ve surfaced too late to keep him from the Republican nomination.

Rachel Maddow has compared Romney to Thurston Howell, III (from Gilligans Island). He’d have a tough time winning the Presidency, too.




  2. Ok- it sucks, but here’s the truth. Mitt didn’t create the tax code. He’s just taking advantage of the loopholes that exist. Earning more money means one can pay for more aggressive accountants and attorneys who can afford to clean up the mess if the IRS takes issues. I am not a Romney fan. But to my knowledge he didn’t write the tax code. As a member of the middle class, I believe our anger should be directed at the Congress who passed the code under the influence of the lobbyists and the IRS Nazis who enforced this heinous, slanted “law”. The IRS henchmen are truly above the law, right alongside the TSA….And we the people keep right on building a Congressional machine that lets itself be wined and dined, while we pick up the tab. Then we’re pissed about what’s on the menu. Close down the restaurant and remodel.

  3. No, he didn’t write the law, but he’s in favor of keeping it, and changing the tax code to further benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. My point is that he’s a bad messenger given that he has benefitted by laws that most people consider unfair.

    The first step in fixing all this is getting unlimited money out of politics, and to do that, we need a new Supreme Court.

    Which we won’t get under Mitt Romney.

  4. Supreme Court? Next essay. Next argument. WHY does it cost so much to run for politics? Why is media time so expensive? Maybe providing free political access time should be part of the cost of network licensing. Look Cain was actually on the right track: FLAT TAX–no credits for influencing social ideology. And then take a page from Perry’s book about instituting a part-time Congress that keeps one foot in the ocean of populist reality. (Also suspend the life time pay and retirement plan). Mix with the Democratic platform of social programs for people who really do fall through the cracks. Get rid of all the interpreters (Tax Accountants), improve education, no knock it out of the ballpark, especially in Math and Science and then we are headed on the right path to a stronger, fairer nation….The problem is those in power don’t especially want a stronger, fairer nation. I’m hoping we outnumber them; bigger bucks and all. And somewhere there is a Tax Accountant who really would like to do something more productive in “Green Engineering”. BTW of course he’s benefitted from the code; who the hell else can AFFORD to run for President??? Obama isnt a saint either…Why don’t you run??? No seriously.Why don’t you run?

    • Well, the Supreme Court is another post, but in order to get same public policy, it can’t be distorted by money. To get money out of politics, you need to limit it. In order to limit it, you need to change the ridiculous notions that corporations are people with the same speech rights as individuals, and that’s the Supreme Court. When that’s done, grassroots action has much more of a chance.

      As for Cain, his proposal would have (a) exploded the deficit and (b) been disproportionately burdensome on the poorest members of society. I’m completely in favor a a simpler tax code with far fewer deductions, but flat taxes place an extra burden on the poor, especially if there’s a consumption component.

  5. Ok–modified flat tax after a certain level of income, say about 50K. Agreed-what we have is a ridiculous waste of brain talent trying to outfox the government with loopholes. Solving the energy crisis, correcting education problems and resolving small business issues etc. would be a better use of talent.

    Then, you can’t get money out of politics until the most expensive component of political advertising is free as a condition of licensing. Level the playing field.

    It’s not just about the revenue side. Obviously it costs money to run the government, but the current budget method is ludicrous. Why doesn’t anyone talk about the budgeting process? It would never fly in a traditional corporation. Why is it okay for the government. And where’ my shareholder report??? Does the GAO publish anything?

    Why don’t you start off with Mayor of Encino? (Does Encino have a Mayor??)

  6. BTW I reviewed more of his tax history and I think you should look at it again.

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