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Talking about Romney’s Taxes Sure Beats Talking about the Economy

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:18 am - August 21, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,HopeAndChange

When I caught footage of the president making an issue of Mitt Romney’s tax returns yesterday in a White House press conference, I wondered if any of his predecessors had ever, from inside the White House, speculated about the their opponent’s personal financials. Given the question (about his negative campaigning) the president could have just avoided the tax issue and left it to his minions and allies?

Charles Krauthammer contends that Obama is focusing on such picayune matters because if the election is decided “on the issues”, Obama “loses”:

Via Noah Glyn @ The Corner.

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28 Comments

  1. Obama: No hope, no change. Obama campaign: All negative, all the time.

    Interesting to learn that McCain only released 2 years of taxes. In other words, Obama attacks Romney for adhering to a standard that Obama was fine with, in 2012.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 21, 2012 @ 10:30 am - August 21, 2012

  2. (aargh) “… was fine with, in -2008-”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 21, 2012 @ 10:30 am - August 21, 2012

  3. It’s especially funny he added “finances” so quickly to narrow his earlier comment about an “open” book — remind me again, what was the Composite President’s first Executive Order? Oh, right, to seal some of his own records. Open indeed ….

    ILC, there are LOTS of ways 2012 Obama differs from 2008 Obama. Look at his comments then and now on the Debt Ceiling, on $3.50 a gallon gas, his comments in 2008 that a candidate without a record to run on has to campaign on making voters run from his opponent, etc.

    How do you know when Obama is lying? His lips are moving — an oldie but a goodie.

    Thanks for posting!

    Comment by Acethepug — August 21, 2012 @ 1:25 pm - August 21, 2012

  4. As a person who still has doubts about Barak Obama´s birthplace, I want to him to release his applications to the universities that he has attended. I want to know if he applied and registered as foreign national and obtained grants in aid as a foreign student. That ´ll tell us a heckuva lot more than Mitt Romney´s tax returns.

    Comment by Roberto — August 21, 2012 @ 1:59 pm - August 21, 2012

  5. #4 – What Roberto said, and then some.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — August 21, 2012 @ 2:11 pm - August 21, 2012

  6. The Republican chorus that this is a frivolous distraction is predictable, and I doubt anyone around here has the independence to disagree. But I think this dust-up is an opportunity to talk about the conflicting economic theories of each party. Is anyone willing to say that 15% is too high or low a tax rate for someone making tens of millions of dollars every year? Is anyone willing to confess that taxing multi-millionaires so little over the past decade has contributed significantly to the deficit that we’re all supposed to be so worried about? The millionaires and corporations that have been paying so little in taxes all this time – have they turned around and created an appropriate number of jobs and generated enough economic activity to earn the tax discount that conservatives argue they are entitled to?

    These are real questions having to do with the economy, and we could talk about them. Instead, conservatives flak for Romney. But not because you think it’s a distraction – it’s because it’s an appropriate and fair line of attack. Nobody wants to go into any of the issues I discussed above because it completely undermines conservative ideas about how to run the economy. Remember – the party that is now insisting that tax records are irrelevant spent years peddling innuendo about Obama’s citizenship. Who are you to be lecturing people about distractions?

    Comment by Levi — August 21, 2012 @ 2:15 pm - August 21, 2012

  7. Is anyone willing to confess that taxing multi-millionaires so little over the past decade has contributed significantly to the deficit that we’re all supposed to be so worried about?

    Yes, Levi. It’s the spending stupid.

    Now hush, the adults are talking.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 21, 2012 @ 2:39 pm - August 21, 2012

  8. Edit: And what do you mean ‘we’. You’re the one who argued that the porkulus was too small. Deficits, like logic and economics, don’t matter to Levi.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 21, 2012 @ 2:43 pm - August 21, 2012

  9. Levi : if the object for releasing Romney’s tax return is simply to prove the tax code is unjust, why not have Mr. Buffett, Mr. Soros, Mr. Spielberg, Mr. Maher and assorted other hyper rich liberals release their tax returns?

    Your entire reasoning is so false… I have to say, “Liar, liar pant on fire.”

    “have they turned around and created an appropriate number of jobs and generated enough economic activity to earn the tax discount that conservatives argue they are entitled to?”

    Big oil sure has… .75 points of the GDP is from big oil. “Drill, baby, drill.” I bet it really pisses you off that Mrs. Palin was right. You can’t stand smart women.

    However, GE, has not. GE has been shipping jobs and profitable patents out of the country for years.

    So has Apple and Mr. Buffett’s companies.

    Now, please explain to us why Mr. Romney should release more tax returns than are required?

    Comment by TnnsNE1 — August 21, 2012 @ 3:15 pm - August 21, 2012

  10. Although Barack Obama desperately wants to make 2012 be about Romney’s taxes, it will be a referendum on Obama; Obama knows he can’t talk about the issues. He must bring up distractions & attempt to disqualify Romney. It’s too late for Obama. He’s toast.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — August 21, 2012 @ 3:28 pm - August 21, 2012

  11. Levi : if the object for releasing Romney’s tax return is simply to prove the tax code is unjust, why not have Mr. Buffett, Mr. Soros, Mr. Spielberg, Mr. Maher and assorted other hyper rich liberals release their tax returns?

    They aren’t running for President and arguing that their tax bracket needs even more special treatment.

    Look, I’m sure that everyone that is in that tax bracket is doing everything they can to pay the lowest rate and maximize their returns. I would expect them to, and I don’t begrudge Mitt Romney for doing the same. But he’s the one who is running for President, and he’s the one that is pitching conservative economic theories to the country. Running around complaining about government spending and the deficit to people who are paying higher tax rates than you is hypocritical. If Romney thinks that the problem with the economy is that rich people aren’t sufficiently incentivized to invest in this country, then he should be able to use his tax record as a tool to illustrate that point. Of course, he doesn’t have to, but it says a lot about his preferred economic policies if he insists on keeping the records secret. Republicans like to dramatically accuse liberals of engaging in bogus class warfare, well, here’s an opportunity to prove them wrong. Why won’t he?

    Comment by Levi — August 21, 2012 @ 3:40 pm - August 21, 2012

  12. Romney’s tax rate closer to 30%.

    I’d suggest Levi read it but a) he’s a coward and b) it has large words and complex numbers. It’s clearly beyond him.

    Now hush Levi, the adults are talking.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 21, 2012 @ 3:49 pm - August 21, 2012

  13. Is anyone willing to say that 15% is too high or low a tax rate for someone making tens of millions of dollars every year? Is anyone willing to confess that taxing multi-millionaires so little over the past decade has contributed significantly to the deficit that we’re all supposed to be so worried about?

    Here’s a thought, class-warfare Obama shill Levi:

    You make 30,000 a year; Romney makes $3 million a year.

    If you both pay 15% in taxes, you pay $4,500; Romney pays $450,000.

    Do you understand that? You would have to pay taxes for one HUNDRED years to equal the amount that Romney pays in one year. You will NEVER pay into the system as much as Romney does.

    Furthermore, I doubt Romney uses 100 times the public facilities that you do; indeed, you’re probably using way, way more, especially if you’re cashing a welfare check in addition to a paycheck.

    So Romney is more than covering his expenses. You, on the other hand, are not.

    THAT is what is causing the deficit. You refuse to pay your fair share and demand that Romney be punished to pay for your services.

    The millionaires and corporations that have been paying so little in taxes all this time – have they turned around and created an appropriate number of jobs and generated enough economic activity to earn the tax discount that conservatives argue they are entitled to?

    Tax DISCOUNT? In the example provided, Romney paid ONE HUNDRED TIMES the amount in taxes that you did.

    And what was Romney? He was the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company that employed thousands of people.

    You haven’t given a paycheck to a single person. You’ve barely produced a single product. Yet you’re whining and crying and screaming that Romney, who does exponentially more for the economy in providing jobs than you do and pays hundreds of times the amount you do in taxes, be punished MORE for it.

    This is what you never will get, Levi. That’s because you don’t understand value at all; you only understand entitlement. You and your entire Obama Party are addicted to the concept of getting something based on what you are, not what you do or what you earn. In your twisted mind, liberals like yourself that can’t do basic math, that are overtly racist, and who advocate discrimination and workplace violence against Christians are worth the amount a good executive or cardiologist earns.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 21, 2012 @ 5:18 pm - August 21, 2012

  14. “They aren’t running for President and arguing that their tax bracket needs even more special treatment.”

    Shifting… in your original statement you clearing stated the reason for releasing the taxes was to show how unjust the tax code is.

    “But I think this dust-up is an opportunity to talk about the conflicting economic theories of each party. Is anyone willing to say that 15% is too high or low a tax rate for someone making tens of millions of dollars every year?”

    Now, it MUST be a candidate’s return to show that? Why?

    “I don’t begrudge Mitt Romney for doing the same. ”

    Yes, you do. If he has not been audited than he has been playing by the tax code set in place by the Democrats.

    “here’s an opportunity to prove them wrong. Why won’t he?”

    How is releasing his tax return going to keep liberals from screaming class warfare. Obviously, you have no idea what you are taking about.

    Are you upset with the Obama’s taking an optional $500,000 deduction on their tax return in order to lower their tax burden? I they had not taken that deduction, their rate would have been the rate Mr. Obama wants to see imposed on families in his income bracket. So, your party leader is not very patriotic is he?

    I notice you completely glossed over the Big Oil, big jobs issue. Why is that?

    Comment by TnnsNE1 — August 21, 2012 @ 5:21 pm - August 21, 2012

  15. Look, I’m sure that everyone that is in that tax bracket is doing everything they can to pay the lowest rate and maximize their returns. I would expect them to, and I don’t begrudge Mitt Romney for doing the same.

    Comment by Levi — August 21, 2012 @ 3:40 pm – August 21, 2012

    Actually, you do.

    You screamed and cried and pissed yourself that people who tried to minimize their tax burden were unpatriotic and should be prevented from serving in government, and you got slapped with examples of how your Obama, your Obama Party leadership, and Obama supporters like you do exactly that, even illegally, even as you screamed for others’ taxes to be raised.

    So once again, you’re lying, and we have proof of that fact.

    Romney doesn’t owe a tax cheat like you or Obama anything. Pay your own bills before you accuse others of cheating.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 21, 2012 @ 5:29 pm - August 21, 2012

  16. The reason Romney’s taxes are important is that, if he becomes the president, he will give favours to his millionaire and billionaire and corporate jet owner and 1%-er friends (and, of course, Obama isn’t doing anything like that), and he will not make the rich people, who are responsible for creating many jobs and paying a large portion of the taxes already, pay their fair share (even though his running mate has a plan to fix loopholes in the tax code, and Obama doesn’t).

    Comment by Rattlesnake — August 21, 2012 @ 7:37 pm - August 21, 2012

  17. taxing multi-millionaires so little over the past decade has contributed significantly to the deficit that we’re all supposed to be so worried about

    Bzzzzzzzzzzzzt, wrong answer. Another left-wing myth, pure hogwash that has been debunked many, many, many times.

    The top 1% already pay a huge proportion of income taxes. Correspondingly, there is not a lot more to be gotten from them: taxing them more – or even confiscating their wealth and income entirely (which would quickly cause it to cease to exist, in future tax years) would make only a small dent in the deficit.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 21, 2012 @ 7:57 pm - August 21, 2012

  18. Is anyone willing to say that 15% is too high or low a tax rate for someone making tens of millions of dollars every year?

    What I think is a better question is do people think that 0% is too low for a federal income tax rate for 47% of households? Personally, I think a 15% income tax across all incomes (combined with little or no other taxes) sounds great.

    Is anyone willing to confess that taxing multi-millionaires so little over the past decade has contributed significantly to the deficit that we’re all supposed to be so worried about?

    You’re assuming that the deficit is the only thing people on the right care about, which it isn’t. Conservatives believe that money people has earned is rightfully theirs, and the government has no right to confiscate it to pay for things it isn’t meant to pay for in the first place.

    It is absolutely not necessary for the US federal government to raise taxes to eliminate the deficit. The budget is bloated already; it would be insane to add more to it. The problem is spineless politicians who won’t dare to make any substantial budget cuts (and, unfortunately, not even Paul Ryan’s budget comes anywhere close to what is needed).

    have they turned around and created an appropriate number of jobs and generated enough economic activity to earn the tax discount that conservatives argue they are entitled to?

    No one is arguing that they are entitled to a “tax discount,” just the same rate that everyone else pays.

    Nobody wants to go into any of the issues I discussed above because it completely undermines conservative ideas about how to run the economy.

    It does no such thing. I’m pretty sure, however, that the actual state of the economy completely undermines progressive ideas about how to run the economy.

    If Romney thinks that the problem with the economy is that rich people aren’t sufficiently incentivized to invest in this country, then he should be able to use his tax record as a tool to illustrate that point.

    The problem isn’t that “rich people aren’t sufficiently incentivized to invest in this country,” it is more that aspiring entrepreneurs who aren’t extremely rich are afraid to invest in the US because there is too much risk. Those are the people who need incentives, which they don’t currently have.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — August 21, 2012 @ 8:11 pm - August 21, 2012

  19. Romney’s tax plan is a matter of public record; his tax records have no bearing on it whatsoever.

    This is a non-issue and a distraction promulgated by those who don’t want to discuss the Stumbling Clusterfrak of a Miserable Failure that is the Obama presidency.

    Comment by V the K — August 21, 2012 @ 8:14 pm - August 21, 2012

  20. Romney obeys the tax law… until and unless the IRS says he doesn’t. That should be the end of any discussion about his personal taxes.

    BTW, I loved this language of Levi’s:

    the deficit that we’re all supposed to be so worried about

    … a tone which shows that Levi isn’t worried about it. As I always suspected, even when Levi was claiming to be worried about it. (I believe that at one point, I saw him use a “I’m worried sick about the deficit… but… liberal liberal” type of formulation, known in some quarters as “concern trolling”.)

    money people has earned is rightfully theirs, and the government has no [moral] right to confiscate it to pay for things it isn’t meant to pay for in the first place. It is absolutely not necessary for the US federal government to raise taxes to eliminate the deficit.

    Yes.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 21, 2012 @ 8:30 pm - August 21, 2012

  21. … a tone which shows that Levi isn’t worried about it. As I always suspected, even when Levi was claiming to be worried about it. (I believe that at one point, I saw him use a “I’m worried sick about the deficit… but… liberal liberal” type of formulation, known in some quarters as “concern trolling”.)

    I’m not so worried about it that I think the government needs to stop spending in the middle of a recession. It’s nice to avoid deficits when you can, but deficit spending is a way to pull an economy out of recession. Now, I don’t think deficit spending is a good idea when you’re starting wars. I don’t think deficit spending is a good idea just because you think rich people need tax cuts. It’s unfortunate that the previous administration disagreed with that idea. It would be nice to have saved deficit spending for when we needed it.

    Comment by Levi — August 22, 2012 @ 7:22 am - August 22, 2012

  22. It’s nice to avoid deficits when you can, but deficit spending is a way to pull an economy out of recession.

    Correction, Levi fails econimics and history forever.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 22, 2012 @ 7:52 am - August 22, 2012

  23. Notice the thought process of the “progressive” Levi.

    1) Bush’s deficit spending caused the recession

    2) We should massively increase the amount of deficit spending because we’re in a recession

    Poison as food, poison as antidote. There is never a reason to stop deficit spending for a liberal. None. They just spend, spend, spend and scream that you want to starve the poor if you don’t.

    Meanwhile, they’re blowing the money on liquor-stocked private airliners for insider-trading multimillionaires, lavish Hollywood theme parties for privileged princesses, and six-figure sinecures for “regulators” to watch pron all day.

    And do we think Levi is going to change that? Nope; Levi belongs to the Obama Party, and is upset and frightened that his goal of having a government laptop and hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay to do nothing but stimulate himself all day is endangered by Paul Ryan and those darn Tea Partiers that don’t see this as his divine right.

    Hence the “progressive” mindset. Money equals power and luxury. Government can compel at gunpoint money to be moved from those people who earn it to those like Levi who see it as their entitlement. Hence, Levi’s goal, and all “progressive’s” goal, is to hold governmental power to force private industry to fund their lavish work-free lifestyles.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 22, 2012 @ 2:46 pm - August 22, 2012

  24. “Now, I don’t think deficit spending is a good idea when you’re starting wars.”

    Oops… Total estimate cost of the “wars” since 2001 :
    $1.4 trillion. Divided evenly over 11 years, (even though we are are at the tail end of the cost curve) is $127 billion per year.

    Deficits :
    2010 $1.412 trillion
    2011 $1.299 trillion
    2012 $1.100 trillion

    So without the wars (even though almost half of the war cost is for the “Obama war”) deficits would have been :
    2010 $1.285 trillion
    2011 $1.172 trillion
    2012 $0.973 trillion

    These are very generous numbers favoring Levi’s argument and still the numbers show how he is lying.
    2010

    Comment by TnnsNE1 — August 22, 2012 @ 2:48 pm - August 22, 2012

  25. Levi,

    True, Buffet, Spielberg, Imeld (GE), and Soros aren´t running for president. But, and this is big, they are heads of business and have a fiduciarary trust to stockholders of their respective companies. They might get away telling them that outsourcing jobs has produced a profit which provided the dividends that they have to pay taxes, because of low wages, and little or no health plans. Also, they were able to shelter income made overseas. I, for one, would love to see several years of George Soro´s tax returns. As for Bill Maher, he is now a partner in the New York Mets. I wonder how much that cost him. He is probably incorporated, as many major entertainers have done him. Romney, as a Morman, tithes to his church and has been charitable with his money. How much does Maher give away, and the million he gave Obama does not count as charity.

    Comment by Roberto — August 22, 2012 @ 3:26 pm - August 22, 2012

  26. Furthermore, let’s have a little reality-based math.

    Levi screams that “the rich” are the problem and that we need to confiscate their wealth in the name of “fairness”.

    Next, as TNN has so aptly pointed out, the total of the Obama deficits for the past three years, even with a generous adjustment, is $3.43 trillion dollars.

    As Mary Katherine Ham so helpfully calculated, the grand total of wealth of every single one of the US’s billionaires is $1.3 trillion — or, put differently, a mere 38% of the total generously-adjusted Obama deficit.

    Clearly, not enough. So let’s go even deeper than that. Let’s tax everyone who makes over $200k at 100% of their income.

    That would raise a grand total of 2.4 trillion dollars — or 71% of the total generously-adjusted Obama budget.

    Do you understand that, Levi ? If you confiscated the total income of every single taxpayer making over $200k annually in the United States, you couldn’t even pay the entire generously-adjusted deficit that your “progressive” Obama Party and Barack Obama have run up.

    And that doesn’t even get into the economic effect of confiscating every single dollar of income that anyone making over $200k has.

    You have a child’s view of economics, Levi. You see the economy as your parent’s wallet — an inexhaustible supply of funds that you didn’t have to lift a finger to earn and that belongs to you to spend as you like, and if they refuse you, they’re hateful bigots who abuse their child and want you to starve.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 22, 2012 @ 3:48 pm - August 22, 2012

  27. You have a child’s view of economics, Levi. You see the economy as your parent’s wallet — an inexhaustible supply of funds that you didn’t have to lift a finger to earn and that belongs to you to spend as you like

    So true!

    Too many lefties have NO understanding that taxation has dynamic effects: the money isn’t just ‘there’ to take, bacause if tax rates had been higher, they would have caused the money to disappear, in one way or another.

    These lefties see that John Doe earned $125,000 last year, and simply assume it’s theirs to confiscate, never understanding that if they could confiscate it – or even raise John’s taxes a little – he would soon stop earning (or at least declaring) that much.

    Truth, logic, and causality don’t trouble these lefties. Don’t bother them with it, they don’t want to know! Knowing might get in the way of their indulgence of the vicious, nihilistic hatred and jealousy of the successful, that lurks in their hearts.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 22, 2012 @ 6:05 pm - August 22, 2012

  28. I have an idea, 45% pay no taxes. Somehow that doesn´t sound fair to me. I think we should have an inverse scale of progressive taxation. The bottom 45% should be taxed at 50% of their total income. I think they would be motivated to prosper and move up and pay a lesser percentage on more money and also this will reduce poverty in our country. With less takers, social programs would become almost non-existent, hlelp reduce the deficit.

    Comment by Roberto — August 22, 2012 @ 8:45 pm - August 22, 2012

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