Mitt Romney Thinks You're a Sucker

Back in January, when he was asked during a primary debate about the taxes he pays, Mitt Romney made the somewhat odd assertion that "I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more. I don't think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes." As I've written before, this would seem to indicate that Romney believes that if you don't have a team of accountants who can ferret out every last loophole to minimize your tax bill then you're just a sucker, so pathetic that you are unworthy of occupying the highest office in the land. But maybe I was being unfair. After all, I've been critical of the campaign habit of reading too much into any particular statement a candidate makes. We all say things that upon reflection we'd like to put another way or take back completely, so maybe Romney didn't quite mean it the way it sounded.

But once you repeat a statement like that more than once, we can be pretty sure you do in fact mean it. And based on what he said in an interview yesterday with ABC News, we can be pretty sure Mitt Romney genuinely believes that if you paid an extra dollar to the federal government, then you're not just a chump, you're such a chump we wouldn't want you to be president:

From time to time I've been audited as happens I think to other citizens as well and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job pay taxes as legally due. I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don't think I'd be qualified to become president. I'd think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.

Think about this for a moment. Romney thinks that paying more than you owed, or even failing to take advantage of every last loophole and tax shelter you could, is so despicable it's disqualifying, as though it were a moral transgression on par with, I don't know, stealing a car or abusing your wife or something.

Not only that, both times he has said this he projects the belief onto other people as well. "I don't think you want someone" the first time, "I'd think people would want me" this time. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say this has its roots in Romney's time in the private equity world. If you're investing with a private equity firm, you want the leader of that firm to be smart, thorough, and ruthless. You want him to squeeze every last penny he can from every available source, and of course minimize the taxes he and you will pay. If he says, "I could have set up an elaborate network of shell companies in the Caribbean, but I decided not to," you might think he had failed you, since the only goal in the endeavor is to make as much money as possible and keep the government's hands off it.

But the presidency isn't the chairmanship of a private equity firm, and maybe, just maybe, the qualities that make one effective at the latter aren't precisely the qualities we want in the former.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't note that the real issue is that we have a tax system that allows people like Mitt Romney, who takes in about $20 million a year despite the fact that he hasn't actually held a job in five years other than running for president, to pay a laughably low tax rate, while people who actually work for a living pay a far higher proportion of their income in taxes. Weirdly, Romney thinks that system is just peachy, and he would actually like to tilt it even farther in favor of the wealthy.

Comments

Remember, for many self-proclaimed capitalists, "patriotism" has more to do with green than red, white, and blue.

To that end, engaging in nefarious accounting practices in order to avoid paying federal taxes is a fundamental component of Romney's view of "good ol' American capitalism".

Of course, we're talking about the guy who once commented (http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/01/08/400052/romney-suggests-only-wealthy-people-should-run-for-office/) that anyone who needs to earn a salary to make ends meet has no business running for public office.

This is one of those defining comments that gives you good insights into someone's character. As if, paying a penny or dollar more in extra taxes for someone who has been afforded the tremendous opportunities this country offers would be such a horriffic thing.
Secondly, what an ignorant comment in my opinion where romney says
people wouldn't think he is qualified to be president if he overpaid part of his taxes. When romney signs his return, does he even have a command of the documents he is signing. The answer is likely no...that's why he hires a top team of tax lawyers and accountants....who knows if they catch every nickel or every penny in deductions...the whole point of it is that the comment resonates of someone who is unpatriotic and selfish...what a horrible thing it would be if the IRS collected an extra dollar of taxes from him.

On day ONE, the special tax rate of a carried interest for private equity and hedge fund managers shoudl be eliminated....this is a no brainer....i can think of a million things better to do with that money...these folks don't have their capital at risk with these carried itnerests. for the money that they invest with their own funds, fine if you get the cap gain rates, but not ok when it comes to getting you 20% cut of profits....that money would be better used on veterans, military people, health care workers, social workers, disabled folks, seniors, the poor, payhing down the deficit...and so much more

Romney hires Price Waterhouse, he probably has a very thick return prepared by the best accountants and tax lawyers, it's likely he doesn't know what he's looking at when it comes to his returns//

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