Truth, Finally

It had to happen eventually: finally Mitt Romney got something right. In this case, he got it doubly right.

Defending the low tax rate he paid on the only tax returns he'd reported at the time, The Rominee said"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." At the time, I thought it was a little over the top, silly even. But now we have some context in which to evaluate the claim.

In his recent release, all 800+ pages of it (wow, the lengths some people go to game the game), it comes out that he actually did pay more than he owed, several hundred thousand, in order to keep his rates above the level he claimed he'd always paid. (There's also the mysterious disappearance of $7 million between his preliminary and final filings. But, hey: small potatoes, right?) Parking his money all over the planet in the world's best tax havens, betting against the US Dollar by investing in the instruments of other countries, had he fully taken his charitable deductions he'd have paid even a lower rate than the one he paid, already below that of people working harder and earning much less. So he did that thing which, by his own declaration, disqualifies him from the presidency.

But he did it one better: he did it, deliberately, to dupe the citizens of the nation he wants to lead, to promote his lie. In doing so, I'd say he disqualified himself twice with the same move: by his own definition, and by his obvious attempt to deceive. Good call, Mitt. 

But, [Romney's lawyer} acknowledged, the couple "limited their deductions of charitable contributions to conform to the governor's statement in August, based on the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13 percent in income taxes in each of the last 10 years."
[I just read something interesting about his tax scam on the American people: after the election, since it was his 2011 forms on which he played footsie to fool us, he can file an amended return and get his money back! Sorta like Bain: risking other people's money, no lose for himself.]

On a related note, I've been emailing back and forth with a guy who pays more in taxes per year than I've ever earned in a year, and he's fed up. Voted for Obama first time around, won't do it this time, because of taxes. On some level I sympathize, even though after taxes he's still left with probably three or four times what I had, in my best year, before taxes. But you'd think guys like Romney, for whom he intends to vote for purely selfish reasons, best I can tell, would anger him a lot more than Obama: he, after all, manages to avoid millions in taxes because his is all capital gains, whereas my correspondee works for a living. Takes public transportation to work and gets a senior discount.

In fact, Romney pays less than the capital gains rate, presumably because he manages to hide so much money, and because he gives to his church. Mitt Romney assures us he'd close tax loopholes, but won't say which ones, or how much he expects to recover. Were he and his donor-buddies paying the rate my pixel-pal pays, it'd go a long way toward helping out. Seems to me, though, that a guy who makes an 800 page effort to hide his money isn't thinking along those lines.

I have a reader who takes exception to my characterization of Mitt as amoral. I consider the word different from immoral, which, to me, suggests a person who knows he's breaking some rules. The amoral person, like Mitt, is able to excuse any behavior no matter how venal or dishonest without a moment's thought. It means he has no moral code to break, other than his most obvious one: whatever it takes to advance his personal ambitions. If there's a line beyond which he won't go, it's a subtle one, and I don't see it.

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