Skip to main content

Lindsey Graham
(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Mitt Romney's tax exploits are just as American as apple pie, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Graham worked hard to get the point across that "it's really American to avoid paying taxes, legally." No, really, it really is:
"As long as it was legal, I'm OK with it," Graham said. "I don't blame anybody for using the tax code to their advantage. I blame us for having it so complicated and confused. Pick a rate and make people pay it."

In the meantime, anything within the rules goes, he argued.

"It's a game we play," Graham said. "Every American tries to find the way to get the most deductions they can. I see nothing wrong with playing the game because we set it up to be a game."

There's just one thing. We haven't seen enough years of Mitt Romney's tax returns to know that everything Romney did to avoid taxes was legal. Everything he did in 2010, the year for which we have returns, was legal. But what about 2009? 2005? 1999? 1997? For all we know, Romney was illegally avoiding taxes in each and every one of those years and all the years in between, because he hasn't given us the information to know otherwise. We already do know he's not telling the truth about things that are on the public record.

Okay, there's one other thing. Lindsey Graham doesn't think that someone who wants to be president should live up to a higher standard than "playing the game," "using the tax code to their advantage"? The presidency, the American people, don't deserve better than someone who walks as close as he can to the edge of illegality to enrich himself? That's a pretty damn low standard for the leader of the country.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

    •  I'm with Mr. Graham. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Utahrd

      Man, I'd never thought I'd say that.

      I don't know if what Mitt has done is illegal or not.  I'm not a tax expert.  But there's no reason the President or someone running for office shouldn't take advantage of legal tax/financial situations to better themselves.

      GOD! Save me from your followers.

      by adversus on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:15:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  then let him not be shy about (10+ / 0-)

        us all seeing and applauding him for it

        •  I *want* him to release his financials (0+ / 0-)

          To prove/disprove he did anything that broke the law.

          But I'm NOT against penalizing someone because they're taking advantage of legal opportunities.  

          GOD! Save me from your followers.

          by adversus on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:51:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Off-shore bank accounts? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sfcouple, Eyesbright

        Off-shore business offices? I'm not with Graham on this. Sorry.

        If you never let the facts get in the way of what you believe, you just might be a Republican.

        by kitebro on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:22:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have offshore investments (0+ / 0-)

          And I'm by no-means a millionaire.  Am I somehow unworthy because I have a few grand in offshore stocks and investments versus somebody having a few million in offshore stocks and investments?

          Answer: No.

          GOD! Save me from your followers.

          by adversus on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:52:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  yeah but if you're a zillionaire... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sfcouple, sharman

        ...then it actually matters that you "play the game". how about i "play the game".  I'll save $180. so please. get real.

        I cant afford to "play the game".  even if it just a fuzzy, warm, happy little "game".

        On DailyKos nothing is significant unless Obama doesn't do it.

        by glutz78 on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:24:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  seriously? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sharman, Eyesbright

        So, it's ok that Romney can do any legal tax manuever he wants? It's OK for him to stash millions in the cayman islands to avoid paying taxes?

        This is a case of rich people making the rules complicated only they can take advantage of them, while the rest of us get screwed. That is not ok in my book, not even close - especially for someone who desires to be president.

        I can think of lots of "legal but wrong" things one can do that won't land you in jail, but ought to make you a pariah... and certainly morally disqualify you from being POTUS.

        Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

        by walk2live on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:45:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Having read Romney 2010 return… (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eyesbright

          …I wouldn't even go on a limb to say everything he did was legal. But without seeing the surrounding returns, I cannot confirm my suspicions on a couple things that I think cross the line.

          Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com. Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

          by DemSign on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:14:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  yes. yes yes yes (0+ / 0-)

          If you don't like it, elect people who also don't like it and get it changed.  The problem is though, the only people who get elected are the rich.  I mean who else are they going to help but themselves?

          •  At least Obama has been poor... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eyesbright

            He lived at least half his life pretty poor, so can at least identify with the realities it brings. I'm not saying that you need to have been poor to be a good leader, but at least you have to have some kind of empathy to understand what regular people go through. Romney has none of that.

            A few weeks ago, some guy leaked a video of Romney talking about his horses with Sean Hannity. THAT was the real Romney - it's the only time I've seen him comfortable and talking like a normal person... talking about something most people have never even seen, let alone ridden or owned.

            The guy is totally out of touch with the reality of the vast majority of the population. That's the real issue. This issue with his off-shore shenanigans is just the latest example of it.

            Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

            by walk2live on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:26:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Republicans say people will do the right thing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sharman, Eyesbright

        if the guvmint gets out of their way and reduces regulation.  Then, when they do something amoral, they say this:

        "As long as it was legal, I'm OK with it,"
        Republicans are always going on about patriotism right up until the point that it cost them a penny.

        These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel. Abraham Lincoln

        by Nailbanger on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:25:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's basically: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scarvegas, sfcouple, Eyesbright

      Fuck America. Fuck Americans. Fuck taxes. Fuck you.
      But It's Romney so it's all good!

      If you never let the facts get in the way of what you believe, you just might be a Republican.

      by kitebro on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:20:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They play by their own rules (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shotput8, sharman, Eyesbright

      Utterly amazing! They hire $1000/hour lobbyists to shape the tax laws then take advantage of every loophole that their money can buy and then they say "we just followed the rules".

      Lindsey Graham - go to hell!

  •  Unfortunately, Graham's position here is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    absdoggy, ericlewis0, hnichols

    how many people think.  Yeah, it doesn't make W Mitt look good, but hell, even I do this.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:22:55 PM PDT

    •  No, you don't, not like the 1% do (32+ / 0-)

      I repeat myself from a comment in another diary, but here goes: Define legally playing the game.

      As a CPA, I can tell you that one of the reasons that the tax code is 80,000 or whatever pages long is people like Mitt Romney and his lawyers and accountants. They sit around inventing new ways to complicate a transaction, to add this or that wrinkle and claim it's something new, to structure their businesses and engage in multiple inter-company transactions that hide or move profits.

       The fact is, neither the IRS nor Congress can keep up with it. So you pull these tricks and can claim that everything's legal because there's literally no legal or practical precedent for your narrow, specific situation, and until you are audited, there's nothing anyone can do.  This is on top of the fact that this has been going on for years, and the Repubs have blocked tax law changes that would eliminate many of the bogus tax schemes that are in the law.

      I worked for KPMG and used to get emails every week from National Tax Office with their scheme of the week.  They actually got in trouble for it after I left and were fined and had to fire the partner in charge of the National Tax Practice. But in reality - it still goes on at all of the big accounting and law firms.

      So when Graham says he's okay with it and Mitt says he doesn't pay a penny more than is required - this is bullshit.  He doesn't pay a penny more than what he and his lawyer/accountant think they can get away with is the real answer.

      Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

      by absdoggy on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:27:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good point (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sfcouple, Friend of the court, Noddy

        So it's natural these same people would push for "simplifying" it -- because then the game starts all over.

        Sometimes I think they are just so 'way ahead of us. As with the Libor thing...

        Mitt Romney: the entrepreneurial spirit of Pauli Walnuts, the family values of the Trinity Killer

        by itswhatson on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:19:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  terrible point. (0+ / 0-)

          next April, take your unadjusted yearly income, take the rate for that income and send in a check for that amount with no deductions at all.  Nothing.

          Otherwise, I mean it's not fair that you get to deduct a mortgage interest when I have to rent.

          •  Two different issues (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not going to argue that individual deductions currently in the code are "fair", whatever that means. There are ones I would prefer weren't in there, I suppose.

            A separate issue from whether there is complete policy coverage for dealing with special cases and ambiguities.  As in, spelling everything out, over time, as Romney's lawyers find new readings of existing code.  This problem comes up in policy all the time.  What else has the Supreme Court been doing, over the generations, than filling in the blanks of, say, what it means to conduct a "search".

            Mitt Romney: the entrepreneurial spirit of Pauli Walnuts, the family values of the Trinity Killer

            by itswhatson on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:04:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  i too, am a CPA. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemSign, Eyesbright, absdoggy

        and i've been specializing in tax law for nearly 30 years. one of the very basic requirements, for any business transaction, is that it have a business purpose, beyond simply reducing one's tax liability. in other words, there must be a legitimate economic reason to have engaged in the transaction. that would be the legal precedent, for tossing some of the issues you raise. it's been in the code since at least the 1954 version.

        over the years, i have learned that, the more complex a transaction appears on the surface, the less likely it is that it is a legitimate business transaction, for profit, for anything other than reducing one's tax liability. the whole idea of multiple tiers (corporations, S Corps, Partnerships, etc, all related to a single event), is to make it so complex that it is nearly impossible to determine exactly what is going on, and what actual purpose is being served. that said, there is a fairly simple method of untangling the mess, and getting to the heart of it: start asking for all source documents, for each and every entity. then line up the assets and persons involved. soon, a pattern starts to emerge, the same assets and people seem to appear, over and over again, showing that most of those entities are nothing but shells, set up for the sole purpose of hiding whatever the real activity is. it takes a bit of time, and you might end up having "words" with the attorneys, but they like keeping their licenses.

        as a CPA for KPMG, no doubt you saw this kind of thing, with some of your sleazier or dumber wealthy clients. it simply goes to prove that, just because you're smart/successful in one area, doesn't make you smart/successful in all areas.

      •  how many pages was Glass-Steagall? (0+ / 0-)

        And how many is Dodd-Frank?  wait. wait wait.  Frank's a Democrat looking out for the little guy.

    •  Do you prefer Swiss or Grand Cayman accounts? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfcouple, Eyesbright

      If you never let the facts get in the way of what you believe, you just might be a Republican.

      by kitebro on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:23:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it was okay with the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright

      supreme court, so i have no problem with it.

    •  So, a lot of people are slimeballs... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright, kitebro

      They shouldn't be President either. Neither should Mitt.

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:48:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  All Republicans Suck!-as does the Virgin Senator. (5+ / 0-)

    eom

    Two hundred million Americans, and there ain't two good catchers among 'em. --Casey Stengel

    by LongTom on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:31:18 PM PDT

    •  LOL! "virgin senator" (4+ / 0-)

      He's one of mine and I really don't like him.  I write to hm all the time.  I get a form letter back once in a while.  I know it's dumb to do it, but I have to register my utter displeasure at his worldview.

      I would do the same to Demented Demint, but that's the kind of crazy for which there is, literally, no hope.

      On the plus side though, I've flipped at least 4 votes to Obama.  In South Carolina.  So, kossacks, don't give up.  It CAN be done :-)

      David Koch is fucking Longshanks, and Occupy is the real Braveheart.

      by PsychoSavannah on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:14:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks! Way to go, Psycho! It's always good (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah

        to write to one's representatives, and the fact is they pay NO attention to out-of-state letters (I've tried writing to some, and their web sites won't let you send emails unless you've got an in-state address), so it's really important for reddish-state progressives like to you to speak up to them!

        Two hundred million Americans, and there ain't two good catchers among 'em. --Casey Stengel

        by LongTom on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:06:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think Graham would have a point if (8+ / 0-)

    Romney was actually proposing to reform the tax code ina way that would affect him negatively. But as far as I can tell, he isnt.

  •  Be a totally unAmerican waste of lobbyist (8+ / 0-)

    & Congressional time not to use all the dodges they spent all that time & money building into the tax code.

    Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:34:20 PM PDT

  •  Graham's statement is laughable (5+ / 0-)

    Just because everybody does it doesn't mean that Mitt Romney shouldn't be held to a higher standard because he is running for president of the United States. Mitt Romney has made his background with Bain his centerpiece qualification, and how he made his money AND what he did at Bain must be explored extensively. If he and his Republican friends have to throw garbage like Graham's remarks, they should get out of the kitchen and withdraw from the presidential contest.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Gandhi

    by alaprst on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:39:29 PM PDT

    •  alaprst - Romney should not (0+ / 0-)

      be held to a higher standard regarding his tax affairs. This quote from a famous progressive jurist says it better than I could:

      Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes.  Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.

      ---Judge Learned Hand  (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals Helvering v. Gregory, 69F.2d 809 --

      What Romney did at Bain Capital is fair game but the fact that he takes every advantage of the current tax code is the same thing that all of us do.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:05:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please see (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lcbo, Noddy, DemSign, Eyesbright

        absdoggy's comment above.

        This is not like my tax preparer or yours totting up deductions for mortgage interest, business expenses, charitable deductions.

        I am perfectly comfortable with people claiming everything the code allows; I'm not at all comfortable with people creating whole new ways to transact business just so the code can't apply.

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:24:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sidnora - what Romney's accountants do (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sidnora

          in not in any way unique to Romney. These are very common practices for taxpayers who have similar levels of income and complexity regarding their sources of income. The current IRS code definitely applies to each of the structures the accountants use to limit Romney's tax liability. I don't know of any tax structure where "the code can't apply". If Romney has used one in the returns he has made public, I am always eager to learn if you can identify it for me.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:31:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well he's only released one, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eyesbright

            and I'm sure if there had been something in that one we'd know about it. IANACPA, but absdoggy is. I am only repeating his explanation of how this works.

            And just because other very wealthy people are doing the same thing, that doesn't make it OK that Romney does it too. They're not running for president, for Pete's sake!

            "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

            by sidnora on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:05:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  sidnora - my view is that there should not be two (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sidnora

              standards, one for people running for President and another set of standards for everyone else. If taxpayers conform to the current IRS code that's all anyone should be required or even expected to do. Given that according to a story in the Boston Globe approximately 50 tax lawyers and CPAs work on the Romney return before it is filed my guess is that it is aggressive but there is nothing illegal in his returns. That passes the bar for me and most all US taxpayers. I have lots of other issues with Romney, but not his tax returns.  

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:20:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Should there be multiple standards? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Eyesbright, sidnora

                No. But until Romney releases his returns no one can say for sure whether what he has done is "special" or
                "normal". And I expect no one, except people running for President to release their tax returns.

                Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com. Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

                by DemSign on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:30:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Erm, (0+ / 0-)

                this
                was a joke.

                And never once did I say that I thought he'd done anything illegal - I merely pointed out that his legions of tax lawyers have figured out how to move a significant portion of his business into a realm where even the IRS doesn't know how to handle it.

                "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

                by sidnora on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:40:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Gee.. all this time I've been a Big (4+ / 0-)

    schmuck... paying MY taxes year after year....

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:40:49 PM PDT

  •  What if Romney had filed a 1040-EZ? (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, ichibon, Khun David, laurnj, eXtina, Noddy

    I wonder what he would have paid. That's what a lot of Americans file because they make so little money.

    So, when can we start talking about paying taxes as indicative of Character? Do we want an antisocial miser in charge?

    -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

    by JPax on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:55:37 PM PDT

  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, rhutcheson
    Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes.  Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.
    ---Judge Learned Hand  (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals
     Helvering v. Gregory, 69F.2d 809 --

    Take a peek at This Diary for more

    Just for shits and grins,

    1) what makes you think that Mitt or anybody else still has their '97 return laying around? Do you know what the statute of limitations is?
    2) What makes you think anybody can tell by looking at a return if somebody was evading taxes? If it was that simple, nobody would ever succeed, the IRS would pick them off as they were filed.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 03:05:08 PM PDT

  •  A lot of people spend a lot of time (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tinfoil Hat, VClib, laurnj

    proselytizing for their preferred candidate, Obama plus their Senator, Representative, State Legislators, governor, etc. The name of the game is to persuade
    1) the undecided
    2) independents
    3) new voters
    4) the mythical moderate Republican

    A great many of us work very hard at this. If anybody makes egregious factual errors about passed or proposed laws or executive orders, etc. and gets caught by a well informed opponent, not only their credibility on that issue, but on everything they say is damaged. Someone else then comes along working some crowd that overlaps that first crowd and gets with a credibility bomb not at all of their making.

    It is critical to get shit right and not simply to yell "bad, bad' bad". We can get a lot of mileage about his stunt with the dog on the roof of the car. If some of us screw it up and start saying that it was tied to the hood, we blow it, go back two squares, forfeit a turn, etc.

    That is why it is critical to get this right. Romney's returns, his effective tax rate, the simple complexity of the returns, all that can hurt him. Simply running around saying that he has offshore accounts, or Tax Haven investments and openly asserting that such are per se evil, however, could blow up on us at any time whenever there is anybody present with some savvy in the area. That is why I wrote my diary here - to try to keep Kossacks from going off half cocked on this topic. This is a topic where one can get in over one's head by taking only a tiny baby step.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:03:24 PM PDT

    •  this may have been true in the past, but not now (5+ / 0-)

      Republicans have shown that it doesn't even matter if they get it wrong and you get every detail right. You just have to say it enough times, and get the media to amplify it, and much of the public will pick up the gist while not really paying close attention. This is modern politics, and Romney will be a good test of just how far this can be pushed with lies and still be successful.

      Sure, to the political watchers like those of us on this blog, getting details right is important. The majority of voters will never even notice, or worse, be bored to tears when one campaign tries to explain all the facts supporting an assertion. I'm reminded of an Onion satire of a newspaper with a comparison of Carter ("let's talk better gas mileage") and Reagan ("Kill the bastards!"). Democrats need to stop playing the game with one hand tied behind their backs if they want an even playing field, or else find a way to change how modern politics works.

      I'm like you, I'd rather see evidence supporting what a candidate is saying, but most of the public wants a visceral response.

    •  It's a lot simpler than that... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cachola

      This is politics. Just because something is legal, doesn't make it right. Mitt is proving himself to be an arrogant elitist prick every time he turns his head. That's what matters. This is the time when people are just starting to get a sense of who Romney is... more and more, he's looking like the guy who fired you, gave himself a huge raise for doing it, and then did whatever he could to weasel out of paying taxes on it. You think anyone is going to connect with that guy?

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:37:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Get over it! (8+ / 0-)

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

    Mitt is a master of both outsourcing and offshoring. He outsources his work force and he offshores his income -- both done purely for personal financial gain.

    Romney judges a person's qualifications to lead based on the depth of one's wallet rather than the depth of one's wisdom. He evaluates a person's net worth based on the value of one's portfolio rather than one's value to their community.

    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".  Behavior which most people would regard as unethical is quickly dismissed by Romney and other corporate bullies as being shrewd.

    Republican response to the outrage? "It's how we roll.  Get over it!"

    Let us pause now for a moment of SCIENCE

    by labman57 on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:46:01 PM PDT

  •  Nice try, Lindsey (8+ / 0-)

    But the difference is between those who try to pay the least they can according to the rules ... and those who pay Congressmen to change the rules so they can pay less.

    I'm in the first group and Mitt's in the second. Any questions?

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'y a aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il y a toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:01:30 PM PDT

  •  Because ethics don't matter to Graham (4+ / 0-)

    Never have, never will.

    It's always only about what you can get away with.

    Pretty much sums up the unpatriotic core at the center of his belief system.

  •  As Graham ages he's starting to look like (3+ / 0-)

    Mao

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:03:53 PM PDT

  •  I thought (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, sidnora, laurnj, lcbo, Matt Z

    ...working two jobs because you can't find one good one, and going without health insurance and other benefits was "especially American."

    America, we can do better than this...

    by Randomfactor on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:04:16 PM PDT

    •  That, too. eom (0+ / 0-)

      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

      by sidnora on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:26:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Most Americans send their money overseas (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Khun David, eXtina, scarvegas, laurnj

    to try and pay lower taxes?

    Uh, no.

    Most Americans are patriotic and believe in this country.

    Unlike Graham and Romney evidently.

    I guess now we need to investigate Graham's finances too - evidently he puts his money in overseas accounts because he doesn't believe in creating things here in America either.

  •  He blames "us"? (7+ / 0-)

    For making it complicated and confused?

    Well, thank you Lindsay, for honestly identifying a real campaign issue.

    Now, if only Mittens would tell the nation what complicated loopholes and special interest breaks he has availed himself of,

    then we the voters can ask him if he supports those kind of laws or, as president, would work to end them.

  •  Funny, I don't remember Lindsey Graham (10+ / 0-)

    calling John Kerry a patriot for registering his yacht in Rhode Island, to avoid paying the higher fees of Massachusetts.

    http://www.foxnews.com/...

  •  "We"...he means that literally. He's in Congress (4+ / 0-)

    and responsible for setting it up as a game to be played....where the reader of this commnt can't win, but Mitt can.

    SCANDAL: Bush Supreme Court nominee Roberts upholds Romney's individual mandate! Another politically motivated decision!

    by Inland on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:05:50 PM PDT

  •  Standard for leader (5+ / 0-)
    Okay, there's one other thing. Lindsey Graham doesn't think that someone who wants to be president should live up to a higher standard than "playing the game," "using the tax code to their advantage"? The presidency, the American people, don't deserve better than someone who walks as close as he can to the edge of illegality to enrich himself? That's a pretty damn low standard for the leader of the country.
    Well in defense of Graham:

    See the low standard for presidency that he has already supported in the past:

    George W Bush

    At least he is being consistant ...LOL!

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:07:25 PM PDT

  •  I don't think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj

    we need to see tax returns from 1997.  However, his daddy set the standard... let's see the tax returns from 1999 onwards.

    It's about time I changed my signature.

    by Khun David on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:08:01 PM PDT

  •  No, 'we' don't. ONly the rich do it (0+ / 0-)

    of course, to Graham, that constitutes 'we'.

    "It's a game we play," Graham said. "Every American tries to find the way to get the most deductions they can. I see nothing wrong with playing the game because we set it up to be a game."

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:09:31 PM PDT

  •  So let me get this straight. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, sfcouple, OleHippieChick, Matt Z

    If I dodge my taxes it patriotic. I don't need to know that the man who would lead the country is too important to be taxed on his income.
    Didn't we send Al Capone to prison for doing just this same thing?
    So Senator are you saying that you have been doing the same thing? You're dodging you taxes too? So if we check your records carefully you too can be indicted and convicted like Capone?
    Time for the Fibbies to look carefuly at the good senator's taxes records with the IRS.

    •  The difference is... (0+ / 0-)

      Capone didn't have good enough accountants. Too bad for him.

      If you have good enough accountants and lawyers, you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want.

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:29:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is this the deflection attempt? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, OleHippieChick, Matt Z

    Essentially boiled down to "Don't hate the player, hate the game"? To deflect off of Romney, the GOP plans to blame the tax code as a whole?

    •  Yup, essentially that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      "Don't hate the player, hate the game." is a VERY hard argument to go up against.

      But, hearing a GOP stooge drop that line is priceless.  The complicated tax code is something they love, and put a lot of effort out to put in place.

      I for one, would learn how to do backflips if congress ever tossed out the tax code and went to a very simple "All income is income" with whatever rates.  That would be an astonishing development.  The GOP would never do it.  Not in a million years.

  •  while I agree in principle... (0+ / 0-)

    Even consumer tax prep places base their entire business model around minimizing your tax burden and maximizing your return.

    This literally is the way the game is played with our current tax system.

    •  Ya, but you're not running for president. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick

      Mitts activities might be legal, but they're the actions of a selfish ass. Such people shouldn't be elected to anything.

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:30:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That is true. (0+ / 0-)

      But Mitt and his pals are playing that game with this:

      you and I are playing with one of these:

      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

      by sidnora on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:43:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, lcbo

    might be. . . .

    That Republicans have worked for decades at destroying any sense of honor or pride in civic engagement.  Taxes are a burden; you need "tax relief."  There is no such thing in their minds as the public good, the public health.

    This should be a non-starter of a response, but they've been so successful at pushing a philosophy of hating one's own government that some people might be convinced by this drivel.

    In a longer diary, someone could spell this out, I think: how they have made America-hating patriotic . . . that is, if you define America as things like "promote the general welfare."

  •  But if Mitt wants a blow job from an intern, what (0+ / 0-)

    standards then?

    (I know, sorry.)

    Mitt Romney: the entrepreneurial spirit of Pauli Walnuts, the family values of the Trinity Killer

    by itswhatson on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:17:51 PM PDT

    •  Good question - that's legal too. (0+ / 0-)

      As Graham said: "As long as it was legal, I'm OK with it,"

      I can think of a lot of legal activities that I'd love to ask both of them about.

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:24:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ignored by Graham (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina

    and the rest of the apologists is that the tax code is rife with provisions written by and for the rich, provisions that only someone with massive wealth can take advantage of.

    One reason Clinton's tax policy was so hated by these .01% types is not that he raised their marginal rates a little, but he took away most of their deductions and closed a load of loopholes. That's also why it raised so much money.

    Graham is a multimillionaire too, is he not? I'm sure he feels a kinship with Mittens...

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:19:18 PM PDT

  •  Pick a rate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina

    "I blame us for having it so complicated and confused. Pick a rate and make people pay it."

    Preferably a very low rate at the top end, n'est pas?

    And who exactly is the "us" he is blaming for having it so complicated? Congress and the Senate. Feel free to resign Lindsay given you are pointing the finger at yourself...

  •  But that's different (0+ / 0-)

    So Democrats are going to give Micky Arison's money back, right?

    The cruise ships his company owns are registered outside the US to avoid US taxes, labor laws and environment regulations.

  •  A lot of things are legal but wrong. It's legal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, Friend of the court

    for example for married people to have an affair.  It's legal to give up your citizenship to avoid taxes.  it's legal to be a member of a white pride group.   Legal, but wrong.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:21:55 PM PDT

  •  We're holding to to it, Lindsey. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, Friend of the court

    If it turns out that Mittens has done anything illegal, you'd better be first on the bandwagon to call for his immediate prosecution and imprisonment --- unless you're really not so much of an American yourself....

    I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

    by Liberal Panzer on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:22:27 PM PDT

    •  Don't worry. (0+ / 0-)

      Whatever isn't already legal, and the subject of bi-partisan dogman, they'll just make it legal after the fact.

      They did it with domestic spying.  

      Torture.

      Powerful Dems concurring, carrying water, eliminating alternatives every step of the way.

      Might as well depend on Graham to tackle the problem.

      Please don't feed the security state.

      •  'Dogman' being (0+ / 0-)

        a powerful embodiment of dogma, personified in years of ironclad rightwing consensus policy, values and apologetics.

        Partisanship is not the heart of politics.  Partisanship is the abdication of politics.

  •  Wow. That is deeply flawed n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:25:15 PM PDT

  •  That's right! (0+ / 0-)

    It's "Obama's" tax code that's the problem, not that Romney is avoiding taxes or won't show us his tax returns so we may see if he's scammed the system.

    We're being played.  We get it, the T-Pugs won't.  Not that they can't, it's that they won't because no matter what Romney is hiding, they will turn the arguments back to Obama.

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:26:03 PM PDT

  •  "Legal doesn't make it right" sez Billy Jack (0+ / 0-)

    Then he beats up the car with a baseball bat ...

    "It's just a movie, sweetheart."

  •  has sen. graham introduced (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sharman

    his boyfriend to his constituents yet? just askin....................

    avoiding taxes legally is fine, it's a grand american tradition. doing it the old fashioned way, by cheating, isn't.

    as noted in the post, absent sufficient returns, to see what's (on the surface at least) going on there, it's difficult to even have an intelligent opinion about mr. romney's financial dealings.

    one item, the loss from ms. romney's dressage horse, as an example. given the apparent complete lack of any actual involvement in the activity itself, by the romneys, and that loss, under IRC 469, is deemed passive, and not deductible until the disposition (in whole or in part), by the romneys, of the activity. if they're deducting that loss as a current period item, it's wrong.

    i'd have to look at the returns, to see both what's on them, and (sometimes more importantly), what isn't on them, to get any realistic idea of the romney's overall financial activities.

  •  the difference is between 1% and 99% (0+ / 0-)

    the rules are not equitable: operating within the rules depends on institutional as well as individual power
    Think about that the next time you order a rent boy, Lindsay.

    "As long as it was legal, I'm OK with it," Graham said. "I don't blame anybody for using the tax code to their advantage. I blame us for having it so complicated and confused. Pick a rate and make people pay it."
    In the meantime, anything within the rules goes, he argued.

    "It's a game we play," Graham said. "Every American tries to find the way to get the most deductions they can. I see nothing wrong with playing the game because we set it up to be a game."

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:30:08 PM PDT

  •  Tax avoidance and evasion (0+ / 0-)

    Mitt Romney's tax exploits are just as Greek as suvlaki and grape leaves. There, I fixed for  ya Lindsey.  Isn't this one of the major factors in the downfall of Greece, the inability to collect taxes?

  •  It's a rigged game. Rigged in favor of the 1%. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfcouple, dailykozzer

    So for a member of the 1% to take advantage of the rigging may be legal (we don't know yet,) but it's certainly not fair.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:34:54 PM PDT

    •  Exactly, Denise Rich is but another example too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lysias

      The problem in the end is class warfare.   War by the 1% on the 99% and the 1% has all the power.  They write tax laws so that only they can justify the expense of hiring lawyers or moving money offshore to their special banks.  Some when the going costs them a little,  they renounce their USA citizenship.   It makes me ashamed that she once claimed she was a supporter of Democratic politics.    More appropriately she was never a supporter but a user of Democratic politics and we need less,  not more of them.  

      It isn't as much about politics as it is about insatiable greed, opportunity, connections, cronies, and always wanting more.    Most of the 1% were big players in the destruction of US cities and towns that were destroyed by trade policies that stripped the modest opportunities and jobs from the 99% and gave the profits to the 1%.

      Victims of bigotry are the poorest, least influential members of society.......never the wealthiest, most educated, most overrepresented in high levels, and most influential. Bigotry hurts the least influential. To claim or say otherwise is absurd.

      by dailykozzer on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:08:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the real tragedy... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfcouple, lysias

    The real tragedy is that Mr. Graham and the Republicans think of the whole process -- i.e., governing -- as a game.  

    It does not seem to matter to them that their decisions have real-life consequences for the poor, the elderly, women and all other groups and individuals they abuse for their own amusement.  

    To them, all that matters is that they can "beat" President Obama by playing games.  

    The one key factor for all citizens -- whether they are taxpayers with jobs in the private sector or taxpayers with jobs in the public sector -- is that responsibility is an essential part of the bargain we have with the country and with each other.  

    I am far less concerned with the occasional father of 10, working two or three jobs, who "neglects" to pay tax on his Lotto ticket winnings than I am when an elected official who is representing our government, supposedly to exercise exemplary citizenship, good judgment and maturity, thinks it is all "just a game," causing needless hardships for others.  

  •  Toad vs stooge yawn. (0+ / 0-)

    Everything that matters in the way of regressive tax code and loopholes in the service of greedheads, to the detriment/expense of everyone else, is not only legal, but bi-partisan consensus.

    Consensus.  Of decades.

    In fact, serving the Romneys of the world is how powerful Democrats earn their Big-Boy Pants(tm) for years and years.

    Third way?  Pragmatism?  Centrism?  ANy of these ring a bell?

    Isn't it kind of silly to go after a true Reagan Revolution scion like Mitt Romney when it was and is Democrats, like Obama, holding the line for the Reagan REvolution even now, and against all popular political will?

    Admit it.   For all real politica purposes, Obama is Romney's servant.

    Question for kossacks to mull over:

    What is worse:  The toad, or the stooge who enables the toad?

    (Feel free to use your Romney/Republican/Obama/Democrat decoder ring.)

    Or, how about the stooges who enable the stooge, who serves the toad, then excoriate the one and laud the other?  Then call it politics.

    Aren't they maybe the worst of all?

    Certainly the stupidest.

    Please don't feed the security state.

  •  fuck lindsey graham (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, vpd4

    do I need to say anymore?

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:38:14 PM PDT

  •  Mr. Graham, if it is legal, how did all these (0+ / 0-)

    80,000 pages of tax laws become legal?  It's because of people like you that allow these convoluted loopholes exist in the first place.  

    Neither you, nor I should need a team of lawyers and accountants to fill out our tax returns.  I shouldn't have to subsidize someone's deduction for loosing money on financial gambling like derivatives, and all the other "legal"
    games bankers use to commit fraud.  

    "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." President Barack Obama 3/24/09

    by sfcouple on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:46:19 PM PDT

  •  Isn't one of the reasons that Greece (0+ / 0-)

    is in debt trouble is widespread tax avoidance?????????

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:46:35 PM PDT

  •  If everything's legal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick

    then what's the problem? Release your returns as your opponent has.

    I still say it's likely that he paid next to no taxes on his income, and it will spark public outrage at the loopholes they've created for themselves.

    That and Mitt's sort of a dick about it.

    Hillary Sent Me. OBAMA/BIDEN '12

    by HillaryIsMyHomegirl on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:00:56 PM PDT

  •  graham is (0+ / 0-)

    from sc, enough said.

  •  I'm surprised to find out that Lindsay Graham (2+ / 0-)

    approves Mitt Romney's performing abortions in his spare time.  

    "As long as it's legal, I'm OK with it," Graham said. "I don't blame anybody for using the abortion laws to their advantage. I blame us for having it so complicated and confused."

    Yes indeedy...

  •  GOP to military -- Thank you for your service, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick

    I don't personally pay any taxes, but thank you for your service.  Some of my friends get huge military contracts, but we all would prefer not to pay taxes.  Our money seems so much safer in Switzerland, Cayman, or Bermuda.

    . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

    by 88kathy on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:26:44 PM PDT

  •  A diary about that ca. 2 hours ago: No hot issue (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Many commentators started to identify themselves with Mitt and against the IRS. Feedback was problematic. My conclusion as author was that this is no promising line of attack.

  •  Don't hate the player, hate the game. (0+ / 0-)

    ... and the cheaters.  They ruin it for everyone.

  •  now that same sex marriage is legal (0+ / 0-)

    ol' logical Lindsey is A-OK, peach keen on it. What, that's not true?

  •  If hiding money in other countries was legal.... (0+ / 0-)

    Why has the IRS been threating Swiss banks to release deposit information.

  •  Bottom Line (0+ / 0-)

    this moron needs to release his tax returns; he's running for the most powerful office probably in the world and he's playing cat and mouse over a simple thing he should do.  He may or may not be hiding something, but to me we should attack this because it looks as though he's dishonest and he is.

  •  ABCNEWS Video 7/10 (0+ / 0-)

    This video from ABCNews on July 10,2012 does a good job of illustrating the issues:
    1. Other Presidential candidates have disclosed more tax returns.
    2. Romney's inaccurate statements.  They catch him pretty good.
    3. Is Romney hiding something?

    http://abcnews.go.com/...

  •  Typical ass-hat Republican argument... (0+ / 0-)

    "The let's circumvent the spirit of the law at every turn via loophole" mentality says something aboout character. The problem is that if you feel that way about taxes, you are more likely to bend other rules to suit your desires.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

    by rclendan on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:19:19 PM PDT

  •  Didn't he create the rules? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm surprised this wasn't brought up directly: http://www.motherjones.com/...  Bain spent $300k lobbying to keep loopholes that personally make Mitt money.  He can claim he's playing by the rules, but he spent a lot of time and money defining the rules in his own favor.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site