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Cross-posted from Nothing Much to Say

As a rule, I avoid right-wing websites. I always feel like I've walked into a redneck bar with a blaring jukebox and a bunch of menacing characters with scowls on their faces, all staring at me. However, every once in a while, some insightful fellow leftie will point me to something worth looking at, so I take a deep breath and step inside.

A Tweet I read yesterday took me here. If you don't want to look for yourself (and I can hardly blame you), it's an article weighing the pros and cons of Mitt Romney releasing his tax returns.The article concludes that yes, he should (and yes, he should), but for reasons that sane people would find rather bizarre. When I read this one, though, I didn't know whether to fall out of my chair laughing or throw up in my wastebasket:

3) Bad optics -- for them:  Romney is a boy scout who has lived a life of great personal rectitude.  He strikes me as a dot-every-I-and-cross-every-T sort of fellow.  He's also a man of guiding and grounding faith.  I am confident that his affairs are all in virtually perfect order, and that they do not contain the knock-out blow Team Obama is hoping for.  When the records become public and there isn't much there, Democrats will look silly, petty and desperate for harping on the issue for weeks on end.

OK, I'll buy the part about being a Boy Scout. When I was in the Boy Scouts, a group of older boys lured me to the end of a dock on the pretext of showing me a swimming animal, and pushed me into the incredibly polluted Maumee River on a chilly evening in October. The scoutmasters laughed along with them, did nothing about it, and I was sick for a week. Of all the memories I have about the Boy Scouts, that's the one that best defines the organization for me.

Let's read on. If my vocabulary were a little weaker, I might think "rectitude" had something to do with "rectum" and agree that Romney has, or is, a lot of it. But "guiding and grounding faith?" Oh for the love of God, do these people actually believe that? I suppose if they do, then they would believe the rest of it. Well, actually, they may have a point. I suspect his affairs are in perfect order vis-a-vis the U.S. tax code, or he'd be so up to his ass in IRS auditors that he wouldn't have time to run for President for pete's sake.

The knockout blow Team Obama may be looking for in Mittens's returns probably runs along the lines Greg Sargent speculated about yesterday. Romney quite possibly paid little or no taxes in 2009 and other years, thanks to a tax code that is so heavily rigged in favor of the wealthy that a multimillionaire like him can get by paying less in federal taxes than a single mom working two jobs to pay the rent on a broken-down two-bedroom apartment.

This is a tax code that Romney would change so that Mom gets to pay even more to subsidize people like him. No wonder he doesn't want to release his returns.

Rectitude. Interesting word.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)

    It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Fish in Illinois on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 07:55:45 AM PDT

  •  Oh, the taxes are the just part of it... (4+ / 0-)

    ...I suspect Romney tithed far less than 10% of his gross income, and that would sit very poorly with the LDS Church folks.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 08:00:09 AM PDT

    •  The not-LDS church folks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Calamity Jean

      Those who are a little uneasy with the Mormon aspect, are going to see just how much of his charitable giving goes to the Mormon church or related entities, and how little goes to what most "regular" folk consider charity.

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 08:20:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have no problem with tithes... (0+ / 0-) his father apparently gave 19% in his lifetime. But I'll bet that Romney gave significantly less, and yet is a high-profile member of the church.

        Is there any sort of Hell in Mormon beliefs?

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 08:32:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's a squeaker (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, Calamity Jean

          Neeeearly 10% (of the tax returns known so far)

          In a December interview with Parade Magazine, Romney mentioned his tithing, saying, “I’ve given away 10 percent of what I’ve earned, pre-tax.”

          Romney earned $21.6 million in 2010 and $20.9 million in 2011, the two years for which tax records were provided.

          In 2010 Romney donated 7 percent of his pre-tax income, or $1.525 million, to the church, and in 2011 he donated 12.4 percent, or $2.6 million. For the two years combined, he donated 9.7 percent of his pre-tax income to the church.

          A difference many will see is that gifts to the church or related institutions like BYU are solely benefiting Mormons. Most church members who tithe are accustomed to seeing some part of that gift serving public needs like food pantries, homeless shelters, etc. It ends up underlining how insular the Mormon church is.

          from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

          by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 09:26:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I think he is ok with the Mormons but his tax bill (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fish in Illinois

    probably shows how he took advantage of the tax advantages that his lawyers and accountants used.  The tax code has all sorts of avenues to pay less in taxes.  A great many Americans use the mortgage deduction for one really big "loophole"   Then we have certain deductions for horses, airplanes and SUVs.  I think anyone that does the EZ form is probably not taking advantage of some deductions that are available.  Romney took advantage of the code and probably paid a lower percentage of his income in taxes than the average Joe and Jane.

  •  The Knockout Punch is the Withholding of Them. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fish in Illinois

    "Why do you keep punching yourself, Mitt?"

    The strongest personal issue Dems have against him is his publicly known business model and record. There's probably nothing in the tax records that would convince an indy to vote Dem if his business model hadn't made the sale for them.

    The overwhelmingly most likely issues are those that would offend conservatives no matter how legal they are. That translates to suppressed rightwing turnout.

    But I doubt the Dems expect or need there to be some kind of "knockout" beyond the damage he's doing to himself daily.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 08:45:09 AM PDT

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