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And that's the whole point.

Many here seem to want Romney's tax returns to reveal him as some sort of Al Capone. And hell, they just might, who knows.  But my God, it's going to take some real criminality to get past the already criminal tax laws in this country, that are 100% okey dokey, and legal.  Again, THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT.  Romney knows it, why don't many here?

Follow me below the orange thing described in a hundred ways---the orange croissant being my favorite---and tell me where I'm right, and where I'm wrong.  My favorite kind of discussion with fellow democrats.

Ok.  Either Mitt's going to release his tax returns or he's not, and I admit that my opinion on this changes by the day.  My crystal ball is blinking like any technological device about to run out of batteries.  I'm flummoxed.  I have no idea what that guy's going to do.  Seems incredible that he will refuse, but also believable that he will refuse.  So the question is, if he doesn't, why?

Many here seem to think, and lust for, some huge expose, some illegal, shady dealings.  Some "October surprise." And like I said, I wouldn't count that out.  But I wouldn't bet on it either.  My guess is that Mitt, with all his money and his accountants, was well able to stay within the boundaries of the law.

And HELLO. That is again, the whole freaking point. And, imo, the point that would kill Romney's campaign, and the GOP's major talking points, if he were to release 10 years of reforms.  Which are, to repeat the obvious, that guys like Romney deserve to pay almost zilch in taxes, and to bet against the American dollar in Swiss bank accounts---which we already know---and to have absolutely no other God than money.  Country?  Pffffft!

And again, ALL OF IT IS LEGAL.  And again, THAT'S THE PROBLEM. Romney knows this.
Imagine him trying to fight the increasing battle over the Bush tax cuts after revealing 10 years of his taxes?!  Look what the Obama campaign has done with just one year of his returns.  This is HUGE, without anything illegal.  It is tantamount to turning that whole issue over to the democrats.

And it's high fucking time.  I for one am almost giddy that the GOP has decided to run the ICON of the cause of the great depression, as a presidential candidate.  It's so delicious.  It's so much more than we could have hoped for.  And in running Mitt Romney, they will have to say to this country, if Mitt releases his returns, "but it's all legal!"  Really.  What could be a worse message for the GOP?!?!?!?!

Having listened to myself as I wrote this, my crystal ball/ouija board says "NO!" He won't release them.  And it won't be because there's something ILLEGAL there, it will be because everything he's done with his finances is 100% LEGAL.  And again and again, that's the WHOLE PROBLEM.

So whatever y'all are salivating over and hoping for, PLEASE, deny the idea that whatever it is, it has to be illegal to be relevant and devastating.  Because the fact that whatever Romney has gotten away with---hell, 100 million in an IRA?!?!?!---is probably VERY legal.  And that's what Romney and the GOP does not want to discuss.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It doesn't matter whether it's legal or not, what (10+ / 0-)

    matters is the perception it gives off, and how it can be managed.

    •  I disagree. (6+ / 0-)

      Matters if it's legal, matters if it's illegal. That yummy between a rock and a hard place that Mitt is in that Democrats should be thrilled with.  But my point was, it doesn't have to be illegal to be devastating.  

      But yes, the perception of it all is everything.  Which is why I wrote this diary.  If Romney releases his tax returns, and everything's "legal," that doesn't mean we don't gain---A LOT.

      In fact, Romney releasing his tax returns, legal or illegal, will be a GREAT victory for Democrats.  Which is why as of tonight, I don't think he's going to do it.

    •  He is not going to release them (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StellaRay, high uintas, elwior

      That is my take. He has weathered a withering storm of criticism and the news media is moving on. I find it unbelievable that he has held this long under the pressure. He knows what we know however: the news media has the attention span of an 8 week old beagle. When they were unable to get him to fold under the pressure of the media and his fellow Republicans, I knew that he would just wait out the news cycle. It would appear that the strategy is working for him. Unless something big breaks or Jesus Christ himself tells him to release the returns it ain't going to happen. And I agree that he has made the calculation that no matter how bad he thinks it is now, it will be infinitely worse to release the returns.

      He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man...Dr. Johnson (HST)

      by mikeypaw on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:53:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As of tonight, I agree. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, mikeypaw, notrouble

        He is not going to release them.

        What I don't agree with is that the media is moving on.  They are not.  And imo, the Obama campaign will make it darn hard for them to move beyond this issue.  As well they should.

        Yes, the 24/7 news cycle is fickle.  And every story WILL die without stimulus.  But imo, there will BE NO END of stimulus for Romney to turn over his returns.

        It will be front and center to every message from the Democrats. You might think the Democrats don't know how to message, or how to bite into the cuff of the mailman's pants.  But I think they do, under Obama.  Because Obama is one tough competitor, and that will spread from the top down.

        Romney has two choices.  Sudden death play off, and he releases his tax returns for at least 10 years.  Or, drip, drip drip.  Both choices suck, but those are the choices.

        •  The net negative effect is minimal (0+ / 0-)

          Most Rs don't care and the Dems are not going to vote for him anyway. The only thing it can do is pull a few Indies and most of them self identify as conservative anyway. If I were advising him I would tell him not to release them and just keep moving. It looks bad and it is bad. But the net negative effect is minimal.

          On the other hand if you release them and remove all doubt about what a douchebagging tax avoider you are then even some of the tea baggers might lose enthusiasm.

          He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man...Dr. Johnson (HST)

          by mikeypaw on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 07:15:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't disagree with your analysis... (0+ / 0-)

            in that it will make no difference to the republican base.  But under that proviso, what will?

            And while so many here are concerned about THEIR base, lets talk about our own.  The "net negative" of Mitt's refusal to release his tax reforms is HUGE in OUR base.  That's as important as what's going on in their base.

            We don't know that "most indies self identify as conservatives."  As you have produced no proof for this statement.  And even if you dig up some poll that says this is true, I would retort that Obama would have never won in 2008 if this was true.

            The whole thing about "independents" is this:  They are unwilling to commit to a party.  And I'm talking about TRUE indies, not those that masquerade as such on either side.  The very definition of them, as they truly are, is that they can go either way, at any time.  And this, in the annals of electoral politics, is unarguable.

            •  Gallup ran a poll on this very thing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:


              When taken into account all voters and their leanings 45% are Dem 45% are Rep. That leaves 10% that we are going for. I am not saying that it is not important that we keep going for these people nor am I saying that we should not keep shoving in their face. I just think that Romney has calculated correctly that it would be far worse to release his returns. If it will gin up our base and help to get them to the polls I am all for it. And finally you asked the question under what proviso would anything matter to the Repubs. And I would answer none...for the most part. A really devastating Tax return could absolutely demoralize their Tea Bag base. And I think that is part of the calculation as well.

              I wish to hell he would release them because there would be more ammo than we know what to do with.

              He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man...Dr. Johnson (HST)

              by mikeypaw on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 08:07:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Exactly. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mikeypaw, notrouble

                Which is why, imo, he's going to continue to stonewall.  Better everyone wonder than everyone know for sure.

                Still, imo, it IS UP TO DEMOCRATS to BELIEVE in this fight right up to the finish line.  To never let Romney off the hook or let it recede in the news cycle.

                And, in deference to my original point, to talk long and hard about what's actually LEGAL in this country, for the 1%.  Because I believe that's much more the problem, than what's illegal.

  •  Legal isn't the point. I would (20+ / 0-)

    be surprised if he broke the law.  But if he paid almost no taxes or took the 2009 Swiss bank account amnesty deal, it looks very bad.

    •  Taking swiss amnesty deal means it was illegal (6+ / 0-)

      Taking the 2009 swiss bank amnesty deal means that he was illegally hiding money before 2009, but won't be prosecuted because he changed his ways and paid the price. Essentially, he copped a plea bargain.

      So if that's the case, then his actions really weren't legal.

      However, he could easily have just legitimately exploited loopholes to pay very low rates, which would be legal.

      So I see about a 50/50 chance for legal/illegal. But either way, it's immensely damaging to him, and we gotta keep pushing this issue.

      •  So with you, man. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't really care who agrees with my premise here or who doesn't, in terms of any need to win the argument.  I DO agree that the issue of amnesty is huge, and would be something that speaks to illegalities, IF it was exposed.  Maybe that is the smoking gun.  Who knows?!

        More and more, I think Romney will elect to take his chances with no transparency, with the drip, drip, drip of it all.  

        What I really care about is what you said:

        "But either way, it's immensely damaging to him, and we gotta keep pushing this issue.

        Yes!!!!!!!!!  We just MUST keep dripping.

    •  I agree C.M., except I wouldn't be surprised if he (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StellaRay, Dr Stankus

      broke the law.
        Willard M. Romoney is one greedy, greedy man.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 07:08:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You know, elwior, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exlrrp, efrenzy, elwior

        I actually would be surprised if he "broke the law" per say. This is a guy who has aspired to the presidency for years, and I do believe, he would need to convince himself, at every turn in the road, that he was "legal."

        But my point is that what's "legal" in terms of tax loop holes is what we should be talking about. That what's "legal" in tax loop holes deserves a long hard look.  And, that that's the last thing Romney and the GOP want to talk about.

        Not what's illegal, but rather what's LEGAL in this country.  

        •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StellaRay, efrenzy, elwior
          But my point is that what's "legal" in terms of tax loop holes is what we should be talking about. That what's "legal" in tax loop holes deserves a long hard look.  And, that that's the last thing Romney and the GOP want to talk about.
          what I'm hoping is that he paid nothing, or relatively next to nothing and I'm sure it was all legal. But when Someone as rich as Romney pays no or next to no taxes legally, thats going to be some uproar. Especially when the republicans are trying so hard to get the Bush taxcuts continued for zillionaires. that would about put the nail in that coffin and would be a good reason why the Mittsters doing all that hemming and hawing.

          Happy just to be alive

          by exlrrp on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 08:19:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I would love for them to be illegal (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StellaRay, elwior

          Even though I know they're probably legit (although skirting on the edge). The legal deductions that Mitt Romney (and those of his ilk) can take are stupendous - and we need to start questioning that.

          I'm trying to use these questions to my social circle (some TP, some Dem, some Republican, some Libertarian, some Independents):

          Why does Mitt Romney keep his cash that he earned in the US by taking over US companies in a Swiss Bank Account and filtered through the Cayman Islands? It may be legal, but is that how he sees the American public, and is this what he'll do if he's elected?

          And why are businesses allowed to play these shell games so that individual people pay less tax that the lowest 20% do. Who lobbied and created these tax breaks for the top .01% that saves them millions? Why don't we have any type of tax breaks like that? Why don't small businesses (the lifeblood of the US) have anything like these tax breaks?

          If he's paid a lower tax rate (by taking various tax breaks with his shell companies) than President Obama, does Mitt Romney really support the American people and industry? What kind of lobbyist deals will Mitt Romney end up with if he's elected?

          I do like your train of thought StellaRay. The visceral image of seeing Mitt led to jail in cuffs notwithstanding, the constant questioning on the legality of the tax rules and how Mitt Romney applied them to himself will do more damage, and start the conversation that the American people need to have.

          •  Wow, efrenzy, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            you asked so many good questions here.  Ones that haunt me too.  Ones that should haunt every American, but at least, every democrat.  Thanks for adding in. Your post said things I meant to say, but perhaps was not as successful in saying.

        •  Stella - I agree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I think it is highly unlikely that there is anything illegal in Romney's returns. An article I read in the Boston Globe estimated that 50 CPAs and tax lawyers have a hand in the preparation of Romney's returns. It would be hard to think that many tax professionals would collude to commit tax fraud.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 10:23:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the interesting info, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib, efrenzy, elwior

            although I'm not surprised.  But isn't is just something else that one man would need "50 CPAs and tax lawyers" to file his returns?

            This speaks loudly to the point that it's what's LEGAL in Mitt's tax returns that we have to worry about.  It's what's LEGAL, but takes "50 CPAs and tax lawyers" to justify, that we have to worry about.

            Hell, up against this, tax fraud is a walk in the park.

    •  HUGE SIGH. (0+ / 0-)

      LEGAL IS THE POINT.  It's the whole point.  And I'm just so discouraged that so many here don't agree that it's our tax laws that were the problem long before Mitt Romney came along and figured out how to use every one of them to his benefit.

      And of course, he's not the only one to do so.  It just happens to be that the GOP decided to put him, the ICON of the 1%, up for election in this time and this place.  It's crazy, it really is. Like doubling down on the worst of your sins and hoping no one notices.

      Carried interest anyone?  That's totally legal and totally absurd. A law that probably accounts for 70% of Mitt's tax returns, whether we ever see them or not.  A law that allows those whose only product is to make money off ailing companies, HUGE TAX BREAKS.  

      And yet you and many here tell me "legal isn't the point."
      Well, we're not going to get rid of "carried interest" laws, and many others as dubious, as long as you and others think it's no big deal.

      •  Stella "those whose only product" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Stella carried interest is available to any investment manager who uses a partnership structure to form their investment funds, it's not just for private equity (and most private equity investments aren't done to break up companies because you can't leverage those deals). Here is a very short primer on carried interest that I wrote for another diary.

        Investment funds like venture capital, hedge funds, private equity funds, real estate partnerships, oil & gas partnerships, movie partnerships and a few others are formed as partnerships, not corporations. For the last 40 years under US partnership tax law profits and losses are allocated by contract, not by how much you invest. The contract is the partnership agreement and the investors and the managers can agree to any sharing that is mutually acceptable. There is a somewhat standard structure that works like this. The managers each year are paid 2% of the committed capital as a management fee. This fee is used to pay salaries of the management partners and all the staff, and all of the partnership expenses. All compensation from the  management fees are taxed as earned income, just as your paycheck and mine. There is an incentive payment, typically 20% of the profits, which can be earned by the management partners depending on certain performance criteria. This is the carried interest. Because under partnership law all partners are treated the same that 20% equity interest in the profits is viewed the same for both investors and the management. If the underlying capital assets qualify for long term capital gains treatment, when they are sold, then all partners, both investors and managers, have their share of the gain taxed at long term capital gains rates.

        Critics argue that the carried interest is really just another form of incentive compensation, or a bonus, and should be taxed as earned income. Defenders argue that the difference is that under partnership tax law they have earned an equity interest through their performance and the current practice of treating all equity owners the same is fair. Some liken this to "sweat equity" and I know many situations where this is the case. One brief real world example. Two brothers form a partnership to buy, improve and sell homes. One brother provides all the cash and the other is a general contractor and does all the work. They agree to split the profits 50/50. Under current law, and assuming they owned the homes for at least a year, they both would be able to qualify for long term capital gains. Critics would say that the investor should qualify but the general contractor has no capital at risk and his gain should be taxed at ordinary income rates.  

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 10:34:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks, VClib. (0+ / 0-)

          I've already read this twice and am going to have to read it a couple more times to get it straight.  This stuff is very confusing. But I really appreciate you taking the time to write this all out, and I WILL, give it a couple more reads.  I really do want to understand, and I don't want to pass on false ideas, due to my ignorance.

          Still, I don't understand why it's OK that a guy like Romney, using carried interest laws, can make millions and be taxed at just 15%,  I don't understand why it's OK that a guy like Romney can have an IRA worth a hundred million---which Thom Hartmann attempted to explain today, and it all had to do with carried interest.

          Why can't I carry interest and reduce my taxes to 15%? Totally rhetorical and silly question, I know. But why does the law agree that I must pay so much more on my comparatively small income?

          I understand that these laws were supposedly set up to benefit "the job creators," and hence, the community.  But somewhere a long the line, those "job creators" were excused from all responsibility to create jobs, and have with impunity, outsourced millions of them to increase their profits, yet still have these legal perks.  Something has gone very wrong.

          •  Stella - there are a few basic principles at work (0+ / 0-)

            The first is that there must be an investment in a capital asset at the start of the process. That asset can be shares in a company, an office building an oil well or lots of other things. Second the asset must qualify for long term capital gains treatment. Third the asset must be sold at a profit and a long term capital gain must be realized, and taxes owed. Forth the party providing the money has to agree that he/she will share the ownership of the asset with the person managing it. Fifth the tax law for the last 40 years has been that how the gain is shared is determined by the parties and everyone's ownership is treated the same for tax purposes.

            My guess is that none of your income comes from managing capital assets and that is why you can't take advantage of this feature of partnership tax law.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 06:54:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again, thanks for the gift of your knowledge. (0+ / 0-)

              I really do appreciate learning more about this.  But I did understand why I can't take the carried interest deduction, and in my comment that preceded yours, I made clear it was a rhetorical question.

              IF this country's investors and money people ARE providing jobs and stoking the economy, I've got no problem with tax laws that give them a break. But that's not happening, by anyone's reckoning.

              So what we have is tax breaks meant to stimulate, being gobbled up and misused by a banker class that is not even bothering to try to hide the fact that they will outsource any time it promises them more profit.

              Fine.  But then they should NOT get carried interest benefits that are NOT there to make them richer, but rather to stimulate OUR economy, not China's.

              •  Stella - sorry if I missed the nature of the (0+ / 0-)

                question. Carried interest is really not something that "bankers" qualify for. So the "banker class" can clearly be a much bigger tent to include partnership investment managers of all types even though they don't work for banks. Investment bankers tend to either make money on transaction fees, which never qualify, or taking positions as principles which can certainly qualify for capital gains treatment, but then there is no need for a carried interest.  

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:55:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh VClib, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I just know we agree on the fundamentals, or you and I wouldn't be here having this discussion.  And I'm happy we're having this discussion.  It's why I write every diary I write---in hopes that I will learn more, and be able to engage in political discussion without apology, which is a no no in most places these days.

                  But I have to say, you're all about the nuts and bolts, and I'm about the "umbrella" --- or what it all boils down to.  

                  I cannot discuss with you on the nuts and bolts---I like most Americans, have no idea.  And you have so far avoided discussing the larger implications with me.

                  Whatever, I know your intentions are good, and so are mine.
                  But I have to say, we must rise above the letter of the law.  That's what my WHOLE DIARY HERE was about.  The fact that many things are legal, that we should question.  

      •  I agree with you, and I think people are missing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        what you're saying, because they're focused solely as an issue to 'beat Mitt', not a chance to reopen dialogues about real tax reform, and simply quitting differentiating between 'types' of income.

        Income should be income, and you should pay whatever marginal rate it falls under, no matter how you got it.

  •  Among legal efforts (10+ / 0-)

    are those that stand out as shady and those that are benign.

    I don't think anyone's missed the fact they are likely all legal. It's painting him into a corner of suspicion due to his greed.

    •  Yes it is. (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, hubcap, MKSinSA, high uintas, elwior, deha

      But "shady" is the whole point.  What law that's a good law can be described as "shady?"

      Again, my point, it's very good news for the Democrats either way.  My feeling is that Mitt can support every thing he's done, legally.  But he can't figure out how to make Americans support those "legalities."

      And that, again, is the whole problem.  When was the last time Americans had the chance to have this discussion over a presidential candidate?  If you can think of one, please share.
      But the fact is, ALL presidential candidates submit their tax returns for years.  McCain got away with only two years, only because he'd submitted those returns over and over again in his pursuit of his senate seat.

      The fact that Mitt is refusing to turn over his tax returns is SO FREAKING FORTUNATE, and leads to a discussion much needed in the America of today.

      •  I guess the misreading comes (6+ / 0-)

        from the diary's presumption that somehow the community had missed this.

        Many of the folks conducting research are keenly aware that it's likely all legal. What's being dug into is the more exotic tax deals available only to the privileged, yet unavailable to the average American. Bermuda tax shelters aren't totally unfamiliar to most of us; we're just not intimately knowledgeable of them and neither are most working people of modest means.

        The idea of getting paid 100 grand for doing nothing should bring bile to most people's mouths and it is that sort of bizarre dodge most folks are seeking information on.

        •  I never said, (0+ / 0-)

          the community missed this, as a whole, as if anyone could make that statement.  But it is simply true that many here have voiced all kinds of hopes as to the illegality of Mitt's tax returns.  The hopes it's something "huge" when imo, it's quite apparent it's huge without any illegalities, or "October surprises, it's huge if we never learn another thing about it, by virtue of Mitt denying us that knowledge.

          The never ending question---how bad can it be if he refuses to release those returns?

          The point of my diary was not to be smarter or more aware than this community.  That would be a very tough goal.  My point was this:

          The LEGALITIES of what Mitt's pulled off are the WHOLE POINT. And that we all need to look at what's LEGAL in this country, as per finances, before we worry about the more sensational illegal.

  •  I don't think that it matters one whit (15+ / 0-)

    whether his actions are legal or not. The matter at hand is how the average person will look at his filings and will they believe he is a good man or not, will he make a good President?

    Sure the rich want to keep all of their loop holes and would rather people didn't think too much about them, but there really isn't much that is dangerous in that. Numbers are hard and make your head hurt, but if he looks like a pig at a trough who helped himself to all the money in the world while enabling the outsourcing of jobs and it can be shown in those filings....we'll have solid gold.

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:37:09 PM PDT

    •  Agree with much in your post. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, high uintas, deha

      But yes, it DOES matter if it's legal or not.  Because it's high time Americans learn exactly what IS legal for guys like Mitt. Americans have NO IDEA of what's LEGAL for guys like Mitt and how it affects them. And until they do, those laws won't change.

      •  I agree on the macro level (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I've believed that for years in fact, but IMO at this point people just take it for granted that the rich get breaks that we don't. I find that sad, but I believe it to be true.

        Maybe with all this noise we could hold their attention long enough to change those laws, but I would be surprised. Mitt is running for President and if there is resentment out there he makes a great target to direct it at.

        "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

        by high uintas on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:59:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          deha, high uintas

          "...and if there is resentment out there, he makes a great target to direct it at."

          And you betcha there's resentment out there.  And you betcha the GOP managed to select the candidate that would be the magnet for all that resentment.

          The whole point of my diary, is that we have been given an excellent opportunity, in Mitt, to have this discussion.  And that we need to talk about what IS LEGAL in this country and how wrong that is.

  •  Yeah, maybe it's legal NOW. (5+ / 0-)

    But if he had an unreported Swiss bank account before the amnesty option was offered, then it was illegal at the time. And that is unethical and hypocritical, especially when you have people in this country "illegally" through no fault of their own, but they are not offered amnesty. The point isn't legality, the point is the willingness of the members of our government to allow the tax code to be considered a "game" that the wealthy play to shirk the government, and thus the American people, of what they are owed.

    Nobody is expecting anything to be illegal now, but the ethics of the matter is a different story altogether.

    •  :( (0+ / 0-)

      "No one is expecting anything to be illegal now, but the ethics of the matter is a different story altogether."

      What a true and sorry statement this is. What a low, low point we are at in what we expect from our laws.

      Hence, I do disagree that "the point isn't legality."  I'm having a tough time selling this here tonight, but I stick to it all the same.  How in the hell do we expect any of this to change if we don't have the spirit or muscle to change our laws, however hard and long that road is?  

      THE WHOLE POINT IS THE LEGALITY of these laws.  And the fact that most here have simply come to take them for granted, and have told me several times on this thread, that it doesn't matter what's legal or illegal, is a very sad and scary statement about where we're at.

  •  His returns will show how rigged the system is. (10+ / 0-)

    Legally. Possible Swiss amnesty included. A little light will be shown on the shadowy favors the 1% have purchased themselves. More than he wants; maybe so much more that stonewalling is indeed his best option, lest talk of tax reform take a different turn.

    •  Oh yeah. This: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      notrouble, hubcap

      "His returns will show how rigged the system is."  LEGALLY.
      And again, and again, and again, that was the whole point of my diary.  What is LEGAL and all okey dokey.  

      And yes, I agree.  In this time and place, stonewalling is probably his best option.  But that doesn't mean we can't call him on that every day, in every way till November.  Till what people imagine is in his tax returns is something horrific beyond mentioning.

      When really, what's  probably in his tax returns, is exactly what this country allows the 1%.  And that's more horrifying than what anything Al Capone pulled off.  And still, often the elephant in the room.  And I do mean the "elephant."

  •  I agree with the other commenters. (7+ / 0-)

    The legality is beside the point. If he paid no taxes at all in a given year, that would be very difficult to overcome.

    That said, the fact that all these shenanigans are legal MIGHT play into the discussion about tax cuts for the rich.

    •  Really, "might?" (0+ / 0-)

      SIGH.  That's the point I keep trying to make.  It is entirely up to we Democrats to MAKE THE POINT that all these  LEGAL shenanigans ABSOFUCKINLUTELY  play into the discussion about tax cuts for the rich.  And if they're all LEGAL, so much more to the point democrats are supposedly trying to make.

      How can you and others say that the legality of "these shenanigans" is neither here nor there.  Gee, silly me.  I thought that was the whole point.

  •  It's about how much tax WASN'T PAID... (4+ / 0-)

    Not about whether the amount was legal/illegal.

    E.g. did he tithe more to the Mormon church than he paid to the US gov't.

    If he did, and there are plenty of reasons to suspect that possibility, that would tell people that Romney has no problem with voluntary taxation...

    ... but, he just won't invest it in the American People!

    He wants to control where the money goes.. and give a disproportionate share to those who have helped him in his career.

    •  I saw a talker on one of Current's shows (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Occam was an optimist, StellaRay

      who said George tithed 19%. I'm having a hard time finding a link. He said that richer members are hit up more than regular member who tithe 10%, it sounds about right to me, but I can't prove it right now.

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:51:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As greedy as Mitt is, I have a hard time believing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas

        that. Unless he was getting a helluva lot back in return from the church, which I suppose is possible.

        •  That was George his dad (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Occam was an optimist

          I have no doubt that Mitt has contributed big to the church, you have to understand the culture of the LDS and his position. At some point he may imagine himself as President of the church, a position that he would feel is much more important than mere President of the US.

          That's a stretch tho' he makes so much money that it would be hard financially for him. He will donate to BYU, maybe have a big part with his name on it, his dad donated 2 million and got  this. Mitt already donated one million to BYU. Trust me, Mitt gives money to the church.

          "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

          by high uintas on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 08:19:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I heard this same thing, high unitas. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas

        And too, can't remember exactly where.  And yes, the Mormon aspects of Mitt's tax returns are a whole other enchilada.

  •  old's not what's's what's (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rudewarrior, BachFan, hubcap, episty, StellaRay

    legal that bothers me. nice post

  •  I Think Most Here Assume They're All Legal. (8+ / 0-)

    The thing is, he's obviously erring toward the information being more harmful to him than the cost of stonewalling.

    One area is Mormonism. Either he gave so much to the Mormon world that it'd put off the base, or maybe he shorted the Mormon church by under-reporting his income to THEM which could put him in hot water with his community. I think the former's much more likely but the latter would be a threat possibly worth taking a dive on the White House for.

    The other likely issue is that a lot of indies could be troubled by the extent of tax avoidance and the magnitude of his interests and income. And maybe the velocity of income.

    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 06:53:50 PM PDT

  •  I would be surprised if any of the documentation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    episty, StellaRay

    is illegal. There may be a few gray areas, a few questionable this or thats. It's pretty well a given...but in all likelihood the tax forms are legal.

    However, it is more a question of what did he invest in? Is he still making a profit on outsourcing jobs? How about those tax havens set up to help foreign investors escape paying US taxes? How do they function and again, what businesses is he investing in? Does have shares in the media? Does he hold shares of companies in China? India? Mexico? Countries that we've lost jobs to. How much of his investment efforts are for good or evil?

    I'm beginning to lean more toward Mittens not releasing anymore tax info. He knows he's toast if the Obama folks start combing through his tax returns. He's as much as said so. I'm also betting he's going to make the big gesture and name his VP very soon as an effort to change the conversation. Or he's going to do something really stupid and try to play his game of "I'm rubber you are glue" and attempt to beat up Obama with a lot of personal attacks. (What could possibly go wrong with that???!)

    Mitt's dad was honorable man. His son, not so much. I'm betting a lot of the GOP base would love to vote for Mitt's dad--retroactively :o)

    One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors - Plato 427-347BC

    by left over flower child on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:54:57 PM PDT

  •  "Trust Me! I've Got a Plan!!!" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, notrouble

    Here's my take.  He took advantage of the amnesty and everyone in the GOP knows it.  This is why they're so pissed and piling on.  Because they said to him "Mitt, yr nuts.  There's no way you can win with this in yr closet."

    And what did Mitt say? "Trust me, I got a plan!"

    Little did they know the idiotic, Kramdenesque, delusional details of his plan.  Now they do, and they're pissed and relishing their told u sos.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: []

    by Beetwasher on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:54:58 PM PDT

  •  They're legal and THAT is the PROBLEM (5+ / 0-)

    He wants them to stay that way. Obama is pushing for raising taxes on the 1%. Romney is saying that's unAmerican.

    Romney and his party don't want people to see why it's a very, very good idea.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:58:43 PM PDT

  •  Haven't seen many cries of "Illegal!"... (0+ / 0-)

    ...just a whole lot of demands for transparency.

    I mean, consider what tax strategies are available to us...

    ...beyond the usual deductions for mortgage interest, property taxes, and sales taxes), I've taken the additional advantage of the (no longer offered) EnergyStar tax credit for a heat pump; I've deducted a charitable contribution (once), the cost of my daughter's tuition, motor vehicle excise taxes (when I can find the receipt, which ain't often, and saves me, wooo, maybe five bucks)...and...that's about it.

    Those additional deductions might save me what, maybe three, four hundred bucks a year on average if I really push the envelope? It doesn't drop my marginal tax rate, and it certainly doesn't reduce my taxes to zero.

    The thing is I know how to substantially reduce my tax rate; it's just that the money I'd have to pay someone to make it happen is more than I'd be saving. That's the difference.

  •  The Tax Returns are Legal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Many years ago I sat on a jury in a lawsuit against a driver who had an car accident with a couple.  The insurance company attorney for the defendant shrewdly blew up the plaintiff's tax returns and placed them on an easel.  There were several middle class hardworking people on the jury who kept mulling over the tax returns in the deliberations.

    One of the things that turned the jury was the tax returns and the money the plaintiff's made and them getting a tax refund on a income over $100,000.  That was the talk from these guys who worked at a Ford Motors auto plant and other factory work.  This was in the state of Tennessee a red state that continued to bring it back to the tax returns that were an exhibit on a large blow up board of the plaintiff's returns.  

    The plaintiff's loss that lawsuit and the tax return is the exhibit that people could not stomach and helped the defendant win.  

    •  Thank you for the interesting anecdote. (0+ / 0-)

      I really do believe the GREATEST mileage the Democrats can hope to gain form this thing, is what's perfectly legal, and shouldn't be.

      Not saying folks here don't understand that, but AM saying that we need to frame it as such, up against the GOP  meme that it's "ALL LEGAL" and ALL a part of the great American system of capitalism.

      We need to being to question whether capitalism is here to serve us, or we're here to serve it.

  •  Legal Or Illegal Is Only One Issue..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StellaRay, notrouble

    At this point, Mitt's running against his own father who released 12 years of taxes.

    What is this guy hiding?  What happened in 1999?  What happened since?  Where is Mitt's money stored.....offshore, Swiss bank accounts, Caymans, Bermuda?

    Why all the secrets?  If Bain is your calling card & the foundation of your candidacy.....cough it up.  Let's see what, when, where & how?

    Now it looks like another Bain issue has happened.  Mitt was CEO of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee when he brokered a deal for Mattell to make the stuffed animal Olympic mascots.  

    Conflict of interest?  You bet, since Bain invested in Mattell & it's parent company The Learning Center.  Mattell stood to make an enormous profit from the contract Mitt brokered.  He did not disclose his interest in Mattell at the time.  


  •  Don't forget, he didn't release the FBAR from his (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StellaRay, meralda, notrouble

    Swiss bank account.

    "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 Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 07:27:02 PM PDT

  •  Not getting much play is WTF is taking so long for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StellaRay, notrouble

    2011? Last time I checked, taxes were due April 15th. Three months later and his accountants are still scrubbing checking over his returns.

    IMO, the elitist looking "I'll turn them in when I get damn good and ready" attitude should be hammered on as well.

    "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

    by CaliSista on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 07:45:16 PM PDT

    •  Wow, you sure said a mouthful here. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And I was thinking the exact same thing as I watched him this morning telling us he would release 2011, when his accountants were ready to do so.

      HUH?!?!?!?!??! It's July of 2012, and everyone else who hasn't finished their taxes from 2011 are either going to pay a fine, or they have filed an extention---which btw, will be up in August.

      Which one is it, Mitt?

      And I agree, CaliSista, this is worth hammering on as well.

  •  He wouldn't have filed an IRS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StellaRay, notrouble

    document that shows illegality.

    If he is worried, he is not worried about that.  He is worried about the political fallout.

  •  It doesn't have to be illegal to be embarrassing. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

    by kenlac on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 08:09:49 PM PDT

  •  Of course they are legal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    jeez. LOT'S of rich people (dems and repugs) who make money off investments pay little or no taxes. And Yeah that's the way the law is. And has been. For a long, long, long time. And no one has really made a big deal about this... until now. How politically expedient.

    •  My point exactly. (0+ / 0-)

      Mitt gives us the opportunity to frame this as the problem with what is in fact LEGAL, vs. hoping to catch him in something illegal.  

      Perhaps you feel cynical about this, and I don't blame you.  But as for me, I see it as an opportunity that having Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate allows us, and I hope we don't waste it looking for "a smoking gun" when it's all smoking, right in front of our noses.  LEGALLY.

      Will it solve everything, even if we rise to pitch voice on this?
      No.  It won't . We'll have to settle for an inch at a time, like EVERYONE who has come before us has had to.

      •  You are hoping (0+ / 0-)

        that he's the only one? I've got news for you. You don't think that the rich Dems are just like rich repugs when it comes to tax avoidance? They will bray and haw during an election. Then crickets.... The system works for them as well.

        It's the hypocrisy that angers me... I won't be taken for a fool.

        •  I wouldn't take you for a fool. (0+ / 0-)

          Please don't take me for one.  Your "news flash" that there are rich Democrats who may be employing the system to avoid taxes, is not something you need to brief me about.

          But the fact remains, that Obama released 12 years of his tax returns and made it through.  Other politicians have done the same, on both sides, including Romney's father.  When you are running for president, this is what you do.

          Please don't try to conflate this discussion to some esoteric conversation about the fallibility of human beings---in politics and everything else.  That is a sure fire end to any constructive conversation and a deliverance to La La land, where nothing anyone says matters.

          Hypocrisy is alive and well on both sides.  You'll have to decide which side is worse.  Because that's the only choice you'll ever have, in politics, and in life in general. And if you can't make that choice, because neither is pure enough for you, then THAT'S YOUR CHOICE.  

          Whether we do something or nothing, it's all a choice, and one that we must accept responsibility for.  

          •  Good points (0+ / 0-)

            you make. And yes I too take the lesser of two Evils approach and hold my nose and vote. However it galls me when a politician is so blatantly hypocritical. In this instance Pelosi's Holier than thou admonition of Romney not releasing more tax returns when she (and nearly all her colleagues) hasn't either. You can find these scenarios (Religion and the GOP come to mind) constantly.

            Sigh ...

  •  No - nobody's "missing" anything (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I haven't heard one person say they think there's fraud in them there missing returns.  I am sure everything Romney has done is completely legal - and as ALL the commentators I have heard, as well as all the posters on DKOS, have said, Mitt's problem is perception, not legality.  I am a tax lawyer, and I am sure Romney's tax people  have been very careful - there's very, very little likelihood of any fraud here.  It's a political problem, not a legal one - the point is that he's so rich and has paid so little in taxes, including likely no taxes in 2009 because of big loss carryforwards - it doesn't matter that it's legal, it matters that it's obnoxious.

    •  Well, let me say that (0+ / 0-)

      I've read many comments here speculating, hoping and salivating for the "smoking gun."  Call that a matter of legal vs. illegal, or not. But most of these comments, to me, omit the fact that it's already a FACT that there's a smoking gun in Mitt's returns---what it is is the only matter of controversy.

      Mitt's problem may be perception, but our country's problem IS THE LEGALITY of everything Mitt has gotten away with, including say, an IRA with a hundred million dollars in it.

      We already KNOW THAT.  Where's the questions as to how this is possible?  What about carried interest?  Again, perfectly legal, but who's dedicating themselves to questioning the legality of it?

      Believe me, it's a legal problem for US, if not for Romney.  

      •  Lots of people question the tax policy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StellaRay, efrenzy

        Believe me, there are pages upon pages of critiques of all of the techniques Romney has undoubtedly used to minimize his taxes.  This is what tax scholars spend their lives doing - not to mention the hundreds of staff involved on Capitol Hill and in think tanks writing about and debating tax policy.  But when you've had a Republican monied class essentially having free rein for most of the last 40 years to push legislation that benefits them monetarily and keeps them in power, for the most part, the current state of the tax code can hardly be a surprise.

        •  On this my friend, we totally agree. (0+ / 0-)

          But the pendulum must swing back to what's reasonable   and workable for the middle class.  I'm a former history major and teacher, and an ardent reader of history.  And one thing I know for sure, is that a middle class is what stands between revolution and instability.

          And in America, a mostly consumer economy these days, that middle class SHOULD be coddled beyond belief.  We are seeing from the GOP of today, absolutely no understanding of this, and no concern about it.  Just like they have no concern about climate change.

          They have the short sightedness of many of those who I've studied in the annals of history, those who were defeated not by others, but by themselves.  In fact, I can't think of an exception to the truth that all once great civilizations have imploded from within, rather than been defeated from without.

          This can happen to us too.  In a heart beat.  We're babies compared to many once great civilizations, who lasted longer than we have, but in the end, succumbed to their own weaknesses.

          I hope this will not happen to America. But it very will could, and if this country continues to support, by half, the anti science, anti education, anti everything besides white and rich, that the GOP of today represents, I'm not very optimistic.


        •  The extent to which money would serve as (0+ / 0-)

          a shield behind which all the deprivations of segregation could be practiced with impunity against the majority of the population was probably not anticipated.
          What happened was that, after the advent of fiat currency, it was possible to get everyone hooked on using money to mediate all trade and exchange and then systematically restrict access to currency for targeted populations that were to be deprived.  The object of the deprivation being to prompt them to work harder and be more productive, so the ruling elite would have more and more leisure and incentive to wield the whip.

          Together with the law, money has been turned from a measuring tool into an instrument of subjugation and subordination, whose effect is augmented by indirection.

          "No free lunch" doesn't suggest sustenance is to be stolen but that an individual has to have money to buy some and that money has to be first earned by doing what someone else demands.

          Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

          People to Wall Street, "let our money go."

          by hannah on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 03:08:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. It's not the crime but the cover-up. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The damage has already been done.  Everyone has a different opinion about what his not releasing tax returns means.  Most perceptions are overwhelming negative and he can't undo that.  

  •  All individual behavior is presumably (0+ / 0-)

    good, unless and until it is proven to be injurious to someone else. Crime, essentially, is a deprivation of someone else's rights.  That the state has on occasion deprived individuals of rights for no good reason does not change the fact that deprivation of rights is supposed to be reserved as punishment for crime. A deprivation of rights merits a deprivation in return, but that's the ideal.  At the very start of our national experiment, some individuals were deprived of all rights because they'd been bought. Others were deprived of their rights because they'd been married. Juveniles are still deprived of their rights.

    In any event, the legal/illegal dichotomy is misleading.  Some behaviors contrary to law, some are outside the law, some conform to the law and some are above the law.  Charity would be an example of the latter. Some lawful behaviors are immoral and vice versa. DADT was an example of lawful behavior that was both immoral and un-Constitutional.  Slavery was immoral behavior that was, for a time, Constitutional. Lying is immoral, but legal. Half truths are deceptive, but legal.

    Legal is a low bar.  We expect someone who obligates himself to providing for the general welfare of the American people to aim higher, to go that extra mile, to sacrifice his own comfort, if not his life. A person who hides behind the law is not qualified.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

    People to Wall Street, "let our money go."

    by hannah on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 02:57:22 AM PDT

  •  Mr Romney's problem is this: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, StellaRay

    Mitt Romney is the poster child for everything people hate about business in America.

    The shady deals, the accounting tricks, the outsourcing, the overseas accounts... oh sure, it's all legal, but most people feel that it's an unfair and unclean way to do business.  Many of us would make it illegal if we could.

    Americans sense that Wall Street is ripping us off and taking us for rubes (which we should, because they are).   However, human minds don't do well with abstractions, and the amoeba-like institution of the Street is very abstract, like the money they 'play' with.  So this sense hasn't really taken root for many of us.  

    Until now--- now we have a face, a name, a personality to tie to all this chicanery.  And that name is Mitt.  Bad timing on his part to run after the grand collapse laid bare the moral suckhole that is global finance, after Occupy Wall Street shone a spotlight on the carefree bubble the titans of finance live within, and after a slew of financial scandals showed that our institutions really cannot be trusted to behave or regulate themselves.

    Timing is everything, I guess.  And now it's our time.  

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 06:57:24 AM PDT

  •  The legality of his tax returns means nothing. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The political optics of someone refusing to release those returns is what is causing Romney damage.  Look at it this way, whether he paid a 0% or 30% tax rate, no one will care or remember anything except one fact: he dragged his feet in releasing his returns, and that pretty much sealed his fate.

  •  Romney may not want to release his returns (0+ / 0-)

    because they might show that he did not donate at least 10% of his income to the Mormon church, as is required of all church members.  He is probably more concerned about his standing in his church (and their version of the hereafter) than he is about whether American voters perceive him as an out-of-touch multi-millionaire or a tax cheat.

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