Romney's tax-free decade

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has told the press that the reason Mitt Romney won't release his tax returns is that he paid no tax at all for a decade. (via Reddit)


  1. Gosh if only there was some way that Romney could put these rumors to bed.  Come on Mitty, I promise we won’t pull a “Birther Movement” on you.  

    1. If it is true, then it would be so damning that continued rumors would be better than the actual releases.

      This is the kind of thing that would make the RNC consider picking a new candidate at the convention.

      1.  if you have noticed it went from ‘repub front runner’ to ‘repub nom’ and then to back to ‘potential repub nom’. its real hard to argue why you should be president when you dodge taxes and make a living out of outsourcing and book cooking. what was he doing for america? making sure he never had to pay ‘his share’. and in fact, i think he considered ‘well i’m a job creator so whatever taxes i dodge with legal loop holes is acceptable because my money is more valuable than your productive work.’ i don’t think romney will be the nominee.

          1. I think it will still be romney. Look at the millions rich people and rich corporations have spent on a man who will give them what they want.

            There is no way they will risk having to vet and find a new candidate that might not serve their interests.

        1. No, i think he will be. But he is set up to crash, so that they do not waste a proper candidate on a incumbent race when the next election will be unknown vs unknown. Especially as they can get 2-4 more years or stonewalling without the people noticing, or maybe even blaming the sitting  pres. and his party for not following up on promises.

          Then come next presidential they roll out Petraeus, and really make him look the golden boy.

          “And David Petraeus is tipped by some to be the next US president but one.”

        1. Depends on the kind of republican your thinking about, classic republican or libertarian republican.

          1. True; one explicitly wants a plutocracy, the other just wants to give up & let a plutocracy happen & then put on their shocked expression.

      1. I do believe there are honest fiscal conservatives, but the current leadership of the Republicans has decreed that leaders who actually speak honest fiscal conservatism are heretics, witches and warlocks.

    1. I don’t know, maybe the middle class who pay their taxes? I know we are in a bizzaro-world, but people still don’t like freeloaders. If the Republicans can complain about supposedly 50% of Americans not paying any taxes, how can they justify someone who is nearly a billionaire doing it for a decade?

  2. And we’re taking Ried seriously here? He gives an unnamed source who wouldn’t have seen Romney’s returns to begin with. We’re perpetrating an unsubstantiated rumor and misleading readers into thinking something is fact or possible when the truth is that no one knows. 

    1. Oh for God’s sake! There are a bunch of people who know, but they aren’t telling. Including Mitt, his wife, his accountants, etc. And that is telling in itself.

      1. You’re right. Like John McCain when he vetted Romney for VP:

        1. McCain’s the guy who didn’t remember how many houses he owns.  I go back and forth on McCain,  he has some  integrity.  But his own financial situation, in my mind,  may make him see Mitt’s tax returns as business as usual, but that the voting, tax paying populace would as insanely greedy legal maneuvering for the purpouse of tax dodging.  I would like a different judge, or better yet, judge for myself.

        2. What he saw in those tax returns must have shocked him so much that he lost his mind and picked Palin.

    2. And we’re taking Ried seriously here?

      It’s simple enough to solve. If you want to get on the ballot, you provide your birth certificate and your tax returns. Don’t want to do that? Don’t run for office.

      1. Fair enough, but under our current system if he doesn’t want to release his tax returns he doesn’t have to. Just because  someone doesn’t want to disclose something doesn’t mean he’s hiding something  — that’s a fallacy  which fuels unsubstantiated paranoia. There’re a lot of things of merit to rail on against Romney (his tax plan being one) and Obama. Focusing on something based off of rumors and speculation isn’t. 

        1. Just because someone doesn’t want to disclose something doesn’t mean he’s hiding something

          I’m pretty sure that it does. Really, really pretty sure.

          If you have some credible evidence that he’s consistently taken a stand in favor of individual privacy in matters not involving his tax payment history, feel free to toss it in.

          1. Really? So what do you conclude that Barack Obama was hiding when he refused to make his birth certificate available for two years? What is Obama hiding because he still refuses to release his college transcripts? 

            My answer is: nothing. Obama doesn’t need to release those things because it isn’t anyone’s damned business. And Mitt Romney’s tax returns aren’t either.

            As for Reid’s “allegations” – they amount to saying “some guy I know claims he heard that Romney didn’t pay any income taxes.” There used to be this notion that you had to offer something called “evidence” when making an allegation. Apparently now the failure to address evidence-free accusations are enough to prove you’re guilty. 

          2. Obama doesn’t need to release those things because it isn’t anyone’s damned business. And Mitt Romney’s tax returns aren’t either.

            I, on the other hand, believe that someone who aspires to be President should be held to a higher standard than the guy who makes your breakfast burrito.

      2. I think every aspect of a person’s life should be public if they run for every office.  I want to see everyone’s tax returns, birth certificates, grades, how college tuition was paid and what their net worth is.

        Harry Reid, a career politician, just throws in jabs to get stuff riled up.  Remember when he said 10,000+ were dying each month unless we pass the new healthcare law?  So it passes and the main component doesn’t go into affect until 2016.  I guess Harry doean’t mind all those dying in the meantime.

    3. Well, if Reid’s not telling the truth, why doesn’t Mittens release those tax returns? Hmmm…..  Could easily clear things up!  If, of course, Reid is lying.

      1. But it is a big deal, because Mittens knows that those tax returns could kill his chances.  Which is why Ried is doing this.  He’s trying to force Mitt’s hand.

        Now Mitt has to deny THIS along with all the other shady tax business.

        Sneaky Harry.

        1. Reid would look pretty stupid if Romney’s been sandbagging everyone all along and his tax returns don’t actually have anything juicy in them.

          More than likely, rather than paying no taxc, Romney has some completely incomprehensible financial products that let him pay out taxes and collect them back from the government with interest or something equally shady and mind-boggling. 

          1. The longer he waits the more it becomes an issue.  He should have just gotten it over with early, and by the time the election would be in full swing the attack would have less teeth.  I think it has to be *really* embarrassing otherwise he’d have sucked it up and gotten it out of the way.  Just my guess tho’..

            If it’s not that awful, then this evasiveness just seems like horrible strategy.

          2. What, and you think there *isn’t* anything juicy in there?  HAHAHAHAHA.

            In the end, whatever it is that’s in those tax forms, will completely overshadow anything Harry Reid has said, and I’m sure Reid knows that. He is not running for president, after all, nor do I think he ever plans to.

            He’s really great at playing politics. Mittens? Not so much, clearly.

        2. I think it’s simpler than that.

          Romney’s tax returns are now back in the news.
          The particulars of Ried’s charge are irrelevant.

    4. You know, if all things were roughly equal then I’d agree with you.

      But between “death panels”, “obamacare”, “you’re either with us or against us”, “mission accomplished”, “socialist marxist communist”, “not a US citizen”, and grover norquist, I’m going to give him a pass.

  3. the feds got Al Capone for tax evasion, right?  so there must’ve been some stage where the FBI (or bureau of untouchables or whatever)  requested that the IRS ‘review’ his tax records.  so couldn’t the executive just request that the IRS ‘review’ the last decade of Mitten’s taxes …and (hey) only let us know if there’s something notably irregular there – such as zero taxes paid for an extended period?

    1. the feds got Al Capone for tax evasion, right?

      A) They wanted to jail Mr. Capone. B) There is a legal, if not moral, difference between illegally avoiding taxes and paying Congress to create loopholes that make it unnecessary for you to pay taxes.

      1. Tax avoidance is why someone like Warren Buffet pays at a rate of 17% whereas his secretary pays 35%.

        The main difference is INCOME.  Warren’s is mostly investment dividends.  His secretary is mainly payroll.

        The intent is for example, an 80 year old pensioner’s income should be mostly from investments, thus the pensioner should pay less.  Where a working 20 year old pays more because most of the worker’s income is from pay.

        It’s been this way for ages.  So it’s not surprising for anyone like Romney to avoid taxes.

        Tax evasion on the other hand, that is  illegally avoiding taxes, should be treated like scum.  Illegal offshore bank accounts, moving income elsewhere and plain old not paying is evasion.  It’s not worth it. Besides, you ought to pay the services you use, the roads, schools, hospitals, etc,.  It’s the responsible thing.  On the other hand, everyone have the legal right to pay the minimum amount of tax.

        1. Eh, I think Buffet pays 17% because the long term capital gains tax rate is 15% and he gets the overwhelmingly vast majority of his income in that form (like most super-rich people).

    2. It isn’t illegal to avoid paying federal taxes for a decade if you have a good enough accountant and enough deductions. The fact that Romney admitted to being audited *several* times does lay credence to the claim that he paid little or no taxes for a decade.

    3. There’s a world of difference between (a) not paying the taxes you legally owe, and (b) paying all the taxes the law requires, but less taxes than President Obama thinks you should be required to pay. The first is a violation of the law; the second is not. And no one has offered *any* evidence that Romney has failed to pay the taxes that the law requires. 

    1. Well, I actually read the dailykos in addition to boingboing, and Harry Read has been discussed there many times in the past at considerable length. In a lot of those discussions it was often highlighted that he is an expert strategist that likes to think quite a few moves ahead. You do not get to be senate leader without those skills. He did not drop this comment lightly. 

      I actually believe that Reid does not take these stories too seriously, but know that they had enough legitimacy to be used. He is, in my view, trying to embarrass Romney by making a plausible accusation that Romney cannot possibly defend. The one obvious, immediate, and true defense would be to release tax records. He probably did file his taxes, but there is a bounty of riches in them for oppo research that he does not want seen. 

      Surely Reid though of this. I can think of it also it is not that hard. Maybe Salon needs to think it through a little bit more. Look at least one move ahead. 

      1. It’s a simple thing to apologize once Romney is forced to reveal just how little he paid for that decade.

        “Oh, so you paid .05% tax?, my bad bro, thought it was none… fistbump?, no, you lost what?”

        1. Exactly. Harry Reid is playing politics, and quite well. He knows that even if he’s wrong (and he’s probably pretty close to the truth anyway), that that fact will be completely overshadowed by whatever is actually in Mitten’s tax returns.

  4. Has there been a denial yet? I read about this yesterday and still haven’t read about a denial. I doubt it’s “nothing” but I imagine it’s obscenely low so as to warrant the exaggerated description of “nothing.”

  5. If King gets to say — TODAY — that Obama’s parents may have telegraphed the birth announcement from Kenya to Hawaii, pardon me if my give a damn is missing when Harry says this.

  6. I’m not even sure why this surprises anyone.  I’d be more surprised if Mitt (or any other multi-millionaire) paid more than 5%.  When you have that kind of money and assets things can be legally shifted around to pay little or no taxes.  I’m not condemning Mitt or any other wealthy person for using the system (that they) more or less put in place.  I’m condemning the fucking system itself.

    When capital gains is lower than the top tax bracket something is wrong.  Why work to earn money that’s taxed higher, when that money can work for itself and pay less taxes?  Just as an example.

  7. One theory I’ve heard is that Romney’s returns will show he failed to pay the required 10% tithe to the Mormons.  If that was true, they may excommunicate him.  Which might not matter to you or me, but it would be a horrible blow this late in the campaign.

    *making popcorn*

    1. I think the Mormons actually have a tithing branch equivalent to our IRS that is responsible for determining member tithes, and they actually get to audit members. I don’t think they allow as many loopholes either; he probably still needs to tithe on his Cayman Islands and Switzerland money. 

  8. The real reason Mittens won’t release them is he doesn’t want the other rich folk making fun of him.

    As seen here on BoingBoing Coring went before Congress and bitched about their tax rate being to high, on paper it is supposed to be 36% (IIRC)… the actual tax rate they have been paying…  -0.02%, we gave them back more than they put in.  They keep their money off shore just like Mittens does, but they are doing it better.

    The other rich kids would make fun of him for having all of this money and not managing to get the government to give him a refund.

  9. All together now: If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, Mr. Romney.

    Turnabout is fair play. For the last four years, it’s been “where’s the birth certificate?” and the moving of the goalposts. Now it’s time for “where are the tax returns?”

    So, where are they, Mitt?

  10. Why give him the option of refusing?

    In my opinion, as soon as you officially become a candidate for a political office for which you are required to release your tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service should be authorized _and required_ to release all the tax forms that the candidate or their tax preparer submitted for the past N years. I’d be okay with the released forms having certain information (mainly SSN, signature, address, financial account numbers) redacted as long as the IRS certifies that the original form contained those details.

    The IRS has all the information about all the candidates and can release equivalent information for each of the candidates. That’s fair, right?

  11. Think about it…  in 2008 Mitt Romney released 20 years of tax returns to john Mccain… nothing to hide there.   Now he releases 2010 and 2011… nothing to hide in there.   The year of concern is 2009… what’s special about 2009…. “TAX AMNESTY”.  We know he had a Swiss bank account he was trying to close before it showed up on his 2010 returns.

    Why is tax amnesty significant… it’s “TAX EVASION” and falls under the “MAJOR CRIMES” clause… making him ineligible for the presidency.

    1. Releasing information to fellow super-rich republican McCain and “the public” are very different things.

      Also McCain didn’t pick Romney so even the bit of information that McCain’s campaign was ok with those returns is absent.

      The fun bit, of course, is speculating what could be so bad.

      ‘ineligible for presidency’ is a possibility.

      ‘no taxes in ten years’ or trivial taxes paid is another.

      Perhaps there are problems with the returns that the IRS didn’t notice, but that would be noticed with the full glare of national attention.  Maybe Romney or some member of his family could end up in serious legal trouble.

      I read a speculation of investments that would be very unpopular with his base somewhere.  Maybe Romney owned 10% of Solyndra or the factory that makes RU486 .

      Perhaps investments that would be unpopular generally?  He is an investment banker.  Maybe he got in on some great mortgage vulture deal or banking bailout recently.

      Perhaps its just the deliberately unintelligible web of foreign accounts and other very active tax avoidance measures that simply illustrate the lengths to which he will go to avoid helping to pay for our government?

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