Romney's Glass House
The Americans Romney calls irresponsible pay higher taxes than he does.
Connect: There's an old saying: people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
Define: Mitt Romney attacked half of America as irresponsible dependents who don't pay taxes even though all regular people pay plenty of taxes -- many of us higher rates than he does.
Debunk: A guy running for office on his financial expertise should know that almost everybody pays taxes of all kinds, like payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, sales tax, and property tax.
Expose: After donating half a million dollars to the IRS, Romney owed only 10% in federal taxes on the money he made mostly off the wealth he already had -- and that's just according to the returns he isn't hiding.
Contrast: The Americans he insults as people who "will never take personal responsibility" for their lives are working parents, seniors with Social Security, our troops in combat zones, students -- people working hard to make a better life for themselves.
Call out: Romney should come clean on his own taxes instead of attacking half of Americans for theirs.
ATTACKS AND RESPONSES
- Mitt Romney is actually arguing it's fair for a guy who banked $14 million last year to pay lower taxes than a middle class family. He saved over $1 million last year thanks to the historically low capital gains tax rate we have now -- and then stashed it overseas.
- It's ridiculous to say cutting taxes for rich people creates jobs. Tax cuts for the wealthy don't help our economy grow -- and that's something that both nonpartisan research and any American still pounding the pavement for a job could tell you.
- Here's the real story on the "double taxation" charge: most of the type of income he's talking about -- capital gains, or money made off of money -- actually haven't been taxed yet before it reaches people's pockets.
- Even President Reagan thought that income from wealth and income from working in a job should be taxed the same. But as people who knew Reagan have said, Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan.
WHAT ROMNEY'S NEW TAX RETURN SHOWS
Almost none of Romney's income came from work.
- In his 2011 return, Romney listed no wages, salaries or tips -- the type of income that average people make by working in a job. Instead he made $7 million in capital gains, almost $4 million in dividends, and $3.5 million in foreign income.
- Romney paid 0.2% in payroll taxes, instead of the 15% that working people pay into Social Security and Medicare with each paycheck.
- Even when he overpays his taxes, Romney pays lower taxes than many of the middle-class Americans he insulted as "victims" who will "never take personal responsibility" for their lives.
The tax code is rigged to let the wealthiest few like Romney pay lower than working families.
- Romney's 10% federal tax rate is lower than a regular American's, including what most middle-class families pay.
- Romney actually thinks that his tax rate is "fair" because it "encourages economic growth" -- despite all evidence that tax cuts for the wealthy do not help our economy.
- More than 65% of his 813 pages long tax return for 2011 deal with his overseas investments, the kinds of special tax loopholes used by the wealthiest few to lower their tax bill.
Romney thinks he should get to play by a different set of rules.
- Presidents and Vice Presidents routinely release many years of their tax returns, including Obama and Biden. Mitt's father George released 12 years of returns when he ran for president.
- Yet Romney won't release more than just two years of returns. He only released misleading summaries of his taxes for 1990-2009, failed to fully disclose his 2010 tax return, and manipulated his 2011 return for political reasons.
- Romney gave Sen. McCain's then-presidential campaign 23 years of returns and demanded 10 years of returns from his candidates for Vice President, as well as his political opponents.
Romney thinks that overpaying taxes on purpose should disqualify him for president, except when he manipulates the rules to do it.
- Just two months ago, Romney said that "frankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president."
- Then he did just that to try to make his 2011 tax return look like he pays a higher rate, though really, he still owed only 10% in federal taxes and donated $500K to the IRS.
- Romney can still amend his 2011 return after the election and apply his unused deductions then.
Sure, Romney can get whatever result he wants when he manipulates the rules.
- He deliberately overpaid his 2011 taxes in an attempt to fool us into thinking his federal tax rate is above 13%, but he actually owed just 10% and donated $500,000 to the IRS.
- Romney used a sneaky way of averaging his tax rates across his 1990-2009 returns and to calculate his effective tax rates to make his numbers look better politically.
- His actual tax rate would be far lower if we count the other types of financial gains Romney makes, like the untaxed $9 million to $10 million in gains made in his IRA each year.
For Romney, nothing says "I believe in America" like stashing his millions in the Caymans and investing in China.
- Of Romney's investments in 34 offshore companies, 30 are located in offshore tax havens, like the Cayman Islands -- which his VP pick Paul Ryan said was "the place you hide your money."
- He even had investments in a state-owned China oil company and a company in Russia -- a country he called America's #1 enemy.
- Romney got $100K back from the U.S. government as a refund for the taxes he paid to other countries, after receiving $3.5 million in foreign income.
- Romney claims that his wealth is managed in a blind trust, but how "blind" is it really if it's managed by his longtime friend and personal lawyer (with whom he has attorney-client confidentiality) and somehow happened to invest $10 million in his son's company?
WHAT THE NEW TAX RETURN DOESN'T SHOW
Romney would more than recoup the money he overpaid on his 2011 taxes under his own tax plan -- by making the rigged tax code even worse.
- Based on his 2010 income, Romney's own tax plan would give him an estimated $4.5 million tax cut and save his family a cool $100 million.
- We do have a good idea how he'd pay for his own tax cut: he thinks half of America are irresponsible deadbeats who aren't paying enough taxes.
He still refuses to come clean on his taxes before 2010. What else is Mitt hiding?
Possibilities for what he's hiding in his earlier tax returns:
- Participation in the 2009 amnesty deal for tax cheats illegally hiding their money overseas;
- The still-live possibility that he has paid close to 0% in federal taxes, since we cannot verify his claims to the contrary;
- Profits from the 2008 financial crisis, such as through bets on home foreclosures or investments in bailed-out Wall Street banks;
- Ownership in Toyota stock when he wrote, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt";
- Penalties, fines, or back payments for cheating on his taxes;
- Business dealings with countries, like Iran, that are banned from doing business with the U.S.
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Posted in - Taxes - Economy - 2012 Elections