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Mitt Romney Taxes: "Trust Me"

Stashed in: Politics!, Religion, New Yorker, politics, The Internet is my religion., Morals

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I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past ten years I never paid less than thirteen per cent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that,” Mitt Romney said, sounding as if he had just earned a gold star, as if thirteen per cent was what he might call a magnificent sum.

So I pay taxes every single year.” Then, after suggesting that he had thus put Harry Reid, who had said he’d heard otherwise, in his place, Romney added,

"And if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above twenty per cent."

This suggests several questions, beyond the basic one of why Romney doesn’t just release the returns, since he seems to have pulled them out of the files to “look” at them.

Some are technical: What does he mean by taxes? (There has been a fair amount of talk of people who pay plenty in payroll taxes paying no federal income tax at all.)

And thirteen per cent of what? Income, at Romney’s level, has a habit of transforming itself into something else. (See James B. Stewart’s look at the releases of the America’s top four hundred earners, some of whom did not, in fact, pay any taxes.)

Also, what is the name for the category he refers to as “the number” — the sum of taxes and charity? Those are, after all — and one hopes that Romney recognizes this — two different things...

Given that he is a devout Mormon, I actually think Gov. Romney is modest and just extremely private by nature.

That being said, he's running for President.

Him and President Obama seem to not be able to reconcile the lack of privacy that the office demands in the modern era-- but in different ways. President Obama and the first lady would like their family to be somewhat-removed from the presidency and it's social obligations to focus on family; Gov. Romney would like his financial matters private.

Consider his career was as a banker and venture capitalist; it makes sense -- private, risk-averse folks who enjoy flaunting their successes but not necessarily their wealth and charity.

I think Gov. Romney as a devout Mormon most likely gives to charity as a percentage of his wealth substantially more than the grand majority of Americans; as a banker, he has maximized his own personal returns -- should any of this surprise us?

We've made our bed and now we're lying in it; if Super-PACs and wealthy hundred-millionaires and billlionaires control campaign finance -- for both democrats and republicans -- then how could we reasonably expect these folks will ever concede higher capital gains or income taxes?

They won't. In this country, we are succumbing to free-market capitalist policy-making; and soon we will suffer from the tragedy of the commons.

In other words, Gov Romney really wants to say:

"Don't hate the player, hate the game."

how about both?

No comprendo...

How about hate the player AND the game?

I cannot consider a large donation to the Mormon Church to be charitable when they go and spend those donations on things like passing Proposition 8 in California.

If the Mormon Church is going to make political contributions then it's not a charity.

Read more:

"Mormons raised an estimated $22 million for the cause."

Haters gotta hate, I guess.

Ha, now I get Jared's comment. Touché. :)

I don't know enough about LDS church to comment, other than the people I know are very community-focused and seem like genuinely nice people; then again, that describes the majority of Americans. I had thought that churches lose non-profit/tax-free status if involved in politics.

It's unfortunate when we moralize policy, and politicize morality.

Marriage in this country is a legal and government-based institution; ergo, churches can choose not to sponsor their own congregants in certain marriages, but some might say they have no business politicking in non-congregant matters.

That being said, it seems Republicans as a party believe in more government regulation over citizens rights, while Democrats as a party believe in more government regulation over corporatons rights.

I found the following passage heartbreaking:

It is apparent to me that within the "culture" of our religion, widespread bullying is still occurring — and this extends across all age ranges. This is often done without malicious intent, but nonetheless, it inflicts serious and unnecessary emotional wounds.

Systematic bullying by the Mormon Church of a group of people in America in 2012?

What kind of religion is this???

"I am a physician and have provided clinical care to patients for 30 years. I am also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and love my religion. I was recently released from my calling as a counselor in our stake presidency so that I could serve as a bishop — my third opportunity to do so. How members of this church treat LGBT people is, in many cases, not in keeping with what I feel is the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

This must change.


Posting that column in the Salt Lake Tribune seems like a pretty big deal.

I don't think bullying is unique to religions, but rather an expression of folks' humanity even while they seek spirituality. No one, regardless of faith, religion, or belief, should ever bully another because of ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. It's never OK for any reason.

That being said, my original point is that we as a nation support a free mark capitalist society -- just look at Fred Wilson's latest blog post -- and we shouldn't be surprised when people take advantage of the system to maximize their owns this case vis-a-vis Gov. Romney's tax rate.

His publishing this in June was a really big deal.

The problem I have with Romney extolling his own payment of taxes is that Romney lumps taxpaying in with all the charitable contributions he's made -- that is, all the contributions to the Mormon Church.

Some of those Mormon Church contributions made their way to California to spend money on passing Proposition 8.

So he considers taxes and charitable donations to be the same thing, and he considers charitable donations to be fine for political causes.

This is convoluted thinking, and it misses the point that the average person who pays taxes pays a lot more percentage-wise than him.

How can we trust him to get anything right when he has so many different things confused with each other?

I would still harp back to the initial argument made against Mitt. What does he really stand for?

Is there a universe where Mitt was a moderate, North-eastern Republican Governor of Massachusetts and then switches parties to become a central Democrat on the national scale? He would not have had to change a lot of his policies/beliefs/public statements.

There are probably several universes in which Mitt Romney becomes a centrist.

If I were the Republican party I would be very nervous that Mitt'll pull the switcheroo once elected.

Does anyone really know what we're buying here? I think not.

it's ok to change every aspect of your personality to get ahead, his religion says so

that's convenient. ;)

Makes me want to be a Mormon.

Except for the lack of coffee.

And the lack of respect for gay people.

And the lack of booze.

Nevermind, I don't want to be a Mormon.

And the underwear is hot in the summer

In Park City, Utah I learned about jack Mormons! You could be one of those :)

Some modern LDS youth today use the term to describe a baptized member who chooses not to follow the ethical, moral and cultural guidelines common to Mormons. These guidelines include refraining from profanity and pre-marital sex. Other common cultural limitations include following the Word of Wisdom by consuming a healthy diet, seeking exercise, and avoiding the use of drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and coffee and tea. Often such individuals are noticeable for public consumption of tobacco or alcohol.

Much like non-practicing Jews and Catholics and Muslims. #notfollowingreligiousrules

What's the point of subscribing to a religion and then not following its rules?

Community and positive associations without the discipline or rigor.

For most, I suspect it is a combination of tradition, community and sociological needs, and peer or family pressure.

So... People are there for the socializing, not the rules.

Sounds a lot like the Internet. :)

Petty much. :)

I like my religion with not so much religion in it...

So is religion sans religion the definition of atheism?

It seems that all these secular Jews, Christians, etc, are more of a culture than a religion.

(Mitt Romney on the other hand is very religious, it seems.)

Adam, you should start a stash about internet "miracles" so the recognition of this internet religion can grow

Great idea! The Internet is my religion is now a stash. :)

This might battle the Jedi Order for greatest religion of all time.

Plus, the Jedi Order is fictional. Whereas the Internet is very real.

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