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The Ads Against Romney That No One Has Made… Yet

Mitt Romney’s political glass jaw, in the Republican primaries and the general election, is also the characteristic Romney claims qualifies him most to be President: his economic success. And that glass jaw is revealed in the many conflicts between his tax returns and his FEC financial disclosures.

Don’t get me wrong -- Americans love success, and one of the unique aspects of American culture is our embrace of those who succeed economically. From the mythic success of the heroes of the Horatio Alger stories, to the real success of Warren Buffet, Americans bestow upon the economically successful a level of respect that could only come with an ancient title in Europe or a high post in the Red Army in China.

But the economic meltdown of 2008 created in the minds of many Americans two definitions of success: the kind you earn on Main Street, and the kind that is achieved, but perhaps not earned, by gaming the system on Wall Street.

And the more Americans learn about Romney’s success, the less likely they are to associate it with Main Street.

The first attacks on Romney’s success came after Romney made the unforced error of observing that “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me…” instead of saying “I like having options,” or “I like having choices,” in health insurance. Populists quickly made the connection that Romney’s choice of words revealed a plutocratic bully beneath his well-coifed exterior, but the charge never quite stuck.

Similarly, the “vulture capitalist” attacks on Romney’s time at Bain Capital failed to gain traction because Romney’s surrogates were effective in selling the idea that Bain was engaged in the “creative destruction” of free markets. Consequently, Romney’s attackers never made the Bain attack stick either, because they failed to make it about Romney’s hypocrisy, not capitalism.

To make the vulture capitalism charge mean something politically, Romney’s opponents needed to drive home the point that “creative destruction” is only applicable if one does not support the taxpayer bailouts and other market interference that Romney embraced on behalf of his Wall Street compatriots when they were the ones about to be “creatively destroyed” by the market back in 2008. Gingrich, Perry and the others who hit Romney about Bain never quite got there.

Having escaped two populist attacks, Romney probably figured that he was out of the woods. But we suspect the attacks have just begun now that Romney has released his tax returns.

The first and most obvious one, is, why does Mitt Romney think he needs a Swiss bank account -- or for that matter, at least 11 foreign bank accounts? Sure, having a Swiss bank account is legal, but why does any American need one? If you are a private citizen, the answer is simple: because I want one.

But if you are running for the highest office in the land (and claim that your business success is your major qualification), you need a better answer -- and Romney has yet to provide one. And against that silence, one can almost hear the ominous music and see the grainy pictures flashing across the TV screen as the announcer intones that foreign bank accounts are often used to obscure wealth or shady business dealings, so what’s Mitt Romney hiding in those foreign bank accounts?

But a more substantive and hard-hitting attack will be on Romney’s claim for a 15-percent tax rate on his income from Bain Capital. Mitt Romney said during the “vulture capitalism” attacks that he retired from Bain Capital in 1999. However, it appears on his tax returns that he claims to be providing “services” to Bain Capital, -- so that he can qualify for a 15 percent tax rate on profits earned by Bain (as opposed to the 35 percent maximum income tax rate).

So what is the truth?  Does Romney still work for Bain, and if he does, what services does he provide? Does he have a contract or a time card, or was the claim he is providing services to Bain merely a dodge to knock his tax rate down?

While Romney apologists will try to obscure the tax issue as they obscured the previous populist attacks on Romney, the issue that has political punch isn’t the tax rates Romney or anyone else pays. The real issue is Romney’s truthfulness and his willingness to game the tax system for financial advantage in a way unavailable to the average American. Roll the ominous music and grainy pictures.

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Romney's 15 % Tax rate

I believe Romney has explained now with his dividends, he only owes this rate.  He clarified that he paid at the beginning of his time with Bain paying the maximum rate on standard income.  You might check this fact and report that this is the case.  I understand he may have things structured on further services to draw more stock didvidends, etc., to stay at the 15% rate.  You would ask your accountant for the best tax advantage/deductions.  That is why we need a Flat Tax of some type for all to pay the same rate of 15%, hopefuly with few deductions for attorneys and CPAs to manipulate.  I would like to see their efforts to make us ALL more profitable, versus spending millions and millions sweezing out the last penny of tax savings!  That is a decadent system.

You state in another article questioning his Swiss Bank accounts.  We all see the precarious position our U.S. gov't DEBT has taken us (ala Greece as Romney warns)--he has a way to protect his money levels versus us with our assests and  IRA's, stocks, bonds, gold and CD's. He pulled the lympics out of the mud with thier $400 million debt, with his tough mindiness, we would be far better than a "community organizer" who creates need for more socialism!

Bain and Able

Is working the system,as the street people say,conservative?Well,it is for them,not for the honest citizen.When someone actually takes time to read about Bain and the practices used to...do business,it was the most reprehensible,conniving,yellow bellied,owl squirt tactics around.It reminds me of when lawyers talk about legal and lawful.Some people will tell you that they are the same,but a lawyer will be quick to point out the difference.I am not sure if some of the things that Bain did were either.I do know that the way a corporation is set up it is easier to outright steal and not get in trouble.As if Mormans did not have enough problems with public image.

american dream

What Romney has aquired is not the american dream as it is unreasonable and an unrealistic goal for 99% of americans.  His tax is low because our tax systen is set up for the wealth and must be changed if we are to remain a great nation.