Ann Romney, like her husband, has a remarkable ability to
sound condescending when she talks about people who aren't rich and upper-crust,
like the Romneys. She calls them "those people" and "you people" with
high-handed, imperial disdain:
I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and
they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids. Thank goodness that
we value those people too.
The Romneys' disdain for "those people," by which they obviously mean
us, seems obvious. What Ann Romney means seems clear to me: we (the
successful people) value (have some minimal concern for) those people (the less
successful ones). Thank goodness that we (the successful people) are such
saints, considering the other people we have to put up with!
As Hurricane Sandy threatens 50 million American with devastating floods, I am
reminded of Mitt Romney's statement that it is "immoral" to borrow money to help
flood victims. Romney, a former Mormon Bishop and therefore someone who should
presumably understand the term, didn't call it "immoral" for the federal
government to borrow billions to bail out the Olympic games, or his rich Wall
Street cronies. He obviously doesn't consider it "immoral" to borrow the better
part of $7 trillion dollars to rescue the super-rich and increase defense
spending for things the Pentagon hasn't even requested. According to Bishop
Romney, it seems the only people it's "immoral" to
help are the 47% of Americans who need help the most, including flood victims,
distressed auto workers, and poor girls and women who need Planned Parenthood’s
help with contraceptives and preventive healthcare.
According to Ann Romney, 47% of
Americans (or 150 million people) are utterly lacking in class or style ... at least compared to her
Olympic dressage horse, Rafalca. The Romneys took a $70,000 tax deduction for Rafalca Romney, which is more than the median annual American household income.
Has Ann Romney, perhaps, confused wealth with class and style? Here's what she
said about Democrats recently, so you be the judge:
My horse has more style and more class in its hoof than they [those
people] do in their
The comment above was reported by Jason Horowitz of the Washington Post
as having been made by Georgette Mosbacher — "cosmetics impresario and eccentric
grande dame of GOP fundraising" — to her younger sister Lyn Paulsin, who once
dated Rush Limbaugh. These are died-in-the-wool Romney supporters, not enemy
infiltrators. Horowitz describes them thusly: "Both sisters wear gold Eagle
pins on their lapels, identifying them as Romney mega-donors, and a stack of VIP
credentials around their necks." Horowitz informed his
readers that the sisters discussed Ann Romney's comment "giddily," as if
they were impressed or awed by what she said.
This seems like yet more confirmation that the Romneys and many of their
super-rich supporters are the ones who lack not only class and style, but basic
human decency and common sense as well. Here is what Ann Romney told Robin
Roberts about requests of the American people that the Romneys disclose more tax
We've given all you people need to know and
understand about our financial situation and how we live our life.
Ann Romney is frequently compared to Marie Antoinette ...
Talking to Robin Roberts, Ann Romney
sounded like a feudal queen talking down to a bunch of serfs. Like her
imperious husband, she seems to think the America public doesn't deserve full disclosure.
After all, who the hell are we to question someone rich enough to have Swiss bank accounts, Bermuda trusts,
Cayman Island IRAs, and horses in the Olympics?
Even staunch conservatives criticized Mitt Romney for suggesting that 47 percent
of Americans are lazy, shiftless moochers. William Kristol was especially harsh,
calling Romney’s observations “arrogant and stupid.”
Conservative journalist Peggy Noonan called the avalanche of tactless gaffes a "rolling calamity."
In response, Ann Romney said:
Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring. This is hard and,
you know, it's an important thing that we're doing right now and it's an
important election and it is time for all Americans to realize how significant
this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt's qualifications
and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this
The problem for the Romneys is that it really isn't "difficult" not to insult
millions of people repeatedly. First it was England, then the Palestinians. Now
it's half the population of America. I can't think of anyone outside the KKK and
neo-Nazi circles who would find it so very hard to be more diplomatic and
Mitt and Ann Romney: War on Moms is a "Gift" to their Political Campaign
During a closed-door fundraiser in Florida, Ann Romney told the audience that
Hilary Rosen's remark that she had never worked was
a boon to her and her husband's political campaign: "It was my early
birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and
that was really a defining moment, and I loved it."
Mitt Romney obviously agreed because, speaking after his wife, he called the
ensuing "war on moms" a "gift."
I find it hard to understand why a man running for president of the United
States, and his potential first lady, would consider a war on mothers to be a
"gift." But that was not Rosen's intention. Rather, she had criticized the
Mormonator for turning to his wife for advice on women's economic concerns, when
she had never entered the job market and has long lived a life of incredible
luxury because Willard Billhard is one of the world's wealthiest men. Most
American mothers these days have to work for pay and
be their children's primary caregivers. While Rosen's choice of words may have
been unfortunate, her point seems valid. Especially when Ann Romney has made
statements such as: "My horse has more style and more class in its hoof than
they [presumably less affluent people] do in their
Mitt Romney called the "war on moms" a "gift"
to his political campaign, as if the oppression of mothers is good as long as it
benefits him personally.
The Romneys, both Mitt and Ann, have made it clear that only rich
stay-at-home moms should get credit for working hard. Poor mothers should be
required to work for pay, or be considered lazy freeloaders. How is that fair?
Ann Romney doesn't seem to believe that when the going gets tough, the tough get
going. She said that she intended
... not to give him any advice because it gets too overwhelming.
A president who feels overwhelmed by advice not to insult millions of people at
the drop of a hat is going to feel constantly overwhelmed, in my opinion.
She also said that if her husband is elected president, she worries about his
emotions and mental well-being:
You know, I think my biggest concern, obviously, would just be for his
mental well-being. I have all the confidence in the world in his ability, in his
decisiveness and his leadership skills, in his understanding of the economy, in
his understanding of what's missing right now in the economy - you know, pieces
that are missing to get this jump-started. So for me I think it would just be
the emotional part of it.
There are also questions about whether the Romneys really "get" the
financial problems of people who are struggling financially:
We can be poor in spirit, and I don’t even consider myself wealthy ... It can be
here today and gone tomorrow.
But it seems unlikely that the Romney's fortune, estimated at $250 million, or
their tax-sheltered offshore IRAs, estimated at up to $100 million, are going to
suddenly dry up completely. Ann Romney's financial fears do not seem nearly as
legitimate as those of Americans who lost their jobs because rich men like
Willard Mitt Romney outsourced their jobs to China and other low-wage countries.
We better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out.
The only other American president of whom such a strange thing might be said,
that I can think of, is Richard Nixon.
We did have one argument, but it was before marriage, when I thought he was
being too possessive, when I wasn't really understanding that he was just so in
love with me and so committed. I was 17, and we had a real argument. But that
was the last one. Isn't that strange? It's like people might think there's
something wrong with our relationship.
Yes, a long-term relationship that is completely dominated by the male partner
does seem oddly medieval to me.
We were living on the edge, not entertaining ... [but] ... We were happy,
studying hard. Neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an
investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time ... [and] ...
Everyone in life has their challenges, mine have not been financial.
It seems that to Ann Romney, "living on the edge" means not entertaining, and
selling stock to make ends meet. Her father-in-law was the wealthy CEO of a
major auto company, AMC, and they could sell AMC stock he donated whenever they
needed extra money, while they were in school. Perhaps
they were living frugally, to avoid having to take jobs, but they were
hardly "living on the edge." Her husband soon had one BYU and two Harvard
degrees, which allowed him to command handsome salaries. The Romneys have a bad
habit of trying to make it seem that they understand the economic problems faced
by other Americans because they, too, have struggled financially. But Ann
Romney never had to work a single day for pay. Mitt Romney didn't have to work
until after earning three degrees. If they needed spending money, they could
"sell a little stock" or call a multi-millionaire parent for help. Most
Americans do not have such luxuries.
How much stock did the young Romney's have? According to Ann Romney's comments
to the Boston Globe, it "wasn't much," just a few thousand dollars per
year, given to Mitt by his father as a regular birthday present. George Romney became CEO of AMC in
1954. If he contributed an average of $3,000 per year from 1954 to 1977, when
Mitt Romney went to work for Bain Capital, that would be a nest egg of $69,000.
But the price of AMC stock increased by a factor of 16, from $6 per share to $96
per share, so the young Romneys were probably sitting on a small fortune, worth
somewhere between half a million to a million dollars or more, in much more
valuable dollars than today's.
The Boston Globe's rival paper, The Boston Herald, ran a
column about the interview. Columnist Margery Egan wrote, "OK, I hate to steal
quotes from the competition. Today I cannot help myself ... I realized ... that
Ann Romney has not a clue about my life, nor the lives of anybody I know.
'Living on the edge,' she said. Selling off that stock. She has not an inkling.
Not even a hint."
Mitt Romney once remarked that he earned speaking fees but "not very much," when
in a single year he earned $374,000 in speaking fees. It seems to me that both
Ann and Mitt Romney are clueless about the real value of money, because they
have always had such a tremendous supply ...
“Mitt and I do recognize that we have not had a financial struggle in our
lives,” Ann Romney told NBC’s Meet The Press, “But I want people to
believe in their hearts that we know what it is like to struggle. And our
struggles have not been financial, but they’ve been with health and with
difficulties in different things in life.” That statement is in contrast to the
story Ann Romney told during her well-received address to the Republican
National Convention in late August: “We got married and moved into a basement
apartment. We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, and ate a lot
of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on sawhorses. Our dining
room table was a fold-down ironing board in the kitchen. Those were very special
Mitt and Ann Romney's Tax Returns
Romney also derides
Americans for requesting affordable healthcare out of self-interest because conservatives hate
President Obama and he will win a lot of conservative votes and campaign cash by opposing
Obamacare, even though it was modeled after his own Romneycare. But do we need a
president who puts his interest above those of 300 million Americans? Do we want
a president who cheats on his taxes, when he's richer than Midas? Do we want a
president who will say anything to anyone in order to glean
cash and votes?
Now, on to those troublesome tax returns ...
Joshua Green, writing in Businessweek, asked the question that's on
everyone's mind: "What's Romney Hiding in His Tax Returns?" In his article,
Green made the point that because Romney has released his 2010 and estimated
2011 tax returns, but won't release his 2009 return, there must be something
damning in the 2009 return. But if the 2009 return was an anomaly, Romney could
release his returns for the ten prior years, or at least disclose the amounts he
paid in taxes each year, then explain why 2009 was the exception to the rule. So
I think it is more likely that there are serious problems with many (or all) of
his tax returns for years prior to 2010.
Matt Yglesias of Slate.com has suggested a different
2009 scenario: that Romney may not have previously been disclosing the Swiss
bank account mentioned in his 2010 return. In 2009, the IRS offered amnesty to
taxpayers who had been hiding Swiss accounts: essentially, "Disclose and ante
up, and we won't send you to jail." Is it possible that Romney took that deal,
which might seem like the confession of a crime to the American public?
Ezra Klein, writing for The Washington Post, speculates that Romney's
effective tax rate may have been so low for certain years, including 2009, that
to reveal the percentages might be political suicide. My educated guess is that
Klein is correct. I think, based on remarks made by "people in the know" like
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, that Romney's effective tax rates for the
years 2009 and prior may have been closer to 0% than to his 2010 rate of 14%. Thus,
Romney can't reveal his tax returns because they make him seem like a shyster.
Quite probably, because he is.
Also, if Romney has sheltered half his wealth or
more from income taxes, even the 14% disclosed in 2009 may be wildly overstated,
since it would be based on artificially reduced base revenues. If any Romney tax
return prior to 2010 showed large investments being wildly devalued to a few
thousand dollars, then placed in offshore "IRAs" ... well, the jig would be up,
and Romney might be in danger of huge tax liabilities, penalties and jail. From
what I have gathered in my research, it seems entire Bain-owned companies may
have been placed in a series of such "IRAs." If so, it would be more than just
political suicide for Romney to release his returns.
This would also explain why the Romneys look and act so positively weird
when the subject of tax returns is raised. Mitt's wife, Ann Romney, who has offshore accounts and a horse in the Olympics, recently
told Robin Roberts imperiously, "We have given all you people need to know and
understand about our financial situation and how we live our life." She
sounded like a feudal queen talking down to a bunch of serfs. Like her
imperious husband, she seems to think the America public doesn't deserve full disclosure.
Who the hell are we to question someone rich enough to have Swiss bank accounts, Bermuda trusts,
Cayman Island IRAs, and horses in the Olympics?
Mr. "Free Stuff" Part III
In any case, it seems Mitt Romney had no compunctions about
getting "free stuff" himself.
Take, for example, GST Steel. Romney's company Bain Capital bought GST Steel for
$75 million, but put only $8 million of its own money into the deal, borrowing
the rest. Within a year, Romney and Bain had saddled GST Steel with another $125
million in debt, with $36 million of the borrowed money being
paid to Romney and Bain as a dividend. So less than a year after loading
the company with debt 15 times the amount they had
invested, Romney and Bain gave themselves bonuses four times their
investment. What tax rate did they pay on that unearned income? A measly 15
percent, thanks to the "free stuff" available to rich investors in the U.S. tax
code. And at the same time Romney and Bain were pocketing $36 million in
borrowed funds, they were asking Kansas City to forfeit $3 million in public
money to give them tax breaks.
That's even more free stuff. Furthermore, when GST Steel filed for
bankruptcy and laid off 750 people, it turned out
that Bain had underfunded its pension obligations to those employees. So the
federal government's pension benefit guarantee corporation was stuck with a $44
million bill. Thus, Bain cost the government $44 million for the pensions, $3 million
for the local tax breaks and $7 million in federal taxes. That's $54 million in
"free stuff" from the government. And that was just one of Romney's and Bain's
"Mr. Romney’s Financial Black Hole," a July 10, 2012 editorial in the New
York Times, explains why the sketchy
information released by Romney to date indicates
"a concerted effort to park much of his wealth in overseas tax shelters,
suggesting a widespread pattern of tax avoidance unlike that of any previous
Meanwhile, in a remarkable accusation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
recently said, "His father,
George Romney, set the precedent that people running for president would file
their tax returns ... but Mitt Romney can’t do that
because he’s basically paid no taxesin
the prior 12 years."
How is it possible that one of American's wealthiest men paid virtually no taxes
for 12 years? If Reid's statement is false, Mitt Romney
could simply produce his tax returns and disprove it. But instead Romney seems
to be confirming that where there is smoke there is also fire, by adamantly
refusing to release any of his returns prior to 2010. As a result, even arch-conservatives
like Newt Gingrich, George Will, Bill Kristol, Matthew Dowd, Haley Barbour and
Michael Steele have added their voices to those of liberals who have been upbraiding Romney in public. As
Will said recently, "The cost of not releasing the returns are clear, therefore,
he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them." Dowd
agreed, saying, "There’s obviously something there, because if there was nothing
there, he would say, ‘Have at it.’" Kristol called it "crazy" for Romney not to
release more returns.
But perhaps he can't release his returns, without risking charges of illegal
income tax evasion. Did Romney break the letter of the tax
law, as well as the spirit? Has he sheltered
up to $100 million of his personal fortune in offshore IRAs, as various
reputable news services have suggested? If Romney protected most of his wealth from income taxes, his effective tax rate
prior to 2010 may be
closer to 0% than 14%, and that would explain him
blinking and squirming like a fish out
of water when he was asked to disclose his
taxes during a Republican presidential debate. When I saw the
hemming and hawing about disclosing his returns,
to a chorus of boos, I knew there was something in them that he didn't want the American public to
During the debate in question, Newt Gingrich pointed out that there was no
rational reason to delay disclosing tax returns for
prior years, and that American voters have the right to see such
returns before they vote. Debate moderator John King mentioned that
Mitt's father had voluntarily disclosed tax returns for
12 years, when he ran for president, pointing out that disclosing just
one year's return could be seen as non-representative and/or deceptive.
But it was obvious that Mitt Romney wanted people to vote before he
disclosed any of his returns, and that makes no sense unless there's
something in the older returns that he doesn't want American voters to see.
(Multi-million dollar tax dodges, perhaps?) In any case, since 1967,
presidential candidates have voluntarily disclosed multiple years of tax
returns. The first to do so was George Romney. Ironically, the first since then to refuse
to do so is his son, Mitt Romney.
Here's my main question: If what Romney did is on the up-and-up, why doesn't he just say,
"Look, what I did was perfectly legal, but it is unfair to other American
taxpayers, and we need to fix the unfair tax system and close the loopholes."
But by refusing to disclose his older tax returns, he gives the strong
impression that he did something wrong.
As reported by reputable news services like the New York Times,
Wall Street Journal,TIME, Reuters, CBS News and Huffington Post, Romney may have sheltered his
Bain holdings from taxes, in offshore accounts. For example, a Bermuda-based vehicle
called the Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. has been described in
securities filings as "a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney."
Romney transferred his wife’s newly-created blind trust to Sankaty on January 1,
2003, the day before he was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts. Sankaty's
director and president is R. Bradford Malt, Romney’s personal lawyer.
Romney failed to list Sankaty on several financial disclosures, even though
such a closely-held vehicle would seemingly not qualify as an "excepted investment fund."
According to what Romney aides have said the past, some of Romney's funds may
have below the $1,000 in assets that would trigger
disclosure requirements. But Sankaty was used in Bain's
billion-dollar takeover of Domino's Pizza and other multimillion-dollar
investment deals. And yet Sankaty was only
made public when Romney disclosed his 2010 tax return, after being pressured to
do so during the debates. Having most or much of his wealth in offshore
tax shelters could easily explain Romney's fish-out-of-water
act, when pressured to disclose his returns. And it's hard to imagine that the
wife of a multimillionaire has under $1,000 in her trust. Who even bothers to
set up overseas trusts for a few hundred dollars? Surely the American public
has the right to know why a man running for president has so many offshore
accounts that give every appearance of being part of a shell game to avoid U.S. income taxes. Is there any reason to create shell companies in Bermuda and the
Cayman Islands, other than to avoid U.S. laws and taxes?
As Nicholas Shaxson pointed out in a recent Vanity Fair article, such
investments "provided a lavish smorgasbord for Romney’s critics. Particularly
jarring were the Romneys’ many offshore accounts. As Newt Gingrich put it during
the primary season, 'I don’t know of any American president who has had a Swiss
bank account.' But Romney has, as well as other interests in such tax havens as
Bermuda and the Cayman Islands."
To date, Romney has released a full tax filing only
for 2010. Former President Bill Clinton recently told NBC's Today Show
that Mitt Romney's hesitation to release more tax returns struck him as "odd,"
saying, "I am a little surprised he only released a year's worth of tax returns.
That kind of perplexed me, because this is the first time in, I don't know, more
than 30 years that anybody running for president has only done that. You know,
it's typical we all release 10, 11 years; I think Senator McCain released over
20 years of tax returns." (And of course Romney's father set the precedent by
voluntarily releasing 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president.)
And there is good reason to question whether Romney's "blind trusts" are really
blind. For instance, one of the investments that R. Bradford Malt made with
Romney's "blind" trust was to put $10 million in Solamere, a company co-founded
by Romney’s son Tagg and Romney’s campaign finance chair, Spencer Zwick. The
Solamere investment strongly suggests that Romney’s "blind" trust is operating
under Romney's watchful eye. And if you don’t believe me, please consult an
expert: in 1994, Mitt Romney explained that the
"blind trust is an age old ruse!"
I'm not familiar precisely with what I said, but I'll stand by what I said,
whatever it was.—Mitt Romney
Romney is so confident that he's infallible, that he doesn't even have to know
what he said to be sure that it was correct. But in reality, Romney is far from
infallible. For instance, after CNN's Wolf Blitzer introduced himself by saying,
"I'm Wolf Blitzer and yes, that's my real name" at the beginning of a November
2011 Republican presidential debate, the Romneybot responded:
I'm Mitt Romney—and yes Wolf, that's also my first name.
(Romney's first name is Willard; Mitt is his middle
Who let the dogs out? Who, who?—Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney became Mitt Inappropriate during an awkward photo op with a group of African Americans kids at a Martin Luther King Day
parade in January 2008.
Mr. Etch A Sketch
These and other issues will be
discussed on this page. Romney has been accused of running an "Etch A Sketch"
campaign, which was recently admitted by one of his campaign advisers. The plan
seems to be that Romney will appear to be ultraconservative in the Republican primaries, then "shake to reset"
and appeal to moderates in the general election. Since few conservatives will
vote for President Obama under any circumstances, this deceptive plan may have a
chance of working. But perhaps the most troubling questions about Romney
are not his personal and financial ethics, or his flip-flopping and pandering
for votes, or his willingness to kowtow to the wealthiest 1% of Americans while
leaving the remaining 99% in the lurch. In my opinion, the most troubling
questions about the Romneybot have to do with his character. The quotes below betray a disturbing lack of
empathy or compassion for anyone who isn't cruising down Easy Street in a Rolls
We should double Guantanamo!—Mitt Romney
Should we double the size of an extraterritorial prison camp best known around
the world as a symbol of torture and illegal incarceration of prisoners as young
as 13 and as old as 98?
Back in high school, you know, I did some dumb things, and if anybody was
hurt by that or offended, obviously, I apologize for that … You know, I don’t, I
don’t remember that particular incident [laughs]… I participated in a lot of
high jinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far, and
for that I apologize.—Mitt Romney on Fox News Radio
Romney was talking about an incident in which he and some of his high-school
classmates viciously bullied a fellow student, John Joseph Lauber. Romney's
classmates who participated in the bullying incident remember it, and have
expressed remorse. If Romney can't even remember the incident, that suggests
that he either did such things so frequently that they failed to register, or
that he lacks normal human empathy and compassion, or both. His laughter while
discussing the incident seems to suggest that he still doesn't "get" the
seriousness of what he did. Here are the details, from a Washington Post
Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his
studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the
handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he
spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties
and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind
Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality.
Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that
draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it. "He can’t look like that.
That’s wrong. Just look at him!" an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his
close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection.
Mitt, the teenage son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about
Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled. A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens
Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own
room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s
hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber,
tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with
tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of
scissors. The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their
accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist;
Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed,
a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed
the incident asked not to be identified ... "It happened very quickly, and to
this day it troubles me," said Buford, the school’s wrestling champion, who said
he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to
Lauber, who was "terrified," he said. "What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing
to do." "It was a hack job," recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who
was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. "It was vicious." "He was just
easy pickin’s," said Friedemann, then the student prefect, or student authority
leader of Stevens Hall, expressing remorse about his failure to stop it.
David Seed, an onlooker who did not participate in the bullying, later
apologized to Lauber for not doing more to help prevent it. The only person
involved not to express remorse, and who claims not to remember what happened,
is Romney. According to his campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, "Governor Romney
has no memory of participating in these incidents."
Atta girl!—Mitt Romney taunting a closeted gay high school student, Gary Hummel
Here's what Amy Davidson wrote about the first incident for The New Yorker:
"Does he [Romney] count this as a high jink or a prank? It was neither; it is
hard to imagine that hurt, rather than being the byproduct, was anything other
than the point of the attack on Lauber. In terms of what a gay teen-ager might
encounter, and what other boys might go along with at a school like Cranbrook,
1965 was different; but memory and empathy are not qualities that have only been
invented since then. As our country has changed, and the other boys became men,
they seem to have turned the events of that day over in their minds, not once,
but many times, and made something new out of it. That’s why it’s all the worse
that Romney says he can’t remember—that he walked blithely away from the boy
crying on the ground and kept going. Was there nowhere in him for that sight to
lodge? ... And how far has Romney moved? This story is resonant because one can,
all too easily, see Romney walking away even now, or simply failing to connect,
to grasp hurt ... Who else might he walk away from?"
Josh Barro, writing for Forbes, made another very interesting point:
"The story is more damning for Romney in other ways. It’s telling that the
campaign seems to be having so much difficulty finding any friends from the
Cranbrook School to talk to the media about what a good guy he was. The Romney
camp reached out to Stuart White (who threw the party where Mitt and Ann Romney
met) asking him to make supportive remarks. Instead, White contacted ABC News
and expressed his ambivalence to do so, saying, "it’s been a long time since we
were pals." Another old friend of Romney’s told ABC on background that Romney’s
behavior in high school was "like Lord of the Flies" and that a number of
people from Cranbrook have "really negative memories" of him. Is there really no
one from Cranbrook that Romney can persuade to vouch for him? The whole thing
gives the sense that Romney was a Regina George-like figure in high
school—"popular," but mostly because other students were afraid to cross him ...
But does Romney have empathy for people who are different from him? The tone of
Romney’s reaction today does not look good on the empathy front. Referring to an
assault on a classmate as "hijinks and pranks" is pretty tone-deaf ... Romney’s
actions as governor also suggest that he doesn’t view bullying as a significant
problem. In 2006, Romney threatened to dissolve the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, established
by Republican Governor William Weld in 1992, and then to expand its mission to
cover all youth. The legislature established a independent commission,
overriding a Romney veto, in response to these threats. A key part of the
commission’s mandate is the prevention of anti-LGBT bullying in schools. His
administration also repeatedly delayed the publication of an anti-bullying handbook for public schools,
which had been developed in 2002 by Governor Jane Swift’s Task Force on Hate
Crimes. Kathleen Henry, who chaired the Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth at
the time, said she thought the guidebook was held up due to its LGBT-related
content, particularly content to do with transgender students. Ultimately, the
handbook was published under Governor Deval Patrick, six years after it was
Barro concluded his article by saying, "This actually goes to Romney’s greatest
weakness as a candidate. Nobody knows how he really feels or what he cares
about. People look at him and they can’t see evidence that he understands or
cares about their needs. They’re not sure he can relate to people who are
different from him. This incident, and his nonchalant reaction to being reminded
about it, reinforce the impression that Romney lacks empathy."
I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.—Mitt Romney
Not concerned, when the Grand Old Pontiffs, led by men like Romney, want to
slash the safety nets of what they call "entitlements" while preserving tax cuts
for the super-rich and waging more trillion-dollar wars in the Middle East, the
next one presumably against Iran? Who will end up dying in those unwinnable wars? The
children of the very poor, of course.
I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed.—Mitt Romney
Romney, speaking to unemployed Floridians, once again demonstrated an amazing
lack of empathy and concern for people who are actually down on their luck. His
net worth has been estimated at $200 to $250 million.
I get speaker's fees from time to time, but not very much. —Mitt Romney
Romney earned $374,000 in speaking fees in a single year, according to his
personal financial disclosure. Once again Romney demonstrates his extreme
disconnect from average Americans, who would consider making that kind of money
from a few speaking engagements a real windfall (please pardon the
I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all
my life.—Mitt Romney
Romney's campaign later said he'd been hunting twice, once when he was 15, the
other time at a Republican fundraiser when he was 59. Hunting twice in 44 years
hardly qualifies one as the Great White Hunter, but perhaps more unsettling than
his blatant vote-pandering is Romney's desire to brag about his hunting/killing
PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air.—Mitt Romney
Oh, really? Romney strapped a crate containing his Irish Setter, Seamus, to the roof of his station
wagon for a twelve-hour drive from Boston to Ontario. When the terrified dog
lost control of its bowels, Romney pulled over, sprayed the car and the dog down
with a hose, then resumed driving. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk
noted: "Any individual who does something like that may have what scientists
term the absence of the mirror neuron, i.e., a pin-pointable absence in the
brain of the characteristic which allows the individual to feel basic
compassion. The implications are frightening ... Mr. Romney seems to hold the
very old-fashioned idea that he needs to actively show he is heartless, hence
the hunting claims he has made. Not subsistence hunting, but pride in killing
defenseless animals for sport, for fun, for show. In the case of the dog on the
roof of the car, if this is true, quite remarkably it obviously wasn't for show
as only his own children were watching, a lesson in cruelty that was also wrong
for them to witness. There was also the obviousness of the situation. Thinking
of the wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the
roof, it is commonsense that any dog who’s under extreme stress might show that
stress by losing control of his bowels: that alone should have been sufficient
indication that the dog was, basically, being tortured. If you wouldn’t strap
your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the
family dog! I don't know who would find that acceptable."
Here's a comment I found online that I believe makes germane points about
Romney: "The classic definition of a sociopath is someone who can feel his own
pain, but is incapable of feeling another's. Remember how desperately wounded
George Bush felt when Kanye West accused him of not caring about black people?
And how utterly untouched he appeared to be in the face of 1500+ such black
people, dead in New Orleans? Classic sociopath. Mitt Romney suffers from exactly
the same pathology—strap the dog on the roof of the car and off you go on your
nice vacation. Trim the hair on the "maybe homosexual" because he shouldn't look
like that, and off you go to finish your homework. There's a piece missing in
Mitt, and it's an essential quality in the man or woman this country needs as
its President at this time in our history. We need a Lincoln or a Franklin
Roosevelt—someone with not only the necessary talents, skills, capabilities,
experience, etc. to lead this nation, but someone who also possesses the
capacity for empathy and the moral compass required to understand in which
direction we should be headed. Mitt Romney is not the man we need—now or
ever—and he would be a total disaster as President of the United States. Vote."
Here's another pertinent comment that I found online: "Like most people, I don't
believe he wouldn't remember an incident like this! But for the sake of
argument, if a person really did not remember holding a kid down and cutting
[his] hair wouldn't the natural reaction to be horrified and indignantly deny
the accusation? Just saying 'I don't remember' without expressing any outrage is
alarming and emotionally backwards in and of itself. Unlike most people posting,
I really was leaning towards voting for Romney but this story sounds bad any
which way you look at it. Also, on a purely pragmatic level. I think that this
kind of bullying shows a low level of emotional intelligence that could actually
be dangerous when it comes to negotiating with enemies or dealing with truly
tough, real-world situations. Regardless of political leanings, any leader who
is strong and effective has to also be sensitive, quick with nuance, and have
sharp instincts in order to survive and fight in hard times. All in all, a very
And here's a third comment: "I'm sorry, but I must speak my mind on this. I
think the concern over this—and a pattern of other incidents—extends far beyond
whether he was a spoiled, rich boy. The real concern about Romney is that his
actual behavior displays anti-social tendencies, i.e., sociopathic. Sociopaths
are very, very good at concealing their real "feelings," if you can call them
that, as they climb to the top of the human pyramid. They crave power over
others, and see no reason for the normal humility and concerns that many of us
feel when in the public's service. Here are a list of qualities for the
anti-social, sociopathic person: - Glibness and Superficial Charm: Check. -
Manipulative: One doctor's definition: "Fail to recognize the rights of others
and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming,
yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an
instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims." The story
speaks for itself. Check. - Grandiose Sense of Self: Check. - Pathological
Lying: No memory? At all? No problem saying so? Check. - Lack of Remorse, Shame
or Guilt: Third-person apology? Check. - Shallow Emotions: Another definition:
"When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more
feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by
insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a
normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises." A
politician's promises? Not genuine? The flip flopping on what should be
heart-felt social issues attests to this issue. Check. - Callousness/Lack of
Empathy: Well, that is what this article is about. The excitement of cruelty is
one of the few, tenuous connections to true emotions they are capable of, which
if emphasized, extends into psychotic behaviors. Thus, this story from Romney's
past is not only revelatory, but deeply concerning. Is the Mormon persona
something that he is using as a disguise, a red herring? If it is, he probably
wouldn't know himself, since his brain may be disconnected from the genuine and
sincere feelings the rest of us experience daily. I am very, deeply concerned.
God bless America. We may be in great need of His help, very soon."
Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are ... Human beings, my
Does the Romneybot confuse heartless corporations with human beings because he
lacks a human heart himself?
Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that.—Mitt Romney
Getting rid of Planned Parenthood and denying women access to contraceptives
seem to be high on the Republican Party's agenda. But what happens to all the
girls and women who aren't ready to become mothers and/or can't afford to have
children? Where is there any empathy or compassion for them, or the unwanted
babies? Republicans have made it clear that they have no intention of helping
out people in need, so forcing girls and women to have babies they don't want or
can't afford seems truly heartless.
Romney says it's wrong to borrow money from China to fund Planned Parenthood,
but he seems quite content to borrow trillions from China to fund new military
hardware and wars in the Middle East. If it's wrong to borrow a few million
dollars to fund contraceptives, family planning and healthcare for girls and
women, isn't it much worse to borrow trillions of dollars to attack other
I would repeal Obamacare.—Mitt Romney
But "Obamacare" is obviously modeled after Romney's own health care plan,
President Obama pointed out, Romney seems to be pretending that the two plans
are radically different, saying: "We designed a program that actually previously had
support of Republicans, including the person who may end up being the Republican
standard bearer and is now pretending like he came up with something different."
Romney's Massachusetts health care plan served as a model for the Affordable
Care Act ("Obamacare"). Why does he now rail against a very similar plan? Probably because the
only way he can get elected is to appeal to right-wing conservatives who
despises anything President Obama does, on general principle, even if he does
what Republicans formerly suggested. Repealing Obamacare without coming up with
something better might cause American citizens to suffer and die, but that
seems to be secondary to the all-important goal of Mitt Romney becoming
president, regardless of the cost.
I will never, ever apologize for America.—Mitt Romney
But obviously when the United States makes mistakes, apologies are in order.
Ronald Reagan signed legislation that apologized for the internment of Japanese
Americans during World War II. On August 10, 1988, Reagan said himself that "We
admit a wrong." Also, Reagan's Justice Department issued a formal apology to
France for protecting Klaus Barbie, a Nazi whom U.S. intelligence recruited and
shielded in the aftermath of World War II. Reagan also expressed regret for the
U.S. military shooting down an Iranian passenger jet over the Persian Gulf and
offered compensation to both Iranian and non-Iranian victims.
I am big believer in getting money where the money is. The money is in
Romney is a braggart who waffles from position to position, depending on the
people he's trying to impress or gain votes from. When he's appealing to
conservatives for votes, he's a down-on-his-luck unemployed hunter who deplores
Washington insiders and spending. But when he's trying to impress someone else,
he's the consummate Washington insider who knows how the get the big bucks from
the federal government. Romney called the auto industry bailouts "crony
capitalism on a grand scale," but he wasn't above lobbying Congress to bail out
the Salt Lake City Olympics, an intervention that ended up costing U.S. taxpayers
about $1.3 billion, according to TIME (August 29, 2011).
Before I made a statement [about the Palestinians] I’d get on the phone to
my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: "Would it help if I say this? What would you
like me to do?"—Mitt Romney
Here's an excerpt from the New York Times about the statement above,
which seems to suggest that Romney will allow Israel to either set or direct
U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East: "Romney has suggested that he would not make
any significant policy decisions about Israel without consulting Mr. Netanyahu —
a level of deference that could raise eyebrows given Mr. Netanyahu’s polarizing
reputation, even as it appeals to the neoconservatives and evangelical
Christians who are fiercely protective of Israel. In a telling exchange during a
debate in December, Mr. Romney criticized Mr. Gingrich for making a disparaging
remark about Palestinians, declaring: 'Before I made a statement of that nature,
I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I
say this? What would you like me to do?’' Martin S. Indyk, a United States
ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, said that whether
intentional or not, Mr. Romney’s statement implied that he would "subcontract
Middle East policy to Israel." "That, of course, would be inappropriate," he
Romney's Fiscal Insanity
Romney claims to have a plan for America's financial salvation. He confidently
announces that he will put Americans back to work, end Obamacare with a wave of
his magic wand, balance the budget, restore the federal government's AAA credit
rating, etc. But in reality his "plan" boils down to throwing even more money at
the super-rich, due to the failed thinking that making the rich richer will
cause money to "trickle down" to the less affluent. Albert Einstein, a very
smart cookie, once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again,
hoping for different results. By that rule of thumb, Romney is insane, and so is
After his primary victories in Michigan
and Arizona, Romney
detailed a list of tax changes designed to delight wealthy Americans, while sending everyone
else to the poorhouse. He promised to enact an "across-the-board, 20 percent rate cut for every
American," to "repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax," and
abolish the "death tax" ("death tax" is conservative-speak for the estate
tax paid by by only the wealthiest Americans). He also
pledged to lower the corporate tax rate
to 25 percent, to "make the R&D tax credit permanent to foster innovation," and
"end the repatriation tax to return investment back to our shores."
That's truly wonderful for the Warren Buffets and Bill Gateses of the world, but
what about the rest of us?
Perhaps at first glance an across-the-board tax cut sounds nicely fair and balanced. But a
recent Tax Policy Center study of the impact of
a 20% across-the-board cut indicated that the wealthiest 0.1%
would get an average tax reduction of $264,000. The poorest 20% would get
$78, and those in the middle would get an average of $791. And the TCP predicted that
the plan would add more than $3 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.
Romney Betrays His Roots and Religion
"His father was a beloved governor because he was pragmatic and compassionate
and moderate," former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm told The National
Memo, referring to the late George Romney, who was a popular auto executive
before he was elected Michigan's top official. "Mitt Romney, while he may have
been some of those things while he was governor of Massachusetts, is vying to
outflank Rick Santorum on the right, and he is not his father. He has morphed
into something his father would not recognize."
Like many other Republicans who profess to be Christians, in his eagerness to be
considered a "conservative's conservative," Mitt Romney has forgotten or ignored
the teachings of Jesus, the apostles and Hebrew prophets, all of whom said that
true religion is to practice chesed (mercy, compassion, lovingkindness)
and social justice. Ironically, the GOP's alpha males who profess to "believe" in
God are now practicing social and economic Darwinism: the survival of the
strongest and most ruthless at the expense of everyone else, particularly
mothers, children, the elderly, the sick, the unemployed and the poor.
Just try finding a Bible verse to support that type of behavior!
Romney Waffles Because He Panders to Religious Fanatics in His Quest for
When asked to define himself in a single word during a recent debate,
Mitt Romney chose the word "resolute." But Romney seems to always be willing to waffle if doing so will gain him
votes and campaign contributions. Take, for instance, his inconsistent stance on global
warming. In his book No Apology, he wrote, "I believe that climate
change is occurring — the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to
ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am
uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much
is attributable to factors out of our control." But if global warming is
it doesn't matter a hill of beans who is responsible. All that matters is what
human beings can do to keep ice caps and glaciers from melting to such an extent that sea
levels rise and people and animals living on low-lying islands and in coastal regions begin to
suffer and die in
But recently Romney altered his position, rather obviously in order to win the
votes of conservative Christians whose "faith" leads them to ignore
facts and science. Romney now opposes spending money to address global warming
because it can't be "proven" that human beings are "responsible." Well, the
dinosaurs weren't "responsible" for asteroids hitting the earth and leading to the
climate change that caused their extinction, but they became extinct
nonetheless. President Barack Obama has taken the much more
intelligent and reasonable position that we
need to do whatever we can to do to deal with a warming planet and rising sea
levels. Republicans like Romney are pandering to irrational people in order to
obtain their votes and campaign contributions. That is obviously a very foolish,
very dangerous thing to do.
In my opinion, Mitt Romney is neither resolute, nor acting responsibly. He seems
to believe that his getting elected president is vastly more important that what
happens to our planet, more than eight billion human beings and trillions of
The Romney-Bot Delivers Standard GOP Propaganda
Mitt Romney certainly looks "presidential," but if we tear our eyes away
from his impressive figure long enough to actually heed his words, he sounds like a
robot programmed to mindlessly drone the standard Republican mantras:
"Everything bad that ever happened to Americans is the fault of Barack
Obama, and if you elect me I will wave my magic wand and fix everything my first
day in office, by repealing this, that and the other piece of socialistic legislation."
He makes it sound as if jobs and money will fall magically from trees, the day
he becomes president.
But like most robots, Romney seems to lack empathy for
average Americans. He is certainly no Ronald Reagan. While he’s not as creepy as
Richard Nixon, he seems even more implausibly remote
and alien. Take, for example, his recent remark that "I’m not concerned about
the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I’ll fix it.
I’m not concerned about the very rich; they’re doing just fine." He seems to
somehow calmly equate the pain-wracked struggles of the very poor with the mild
discomforts of the very rich (who just happen to be his friends).
And there seems to be a pattern of such disconnects. Not long ago,
Romney opined that his speaking fees of $374,327 for a single year were
"not very much." In June of 2011, he told unemployed Florida workers that he understood their plight,
saying. "I’m also unemployed. I’m networking. I have my sight on a particular
job." If he was trying to be funny, the joke undoubtedly fell flat, because
Romney has a personal safety net of $250 million and doesn't need the "job" he's
seeking in order to feed his family. At one of the early Republican debates,
he offered to bet Rick Perry $10,000 — an amount that, however facetious,
reminded voters just how rich Romney really is, and how carefree he is about money.
Romney’s $101 Million Cayman Island IRA
How did Mitt Romney end up with a
$101 million Cayman Island IRA? It seems Romney may have sheltered all
or most of his Bain Capital wealth from taxes by putting it into an offshore "IRA" and
only allowing it to be valued correctly once the appreciation was protected from
taxes. If there is some other reasonable explanation for how anyone's IRA can be
so huge, when contributions are limited to a few thousand dollars per year, I'd
like to hear it.
I first became suspicious about Romney's finances when he
started squirming like a fish out of water when asked
about releasing his tax returns during a Republican presidential debate. I was sure at that moment that
there was something in his tax returns that he didn't want the public to see.
Ironically, Romney's father, George W. Romney, had voluntarily released his tax
returns for twelve years when he became a presidential candidate in 1967.
But Mitt Romney's public squirmings told me that something was obviously wrong
with his tax returns. Then later something in a
article about his tax returns caught my eye, because a single Bain fund was valued at $5 million to
$25 million, and yet it was called only "part" of his total IRA. Most
IRAs are relatively small because the contributions are capped at a few thousand
dollars per year. Romney's IRA seemed impossibly large, and it also seemed extremely
odd that it was made up of multiple offshore Bain investments in the
Cayman Islands, which are world-famous for two things: beautiful beaches and
hideous tax shelters. So I began trying
to determine what Romney's full IRA amounted to. Here's a Reuters report that I
found on the subject ...
How did Romney's IRA grow so big?
by Lynnley Browning
Monday, January 23, 2012
In the wake of news reports last week that presidential contender Mitt Romney
owns an individual retirement account worth as much as $101 million, questions
are growing over how it could have gotten so big when contribution limits are
capped at $5,000 or $6,000 a year.
Tax lawyers and accountants suggest an answer: Romney may have made use of an
Internal Revenue Service loophole that allows investors to undervalue interests
in investment partnerships when first putting them into an IRA. These assets can
produce returns far in excess of those that could be generated from other
investments made at the capped level.
An investor could even set an initial value for a partnership interest at
zero dollars, because under tax regulations an interest in a partnership
represents future income, not current value, said Chris Sanchirico, co-director
of the Center for Tax Law and Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Law
Whether Romney used this technique, which is legal, when he put partnership
interests into his IRA is a question that won't likely be answered when he
discloses his 2010 tax returns on Tuesday.
Romney's IRA, valued at between $20.7 million and $101.6 million, as reported
by The Wall Street Journal last Thursday, holds stakes in 13 investment entities
run by Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he cofounded and led for 13 years.
"One possibility for its size is that he put his Bain partnership interests
into the IRA and valued them at a very low number," said David Weisbach, a law
professor who focuses on tax at the University of Chicago Law School.
Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, declined to respond to
emails and calls.
In the wake of growing scrutiny of his personal wealth, Romney, one of the
wealthiest contenders ever for the White House, told Fox News host Chris Wallace
on Sunday that on Tuesday he would release his 2010 tax returns and estimates
for his 2011 return.
The release will not provide much insight into his IRA. That is because a
personal income-tax return shows IRA contributions and withdrawals only for the
year of the return, and not for previous years, and does not show whether any
contributions were in the form of undervalued partnership interests. While an
IRA investor can sometimes be required to file a separate return for the IRA, it
is unclear whether Romney intends to release any such returns.
Romney's personal financial summary, disclosed last August under federal
election rules, shows that his IRA holds his most lucrative investments, which
are stakes in partnerships run by Bain Capital. Those stakes include Bcip Trust
Associates III, a Bain fund that is his single largest investment, with assets
valued at $5,000,001 to $25,000,000. Bcip Trust Associates III produced income
to Romney's IRA of over $5,000,000 over 2010 and through August 12, 2011,
according to the summary.
Robert Stack, head of international tax at law firm Ivins Phillips & Barker,
said it is possible that Romney's IRA grew so large not only because of an
increase in the value of the funds in which it invests but also through
lucrative profits, typically 20 percent of investment gains per year, that funds
can generate for their general partners.
It is not known whether Romney is a general partner in the Bain funds,
meaning invested in the partnership responsible for managing the funds, or
simply an investor in the funds. The Romney campaign has declined to comment on
The general partners' cut of the profit, known as carried interest, is
taxable each year if the funds in which the IRA is invested earn certain
management fees or borrow to make their investments. Tax lawyers say they want
to know whether Romney's IRA holds any carried interest and whether it has paid
tax on it—something not disclosed in his personal financial summary or on a
federal income tax return. "In the context of a $100 million IRA, that is what
we would want to know," said David Miller, a tax lawyer at Cadwalader Wickersham
The average IRA held by Americans holds $42,500, according to the Investment
Company Institute, a trade group. While the Romney campaign has said that some
of his IRA consists of retirement savings rolled over from previous plans,
accountants say rollovers would not likely explain the size of his IRA.
"Even if he rolled over a 401k, with the annual caps on contributions, you're
still only talking about a few million dollars," said Robert Green, an
accountant who is founder of Green Trading, a tax and accounting firm that
caters to the investment industry. Last year, individuals could contribute a
maximum of $16,500 a year to their 401(k) plans.
Tax lawyers say it is also important to know whether Romney's IRA holds
stakes in Bain funds directly, or through related, offshore entities.
These entities, commonly used by tax-exempt investors such as Romney's IRA,
legally allow the investors to avoid having to pay a special tax, known as the
unearned business income tax, or UBTI.
While the Wall Street Journal suggested on Thursday that avoidance of the
special tax was a big reason for the size of Romney's IRA, some tax lawyers said
that its size might simply reflect the extreme profitability of a carried
interest held by the IRA. "The best guess is that he put the carried interest
into the IRA," Miller said.
Romney's IRA produced income of $1.5 million to $8.5 million over 2010 and
through August 12, 2011, according to his financial summary, but it is unknown
what, if any, taxes the IRA may have paid on its carried interest. Saul,
Romney's campaign spokeswoman, declined requests for comment.
(Reporting by Lynnley Browning; Additional reporting by Gregory Roumeliotis;
Editing by Amy Stevens, Eddie Evans and Carol Bishopric)
The average American IRA is $42,500, so
Romney’s seems outrageously large. His IRA produced income of $1.5 million to
$8.5 million between 2010 and 2011, so it seems quite possible that it
may be closer to the high end estimate of $101.6 million. Romney’s total
wealth has been estimated at around $200 million. If he shielded half his money
from all taxes, that would seem to drop his effective tax rate from around 14%
to around 7%. And that would explain why he looked like a fish out of water when
he was asked about disclosing his tax returns. In this case, I suspect that two
plus two probably results in four ... as in four more years for President Barack