Like a reverse Robin Hood, Bishop Willard Mitt Romney stole jobs from the poor to give
dividends to the rich. Now he seems intent on sending
American citizens to the poorhouse, en masse. He recently earned the sobriquet "Romney Hood" after the non-partisan
Tax Policy Institute reported that Romney's tax proposals are likely to result
in a net tax increase of $2,000 for middle-class wage earners while reducing the
taxes of the wealthiest Americans by hundreds of thousands of dollars, each.
The Crown Princes of Entitlements
I am a big believer in getting money where the money is. The money is
in Washington.—Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan claim to be "fiscal conservatives" who abhor
government spending and can fix America's economic problems with quick waves of
their magical wands. But the truth is that Romney and Ryan both supported huge
federal bailouts, as long as their rich patrons, cronies and constituents got
most of the loot. Paul Ryan effusively praised George W.
Bush's 2002 federal stimulus package, which mostly benefitted wealthy Americans
by lowering their taxes. And even as he was damning President Obama's much
fairer 2009 stimulus package, Ryan was lobbying for millions of stimulus funds
for his constituents. Mitt Romney accepted a huge federal bailout of the
Olympics, bragging that he knew how to get money from the federal government,
then claimed that he "saved" the Olympics when it was really "we the people" who
did the saving with our tax dollars. The only thing Romney's and Ryan's magic
wands will accomplish, if we are foolish enough to elect them, is to reduce
taxes on the richest 1% of Americans to below 1%, leaving the rest of us to pay
thousands more in taxes even as we get smaller Social Security, Medicare and
Medicaid benefits when we are no longer able to work. That ain't magic, it's
I've learned from my Olympic experience [that] if you have people that
really understand how Washington works and have personal associations there you
can get money to help build economic development opportunities ... We actually
received over $410 million from the federal government for the Olympic games.
That is a huge increase over anything ever done before and we did that by going
after every agency of government.—Mitt Romney
Romney cited more than $1 million that one his colleagues managed to get
for the Olympics from the Department of Education, concluding:
That kind of creativity I want to bring to everything we do.—Mitt Romney
Mr. Free Stuff
W. Mitt Romney scornfully accuses ordinary Americans of wanting
"free stuff" when they request affordable healthcare, and
seems he may have paid
virtually no federal income taxes for years, despite being one of the
world's wealthiest men. Wouldn't that make him the King of Free Stuff?
Does Mitt Moneybags really believe in American exceptionalism, or just his own "exceptions"
(i.e., evaded income taxes)? If Romney really believes in American exceptionalism, why
did he stash
so much of his cash in
Bermuda and the Cayman Islands? He drives high quality American-made cars, so why does he
park his money in
obscure banks on tiny, insecure islands? Why did a fabulously
man like Mitt Romney choose the Yugo of banks, rather than a Cadillac?
The answer seems obvious. Multi-million-dollar offshore "IRAs" are a rich man's
way of fleecing the 99% of American workers who have to pay their
taxes, rain or shine, via automatic payroll deductions. That Romney would scam other Americans calls
his character into question: whatever happened to leading by example? That he would
mock middle-class Americans by claiming they want
"free stuff," after he used
every trick in the book to avoid paying his taxes, is simply beyond the pale.
Everyone knows there only two reasons that rich people go to Bermuda and the
Cayman Islands: to work on their tans or their tax shelters. And we all know
that the Romneybot has not been programmed to lie in the sand and soak up the
Top Ten Mitticisms
A "mitticism" is like a witticism, minus the intelligence. These
things were actually said by the Romneybot in its attempts to communicate with
warm-blooded earthlings ...
We should double Guantanamo!
Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that!
Let Detroit go bankrupt!
I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back.
(Referring to the auto industry he wanted to go bankrupt and did nothing to
I would repeal Obamacare! (Even though Obamacare is modeled after his
claim to fame, Romneycare?)
Corporations are people, my friend ... of course they are ... human beings, my
Banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now ... scared to death
... feeling the same thing that you're
I am a big believer in getting money where the money is. The money is in
(Taunting a closeted gay high school student, Gary Hummel.)
He can't look like that! That's wrong! Just look at him! (Before
tackling a gay classmate, John Lauber, and cutting off his long, bleached-blonde
I bathe in statistics.
Who let the dogs out? Who, who? (During an awkward photo op with a group of African American kids.)
PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air. (After having strapped
his dog to the roof of his vehicle for an 11-hour road trip.)
The quotes above seem like the output of a badly-engineered android, one that
could not possibly be mistaken for an actual human being. And what about
these statements, made by the Romneybot to ingratiate itself with potential
I love this state. The trees are the right height. The streets are just right.
I had catfish for the second time. It was delicious, just like the first time.
I am learning to say y'all and I like grits,
and ... strange things are happening to me.
Morning, ya'll. I got started this morning
right with a biscuit and some cheesy grits. (No one calls them "cheesy"
I was going to suggest to you that you serve
your eggs with hollandaise sauce and hubcaps. Because there's no plates like
chrome for the hollandaise.
These pancakes are about as large as my win
in Puerto Rico last night, I must admit. The margin is just about as good.
Look at us in here! We are all nice
together, all nice and wet, you know, like a can of sardines. ("Nice"?)
That's a big lava lamp, congratulations!
Davy, Davy Crockett. King of the wild
I'm an unofficial southerner.
Please give us a big hug, that's the girls.
I've been getting hugs from the Southern girls ... from 12, to well, a lot more
I never imagined I'd be up here like Larry
the Cable guy!
I love the hymns of America, by the way.
When asked at the Daytona 500 whether he followed NASCAR, the Romneybot replied,
"Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some great friends
who are NASCAR team owners."
I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed.—Mitt Romney (one of the
earth's wealthiest men)
I get speaker's fees from time to time, but not very much. —Mitt Romney
(in a single year he earned $374,000 in speaker's fees)
When talking about money, as Gary Kamiya put it in a Salon article,
Romney comes across "not only as an obscenely rich person, but as an obscenely
rich person from another planet."
As Charles P. Pierce wrote in an article for Esquire: "People have been
trying to humanize the Romneybot since he first stepped into politics against
Ted Kennedy almost 20 years ago. They tried for two years when he was governor
and, to most of the people around the State House, he went out as pretty much
the same ice sculpture they'd sworn in. They tried for two years during the
run-up to the 2008 campaign and, according to the one worthwhile anecdote in Game
Change, by the end of the primary process, everybody wanted to spit on him.
Did it look to any of you that his rivals this time around wanted to do anything
else, either? No matter what they're saying now, they all thought he was a slick
bond salesman who was buying the nomination. Newt Gingrich looked sincerely like
he wanted to eat Romney's heart in the marketplace throughout almost all of the
debates. Here is the simple fact: Unless you are a member of his family, you
simply cannot like Mitt Romney."
The Romneybot has a cold, calculating CPU, but its output is wildly
inconsistent. For instance, in 2004 the Romneybot said: "The people of America
recognize that the slowdown in jobs that occurred during the early years of the
Bush administration were the result of a perfect storm. And an effort by one
candidate to somehow say, 'Oh, this recession and the slowdown in jobs was the
result of somehow this president magically being elected,' people in America
just dismiss that as being poppycock. ... Every
indication is that the economic policies adopted and pursued by this president
are creating jobs at a very high pace. And so the people of America have to ask,
'Do I stay with the president, who is rebuilding the economy, who is creating
jobs, or do you want to stop mid-stream and find someone new?'"
But of course when the president in question is Barack Obama, the Romneybot
immediately spits out pure poppycock.
And here is what the Romneybot said about its record of sluggish job growth
after four years as governor of Massachusetts, in 2006: "You guys are bright
enough to look at the numbers. I came in and the jobs had been just falling off
a cliff ... And then we turned around and we're coming back. And that's
progress. And if you're going to suggest to me that somehow the day I got
elected somehow jobs should immediately [have] turned around, why that would be
takes a while to get things turned around. We were in a recession; we were
losing jobs every month. We've turned it around ... That's progress."
But when the person with the record of job growth progress that is not immediate
is Barack Obama, the Romneybot immediately spits out sheer silliness.
In November 2006, shortly before the Romneybot retired as governor of
Massachusetts, its approval rating was a dismal 34%, ranking it 48th of 50 U.S.
Mitt Romney's Nixonian Meltdown: Let's get rid of the half of Americans
who won't vote for me, by letting them starve to death!
Here's what Mitt Romney told fellow millionaires at a closed-door,
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter
what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon
government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a
responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health
care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That, that's an entitlement. And the
government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no
matter what ... These are people who pay no income tax ... My job is not to
worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal
responsibility and care for their lives."
First, it is the president's job to care about all
Americans, even those who didn't vote for him. Second, to say that no Democrat
works, or pays income taxes is a blatant lie; millions of people who pay no
income taxes are Republicans. Third, to call food an
"entitlement" is ridiculous. Is it an "entitlement" not to starve to death, in a
land of plenty with more than enough food for everyone? Has any American
presidential candidate before Romney ever suggested that we should let half the
American people starve to death if
they didn't vote for him? That seems to be what Romney is saying, in a
Nixonian meltdown, as he expresses his obvious disgust for the 150 million
Americans who have the temerity to think independently and disagree with him.
According to W. Mitt Romney, if you believe in helping less fortunate Americans,
you are part of a mass of shiftless moochers and parasitic leeches who fall far
short of the glory of W. Mitt Romney.
But the majority of the Americans in Romney's 47 percent are
working people: retirees, soldiers, teachers, cops, firefighters, steelworkers,
members of the clergy, and many others. And most of them have worked far more
honestly that Mitt the Ripper, who made millions by firing American workers and
outsourcing their jobs to China and other low-wage countries, then evaded income
taxes himself via off-shore Bermuda and Cayman Island "IRAs."
At the same fundraiser, Mittler (as he is called by the LGBT community) also
expressed his disgust for seemingly all Palestinians: "I look at the
Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed
to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say
there's just no way."
When Romney talks about the people he despises—poor people,
Palestinians, and most people who aren't rich white Americans like himself—he
sounds disturbingly like Hitler talking about the Jews.
Even hardcore conservatives were shocked at Romney's bigotry. For instance,
William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, called
Romney's comments "stupid and arrogant."
Palestinians who both want and work for peace said Romney's accusations were
ridiculous: "No one stands to gain more from peace with Israel than Palestinians
and no one stands to lose more in the absence of peace than Palestinians," chief
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters. "Only those who want to
maintain the Israeli [military] occupation will claim the Palestinians are not
interested in peace."
Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter have
accused Israel of practicing apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Leading Jewish
intellectuals from Albert Einstein to Noam Chomsky have rebuked Israel for using
massive military superiority to unjustly dominate and displace Palestinians, who
have now lost more than 80% of their native land without compensation. To blame
Palestinians for all the hostilities is like blaming Native Americans for not
submitting meekly to ethnic cleansing and genocide at the hands of white
supremacists. Rather than exchanging land for peace, Israel chooses to
relentlessly gobble up more and more Palestinian land via a massive, brutal
military occupation. Romney is either lying through his teeth, or he has failed
to study and understand the reality on the ground in Israel/Palestine. Virtually
the entire global community agrees that Israel must end its land-grabbing in the
West Bank, but thanks to American politicians like Mitt Romney, Israel continues
to let robber barons do their thing, protected by a super-powerful military
funded and armed by American taxpayers to the tune of more than $130 billion
over the years.
"Let Them Eat Cyanide"
Mitt Romney promises to reduce taxes on middle-income Americans. But what does
he mean by "middle-income"? During an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America,"
Romney told host George Stephanopoulos, "No one can say my plan is going to
raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is (to) keep
the burden down on middle-income taxpayers." Stephanopoulos then asked, "Is $100,000
middle income?" Romney replied, "No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000." But according to the Census Bureau the median American
household income is just over $50,000. So Romney seems to be either bent on deception,
or hopelessly out of touch.
Even if you are fortunate enough to make $200,000 or more per year, do you think the
federal government should give the bulk of tax cuts to the people who
make the most money, while other people lose their jobs and homes?
proposed Romney-Ryan budget plan will further decimate the American middle class, by
virtually eliminating all
federal income taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans, because it makes capital gains,
interest and dividends tax free. If this plan had been in effect in 2010, Mitt
Romney would have paid less than 1% (.0082, to be exact) on earnings of $21
million. It seems Romney and Ryan intend to get rid of all
taxes for the super-rich, while reducing taxes somewhat for people making $200,000 or
more. This will force everyone else to pay more taxes, or leave
the federal government without the means to keep the current safety nets of
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid intact. But at some point in their lives,
especially as they age, the vast majority of Americans will
need those safety nets. When Marie Antoinette was told that French peasants had
no bread to eat, she allegedly said, "Let them eat cake." Now it seems that
Willard Mitt Romney, one of the world's wealthiest men, is saying that when
elderly Americans need healthcare, we should say, "Let them eat cyanide!"
and when poor people are hungry we should say, "Let them starve to death!"
As much as I would like to see my taxes reduced, I cannot sanction this
blatantly unjust plan to let the wealthiest Americans avoid virtually all taxes,
by condemning elderly Americans who worked and paid taxes all their lives to the
human equivalent of a glue factory. Can you?
Mitt Romney seems to believe that he can boost the economy without actually
doing anything: "If it looks like I'm going to win, the markets will be happy.
If it looks like the president's going to win, the markets should not be
terribly happy. It depends of course which markets you're talking about, which
types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on November
6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country.
We'll see capital come back and we'll see—without actually doing
anything—we'll actually get a boost in the economy."
And yet he ridicules Democrats for talking about hope and change!
Romney invests in Chinese Slave Labor Camp, complete with barbed wire
and guard towers
One of the most disturbing things I have heard about Mitt Romney from his own
lips is his confession that he toured a Chinese slave labor camp/factory, then
invested in it, with never a word of protest about the terrible conditions he
saw there. Instead of protesting the existence of such gulags,
the Romneybot became a pioneer of outsourcing American jobs to them, through his vulture capital outfit, Bain Capital. Here is how
Romney described what he saw, in private during a high-dollar fundraiser
attended by his rich cronies, not knowing that he was being filmed by a
"When I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory
there. It employed about 20,000 people. And they were almost all young women
between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially
becoming married. And they work in these huge factories; they made various uh,
small appliances. And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them
work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living
in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10 rooms. And
the rooms they have 12 girls per room. Three bunk beds on top of each other.
You’ve seen, you’ve seen them? And, and, and around this factory was a
fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And, and, we said gosh! I
can’t believe that you, you know, keep these girls in! They said, no, no, no.
This is to keep other people from coming in …"
The account above has been reported by major news services such as the
Boston Globe. Because the factory made small appliances,
we can safely assume that it belonged to
Global Tech Appliances, a company that takes over manufacturing from
American companies like Sunbeam and Mr. Coffee. According to SEC documents first
reported by Mother Jones magazine, a Bain Capital affiliate called
Brookside initially acquired about 6 percent of GTA on April 17, 1998 and later
increased its ownership to more than 9 percent. Romney was listed as the "sole
shareholder, sole director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brookside
Inc." So it seems clear
that Romney alone was responsible for deciding what to do about the 20,000 young
girls he saw living in what sounds like a Nazi concentration camp complete with
barbed wire fences and guard towers. Did he go public and protest what he saw?
No, he invested in the slave labor facility, then helped American companies save
money by firing American workers and outsourcing their jobs to such sweat
What would you have done, knowing that at best the girls were being used like
pack mules, and that at worst a fire might kill them all? Wouldn't you have said
something to someone, to try to help the girls, and others like
them in other Chinese factories? Why did Mitt Romney, a child of wealth and
privilege and one of the world's wealthiest men, became a business partner of
their enslavers, then send them more American businesses as customers?
What sort of man is Mitt Romney, really? Here's a rather blunt appraisal.
China’s Xinhua news agency criticized Romney in a strongly-worded editorial,
noting the profits Romney has made from investments in China: "It is rather
ironic that a considerable portion of this China-battering politician’s wealth
was actually obtained by doing business with Chinese companies before he entered
If Romney wants to get involved in manufacturing, he should stick to his
particular area of
The Sheriff of Nottingham had nothing on Bishop Romney! Was Bishop Romney a male chauvinist? Here's a revealing excerpt from
"The Mind of Mitt" in Vanity Fair:
As both bishop and stake president, he at times clashed with women he felt
strayed too far from church beliefs and practice. To them, he lacked the empathy
and courage that they had known in other leaders, putting the church first even
at times of great personal vulnerability. Peggie Hayes had joined the church as
a teenager along with her mother and siblings ... As a teenager, Hayes babysat
for Mitt and Ann Romney and other couples in the ward. Then Hayes’s mother
abruptly moved the family to Salt Lake City for Hayes’s senior year of high
school. Restless and unhappy, Hayes moved to Los Angeles once she turned 18. She
got married, had a daughter, and then got divorced shortly after. But she
remained part of the church. By 1983, Hayes was 23 and back in the Boston area,
raising a 3-year-old daughter on her own and working as a nurse’s aide. Then she
got pregnant again. Single motherhood was no picnic, but Hayes said she had
wanted a second child and wasn’t upset at the news. "I kind of felt like I could
do it," she said. "And I wanted to." By that point Mitt Romney, the man whose
kids Hayes used to watch, was, as bishop of her ward, her church leader ... Then
Romney called Hayes one winter day and said he wanted to come over and talk. He
arrived at her apartment in Somerville, a dense, largely working-class city just
north of Boston. They chitchatted for a few minutes. Then Romney said something
about the church’s adoption agency. Hayes initially thought she must have
misunderstood. But Romney’s intent became apparent: he was urging her to give up
her soon-to-be-born son for adoption, saying that was what the church wanted.
Indeed, the church encourages adoption in cases where "a successful marriage is
unlikely." Hayes was deeply insulted. She told him she would never surrender her
child. Sure, her life wasn’t exactly the picture of Rockwellian harmony, but she
felt she was on a path to stability. In that moment, she also felt intimidated.
Here was Romney, who held great power as her church leader and was the head of a
wealthy, prominent Belmont family, sitting in her gritty apartment making grave
demands. "And then he says, ‘Well, this is what the church wants you to do, and
if you don’t, then you could be excommunicated for failing to follow the
leadership of the church,’" Hayes recalled. It was a serious threat. At that
point Hayes still valued her place within the Mormon Church. "This is not
playing around," she said. "This is not like ‘You don’t get to take Communion.’
This is like ‘You will not be saved. You will never see the face of
God.’" Romney would later deny that he had threatened Hayes with
excommunication, but Hayes said his message was crystal clear: "Give up your son
or give up your God." Not long after, Hayes gave birth to a son. She named him
Dane. At nine months old, Dane needed serious, and risky, surgery. The bones in
his head were fused together, restricting the growth of his brain, and would
need to be separated. Hayes was scared. She sought emotional and spiritual
support from the church once again. Looking past their uncomfortable
conversation before Dane’s birth, she called Romney and asked him to come to the
hospital to confer a blessing on her baby. Hayes was expecting him. Instead, two
people she didn’t know showed up. She was crushed. "I needed him," she said. "It
was very significant that he didn’t come." Sitting there in the hospital, Hayes
decided she was finished with the Mormon Church. The decision was easy, yet she
made it with a heavy heart. To this day, she remains grateful to Romney and
others in the church for all they did for her family. But she shudders at what
they were asking her to do in return, especially when she pulls out pictures of
Dane, now a 27-year-old electrician in Salt Lake City. "There’s my baby," she
Here is a disturbing excerpt from a Huffington Post article:
A 1994 article in the Boston Phoenix told the story of an anonymous
woman (who has since been identified) who wrote an article in a feminist Mormon
magazine claiming Romney, as bishop, discouraged her from having an abortion
even though her health was at stake. Romney later said he could not remember the
The episode above was also reported by Vanity Fair. Here is how the
second woman, also a mother of five, described her
experience with Bishop Romney after being told by her doctors that she had a
serious blood clot in her pelvis and that even if she risked her life to give
birth, the baby's chance of survival would be only 50 percent:
"As your bishop," she said that he told her, "my concern is with the child." The
woman wrote, "Here I—a baptized, endowed, dedicated worker, and tithe-payer in
the church—lay helpless, hurt, and frightened, trying to maintain my
psychological equilibrium, and his concern was for the eight-week possibility in
my uterus—not for me!"
Romney would later contend that he couldn’t recall the incident, saying, "I
don’t have any memory of what she is referring to, although I certainly can’t
say it could not have been me." Romney did however acknowledge having counseled
Mormon women not to have abortions except in exceptional cases, in accordance
with church rules. The woman told Romney that her stake president, a
doctor, had already told her, "Of course, you should have this
abortion and then recover from the blood clot and take care of the healthy
children you already have." Romney, she said, fired back, "I don’t believe you.
He wouldn’t say that. I’m going to call him." And then he left. The woman said
that she went on to have the abortion and never regretted it. "What I do feel
bad about," she wrote, "is that at a time when I would have appreciated
nurturing and support from spiritual leaders and friends, I got judgment,
criticism, prejudicial advice, and rejection."
That Romney claims not to remember giving advice that could have killed a woman
or endangered her health, especially when she had five children to care for, is troubling. He has also claimed not to remember
tackling a gay classmate, pinning him to the ground, and cutting off his hair,
even though students who watched the event remember it vividly many years later.
Most of us would remember such things vividly, with tremendous remorse, if we
were ever capable of such callous behavior. But we don't remember ants we
crushed by accident. Is that how Willard Mitt Romney thinks of females outside
his family circle, and gays? Here's another revealing excerpt from the Huffington Post
In July 1994, during Romney's U.S. Senate campaign, the Boston Globe
published a story saying that Romney, in a speech to a congregation of single
Mormons, said he found homosexuality "perverse and reprehensible." The story
cited one named and three unnamed sources. Romney denied the comments. "I
specifically said they should avoid homosexuality and they should avoid
heterosexual relations outside of marriage," Romney told the Globe
then. "I did not use the words perverse or perversion. I just said it was wrong.
... That is what my church believes."
So if his church believes something, it seems Romney believes it too. But the
Mormon church has any number of strange beliefs: ... that Jesus was a
polygamist, that God is an exalted man who lives as a physical being with
multiple wives on the planet Kolob, that only men with multiple wives can reach
the highest heaven (making polygamy a prerequisite for salvation), that in
heaven the wives of polygamists will remain eternally pregnant and have billions
of spirit children, that there are multiple gods, that human beings can become
gods, and that magical underwear required and sold by the Mormon church can
protect Mormons from lust and attacks by supernatural entities.
Is it possible that some of these beliefs are incorrect and should not be used
to deny women and gays fully equal rights? Has the Mormon church, perhaps, been
wildly wrong before?
Until 1978 the Mormon church taught that black people were the children of Cain
and were black because they had been cursed by God, making them unfit to serve
as ministers. The Mormon prophet Brigham Young said that if a white man has sex
with a black woman the "law of God" is "death on the spot." (This despite the
fact that according to the Bible it seems that the greatest prophet,
Moses, and the wisest man, Solomon, both had black wives.) Brigham Young
told the Utah Territorial Legislature that "any man having one drop of
the seed of [Cain] ... in him cannot hold the priesthood and if no other Prophet
ever spake it before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ I know it is
true and others know it." John Taylor a president and prophet of the Mormon
church, taught that God is a segregationist who discriminates against blacks,
who "represent" the Devil. Mormon apostle Mark E. Petersen said that if a child
had a single drop of negro blood, he would "receive the curse" and that the best
such a cursed child could hope for, if he was "faithful all his days," was to be
a "servant" (slave) in heaven. But then in 1978 one of the "prophets" of the
church had a "revelation" that the curse had somehow mysteriously been lifted.
But in the church's official notice, the prophet went oddly unnamed, as if no
one wanted to take credit for the prophecy.
When the Mormon church was so obviously wrong about racism and segregation, and
attempted to correct its obvious mistake in such a contrived and clumsy manner,
can it be trusted to hand down edicts on the rights (or lack of rights) of women
and gays? Should a potential president like Willard Mitt Romney withhold (or
attempt to withhold) basic human rights from women and gays because his church
teaches that women are supposed to submit to men in all things, and that God
discriminates against non-heterosexuals, the way he used to discriminate against
"the children of Cain?
Or are the Mormon church's current teachings about women and gays as absurd and
laughable (albeit not funny) as its former teachings about blacks?
Did Romney call homosexuality "perverse"? Isn't that a teaching of most
conservative Christian churches, including the Roman Catholics, the Southern
Baptists and the Mormons? Romney’s alleged comments on homosexual practices were
part of a 20-minute address he delivered on November 14 to the Cambridge
University Ward, which numbers about 250 to 300 single Mormons. "He said he was
appalled at the incidence of homosexuals in the congregation," said Rick
Rawlins, a 32-year-old Mormon who had previously served as a counselor to the
ward’s bishop. "He went on to say that he found homosexuality both perverse and
reprehensible." Romney denied the veracity of the comments but, as the Globe
noted, the account was confirmed by three other attendees: "I believe that his
general message was that sex outside of marriage is immoral, but on the other
hand, I do remember that there was a specific remark that he was appalled at the
incidence of homosexuality in the ward and he termed it perverse," said one. "It
was specific enough that I wanted to go see Bishop [Steven] Wheelwright right
after that talk." Another person present offered this account. "During the talk,
President Romney began talking about families and family values, and he
mentioned homosexuality as a perversity. He went on for some time." This person
didn’t recall the exact term Romney used to express his dismay at report of
homosexual conduct, but said: "He certainly was conveying that he was appalled."
Said a fourth person: "He started going on about being upset about homosexuality
in this ward. I remember him calling it a sickness and a perversion."
It seems to me that Romney and the Mormon church, like other fundamentalist
sects of Christianity, are now wrestling with intolerance against homosexuality
the way they once wrestled with intolerance against "the children of Cain."
Obviously, the churches are wrong and their prehistoric teachings do not come
from a loving, wise, just, enlightened God.
Can we afford to have a president who refuses to admit that his church's
"prophets" are wrong and that their teachings are relics of a stone age past?
Should millions of Americans be denied full equality because someone like Mitt
Romney believes that God is a sexist and a homophobe?
Why does Mitt Romney deny gay veterans their constitutional rights?
While other American men his age were fighting and dying in Vietnam, young
Willard Mitt Romney took two and a half years off to vacation in France as a
Mormon missionary, receiving a deferment from military service as a "minister of
religion" despite being barely out of high school. While vacationing in France,
Romney encouraged his fellow missionaries to read Think and Grow Rich!
by Napoleon Hill, so it seems Romney was evangelizing Mammon along with God and
magical underpants. Nor did he wish to serve his country as a soldier. As a
Massachusetts Senate candidate in 1994, Romney told the Boston Herald:
"It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam." But when he met an
American veteran of the Vietnam War recently, Romney had the audacity to deny him his
"You can’t trust him," said Bob Garon, a gay 63-year-old vet, after
meeting Romney, looking him in the eye, and calling him out for his bigotry.
While Garon was risking his neck in Vietnam, Mitt Romney was tooling around Le
Havre and Paris. But Romney, acting in his usual cold-blooded style, had no
problem telling Garon that he is a persona non grata, despite his
service to his country.
Asked by reporters to assess Romney’s chances for the nomination after
their encounter, Garon replied: "I did a
little research on Mitt Romney and, by golly, you reporters are right. The guy
ain’t going to make it. Because you can’t trust him. I just saw it
in his eyes. I judge a man by his eyes."
Ironically, Romney met Garon during a campaign stop at
Chez Vachon, a French cafe in Manchester, N.H.
While working the room, Romney spotted Garon wearing a flannel shirt and a
Vietnam Veteran hat, then slid into his booth for a quick photo op. But to his
consternation, as the cameras rolled, Garon confronted Romney with a blunt
question: "New Hampshire right now has some legislation kicking around about a
repeal for the same-sex marriage. And all I need is a yes or a no. Do you
support the repeal?"
"I support the repeal of the New Hampshire law," Romney said, confirming that he
denies equality to gay Americans, even if they risked their lives in service to
their country while he vacationed in France, incubating his get-rich-quick
Garon, who was eating breakfast with his male husband,
pointed out correctly: "If two men get married, apparently a veteran’s spouse
would not be entitled to any burial benefits or medical benefits or anything
that the serviceman has devoted his time and effort to his country, and you just
don’t support equality in terms of same-sex marriage?"
Romney confirmed that he not only denies gay veterans the right to marry,
but that he also denies their partners having the
same rights and benefits as heterosexual partners of other veterans. This is
consistent with what Romney has said about denying gays the right to marry
or to enter into civil unions, thus leaving them bereft of essential human
"It's good to know how you feel, that you do not believe everyone is entitled to
their constitutional rights," Garon replied dismissively.
When Romney started to argue that the Constitution is a homophobic document, a
desperate-sounding aide urged him to wrap up the conversation:
we’ve got to get on with Fox News right now!" Was Romney saved from a
knockout blow by the ding-dong bell
of likeminded bigots?
"Oh, I guess the question was too hot," Garon remarked.
"No, I gave you the answer," Romney replied. "You said you had a yes-or-no
[question]. I gave you the answer."
"You did," Garon agreed, although quite understandably not pleased or impressed. "And I appreciate your answer. And you know, I also
learned something, and New Hampshire is right: You have to look a man in the eye
to get a good answer. And you know what, governor? Good luck ... You’re going to
"You are right about that," Romney said, unintentionally acknowledging that his
bigotry against gay vets would come back to haunt him.
As reporters swarmed around his booth, Garon, an independent, said that he would not support Romney.
"I was undecided," Garon said. But "I’m totally convinced today that he’s not
going to be my president—at least in my book. At least Obama will entertain the
idea. This man is ‘No way, Jose.’ Well, take that ‘No way, Jose’ back to
Garon spoke to MSNBC about the exchange. "Well, quite frankly I'm not a
professor of the Constitution but I don't believe it says anything about a man
and a woman defining marriage," he said. "I didn't expect the answer that I
got—I thought he'd be a little more diplomatic in his answer. But I did ask
for a yes-or-no question and I've got to respect that that he did give me a
But shouldn't we expect a prospective president and commander-in-chief to give the right
answer, the fair answer, the just answer, the equitable
Garon continued, "What I didn't expect from Mr.
Romney is how confrontational he was and argumentative ... my question was
really hoping that if he did get into the White House that he'd be in support of
the benefits entitled to veterans and their spouses. Currently, they're not ...
It just makes no sense to me."
Asked by reporters after Romney left why he feels so strongly about the issue,
Garon responded passionately: "Because I’m gay, all right? And I happen
to love a man just like you probably love your wife. I went and fought
for my country and I think my spouse should be entitled to the same benefits as if I were married to a woman.
What the hell is the difference?"
A very good question, indeed.
Garon said there is one aspect of Romney’s candidacy he supports: "I kind of
liked his health care plan in Massachusetts." But of course Romney now
castigates President Obama for Obamacare, even though it was clearly modeled
on his own Romneycare. Romney has also waffled on climate change, women's
reproductive rights, gun control and other issues. Take invasions of other
countries, for example. His father, George Romney, who had once supported the Vietnam war,
famously claimed that he had been brainwashed, possibly costing him the
presidency. Mitt Romney agreed with his father and was quoted in a 1970 Boston Globe article as saying: "We
were brainwashed. If it wasn’t a political blunder to move into Vietnam, I don’t
know what is." But today Romney is a right-wing war hawk. He supported the
invasion of Iraq and the troop surge. He supported the invasion of Afghanistan. He sealed his
political marriage to Paul Ryan in the shadow of a battleship, after "America's
Comeback Teamn" ran
down to the podium from the battleship, laughing and waving. And in his speech to
the Citadel in October 2011, Romney seemed to be the one brainwashing young
American cadets to pursue wars of preemptive retaliation (i.e., offensive wars). If you continue reading this page, you can hear Romney sounding
like the second coming of Hitler ...
Mitt Romney strikes me as a fascist who believes that might is right and will say or do
almost anything to achieve his
personal goals of acquiring money, fame and power. It seems the only position that he hasn't changed
his belief in his money, his power and his budding godhood. Like
Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon and Hitler, this endlessly strange
creature named Willard Mitt Romney seems to see the rest of us a pawns in his
game of cosmic chess. He claims that his Mormon faith is very important to him,
and perhaps that's part of the problem, because Mormonism teaches that human
beings can become gods and rule worlds. Romney and the Romulans seem to be
cold-blooded conquerors intent on ruling ours.
The 13% Solution
When asked to disclose his tax returns, Willard Mitt Romney replied, "I am not a
business." But he famously (or infamously) said that "corporations are people."
Mitt the Flopple changes political positions the way Imelda Marcos
changes shoes. But he is remarkably consistent about his taxes. Mitt the Omitter
consistently makes up excuses not to explain why he seems to be one of the
biggest tax evaders in American history. Perhaps we should call him Darth
Romney claims that he paid at least
13% in taxes for the last decade, while being careful not to specify federal
income taxes. And did he pay 13% of everything he made or only
of the money that he didn't shelter from taxes? It seems obvious that Romney
has a LOT of money in Bermuda and Cayman Island tax
shelters. Major new services like the New York Times,
Wall Street Journal, TIME, Reuters and CBS News have
reported that he may have up to $100 million, or close to half his estimated net
worth, in esoteric Caribbean investments. In
fact, it seems he may have placed entire
Bain Capital holdings in offshore "IRAs." So suppose Romney made $20 million one
year, sheltered $19.9 million in offshore "IRAs," then paid taxes on only
$100,000 in earnings? Yes, he might have paid 13% in taxes on the $100,000 and
that might be commensurate with what other Americans pay after deducting
personal exemptions, charitable contributions, etc. But his real
effective tax rate might be closer to 1.3%, or zero, depending on how much money
he made, and how much of that money was sheltered. The only way
for anyone to know Romney's real tax rate is for him to release his tax returns.
The fact that he refuses to release any of his
returns prior to 2010 suggests that there are major problems with his older
returns. Do we want a commander-in-chief who expects American soldiers to risk
their lives in battle, when he's too cowardly to pay his fair share of taxes to help
provide them with the best possible equipment and training?
The proposed Romney-Ryan budget plan would eliminate taxes on interest,
dividends and capital gains, making it possible for millionaires and
billionaires to reduce their effective tax rates to 1% or less. (According to
Romney's 2010 tax return, under the new Romney-Ryan plan he would have paid slightly less than one percent on
$21 million in earnings.) In order to fund this lavish bounty for the
super-rich, less wealthy Americans will have to pay thousands more in taxes per
year. Then, finally, Willard Mitt Romney can legally avoid paying taxes, since
you and I will be covering for him!
Why is the year 1999 so important to Romney? Because when the Washington Post published an
article headlined "Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas," the Romney
campaign was caught flatfooted. The Post disclosed that Bain had invested in
companies like Modus Media, Stream International, Hi-Tech Manufacturing, SMTC
and Holson Burnes, that had not only shipped thousands of American jobs overseas, but had
helped pioneer the practice. It seems clear that
Romney does not want to be connected to such pioneering, hence the
since-disproven claims that he had "absolutely nothing" to do with Bain after
To make matters worse, Romney even invested money in a Chinese company,
Global-Tech Appliances, that specializes in taking over manufacturing from
American companies like Sunbeam and Revlon. Part of Romney's GTA holdings ended
up in Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors LTD, a Bermuda-based corporation that
lists Romney as "the sole shareholder, a director,
and President." According to an AP report, Sankaty is "is among several
Romney holdings that have not been fully disclosed" and there is a "mystery
surrounding" Sankaty. Vanity Fair noted that "investments in tax havens
such as Bermuda raise many questions, because they are in 'jurisdictions where
there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance,' as one Miami-based
offshore lawyer put it." Another mystery is why
Romney was using a Bermuda-based entity to invest in a Chinese firm
that specialized in outsourcing American manufacturing jobs.
Bain first invested in GTA in 1998, before Romney "left" the firm in 1999, so it
seems clear that Romney was deliberately investing in and profiting from
outsourcing long before anyone else "took over," if that ever actually happened.
As reported by The Christian Science Monitor and Washington Post:
nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, the private
equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the
practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components,
according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While Bain was
not the largest player in the outsourcing field, the private equity firm was
involved early on, at a time when the departure of jobs from the United States
was beginning to accelerate and new companies were emerging as handmaidens to
this outflow of employment."
A CBS Evening News report confirms that there are accusations that
"Mitt Romney's companies were pioneers in outsourcing U.S. jobs to low-wage
countries." Now, if such accusations are false, all Romney and Bain have to do
is provide hard evidence to the contrary. All companies with payrolls keep
detailed records of hirings and firings, so why have Romney and Bain failed to
provide any hard evidence of net job increases? Obviously, because there
isn't any such evidence. In reality, Romney and Bain fired
thousands of American workers and outsourced many other jobs to foreign countries,
while Romney became one of the world's wealthiest men by sheltering most or all
of his Bain wealth from taxes in offshore Bermuda and Cayman Island "IRAs."
And the claims that Romney had "no involvement" with Bain after early 1999 seem
more than shaky ...
James Cox, a professor of corporate and securities law at Duke University, has
pointed out that Bain’s continued reference to Romney as CEO and sole
shareholder indicate that Romney remained the "final authority" and
that Romney would likely have been updated regularly about Bain’s profits
while negotiating his severance package. Thus, according to Cox, Romney’s
insistence that he had no involvement with "any Bain Capital entity" appears "inconsistent" with his actions.
According to Stephanie Cutter, Romney was "either misrepresenting his own
position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his
position at Bain to the American people."
According to the Boston Globe, which was able to interview Bain
insiders, "Romney has said in financial disclosure statements that he 'was not
involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way' after Feb. 11,
1999. But he was still legally the CEO, with numerous duties and obligations
that were his alone, until early 2002. Interviews with a half-dozen of Romney’s
former partners and associates, as well as public records, show that he was not
merely an absentee owner during this period. He signed dozens of company
documents, including filings with regulators on a vast array of Bain’s
investment entities. And he drove the complex negotiations over his own large
severance package, a deal that was critical to the firm’s future without him,
according to his former associates. Indeed, by remaining CEO and sole
shareholder, Romney held on to his leverage in the talks that resulted in his
generous 10-year retirement package, according to former associates. 'The
elephant in the room was not whether Mitt was involved in investment decisions
but Mitt’s retention of control of the firm and therefore his ability to extract
a huge economic benefit by delaying his giving up of that control,' said one
former associate, who, like some other Romney associates, spoke only on
condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the
Romney continued to refer to himself as CEO. In July 1999, five months after he
had "left" Bain, he provided a blurb for a press release issued by Rehnert and
Wolpow, in which he was referred to as "Bain Capital CEO W. Mitt Romney,
currently on a part-time leave of absence." In the release, Romney said of
departing Bain partners, "While we will miss them, we wish them well and look
forward to working with them as they build their firm." So Romney obviously
still considered himself a part of Bain and its future. Romney’s name continued
to appear as CEO and owner on dozens of Bain fund documents filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission until January 2002.
So it seems Romney was truthful with the SEC, but lied repeatedly to the
American people ... and is still lying, even though he's been caught red-handed.
Swimming with the Sharks
Corporations are people, my friend ... of course they are ... human beings, my
But as we all know, some corporations are more like cold-blooded sharks than warm-blooded
human beings ... especially private equity firms like Mitt Romney's rapacious team of
orca-like corporate raiders, Bain Capital.
Under Romney's direction, Bain loaded
companies like GST Steel and Dade International with massive debt in
order to pay Romney and other investors massive dividends, while the companies went
bankrupt and their workers became jobless. Now Romney, the consummate slick
pro-corporation politician, has raised large sums of campaign cash from Wall Street firms like
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley because they know he'll scratch their backs by
letting them do what he did himself: profit from the elimination and outsourcing
of American jobs. Romney insists that "corporations are people"
and has called federal government spending to assist tornado and flood victims "simply immoral" because it increases the national budget deficit. But when has he
ever called government borrowing to fund wars and Wall Street bailouts "immoral"? Romney knows where his bread is
buttered, and who provides the rich cream. Like most Republican politicians
these days, he seems quite happy to let the commoners go without bread, as
long as his wealthy patrons and cronies can continue to have their cake and eat
In his book The Buyout of America: How Private Equity Is Destroying Jobs and
Killing the American Economy, Josh Kosman describes Bain as
"notorious for its failure to plow profits back into its businesses."
Bain was the first large private equity firm to derive a large percentage
of its revenues from corporate dividends and other investor-gratifying distributions. Companies
acquired by Bain sometimes borrowed large sums of money in order to increase their dividend
payments, ultimately leading to the collapse of what had been financially stable
businesses. According to Bloomberg, "Whether companies boomed or filed
for bankruptcy, the Boston-based firm found profits for Romney, its other
executives and investors ... Interviews with former employees and executives at
Bain and companies it controlled, along with a review of Bain’s activities
described in public documents and news accounts, paint a picture of an operation
that wasn’t focused on expanding employment. Instead, Bain’s mission, like [that
private equity firms, was to generate gains for its investors."
Dade International is a good example. Dade was combined by Bain with several
other companies, becoming Dade Behring. At least 1,600 employees were dismissed
from 1996 to 1999, according to SEC reports. Bain and Goldman Sachs sold
their Dade shares for $365.4 million, in addition to prior dividends and
other distributions, before the company went bankrupt.
According to Michael Rumbin, Dade's vice president of technology, "They
leveraged this thing to the hilt and got out when they could. We were left
holding the bag." Rumbin became one of Romney's and Bain's casualties when he too
lost his job. Now we know why private equity firms are better known as "corporate
Have people taken to calling Romney the "Romneybot"
because he lacks the things that make human beings
human: warmth, humor, compassion, empathy, and a sense of fair play and justice?
It can be painful watching Romney when he tries to josh around with other people
or connect with them emotionally. Something appears
to be missing ... he really
does act like an android programmed to spit out the correct answers without
understanding the questions at the heart and gut
level. Americans want their presidents to care about Americans who are
suffering, and we have been fortunate to have had presidents who really did seem
to care: Lincoln, FDR, JFK, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Obama, to name a few.
Even George W. Bush, for all the terrible mistakes he made, seemed to care; his
problems lay in other areas, such as thinking and speaking. But Romney strikes
me as being more like Nixon: something essential seems to be missing. This is
evidenced in their inability to connect with average Americans.
For instance, here's what Romney said recently about
less wealthy Americans who want affordable healthcare, referring to his speech
to the NAACP:
When I mentioned [that] I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren’t
happy ... That’s okay. I want people to know what I stand for, and if I don’t
stand for what they want, go vote for someone else; that’s just fine … But I
hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of
this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other
guy — more free stuff.
But Romney seems to be all about "free stuff" ... for himself and his
super-rich friends. Even if it's somehow "wrong" for poor people to want affordable
healthcare for their children and aging parents, isn't it vastly worse from
someone richer than Midas to insult them while ripping apart their safety nets,
so that he can become even richer? (As I wrote this paragraph, I had a vision of
Ebenezer Scrooge denying raises to Bob Cratchit while Tiny Tim wasted away
for want of an operation.)
How can someone who gets away with highway robbery turn around and condemn
average Americans for requesting a much smaller break?
For instance, Romney served on the board of Damon
Clinical Laboratories, which pled guilty to charges of defrauding Medicare and
agreed to pay the largest health care criminal fraud fine
in history at the time, over $119 million altogether. Corporate Crime Reporter put it like
this: "As manager and board member of Damon Corp, Mitt Romney sits at the center
of one of the top 15 corporate crimes of the 1990’s." Romney never reported
Damon's fraud to the proper authorities. When Corning bought Damon, it
discovered the fraud and reported it. Bain and Romney earned millions from their
investment in Damon, but conveniently never noticed that Damon was obtaining
"free stuff" from our cash-strapped federal government. According to a
Boston Globe report, Romney claimed that he and fellow board
members uncovered what was later determined to be a criminal
scheme to defraud Medicare in 1993, yet acknowledged that the directors did not turn
over their findings to federal authorities who were then investigating the medical
testing industry. While Damon went bankrupt, with
thousands of employees losing their jobs, Bain Capital enjoyed a $12 million profit,
over $450,000 of that money going to Romney personally.
Is it fair that Romney made so much money from
healthcare, then turned around and mocked less advantaged people for only wanting
healthcare they can afford?
Please don't get me wrong: I don't begrudge Romney his success or his wealth.
But if it's true that he paid virtually no taxes for more than a decade, while
amassing a fortune estimated at $200 million or more, that seems
terribly unfair to the 99% of Americans who do pay their fair share of taxes,
rain or shine. When he mocks and criticizes them, that only adds insult to
injury and makes him seem like a heartless, soulless android ... the Romneybot.
Romney strikes me as a hypocritical creep for three reasons: (1)
he blasts Obamacare, but his Romneycare was
obviously the model for Obamacare; (2) he favors bailing out Wall Street
billionaires yet denies average Americans what he imperiously calls
"entitlements;" and (3) he has no compunction about taking "free stuff" himself,
by evading taxes despite his fabulous personal wealth.
Mr. "Free Stuff" Part II
Obviously, there is something terribly wrong when a rich, imperious tax dodger lectures
hard-working American taxpayers about not asking for "free stuff" when, in reality, all they want
is a fair shake.
Romney's hypocrisy about American healthcare seems to know no bounds. When he
traveled to Poland, he praised Poland for its economic success, but Poland
provides free medical care to all its citizens despite having less that half the
per-capita income of the U.S. When Romney traveled to Israel, he praised Israel
for its superior economy, which he attributed to a superior culture. But in
Israel, healthcare is universal and medical insurance is compulsory. As a
result, Israel has the fourth-highest life expectancy among
earth's nations, at 82 years. And of course Romney has no problem giving
"free stuff" to his rich friends in Israel. (He and Israeli Prime Minister
Benyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu are pals.) According to the Washington Report on
Middle Eastern Affairs, since 1949 the U.S. government has given Israel more
than $134 billion in financial aid. That's more than $23,000 per Israeli
citizen. So American taxpayers who struggle to afford healthcare for themselves
have probably paid for every Israeli citizen to enjoy superior healthcare,
either in whole or in part.
Before Romney lectures Americans, I think he should listen for a change to a
Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country and giving it to the rich people of a poor country.—Ron Paul
Why does Romney want to give "free stuff" to his rich friends in Israel, why
denying affordable healthcare to Americans? Is it because Romney is getting
"free stuff" from rich, powerful Jews, in return for Romney selling his fellow
citizens down the river?
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