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Sep 22 2012

Mitt’s Tax Returns

You can take the word of Romney
Who says, “Everybody knows—
No one wants a president who pays
More taxes than he owes!”

He also said he always paid
Above thirteen percent—
And because he couldn’t break this rule,
The other one got bent.

That’s right, Mitt was caught between two positions once again. It is right and good to take every deduction you are due–who in their right mind would knowingly pay more taxes than you are legally obligated to pay?

Mitt Romney, that’s who. He could have taken millions more in deductions than he did, but chose not to because to do so would have lowered his tax rate below the 13% he claims he has never paid less than. (If that sentence parses.) Either way, his detractors were going to make hay with this–either he pays a legal but politically costly low rate of taxes, or he goes back on his word that he pays every legal dollar and not one dollar more. So of course, he took the option that–wait, he took the option that cost him between $200,000 and $300,000.

See, that’s the difference. If something makes ten dollars difference on my taxes, that’s ten dollars of groceries. Mitt can afford to give up 2 or 3 hundred grand, because he can find that much between the sofa cushions. If memory serves, he deducted more in expenses for the dressage horse than I made in income. Which, hey, is fair–that horse is an olympian, after all.

The other thing is, he’s playing down the deductions that he earned by tithing–noting the things the Mormon Church does with that money, rather than noting that his donations were part of his religion’s obligations. Cos anything that highlights the differences between his faith and the voters’ is a bad thing.

And yes, I’ll admit this is a green-with-envy post. Mitt turned down, in legal deductions, enough that I could pay off my kids’ college loans, add insulation to the attic, and have money left over to donate to charity. And he did it just to keep one of two incompatible promises.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Randomfactor

    Of course, the best part is that he’s only deferring the tax benefits. After he loses in November he can refile and get it all back.

  2. 2
    freebird

    Mitt has zero income from taxable wages. It’s all investment income. I would say that most of Mitt’s 47 percenters that pay no income tax rely pretty heavily on wages and salaries for their income.

  3. 3
    machintelligence

    If memory serves, he deducted more in expenses for the dressage horse than I made in income. Which, hey, is fair–that horse is an olympian, after all.

    I’m not at all certain that that deduction would pass muster. The IRS has a strange way of dealing with “hobbies” vs businesses. Basically, if your hobby makes money, it is a business, and you are taxed on the profits. If your hobby runs at a loss, the expenses aren’t deductible, because it’s a hobby. Heads, they win, tails, you lose.

  4. 4
    desoto

    The republicans where i work defend the man’s low tax rate, since as pointed out, it is capital gains, not earned income. I wish i could live off my investment income (i could try, but i’d starve to death rather quickly). Most Americas wish they could live off investment income. Sure, when i retire i will be living, in part, off of investment income. The bulk of it, though, will be my savings. It becomes an issue of opportunity. Most Americans will never get a chance to invest enough to live solely off the return. My coworkers make claims of the democrats “redistribution of wealth” plan; phooey, i only want redistribution of opportunity.

  5. 5
    Randomfactor

    I don’t want “redistribution of wealth.” I want the wealth not to go that far out of reach of 90 percent of Americans in the FIRST place.

  6. 6
    Johnny Vector

    DC, is that “or” in the first line supposed to be “of”?

    machineintelligence, I don’t really see the problem there. If you’re making money off your “hobby”, you’re still making money, which ought to be taxed. And you can deduct the costs even if they exceed your profit in some years, if you can show that you are attempting to make a profit. If you’re never going to make a profit off it, why should you be able to deduct the costs?

    So long as Mitt actually made a profit from his horses, or had a reasonable expectation of making a profit, then he can deduct the expenses. What’s absurd is that he has that kind of money to throw around and still pays a lower federal tax rate than I do. What makes him evil is he thinks that’s fine and dandy. And what makes him insane is claiming that paying any more tax than required is stupid, unless that required amount is zero, in which case then it’s indolence.

  7. 7
    Cuttlefish

    Thanks, J. V.! As I was telling my guest poet today, I *never* edit! So I just edited to correct the mistake you found.

  8. 8
    Johnny Vector

    You also edited my final verse into The Year That Santa Drowned. Which… goodness, how cool is that!

    So, sure, for small values of “never”.

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