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Author Topic: The contents of Romney's tax returns: What would be able to brush off?  (Read 1078 times)
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Rockingham
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« on: July 17, 2012, 08:36:55 am »
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Theirs been a lot of speculation about what might inside them. Some people have suggested:
-that he's wealthier then he claims to be
-proof that he was working for Bain for longer then he claimed
-Evidence of offshoring and other tax evasion
-In substantial debt
-Failure to donate the expected tithe to his church
-having(legally) paid relatively little in taxes thanks to loopholes
(no doubt their are other possibilities, though none come to my mind)

 So which potential contents would you rank as:
a)easy to brush off
b)likely to make a dent in Rom's election performance
c)almost certainly fatal to Rom's election chances
?
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 08:43:09 am »
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I doubt he failed to donate to his church at some point. If he had, he would have probably gotten in trouble with the church elders.

Most likely it is direct ties to companies which engaged in activities that would be extremely impolitic and difficult to explain to voters. Summer of Bain X 10, you might say.
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Bacon King
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 09:52:23 am »

Possibly some direct evidence of those accusations that some of his funds invested his money in companies that did business with the Iranian government?
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 09:57:49 am »
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I doubt he failed to donate to his church at some point. If he had, he would have probably gotten in trouble with the church elders.
I know. The suggestion was that he'd donated a lower percentage then he should(my recollection is that Mormons are supposed to donate around 10%)
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2012, 10:08:18 am »
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Theirs been a lot of speculation about what might inside them. Some people have suggested:
-that he's wealthier then he claims to be
-proof that he was working for Bain for longer then he claimed
-Evidence of offshoring and other tax evasion
-In substantial debt
-Failure to donate the expected tithe to his church
-having(legally) paid relatively little in taxes thanks to loopholes
(no doubt their are other possibilities, though none come to my mind)

 So which potential contents would you rank as:
a)easy to brush off
b)likely to make a dent in Rom's election performance
c)almost certainly fatal to Rom's election chances
?

Being wealthier than he claims to be would be washed out of the public consciousness after 2-3 news cycles, and wouldn't have a major impact on the campaign.

The most damaging in the eyes of swing voters would probably be the low taxes due to loopholes, though this would be balanced somewhat by making him more popular with the Tea Party crowd.

The failure to pay Tithes to his Church could end up being a big issue, especially if one of those nasty chain emails gets started about it.

Any proof that he lied or misled about how long he worked at Bain or what he did there could be devastating to his campaign.
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 10:08:33 am »
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Here are my thoughts:

Easy to brush off:
-In substantial debt
-Failure to donate the expected tithe to his church
-Did business with Iranian government

Likely to make a dent in Rom's election performance:
-that he's wealthier then he claims to be
-proof that he was working for Bain for longer then he claimed
-direct ties to extremely impolitic companies

Almost certainly fatal to Rom's election chances:
-Evidence of offshoring and other tax evasion
-having(legally) paid relatively little in taxes thanks to loopholes

Personally, I suspect it's some combination of the last two. IMO, having the next three months full of commercials that say, "Mitt Romney is worth a quarter of a billion dollars and he paid less taxes than the average McDonald's employee," would be completely and utterly devastating.
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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2012, 12:11:27 pm »
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The only thing I can think of that he'd need to keep hidden would be some awkward contributions to some 527 organizations.  Everything else I can think of would only be a continuation of what we already know about Mitt's finances.
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2012, 12:15:28 pm »
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Paying a very low tax rate didn't really bother the liberals who voted for Kerry and Edwards. Nobody cares.
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2012, 12:34:58 pm »
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Paying a very low tax rate didn't really bother the liberals who voted for Kerry and Edwards. Nobody cares.
Depends on how low low is. Obviously, the rate Romney paid in 2010 was enough not to upset people. But what if the effective rate he'd paid in other years was zero, or close to zero?
There's also a bit of a difference between paying very little in tax, but advocating higher taxes for people like yourself, and paying very little in tax, and advocating still lower taxes for people like yourself.
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« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2012, 12:44:00 pm »
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Paying a very low tax rate didn't really bother the liberals who voted for Kerry and Edwards. Nobody cares.

Kerry and Edwards didn't make cutting their own taxes the central policy plank of their campaign.
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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2012, 01:12:16 pm »
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Paying a very low tax rate didn't really bother the liberals who voted for Kerry and Edwards. Nobody cares.
Depends on how low low is. Obviously, the rate Romney paid in 2010 was enough not to upset people. But what if the effective rate he'd paid in other years was zero, or close to zero?
There's also a bit of a difference between paying very little in tax, but advocating higher taxes for people like yourself, and paying very little in tax, and advocating still lower taxes for people like yourself.

John Edwards paid roughly 5% in 2003. Perhaps if Romney is below 5% he might have an issue, but the partisans will of course overlook his taxes.

The Democrats got demolished among 6 figure incomes in the 2010 elections. I welcome the new advertisements soon to come on how they want to raise income taxes on the people!
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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2012, 01:30:56 pm »
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Isn't there an economy struggling, or something?
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2012, 01:33:15 pm »
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Paying a very low tax rate didn't really bother the liberals who voted for Kerry and Edwards. Nobody cares.
Depends on how low low is. Obviously, the rate Romney paid in 2010 was enough not to upset people. But what if the effective rate he'd paid in other years was zero, or close to zero?
There's also a bit of a difference between paying very little in tax, but advocating higher taxes for people like yourself, and paying very little in tax, and advocating still lower taxes for people like yourself.

John Edwards paid roughly 5% in 2003. Perhaps if Romney is below 5% he might have an issue, but the partisans will of course overlook his taxes.

The Democrats got demolished among 6 figure incomes in the 2010 elections. I welcome the new advertisements soon to come on how they want to raise income taxes on the people!

Edwards also didn't win the nomination. And, for that matter, part of why Kerry lost the general election was that people saw him as rich and out of touch. His tax situation, and his wife's wealth arguably played some role in that, though how much of a role is hard to quantify. And again, the fact that Romney wants to cut his own taxes even further makes the question of his taxes more salient than it was for Kerry and Edwards. Remember how Perot said he was proud to pay millions of dollars in taxes, because it meant he'd done well?

But overall, I'd agree that it's hard to see what in Romney's taxes could really hurt him more than refusing to release his taxes will. So he should just release them already and get it over with, before the Olympics and the conventions change the conversation.
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2012, 04:07:38 pm »
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I strongly encourage Republicans to pursue the "John Edwards did it too" approach.
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ajb
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2012, 07:00:13 pm »
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Here's an interesting guess about what might be in those returns, specifically the 2009 return:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2012/07/17/romney_s_tax_returns_is_the_2009_swiss_bank_account_amnesty_what_he_doesn_t_want_us_to_see_.html
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krazen1211
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« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2012, 07:26:20 pm »
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Paying a very low tax rate didn't really bother the liberals who voted for Kerry and Edwards. Nobody cares.
Depends on how low low is. Obviously, the rate Romney paid in 2010 was enough not to upset people. But what if the effective rate he'd paid in other years was zero, or close to zero?
There's also a bit of a difference between paying very little in tax, but advocating higher taxes for people like yourself, and paying very little in tax, and advocating still lower taxes for people like yourself.

John Edwards paid roughly 5% in 2003. Perhaps if Romney is below 5% he might have an issue, but the partisans will of course overlook his taxes.

The Democrats got demolished among 6 figure incomes in the 2010 elections. I welcome the new advertisements soon to come on how they want to raise income taxes on the people!

Edwards also didn't win the nomination. And, for that matter, part of why Kerry lost the general election was that people saw him as rich and out of touch. His tax situation, and his wife's wealth arguably played some role in that, though how much of a role is hard to quantify. And again, the fact that Romney wants to cut his own taxes even further makes the question of his taxes more salient than it was for Kerry and Edwards. Remember how Perot said he was proud to pay millions of dollars in taxes, because it meant he'd done well?

But overall, I'd agree that it's hard to see what in Romney's taxes could really hurt him more than refusing to release his taxes will. So he should just release them already and get it over with, before the Olympics and the conventions change the conversation.

It might be more salient to a bunch of hypocritical Democrats with amnesia who are hollering about it, yes. But conservative voters are far less likely to fret about Mr. Romney's perfectly normal tax rate and are hardly militant voters concerning 'taxing the rich'.

As it happened, when election day 2004 rolled around, John Kerry got precisely the share of the vote that could be expected by President Bush's approval rating. The amnesia left got over it. Others will too, soon.

Teresa Kerry released a small segment of her 2003 tax return in mid October 2004. As it stands, polling averages actually contracted very slightly afterward! Turns out nobody cared about her taxes.


Incidentally, today, some Senate Democrats are trying to close the John Edwards loopholes.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 07:31:29 pm by krazen1211 »Logged
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« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2012, 07:37:47 pm »
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Paying a very low tax rate didn't really bother the liberals who voted for Kerry and Edwards. Nobody cares.
Depends on how low low is. Obviously, the rate Romney paid in 2010 was enough not to upset people. But what if the effective rate he'd paid in other years was zero, or close to zero?
There's also a bit of a difference between paying very little in tax, but advocating higher taxes for people like yourself, and paying very little in tax, and advocating still lower taxes for people like yourself.

John Edwards paid roughly 5% in 2003. Perhaps if Romney is below 5% he might have an issue, but the partisans will of course overlook his taxes.

The Democrats got demolished among 6 figure incomes in the 2010 elections. I welcome the new advertisements soon to come on how they want to raise income taxes on the people!

Edwards also didn't win the nomination. And, for that matter, part of why Kerry lost the general election was that people saw him as rich and out of touch. His tax situation, and his wife's wealth arguably played some role in that, though how much of a role is hard to quantify. And again, the fact that Romney wants to cut his own taxes even further makes the question of his taxes more salient than it was for Kerry and Edwards. Remember how Perot said he was proud to pay millions of dollars in taxes, because it meant he'd done well?

But overall, I'd agree that it's hard to see what in Romney's taxes could really hurt him more than refusing to release his taxes will. So he should just release them already and get it over with, before the Olympics and the conventions change the conversation.

It might be more salient to a bunch of hypocritical Democrats with amnesia who are hollering about it, yes. But conservative voters are far less likely to fret about Mr. Romney's perfectly normal tax rate and are hardly militant voters concerning 'taxing the rich'.

As it happened, when election day 2004 rolled around, John Kerry got precisely the share of the vote that could be expected by President Bush's approval rating. The amnesia left got over it. Others will too, soon.

Teresa Kerry released a small segment of her 2003 tax return in mid October 2004. As it stands, polling averages actually contracted very slightly afterward! Turns out nobody cared about her taxes.


Incidentally, today, some Senate Democrats are trying to close the John Edwards loopholes.

Sounds like we're basically in agreement, then, that Romney's tax returns are unlikely to have much effect on partisan voters. We may differ slightly on the impact on independent voters, but I'd be curious to know whether you think Romney is better off releasing the returns, not releasing them, or whether you think it makes no difference one way or the other. I've suggested that he'd likely be better off releasing them, because that would make the issue go away. What do you think?
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« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2012, 07:41:13 pm »
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If that's what the big fuss is about, I'm sorely disappointed.
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krazen1211
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« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2012, 08:12:59 pm »
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Sounds like we're basically in agreement, then, that Romney's tax returns are unlikely to have much effect on partisan voters. We may differ slightly on the impact on independent voters, but I'd be curious to know whether you think Romney is better off releasing the returns, not releasing them, or whether you think it makes no difference one way or the other. I've suggested that he'd likely be better off releasing them, because that would make the issue go away. What do you think?

I suspect if they are similar enough to his 2010 tax return he will release a couple eventually. But it likely makes little difference.

His real issue is that he is thus far getting heavily outspent. Presumably he is planning a heavy fall flooding of the airwaves.
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« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2012, 08:42:59 pm »
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Easy to brush off:
-Did business with Iranian government

I'm not so sure about that in light of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996; Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010; Executive Order 12959: Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to Iran; Executive Order 13553: Blocking Property of Certain Persons with Respect to Serious Human Rights Abuses by the Government of Iran; Executive Order 13574: Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions Set Forth in the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996; Executive Order 13590: Authorizing the Imposition of Certain Sanctions with Respect to the Provision of Goods, Services, Technology, or Support for Iran's Energy and Petrochemical Sectors; and probably a number of other U.S. laws.
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« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2012, 09:46:55 pm »
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Tithing won't be an issue. He has the Mormon vote locked up no matter what. Being wealthier than claimed, working at Bain longer than claimed or in debt would be issues for a few news cycles, but would eventually fade. Offshore accounts, tax loophole exploitation, or investment somewhere like Iran on the other hand would be pretty severe issues that would stick around.
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