By Sarah Jones
Mitt Romney must have thought he could run for president without being vetted financially. Or he’s just so steeped in privilege that he had no idea Americans would be upset by revelations that he has millions in offshore accounts that are used primarily by investors in order to avoid paying income tax, even at the lower rate of 15% offered for investment income. Romney’s team denies that he has avoided his tax responsibilities and claims the millions in the Cayman are just there to attract foreign businesses.
Romney is the poster boy of all that’s wrong with the current tax system and indeed, all that Occupy Wall Street is protesting.
It is, after all, the lower investment income tax rates that have helped push America into her current deficit problem. And while Wall Street and Republicans tell working class Americans that they need to share in the sacrifices by giving up their collective bargaining rights, their healthcare and pensions, what they don’t tell you is that they are the problem, not you.
Offshore accounts cost America billions every year in lost revenue. Billions.
ABC News reports:
Tax experts agree that Romney remains subject to American taxes. But they say the offshore accounts have provided him — and Bain — with other potential financial benefits, such as higher management fees and greater foreign interest, all at the expense of the U.S. Treasury. Rebecca J. Wilkins, a tax policy expert with Citizens for Tax Justice, said the federal government loses an estimated $100 billion a year because of tax havens.When it comes to shared sacrifices, I think most Americans would agree that the wealthy should at least pay the lower tax rate of 15% on their income. And even that rate is part of the problem that led to the deficit. It was under Bush that the tax code was changed extensively to benefit investors.
Blum, the D.C. tax lawyer, said working through an offshore investment vehicle allows the investor to “avoid a whole series of small traps in the tax code that ordinary people would face if they paid tax on an onshore basis.”
Wilkins agreed, saying the “primary advantage to setting those funds up in an offshore jurisdiction like the Cayman Islands or Bermuda is it helps the investors avoid tax.”
“It helps U.S. investors avoid U.S. tax,” said Wilkins, “it helps foreign investors avoid taxes in their home country, so it’s not illegal or improper to set those funds up in a foreign jurisdiction, but it makes it more attractive to investors because it helps them avoid paying taxes on that income.”
Ironically this was sold as a way to encourage investment in American companies and yet Romney’s team is now justifying his Cayman investments as being a good way to attract foreign companies.
Either way you look at it, Mitt Romney is the poster boy for what Republicans stand for and for the economic injustice plaguing Americans today.
As I mentioned last night on Politicus Radio, Romney claimed he paid “about” 15% in taxes.
Listen to Sarah discuss Mitt Romney:
“About” means not quite in Republicanese. And if we factor in his offshore accounts, who knows just how little he actually pays on his income. I also referred to Romney as the poster boy for what’s wrong with our current tax system, and this morning I was delighted to read that Washington tax experts agreed.
This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but it has become one because the Republican Party has chosen to do and say anything to justify theft from our government in order to benefit the 1%. That they then blame the poor and middle class for our economic woes is morally unconscionable. Republicans have been using the word “entitlement” to denigrate the poor on food stamps and Medicaid, but the truth is that the Republicans have been giving 100′s of billions in entitlements to the 1% and it is this that has contributed to our deficit (along with their unfunded wars). No business would try to operate without revenue or allow the people in charge to steal from it as the wealthy, tax-haven prone have been stealing from our government.
Mitt Romney is the poster boy for the gross economic injustice under which the average American tries to survive. He’s so entitled that he apparently thinks he shouldn’t have to disclose his tax forms for even one year, but now conceded that if we want to see them, he might show them in April, which of course would be after the Republican nomination is sewn up.
Republicans will have to hope that their only electable candidate doesn’t have any major problems on his tax returns and that he using the interim time to adjust the previous year’s filing. Or maybe he’s only going to show us the filing he has yet to complete, in which case he can make good on his campaign’s suggestion that he pays taxes on those millions he has in the Caymans. Remember, Romney has only offered to show us one year of his returns, and that only if we insist. You’re supposed to just trust him. Father knows best and you little peons shouldn’t ask the great job creator/businessman questions about things you can’t understand.
In an election year in which economic justice will be a cornerstone of the campaign for many Americans, Mitt Romney is shaping up to be a disaster for the Republicans. But he’s all they have, unless they want to run Newt the cheater and ethics violator. Meanwhile, poor Rick Santorum was swiftly shown the establishment knife when it turned out that he had won Iowa but the Republican Party has decided to call it a tie, essentially protecting their chosen one, Mitt the Cayman Romney.
Mitt Romney is the 1% of the 1%. He’s so entitled that he doesn’t know that he’s entitled. If he had a clue about what the average American was going through, he would have foreseen this problem and addressed it with amended returns long before it became an issue, but Romney suffers from a bit of Palinese Republicanism; he thinks he gets to determine what we deserve to know and ask of him.
Romney is going to serve as the perfect foil against President Obama’s consistent calls for economic fairness and in so doing, will draw attention to the vast ways our system is set up to benefit the 1%.