January 24, 2012

Romney's federal tax returns: "he is likely to pay a total of $6.2 million in taxes on $45 million in income over the two tax years of 2010 and 2011."

The NYT reports:
Mr. Romney said last week that his effective tax rate was “about 15 percent,” a figure lower than that of many affluent Americans. But his returns suggested that he paid an effective tax rate of nearly 14 percent.
That's a heavy-handed "but." 14 is "about 15."
“I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more,” Mr. Romney said during Monday night’s debate. “I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”
Exactly! The question isn't what he paid — unless he cheated — but what his tax policy for the country would be. Still, he really needs to be able to explain cogently and persuasively why capital gains are taxed the way they are. And he really needs to be able to convey why we should want a man who mostly worked in private finance to help us out with our finances.
Mr. Romney, a Mormon, has long said that he had promised to give 10 percent of his income to his church. His tax return shows that over two years he and his wife, Ann, gave $7 million in charitable contributions, including $4.1 million to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
So he gave more money to his church than to the federal government. Is "gave" the right verb for both of those payments? Perhaps it's not the right verb for either. Tithing is compulsory in the church, is it not? In both cases, he's relinquishing what is due under a requirement.

CORRECTION:  Romney gave more money to charity than to the federal government. The amount given to his church was $4.1 million, which is less than the $6.2 million given to the federal government. He gave $7 million total to charity.

Remember when Joe Biden released his tax returns in 2008 and we saw that he gave about 0.15% to charity? That same year, we saw the Obamas had given 5.8% - 6.1% of their income to charity. McCain was way up in the 27.3% - 28.6% range. To be fair, Democrats' idea of government is more of a replacement for charity. Let everyone hand over the appropriate amount and government will rationally/politically determine how to deal with all the needs. If you think that's a good idea — isn't it, in the abstract? — then you probably lean Democratic. I do think it's a good idea — in the abstract — but I lean back to the center when I think about concrete reality, and I don't trust the government to determine the needs and dispense the money properly. I also don't trust people to choose charities well. (They'll give for the cure of diseases that attack sympathetic people and shell out big time for dogs and cats.) And I don't trust charities to handle vast pools of money properly. Unlike many conservatives, I don't care about the warm feelings of self-love that flood the brains of charitable givers. I care about competently dealing with real needs and avoiding waste and corruption.

211 comments:

1 – 200 of 211   Newer›   Newest»
Ross said...

It would be "give" to the church since it was a voluntary act (the church will not come after you for not paying). Compare that with the federal government, where taxes are definitely compulsory because the IRS will find you and make you pay.

Brennan said...

The Mormon Church can say it is compulsory all they want. Until they start kicking out members for not "giving" 10% of their income it is really voluntary.

Speaking of tithing. Isn't this why Islam is growing? Allah's got the best rates!

Andy R. said...

Why won't he release more than two years? What's he hiding?

Jay said...

Remember when the Clinton's counted underwear as charitable contributions?

How about Al Gore's $353 to charity ?

William said...

Romney wished to make more money and pay less taxes. He differs from most Americans only in his marked success in these pursuits and his willingness to give so much of his money away.

TosaGuy said...

Uncle Sam pissed away that $6.2 million in 30 seconds.

Joe said...

Failure to pay Mormon tithing means you can't go to the Mormon temple and you put your eternal soul in jeopardy. However, you will not go to jail and were it not for Romney's tax return, nobody except his ecclesiastical leaders and spouse would have known whether he was paying tithing or not.

That aside, what about all those past presidential candidates who paid almost nothing to charity. Here's one who does and he's still criticized.

Michael said...

As I understand it, you do have to either tithe or show a financial hardship to remain in good standing with the church. Good standing means you get to go into the temple.

So I guess it's technically voluntary in that you don't HAVE to be in good standing to be a Mormon.

Jay said...

Mr. Romney said last week that his effective tax rate was “about 15 percent,” a figure lower than that of many affluent Americans

1. Romney should have never said that ssince the revenue stream was subject to both a personal tax rate and the corporate tax rate.

2. A figure lower than that of many affluent Americans, really? Who? How? Based on what data?

Andy R. said...

What exactly makes giving money to the Mormon church a charitable contribution? Were they spending that money feeding and clothing the homeless?

Or were they spending it to send missionaries to foreign countries to convert more people to be Mormons? Does that count as charity?

TosaGuy said...

"Why won't he release more than two years? What's he hiding?"

Why won't Obama release his college transcripts? What's he hiding.

We can play this game all day.

Jay said...

Andy R. said...
Why won't he release more than two years? What's he hiding?


From an Obama voter, no less.

Wake me up when you find a copy of any of Obama's academic transcripts or his medical records.

Jay said...

The question isn't what he paid — unless he cheated — but what his tax policy for the country would be.

Good luck convincing the envious, wealth destroying left of that.

garage mahal said...

Remember when the Clinton's counted underwear as charitable contributions?

What about the Clintons!

garage mahal said...

What about Obama's college records!

Rit said...

When the LDS can send armed agents to seize your assets and throw you in jail then perhaps you can begin comparing tithing to taxing.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
What about Obama's college records!


Is this supposed to mean something, bozo?

alan markus said...

$6.2 Million seems like a lot of money to me, even if the effective rate is a "low" 15%. I betcha there are whole census tracts that don't generate those amounts in the aggregate.

TosaGuy said...

"Were they spending that money feeding and clothing the homeless?"


Go to this new, really plain-looking website with a weird name. It's spelled G-o-o-g-le. Enter the term "morman charities" and it will lead you to lots of other sites that just may have the information you seek!

Jay said...

Andy R. said...
What exactly makes giving money to the Mormon church a charitable contribution?


Federal tax policy.

You should read up on it.

Jay Retread said...

Unless Romney changes his position on tax policy, Democracts are going to kill him on this. He is the wrong guy to tell the American people that the super rich like himself should pay half the rate that regular Americans pay.

Andy R. said...

envious, wealth destroying left

Jay said...

Jay Retread said...
Unless Romney changes his position on tax policy, Democracts are going to kill him on this.


Democrats aren't that popular or informed.

He is the wrong guy to tell the American people that the super rich like himself should pay half the rate that regular Americans pay.


He doesn't pay "half the rate" and he isn't arguing he should pay half the rate.

You realize 49% of "regular Americans" have no federal income tax liability, right?

garage mahal said...

Is this supposed to mean something, bozo?

You brought it up Einstein.

Jay Retread said...

Romney needs to tell the American people why he has vast sums of money socked away in Swiss and Caymen Island accounts. He needs to release this information along with tax returns going back to the first time he ran for public office about twenty years ago.

Henry said...

@Andy R -- You're looking especially desperate today.

Chuck66 said...

Well, the companies he invests in paid a 35% income tax on the money, so you could say Romney pays a 50% tax on the income of his invested companies.

traditionalguy said...

The mystery returns will be 2008 and 2009. Mitt is a secret keeper by nature. He hates openness about anything. Just Trust Me is his motto.

He needs to keep secret the evidence that he was the exploiter of FNMA and FHLMC stock ownership, but brilliantly bailed out and/or shorted just in time.

Those are private companies using a Federal Charter. They made many men rich between 1999 and 2008 using the new insane credit risk strategy to corner the home loan market and take huge commissions, bonuses and stock dividends from the golden flow.

And secrecy is a wise position to take, especially when you are in a blame game with other people for being politicians who did not stop the abuses that you were using to get wealthier.

Chuck66 said...

Andy R, that is a good point. But many tax exempt organizations do worse things. Why is the NAACP tax exempt? Or some of the more outlandish enviromental groups?

Jay Retread said...

Romney should be more than happy to release this information, unless he has something to hide.

bagoh20 said...

I'm betting that Romney paid for Andy R.'s fair share and a lot of other people's too. A simple thank you would suffice, but you don't hear much gratitude form the left. It's all more along the lines of "give me stuff."

Henry said...

@Jay Retread -- It's hardly a mystery.

It actually serves your purposes -- that of suggesting nefarious profiteering and plutocratic excess -- to maintain the mystery.

EMD said...

Romney needs to tell the American people why he has vast sums of money socked away in Swiss and Caymen Island accounts.

"Because I'm not stupid."

Done.

Henry said...

In line with Chuck66, I don't think churches should be tax exempt.

Is the NAACP tax exempt or a non-profit? There's a difference.

I ♥ Willard said...

As much as I ♥ Willard, I wish he would keep quiet about his association with the Mormon cult. It's bad enough that he's a cult member; why does he have to keep bragging about being a dues-paying cult member in good standing?

Brennan said...

Romney releasing 20 years of tax returns will make Obamacare a job creating machine.

A Democratic operative told me this. It must be true. And if it works on a focus group it will work on the American people.

Andy R. said...

I tried googling and can't find out what percent of Mormon tithing is spent on philanthropy and what is spent on church activities. I found one page that said that the church only releases this information in countries where it is legally required to (i.e. in the UK but not the US), although the guy seemed like an anti-mormon crank so I'd rather find another source on that.

I realize the mormons have charities, but are they spending most of mitt's donations on new buildings and fancy temples? Does anyone have the numbers?

Also, I realize that the government classifies giving to a church as "charity" but I'm asking why that is the case. I don't necessarily agree or believe something just because the government says it is so. I thought many of you don't either. If the government didn't call it charity, would you call it charity if Mitt donated a million dollars to the Mormon church so they could build a fancy new temple?

William said...

When Chrystie ran against Corzine in NJ, Corzine's wealth was not an issue. The important issue was Chrystie's overeating. Can someone explain the vital difference between rich Democrats and rich Republicans. I would also appreciate a differentiation between the Mormonism of Romney and that of Harry Reid and the Udalls.

shiloh said...

"Remember when the Clinton's counted underwear as charitable contributions?

How about Al Gore's $353 to charity?"

Jay deflecting/whining again ~ but, but, but Clinton and now Al Gore lol. ok, at least Jay is consistent. :D

And Althouse is still smitten w/mittens, so she's consistent as well. :)

bagoh20 said...

In the general election we will likely see a race between two successful rich men. One made his money by saving and creating jobs through smart use of capital and resources and the willingness to make painful choices to turn failures into successes. The other guy got rich by writing stories about himself and being "clean and articulate."

If you have to think that decision over for a while, I hope your shoes are marked "left and right".

Joe said...

What exactly makes giving money to the Mormon church a charitable contribution?

The tax code. You can also deduct your charitable contributions to NPR and a myriad of other organizations.

I ♥ Willard said...

I dearly love Willard but I'm not keen on the nickname Mitt. Mitt is a good name for the family lab or setter. You know, the kind of silly, hyperactive pet that you lock in a kennel and strap to the roof of the car when the family takes a long vacation.

Willard is a presidential name, similar to Millard or Rutherford. No one wants a president named Newt, Rick or Ron. Marketing is important. Willard needs to be reminded of that.

Pogo said...

The USA is royally screwed.

Thanks to Obama (via Alisnky and Marx), wealth gained by productive employment is bad, but wealth gained by unproductive work like lobbying, lawsuits, cronyism, and government corruption is good.

That the Democrats have been successfully demonizing hard work and lionizing being a tax-eater is a sure sign of disaster.

Democracies die when the majority vote themselves the wealth of the minority.

Goodbye, USA, and thanks for all the fish.

Bender said...

I can't believe that The Hat made a good point.

No one really cares about 2010. What Romney made or paid in 2010 is not the point. Rather, 2008 and 2009 are the point.

While Romney personally is attacking others (e.g. Newt) for what they did or did not do in 2006 or 2000 or 1995, Romney deflects and provides information about himself for the non sequitur of 2010.

Where are Myth Romney's 2008 and 2009 records?? Those are what he is hiding. Those are what he is afraid to disclose.

That's because those records would show that, while the economy was crashing largely because of the financial industry, and whle people were losing their jobs and having their mortgages foreclosed as a result, the elite Mitt the financier was making a handsome profit.

EMD said...

What exactly makes giving money to the Mormon church a charitable contribution?

The tax code. You can also deduct your charitable contributions to NPR and a myriad of other organizations.


Exactly. Your beef should be with the architects of the code, not Romney for giving to his church under the same auspices as I do when I give old TVs to Goodwill.

pauldar said...

My guess, and of course this is just a guess, None of those speaking out about Romney not paying more in taxes than legally required, didnt pay one more penny than required themselves.

I know I did not even check the $1 box.

bwebster said...

The Mormon Church can say it is compulsory all they want.

But the LDS Church doesn't say that, at least as a membership requirement (as per your subsequent statement). After 44+ years of LDS membership, including serving in several leadership positions, I've never known any member whose church membership was called into question over tithing.

On the other hand, status as a 'full tithe payer' is essential to receive a 'temple recommend' (allowing one to attend the temple). But the key there is that said status is entirely self-declared: if I tell my bishop I'm a full tithe payer, he accepts my word, full stop. He doesn't ask to review my finances, ask me how I calculate tithing, etc.

For that matter, the LDS Church itself steadfastly refuses to define 'tithing' beyond what is found in a single passage in LDS scriptures, with the clarification that 'interest' means 'increase'.

In short, as far as the LDS Church is concerned, I'm a full tithe payer if I say I'm a full tithe payer. I don't have to explain, document or justify my declaration; I simply make it. The rest is between me and God. ..bruce..

Tank said...

He's paying $3M per year. Let's all compare that to what we each paid last year. Hmmmm. Looks to me like he's paying more than his share. Did he use that much more "government" than my wife and I did? Don't think so. The idea that he has to apologize in some way for paying way more than 47% of all the people in the US put together is absurd.

Let's see, we'll add up all the taxes paid by 160 million people .... and then compare to Romney let's see ... blah, blah, blah, carry the one, etc ... and he paid $3M per year more than all 160 million put together. Whew, what a tax cheat !!! Not fair. Not fair.

For those who don't think religious groups should be tax exempt, LOL, good luck changing that. I'm not religious, and don't really care, but really, you got a better chance of Ron Paul being elected than that happening.

bagoh20 said...

Mitt is his middle name - not a nickname.

EMD said...

That's because those records would show that, while the economy was crashing largely because of the financial industry, and whle people were losing their jobs and having their mortgages foreclosed as a result, the elite Mitt the financier was making a handsome profit.

Only class warmongers might have a problem with this.

Some people make money when others don't. Unless he did something clearly illegal, what's the problem, other than "bad optics"?q

James said...

>>Remember when the Clinton's counted underwear as charitable contributions?

How about Al Gore's $353 to charity ?<<

For a good laugh check out John Kerry's and Joe Biden's charitable contributions.

"Senator John Kerry, presidential candidate in 2004, gave nothing to charity in more than one year when he was a U.S. Senator. Before his marriage to Teresa Heinz (whose reported fortune was half a billion dollars), Kerry’s 1991–1995 charitable contributions
were ($0, $820, $175, $2039, $0), less than one-half of one percent of his income for the period. In contrast, private citizen George W. Bush gave ($28,236, $31,914, $31,292) in 1991–1993. His highest giving was 15.7 percent of income and his average 9.1 percent."

Biden gave average of $369 to charity a year

"Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden and his wife gave an average of $369 a year to charity during the past decade, his tax records show.

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's campaign today released 10 years' worth of tax returns for Biden, a senator from Delaware, and his wife Jill, a community college instructor. The Bidens reported earning $319,853 last year, including $71,000 in royalties for his memoir, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics.

The Bidens reported giving $995 in charitable donations last year — about 0.3% of their income and the highest amount in the past decade. The low was $120 in 1999, about 0.1% of yearly income.

Over the decade, the Bidens reported a total of $3,690 in charitable donations, or 0.2% of their income."

shiloh said...

"The important issue was Chrystie's overeating. Can someone explain the vital difference between rich Democrats and rich Republicans. I would also appreciate a differentiation between the Mormonism of Romney and that of Harry Reid and the Udalls."

Please provide source link info sayin' weight was the "important" issue in that NJ race. No, IIRC Corzine's job approval was subterranean ie low 30s which is why Christie won w/48.5%.

The difference between mittens and Reid is Reid is not running for president, plus the plethora of mittens flip/flops on every political issue ie mittens is a moderate Dem running for the Rep presidential nominee ie a RINO.

take care

Joe said...

...should pay half the rate that regular Americans pay.

Your link?

Here's a good analysis: http://www.taxfoundation.org/blog/show/27899.html

Brennan said...

If the government didn't call it charity, would you call it charity if Mitt donated a million dollars to the Mormon church so they could build a fancy new temple?

The First Amendment will explain it to you.

X said...

14% sounds even better than 15%. 14% should be enough for the government.

Henry said...

Andy R. I agree with you. I don't think the IRS should treat religious donations as charity.

I'm ambivalent about the charitable deduction as a whole. Maybe it's a greater good. I'm not convinced.

The money the Mormon Church spends on a temple, another charity might spend on salaries. Or on a temple of their own. A temple to labor. A temple to ego. A temple to college football.

Many charities have ridiculous overhead costs and should not be supported. Many nonprofits are borderline scams that replace responsibility to shareholders with generous compensation for their officers. There is nothing noble about being nonprofit.

shiloh said...

No bagoh2o, Mitt is mittens first name.

Yes, Willard even flip/flops re: his name lol.

Willard, Willard, Willard go to your room! :D

take care

Pogo said...

"14% should be enough for the government."

Absolutely.

The Democrats won't say it aloud, but they want 100%.

In fact, they refuse to identify a top tax rate that is enough.

Hell the Democratic Party motto is It's Never Enough.

Well, it oughtta be.

bagoh20 said...

Something I don't like about the tax code is that charity is so narrowly defined. I give to official charities, but most of my charity goes to people I know who need help. 100% of that goes directly to the needy, but I still have to pay 46% (Fed + CA) income tax on it. Both me and the needy are being ripped off by a bunch of douches in suits working on their legacy.

traditionalguy said...

Romney won some points for being a faith ful tither, Tithing is a way to put God first in the most important activity all people do, which is handle money.

The weird thing is that it seems to work whether the God that the Church puts its faith in is Jehovah, Allah, the original Jesus or the Latter Day Jesus. The blessings returned for that faithfulness act seem to be like gravity...it always works.

Bender said...

What TradGuy said too.

Make no mistake, Romney is no poster boy for capitalism, he is no patron saint of an authentic free market.

Conservatives who do believe in genuine capitalism and an authentic free market have no obligation to be a shill for, or defender of, Romney in his financial dealings any more than we should rally to George Soros or Jon Corzine or other manipulators of the markets.

Lyssa said...

Bender said: That's because those records would show that, while the economy was crashing largely because of the financial industry, and whle people were losing their jobs and having their mortgages foreclosed as a result, the elite Mitt the financier was making a handsome profit.

Exactly why I support Mr. Romney for president. I'm impressed by someone who can make good in normal times. I'm doublely impressed by someone who can make good in difficult times. That's the kind of person we need to fix things in Washington.

Andy R. said...

Just because something is legal doesn't mean it is good or moral or ethical or whatever framework you want to use.

A lot of Americans don't actually approve of making hundreds of millions of dollars as a vulture capitalist by bankrupting firms, firing workers, and destroying pensions.

"But it was legal!" is not going to work as a defense. He should defend his actual record, and lying about the number of jobs he created isn't going to be that defense.

Jay Retread said...

Fine. If Romney has nothing to be ashamed of then he should release all of his tax returns. Otherwise he is clearly hiding something.

Andy R. said...

To be clear, if someone asked me what charity is, I wouldn't say, "charity is what the federal tax code lists as charity and not-charity are things you can't get a charitable deduction for."

That would be a really weird answer. Based on my own loose definition, I wouldn't consider a lot of mormon church spending as "charitable".

Joe said...

Americans do approve of people who makes lots of other people money and who save companies, which Romney did more often than not (and at a higher rate than most investors.)

Out of curiosity, Andy, are you claiming any exemptions, deductions or credits on your taxes? If you have both capitol losses and gains, are you offsetting your gains or going the "ethical" route? Why don't you post your returns for the last two years and we'll take pot shots at it?

Ann Althouse said...

"Well, the companies he invests in paid a 35% income tax on the money, so you could say Romney pays a 50% tax on the income of his invested companies."

This is an important point about double taxation, but the arithmetic is off, since he's paying 15% on what was left after the 50% was taken out. When you add 15 + 35, you're treating it as if the whole percent was taken out at step 1.

Joe said...

Andy, that's not the question. The question is "what qualifies as a charitable contribution?" (as per the US tax code for income tax reporting purposes.)

For the record; I think the government should get rid of itemizing and charitable contributions and all "non-profit" corporations. I don't believe churches should be tax exempt. However, I don't see that changing any time soon.

Jay Retread said...

Correct Andy. His records will show that he made tens of millions on deals by destroying companies and jobs leaving other creditors holding the bag. He gamed the system by paying himself/Bain "fees", not by turning companies around financially.

In the end this will come out. I hope it comes out after he is the nominee. :)

Writ Small said...

They made many men rich between 1999 and 2008 using the new insane credit risk strategy to corner the home loan market and take huge commissions, bonuses and stock dividends from the golden flow.

Romney left Bain in 1999.

Newt's "documentary" used distorted examples largely after 2000. I wonder why that was.

Henry said...

@Andy R. -- You do note that after the $4.1M to the Mormon Church, Romney gave an additional $2.9M to other charities. You can muse all you want about the meaning of charitable donations to churches, but you haven't defined away Romney's charity.

Bender said...

He gamed the system

And gaming the system is not capitalism or free marketeering. Manipulating the system, creative accounting practices, stifling competition by merger-and-acquisition, skimming off the top, market bubble creation, are abuses of capitalism, they are acts of an unfree market.

Tank said...

Brennan said...
If the government didn't call it charity, would you call it charity if Mitt donated a million dollars to the Mormon church so they could build a fancy new temple?

The First Amendment will explain it to you.


Not really. The First does not require religious groups and entities to be treated differently than others. I'm not an expert by any means, but pretty sure this is the judicial gloss added on. A matter of longstanding interpretation.

bagoh20 said...

"In the end this will come out. I hope it comes out after he is the nominee. :)"

Dude, his track record is well documented and it's been out there for a while. Read it. You will learn that he was much better than most at turning impending failures into successes resulting in more jobs and wealth than if he didn't get involved.

Now how would that skill, experience and understanding help a president of the U.S. in the current economic climate?

Compare that to being able to write 2 books about yourself popular among the Oprah viewers who sit home all day with nothing valuable to do but improve sales of Bon Bons and wait for the government check to arrive.

James said...

So did Romney pay the legally required amount or not?

Geoff Matthews said...

Andy,

Mormon missionaries typically pay their own way, or receive donations from people. The LDS church doesn't pay people to become missionaries.

There was a book written about 15 years ago that had a chapter on the LDS church's finances, but I can't remember its name. Time magazine did an excerpt on this chapter.

Bender said...

I'm doublely impressed by someone who can make good in difficult times. That's the kind of person we need to fix things in Washington.

Me-first manipulators we do not need. Washington is already filled with Romney-types, especially in the economic and finance positions. Exploitation is not a virtue.

The captain of the Costa Concordia made good too in bad times. Self-greed is not a virtue, nor is it politically desirable.

dreams said...

The liberal media didn't care about John Kerry's big money that he married into. Of course Mrs John Kerry had previously married into the Heinz forture herself. Rich Democrats good, rich republicans bad.

Bender said...

The Romney shills are making great arguments for electing Warren Buffett or George Soros, both of whom were more "successful" than Romney, for president.

dbp said...

The combination of the two taxes comes out to 44.75%

Andy R. said...

It's not how much money he has, it's how he made the money and how much he thinks he people (including himself) should be paying in taxes. At least engage with the arguments that Romney's critics are making.

Seeing Red said...

One year we gave more to charity than Al Bore.

shiloh said...

hmm, a deflection to John Kerry. Indeed comparing Kerry to mittens might be apt as they were/are both Wooden Indians.

And yes, Teresa Heinz had the $$$ and she wasn't running for president, so an out of the box deflection lol ~ congrats!

Won wonders how many votes she lost for hubby every time she opened her mouth ie Laura Bush never had a real job, etc.

I digress as Kerry didn't need any help losing votes. No, the wind surfer did fine by himself. :D

Seeing Red said...

I resent that remark, Bender. Typical tunnel vision. Not everyone "making good" is a millionaire or making millions or even a million, there are a lot of SBOs who are managing to keep their income steady and people employed.

Brennan said...

The Romney shills are making great arguments for electing Warren Buffett or George Soros, both of whom were more "successful" than Romney, for president.

When they submit papers for elected office come back and clean this cauldron of trolls.

Andy R. said...

"What, exactly, is conservative about a tax system stacked so that the ultrarich make massive profits from it, while working men and women pay a much higher rate on their income? Is the essence of conservatism protecting the privileges of the few at the expense of the many? If so, we lose. We are not egalitarians, and justice doesn’t require economic leveling. But soaking the rich isn’t what we’re talking about here; we’re talking about making them pay the same rate of tax as most ordinary people. You’re not supposed to talk about this on the Right, but why not? Why is this a question only liberals and Democrats are allowed to ask?"
-(Conservative) Rod Dreher

dreams said...

Althouse is correct Romney has already paid taxes on that money, double taxation and even triple taxation when you count the tax the corperation pays,the tax he pays on dividends and then the tax he pays again on the profit if any when he sells a stock. Most voters don't know that.

shiloh said...

One wonders and apologies to wooden indians.

edutcher said...

Somebody at one point wanted the last 12 years.

Were I Milton, I'd remind them the IRS only requires 7.

Andy R. said...

Why won't he release more than two years? What's he hiding?

Hatman is the weird nephew they keep in the attic.

Just because something is legal doesn't mean it is good or moral or ethical or whatever framework you want to use.

Hatman rejects religion, except probably the ROP because he's a good little dhimmi, but he feels qualified to judge on goodness and morality.

Can't wait to hear his moral code.

Brennan said...

It's not how much money he has, it's how he made the money and how much he thinks he people (including himself) should be paying in taxes.

Is this not clear already? His plan says he thinks people should pay 15% in income taxes.

Mitt cannot make you read anything or listen to anything. You actually have to do this.

Hagar said...

Funny in all this pro and con there is no mention of Mitt Romney taking charge of the Salt Lake City Olympics and making a success out of them, when they were headed for disaster.

Likewise with Massachusetts, Romneycare and all. Massachusetts is Massachusetts, and they wanted a state health welfare system. Romney herded one through that the majority (anyone have the percentages?) agreed on.

Romney is not a natural politician. He is a manager, and a good one.

As for his tax returns, I do not know why he babbled so when challenged to produce them. My impression is that it was a personal quirk rather than anything rational. The way things are, he should have been prepared for it, and he wasn't. I do not think candidates should release their tax returns in the first place, and I would have been with Romney if he had told the MSM to stuff it, but that is not our Mittens.

Whatever, we all know Romney is wealthy (though still not in the Clintons league, I believe), but until now there never has been a question about his wealth being honestly come by.

DADvocate said...

Great post. I've been wondering what Romney gave to charity, couldn't find much on it the other day.

Gingrich attacks Romney on how much Romney paid in taxes and Gingrish is proposing taxes that would allow Romney to pay even less. Gingrich is nuts.

Romney is rich. I'm glad. Why would I want a president who's a failure or did something totally unproductive like community organizing. Give me a guy who has a track record of success, not just for himself, but for the entities with/for which he's worked.

Andy R. said...

Is this not clear already? His plan says he thinks people should pay 15% in income taxes.

I realize that. I'm saying people are upset that he thinks he should pay so little in taxes. Many of us don't mind him being rich, we just think he should pay more in taxes and we object to him offering a plan that wouldn't require more of him.

Brennan said...

Rod Dreher is out of the loop.

The GOP has talked about tax policy on income and capital gains for 50 years. The Conservative movement also talks about it.

It's a lot like you. You actually have to read and listen to the material. It doesn't just arrive on your doorstep or inbox.

dbp said...

An additional feature of the long terms capital gains tax is that it is not indexed for inflation.

You might cash-in an equity which has increased in price at a rate lower than inflation. You still pay 15% on the nominal gain.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hoosier Daddy said...

Why does Mitt have to justify his following the current tax law?

Out of curiosity, for those who think the rich should pay more because they earn more, should they pay a higher price for groceries or gas? Should they be subject to a higher sales tax as well? I'm asking on the basis of fairness because it seems odd that you should have to pay more because you're wealthy but not be entitled to any additional benefits that someone gets who pays no income tax.

bagoh20 said...

"But soaking the rich isn’t what we’re talking about here; we’re talking about making them pay the same rate of tax as most ordinary people."

You should know damned well that people who pay primarily capital gains taxes are not like ordinary people. Ordinary people don't invest in the creation of jobs. That's why it's the discount to capital investment.

Unfortunately, people like me who create jobs directly by running businesses pay the highest rates of all if we are successful. Still I'm thankful for the people who invest capital, for without them, I could not succeed either, but we should get some love too. Small business owners create the majority of the jobs yet pay the highest taxes of all. We should have a superhero to represent us.

Seeing Red said...

What are you talking about Andy? Most people think they should pay less in taxes and others more. that's human nature.

dbp said...

A left-wing Facebook friend had claimed that Romney's 15% rate was a "lot lower" than what a teacher, policeman or nurse pay. So I ran the numbers: A policeman with a wife and two kids and an income of $100,000 would pay federal income taxes of 14.9%

Seeing Red said...

Shhh, I think Denmark does that with their auto insurance. Some Zeropean country does that. There was an article somewhere.

MayBee said...

Remember when Joe Biden released his tax returns in 2008 and we saw that he gave about 0.15% to charity? That same year, we saw the Obamas had given 5.8% - 6.1% of their income to charity.

How I viewed this was, these were two wealthy men (by their own definition) who obviously don't feel they have so much money that they need to get rid of more of it- either to charity or to the Federal Government.
Obama and Biden both felt they had a need for their own money.

So why do they think other people feel so different?

Brennan said...

I realize that. I'm saying people are upset that he thinks he should pay so little in taxes. Many of us don't mind him being rich, we just think he should pay more in taxes and we object to him offering a plan that wouldn't require more of him.

Mitt Romney paid the 15% capital gains and dividend tax rate. What should that rate be?

shiloh said...

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.

With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
~ JFK

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem ...

carry on

Andy R. said...

What are you talking about Andy? Most people think they should pay less in taxes and others more.

Millionaires ask Congress to raise their taxes

Actually, some people value their country over their own personal gain. Also, some people wouldn't bankrupt businesses, destroy pensions, and fire workers just because they could make a quarter of a billion dollars.

There are some things more important than having a really really big beach house.

X said...

I'm saying people are upset that he thinks he should pay so little in taxes.


Keep yappin' Andy. I'm not upset he pays so little. I'm jealous. When he's at 14% and I'm at 35% I don't wonder why his isn't higher, I wonder why mine isn't lower. 14% sounds great.

Henry said...

A policeman with a wife and two kids and an income of $100,000 would pay federal income taxes of 14.9%

Apparently that's a policeman that doesn't make any pre-tax contributions to a 401K or 403B, Health Insurance, Medical Savings Account, or 529; who doesn't itemize charity, interest payments on a mortgage, or local property taxes.

Nice gig.

Seeing Red said...

Thanks for showing us what hypocrites rich dems are, shiloh. All they ever had to do was open up their checkbook instead of whining tax me more.

Seeing Red said...

She's a SAHM, or she's a school teacher, then they can easily pull $100-$150 in my area.

dbp said...

The mistake the left makes is thinking that our country = our government

dreams said...

Blogger bagoh20 said...

You should know damned well that people who pay primarily capital gains taxes are not like ordinary people. Ordinary people don't invest in the creation of jobs. That's why it's the discount to capital investment.

Anyone can buy stocks and when you own stocks, you are double and sometimes even triple taxed. You don't have to be rich to own stocks, just someone who aspires to be rich or at least better off.

Peter said...

'Henry' wrote, "Many charities have ridiculous overhead costs and should not be supported."


But the question is: who decides whether they should be supported- you, the government, the potential donor?

I'd vote for the potential donor. If idiots want to give away their money to every charity that sends them a flies-in-the-eyes pity picture and a "free gift" trinket, so be it- it's their money.

The alternative to charity is government's so-called safety net. Yet charities often do a better and more efficient job of (for example) looking after the homeless.

Because, government creates entitlements, which leaves them unable to demand anything of those they supposedly serve. Whereas charities are free to demand that those they help work at least as hard to help themselves. As a result, charities often get better results than government programs. And they do it without first serving an entitled class of government employees.

Of course, charities are far from perfect. What isn't? At least organizations like Charity Navigator are working to help donors do a better job of selecting charities they wish to support.

X said...

If we lowered the income tax rate there wouldn't be as big a spread between the rates the rich and the middle class pay and fairness would be increased by a tax cut.

Seeing Red said...

My grandfather was working class and owned stocks, my parents working class and always owned stocks. We learned about stock ownership in grade school, I even had a semester of basic econ then.

garage mahal said...

Nice gig.

Strange, Romney is not a cop, nor did he advise his kids to be public workers, where all the action is at.

Bender said...

Funny in all this pro and con there is no mention of Mitt Romney taking charge of the Salt Lake City Olympics and making a success out of them, when they were headed for disaster

Oh, we have talked plenty about Romney's experience as an event planner.

Again, if that is the criteria for a great candidate for president, then there are countless others who have essentially done the same thing, and even better. Why not support the execs of the NFL for all the great work they do producing the playoffs and Super Bowl each year?

That Romney made money is, in itself, no reason to vote for him or to urge others to do so or to think that he would be a good or even competent president.

Hillary made a killing in the cattle futures market, but that is no indicator that she would be a good president.

Henry said...

Andy R -- Speaking for myself, I think a progressive income tax with a spread from 10 to 30% is a fine thing.

But income tax doesn't really address Romney's situation. His low rate comes from the way we tax capital gains. Our system doesn't do a good job of taxing people who make money from money, for many reasons. Perhaps we should tax consumption instead, but that's a non-starter.

But in the end, I really don't care about the rich. I would like the tax code to be simpler, but even if such a thing were possible, it won't stop the rich from continuing to make heaps of money. And no matter how much you tax the rich, you're not going to pay for the government at the rate it burns money. The only hope for that is broad-based taxes and a growing economy.

Your entire argument is not about tax policy or economics, but about perceptions. And I don't care about perceptions.

I'd rather have a growing economy.

shiloh said...

Seeing Red

On a related topic ;) Ever since my first political post back in the day, have wondered what the "this process" added to society as a whole.

Indeed, political blogging has and will never solve an social/economic/political problem so one can equate it to makin' doodles on a piece of paper ie about the same amount of brain usage.

And when people blow a fuse re: blogging whether they be liberal or conservative, you just have to sit back and smile at their misplaced anger.

As always, political blogging is good for entertainment and maybe it may help someone from going postal. :D as in collecting stamps ie it keeps them busy.

So ends my psychological/social analysis of political blogging.

carry on

Mark Nielsen said...

Another clarification about charitable donations (from a Mormon bishop): it's probably not all tithing. In addition to tithing (defined only as 10% of increase), Mormons are encouraged to fast for two meals once each month and donate at least the money they would have spent on those meals -- much more if they can afford it. That "fast offering" money goes strictly to assisting the poor.

Additionally, most Mormons contribute to other church funds beyond tithing and fast offerings. The church maintains a Humanitarian Relief Fund that is used to aid disaster victims world-wide regardless of religious affiliation, and an education fund that goes to assist members from poor countries.

So, yes, a lot of what "Brother Romney" donated to the LDS church would fit the label "charity" by any reasonable definition.

MayBee said...

Your entire argument is not about tax policy or economics, but about perceptions. And I don't care about perceptions.

That's Obama's goal though, isn't it? He can't produce a good budget, he is afraid to address any real reforms, so he pretends that he needs to fix this goshdarn "unfairness" before anything else can be addressed.

traditionalguy said...

@ Brennan...There is no dividend tax rate on pass through investment entities. I would be astounded if a C corp was used.

Romney would only use a C corp if he wanted to do a stock issue to let the public in on his hot business deals.

Romney has been a politician for 18 years too. He just lost 7 out of 9 elections. But he has the needed indsider sources.

I bet all of the Romney PAC money comes from a small group that are also unit owners most of his pass through LLLPs and LLCs.

Those do entities buy stock and land, and sell stock and land...all capital gains realized when it is ripe to do so and held in the Caymans until then.

bagoh20 said...

Andy, don't you think it a little suspicious that those millionaires would ask congress to raise their taxes when all they have to do it just quietly pay more, but they don't. Maybe the altruistic motives they want you to swallow are not really there. And I bet they all too have really nice big beach homes, that they will not be donating to the government. Don't be such a sucker for what rich guys feed you. They are playing you, and you like it. They know that their grandstanding will not make the tax rate go one way or the other, but they also know they get suckers like you to call them heroes and it won't cost them a cent. "And, could you get me another cocktail, before you wash the deck."

Peter said...

""But soaking the rich isn’t what we’re talking about here; we’re talking about making them pay the same rate of tax as most ordinary people."


If you want to charge capital gains as ordinary income, then surely the least you can do would be to also index them for inflation?

If I sell an asset (financial or otherwise) for the same or less than its inflation-adjusted cost to me, why should I pay a tax on that "gain"?

For that matter, mutual fund owners pay tax on the dividends earned by the funds- even though the dividends are retained by the fund.

That is, it's not uncommon to owe tax on mutual fund investments even when these investments have lost value and the investor has not received any money from the investment.

For that matter, if you own a savings account and it pays you that princely oen percent interest you must pay tax on that one percent. Even though your savings account has actually lost value if inflation was greater than one percent.

The reality is, the U.S. tax code is punative toward those who save, with the result that few Americans save much of anything and thus remain dependent on government to look after them as they have no "rainy day" fund.

In short, government really should reform how it taxes investment income. Especially as it's already taxed the income that was earned before the remainder was used to buy the investments.

Not that I'd expect the yahoos braying and bleating about Romney's tax return to understand or care about any of this.

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

What are you talking about Andy? Most people think they should pay less in taxes and others more.

Millionaires ask Congress to raise their taxes


You mean the Lefty millionaires who are waiting for their payoff from Barry?

Henry said...

@Garage -- It's a hypothetical.

Ken said...

Anyone interested in actually understanding taxes, please read <a href="http://www.thebigquestions.com/2012/01/18/mitt-romneys-taxes/>this</a> before commenting. The 14-15% claim is bogus. The actual rate is much higher.

Joe said...

Millionaires ask Congress to raise their taxes

And every last one of them was being a posturing hypocrite since they could have voluntarily paid more money to the government. I'll also wager that had congress specifically changed the tax code at their bequest, every last one of them would have had their CPAs figure out how to not pay those taxes, or at least greatly reduce them.

For the record:

"Financial gifts can be made by check or money order payable to the United States Treasury and mailed to the address below.

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782"

Seeing Red said...

Who blew a fuse? I was LMAO. Ohh, so that's why you're here? So you don't go postal?

Bill S. said...

We are in big trouble as a country when we villify success stories like Romney's. Here is a guy that achieved in a capitalist system and paid taxes under the law---fair & square. And why is that bad? Seems to me that this country is sorely in need of someone with a track record of success in business (not govt) that can straighten out the mess in Washington DC.

EFB said...

Give me a break. Giving to your church is not a requirement and NOT charity. Also, if it is a requirement than it's not charity!

Jay Retread said...

Romney/Bain gamed the system and made millions (through "fees") on deals where the companies were then highly leveraged and then bankrupted leave thousands without jobs and creditors holding the bag.

Romney will not only not be president he will end up going to prison. He is the Republican John Edwards. The difference is that the Democrats did not make Edwards their nominee.

Pastafarian said...

Althouse: "I also don't trust people to choose charities well."

That's why you're a modern liberal, Althouse. You're also a classical liberal, in that you're a free-speech absolutist. But your classical liberalism stops when we talk about property, ownership, and economic freedom.

You don't think people should be able to choose their charities because they might choose stupidly, giving to "Save the Puppies" because puppies are cute and fuzzy; instead, these ignorant rubes' money should be spent by their betters.

So that it can be directed to political cronies through vehicles like Solyndra. And it can be used to subsidize unemployment, so that we have more of it. And it can go to artists who fill jars with piss. And purchase rifles for Mexican drug cartels in a scheme to curtail second amendment rights. I could go on and on.

Even when the government's intentions are noble, the money they receive creates a bloated bureaucracy that would make the administrator of even the most inefficient private charity wince. As a charity, the government is the least efficient, in terms of percentage of contribution actually going to the charitable cause, in history.

Time is money, Althouse. We trade parts of our lives for that money. While we should certainly have to pay for the expense of government, we shouldn't have to pay anything other than that, and each person should only have to pay for services rendered. The forcible extraction of money by the government is tantamount to the forcible extraction of life, of time we have on earth.

shiloh said...

Bottom line, taxes are the least of mittens' many problems re: electability.

Likability

Personality er lack thereof

Not comfortable in his own skin

Flip/flopping history

All the negative accurate ad material his opponents have provided in the 2012 campaign as well as 2008 and when he ran against Ted Kennedy in 1994 losing 58/41.

Yes, he became MA governor w/less than 50% heavily outspending his opponent.

>

Again, his job plan er lack thereof will bury him in the presidential debates ... if he makes it that far.

Indeed, his taxes are inconsequential, but his continual refusal to release said tax returns is what makes him look bad, especially when you have a well documented reputation of a flip/flopper extraordinaire.

>

But please, let the tax discussion continue ...

Jay said...

shiloh said...

Jay deflecting/whining again ~ but, but, but Clinton and now Al Gore lol. ok, at least Jay is consistent. :D


Except there is nothing to whine about and I'm not "deflecting" anything by pointing out that Romney gives more to charity than leaders in the Democratic party.

Idiot.

MayBee said...

bagoh:Andy, don't you think it a little suspicious that those millionaires would ask congress to raise their taxes when all they have to do it just quietly pay more, but they don't.

They hide behind the idea that their own increased taxes wouldn't make a big difference, it has to be done collectively.

Of course, any increase they gave as an individual would be the equivalent of the entire federal tax bills of probably hundreds of middle class families.

Imagine Middle Class Guy telling the IRS he isn't paying his taxes this year because it just doesn't make a big enough difference.

Jay said...

Andy R. said...
"What, exactly, is conservative about a tax system stacked so that the ultrarich make massive profits from it, while working men and women pay a much higher rate on their income?


I love how you quote a "conservative" but fail to understand that what he said is not factually correct.

But of course you're not informed enough to understand that.

MayBee said...

Prior to being elected, Obama's primary charitable donation was to Wright's church.

Jay said...

y Retread said...
Fine. If Romney has nothing to be ashamed of then he should release all of his tax returns. Otherwise he is clearly hiding something.


And the number of times you've called for Obama or any Democratic candidate for any office to relase any records remains at zero.

I love how you people pretend to have credibility.

shiloh said...

"Prior to being elected, Obama's primary charitable donation was to Wright's church."

Continual conservative deflections aside, Obama is already president and this thread is about mittens.

traditionalguy said...

The tax rate on earned income is 38% plus local state tax if any.

That is the road block that keeps the Joe The Plumber types from starting businesses and crossing over into wealthy territory. That is on purpose.

The Investors pay 15 % plus state tax, if any. That is intentional since, like Romney, they buy the politicians they also despise.

EVERYBODY knows that the government takes close to all of its money from the earned incomes of the middle class.

That earned income stream is now and always will be the target for Obama's Gang, for the UN gang, and for Romney's Gang.

The investors are in cahoots with the Marxists and negotiate the spoils share through bought politicians.

And now you know why everybody is told that they must do their required 15 minutes of hate for Gingrich everyday.

He dares to favor working American middle class people.

That alone is why Newt is the Reagan Populist drawing the scorn of the media, the left wing and the right wing.

garage mahal said...

And the number of times you've called for Obama or any Democratic candidate for any office to relase any records remains at zero.

What about Obama!

also:

Where were you when ABC did/didn't do XYZ!?

Jay said...

Andy R. said...

Millionaires ask Congress to raise their taxes

Actually, some people value their country over their own personal gain.


Really? They why don't they make a voluntary contribution to the Bureau of Public Debt?

You are such a rube.

MayBee said...

Continual conservative deflections aside, Obama is already president and this thread is about mittens.

I thought people were also talking about tax fairness and charitable donations.

Is Obama running again? I thought so.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

What about Obama!


I love the fact that your sum understanding of reading comprehension amounts to that response.

Jay said...

shiloh said...

Continual conservative deflections aside, Obama is already president and this thread is about mittens.



Obama is running for President, he is a candidate.

And the question remains, why do you and your silly ilk persist in holding Republican candidates to a different standard and pretend you are credible?

edutcher said...

shiloh said...

"Prior to being elected, Obama's primary charitable donation was to Wright's church."

Continual conservative deflections aside, Obama is already president and this thread is about mittens


Thank you, Professor Althouse.

Actually, the thread's about former Governor Romney's taxes and what bearing they have on the campaign, so Little Zero's charitable contributions are relevant.

But it's understandable why all the Lefties want to veer the conversation away from Barry participation in the Church of Perpetual Racist Hatred.

You want to talk about mittens, there are many fashion blogs on the 'Net.

MayBee said...

I'll note to people who are upset that others are commenting about Obama's tax returns on this very post....Althouse discusses Obama's tax returns in this very post.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... "But soaking the rich isn’t what we’re talking about here; we’re talking about making them pay the same rate of tax as most ordinary people."

Cool. That will also include those poor retirees who supplement their income with dividend earnings.

shiloh said...

btw, the Andy/Jay back in forth is somewhat amusing albeit mostly never on topic.

Hence, therefore, ergo Althouse must find them slightly amusing.

It increases the blog count if nothing else. :-P

>

ok folks, back to mittens ...

Chip S. said...

Joe posted the relevant data @9:50 AM, but apparently nobody wants the facts to stand in the way of a good time. Nonetheless, here are the actual average personal income tax rates (pct. of AGI) by selected income classes in 2009:

all filers: 11.06%

bottom half: 1.85%

third quartile: 5.56%

top quartile: 14.68%

top 10%: 18.05%

top 5%: 20.46%

top 1%: 24.01%

top 0.1%: 24.28%

shiloh said...

"Althouse discusses Obama's tax returns in this very post."

Indeed, as she deflects as well since she's smitten w/mittens!

Jay said...

shiloh said...

Continual conservative deflections aside, Obama is already president and this thread is about mittens.


Actually, the thread mentions Obama's & Biden's charitible donations.

I realize you hate when it is revealed that the party you vote for donates so little to charity, which is why you're trying to deflect.

TosaGuy said...

Guesstimate your tax rate here.

Jay said...

If you think that's a good idea — isn't it, in the abstract?

The question is, why is it even a good idea in the abstract when it has never, ever been done well in human history?

Matthew said...

"Actually, some people value their country over their own personal gain."

Did they cut Uncle Sam a check?

"He is the Republican John Edwards. The difference is that the Democrats did not make Edwards their nominee."

Romney is lying about a love child and using campaign funds to cover it?

Dante said...

I don't care about the warm feelings of self-love that flood the brains of charitable givers. I care about competently dealing with real needs and avoiding waste and corruption.

Ann, in my view government creates more "real need" in three ways.

a) It changes the definition of "need."
b) It encourages state dependence, increasing the roles of people with needs.
c) It pushes the entire country to a state of dependence.

In my view, the end game of the government borrowing all this compassion from unborn generations is a two tier society and the destruction of the middle class.

At least we will have done it in a needful way?

Rusty said...

What exactly makes giving money to the Mormon church a charitable contribution? Were they spending that money feeding and clothing the homeless?

Or were they spending it to send missionaries to foreign countries to convert more people to be Mormons? Does that count as charity?



Yes

Patrick said...

"To be clear, if someone asked me what charity is, I wouldn't say, "charity is what the federal tax code lists as charity and not-charity are things you can't get a charitable deduction for." "

I guess that is one (of likely many) differences between you and I. When I make a donation, I don't consider whether the State approves or not.

Jay said...

What I can't wait for is Obama to release his tax return showing millions in income, an 18% effective tax rate and 5% in charitable contributions.

I bet Andy R will be all up in arms about this.

Tank said...

Ann:

I also don't trust people to choose charities well. (They'll give for the cure of diseases that attack sympathetic people and shell out big time for dogs and cats.) And I don't trust charities to handle vast pools of money properly. Unlike many conservatives, I don't care about the warm feelings of self-love that flood the brains of charitable givers. I care about competently dealing with real needs and avoiding waste and corruption.

Hey Ann, it's not your fucking money. If people want to throw their cash into the toilet and flush, it's still not your fucking money.

You don't own me, you don't own my money, and you don't own my property. Keep your fucking hands off it. I don't need your help to figure out who to give my money to. If I want to waste it on crap, it's mine to waste. I earned it, you did not.

Jesus Christ, George Washington would have blown your head off for this nonsense. This is why we're not still part of England.

Jay said...

Andy R. said...

Millionaires ask Congress to raise their taxes

Actually, some people value their country over their own personal gain.


I love the fact that you automatically assume that calling for (but of course not paying) more in taxes means you value your country.

You can't bring yourself to ask what value is being given to the American public by the $3.6 trillion per year federal leviathan.

You just assume taxes = automatic public good.

Demonstrating you're not that bright and easily misled.

Cedarford said...

Althouse - "I don't trust the government to determine the needs and dispense the money properly. I also don't trust people to choose charities well. (They'll give for the cure of diseases that attack sympathetic people and shell out big time for dogs and cats.) And I don't trust charities to handle vast pools of money properly. Unlike many conservatives, I don't care about the warm feelings of self-love that flood the brains of charitable givers.
"

=============
Good points.

1. I would add that warm feelings of self-love come to liberals and compassionate conservatives that borrow or give taxpayer money to others by government fiat. Or other precious things of America to those who haven't done anything to deserve it - like gifting US citizenship and a plethora of free benefits on illegals - free healthcare, free schools, free lawyers if you do crimes..

2. Conservatives have a bad argument that "the average citizen" is a wise donor that will determine the best use of tax deductable dollars in "the marketplace of the needy".
What you end up with is:

A: Belief that breast cancer is the only cancer that matters and needs money collected at every store and event. Only diseases besides that that affect cute white children like "Jerry's Kidz" counts..
B: Huge eyes, limid-eyes, flat round faced animals trigger barren women's maternal instincts. Well known fact studied in great depth by psychologists and ad people that make fortunes consulting with rich charity heads on how to make the "right" funds pitch. Infant-looking dogs, cats, pandas, baby seals - worth money. Endangered bugs? Not so much.

C. Private charity always warped by "cause du jours" that divert money from greatest need too special groups that become overflowing with dollars and pump it into lavish wasted spending on both the organizers and the supposed "needy".

Pay money so rock superstars can jet around in Concordes and private learjets to raise yet more money feed the hungry children of Ethiopia. (For a year, then on to the next cause..the children of Chernobyl, etc.) Pay to help nonexistant POWs/MIAs in the 90s. The Heroes of 9/11 Funds that raked in billions. The noble hero victims of Katrina. (not the other 100 great natural disasters of the last 20 years in America) The ubiquitous breast cancer "hit you up for a dollar everywhere to show you care". Now the "Wounded Warrior Project" scam hitting most TV networks and pay for purchase website like eBay..

3. Yet government is also very flawed. The response of the much-derided Fundie Megachurches in the South, the Mormons - was far better than FEMA or dysfunctional government in Baton Rouge and NOLA managed - vastly better.
Yet on the same hand, Haley Barbour and Jeb Bush did superb jobs in handling their hurricane crises, and part of that was exerting command and control over charity resource coordination rather than leave it to various do-gooders to help where they felt like helping...

Chip S. said...

I care about competently dealing with real needs and avoiding waste and corruption.

Pure comment bait, right?

MayBee said...

What I can't wait for is Obama to release his tax return showing millions in income, an 18% effective tax rate and 5% in charitable contributions.

I expect this year for Obama to pay more in taxes than he has to (and than he has in years past).

It would be a great way for him to grandstand, and any extra money paid would be a small investment considering how much he stands to gain in the future if he is re-elected.

Jay said...

2. Conservatives have a bad argument that "the average citizen" is a wise donor that will determine the best use of tax deductable dollars in "the marketplace of the needy".
What you end up with is:

A: Belief that breast cancer is the only cancer that matters and needs money collected at every store and event


Um, fail.

Breast cancer is politically correct and pushed endlessly by the government and leftist media.

In fiscal year 2009, breast cancer research received $872 million worth of federal funding, while prostate cancer received $390 million.

You have become "opposite guy" of this blog. Whatever you post the opposite is known to be true.

I ♥ Willard said...

The Democrats won't say it aloud, but they want 100%.

The Democrats want 1000%!

I ♥ Willard said...

I'm doublely impressed by someone who can make good in difficult times. That's the kind of person we need to fix things in Washington.

Absolutely! I would vote for Scrooge McDuck if he were running.

damikesc said...

Romney should be more than happy to release this information, unless he has something to hide.

Obama's college transcripts and medical records are...where?

The mystery returns will be 2008 and 2009. Mitt is a secret keeper by nature. He hates openness about anything. Just Trust Me is his motto.

This is akin to "Bush went AWOL". No matter what evidence is presented, even if it is exactly what his critics say is needed to prove he didn't do it --- it will not be enough.

Actually, some people value their country over their own personal gain.

...andm ironically, while on Capitol Hill lobbying for that, a reporter brought along a tablet opened to the IRS page to make a payment to the debt.

http://lonelyconservative.com/2011/11/patriotic-millionaires-refuse-to-pony-up-to-pay-off-national-debt/

How many of these millionaires did so?

None.

They know they can hide their money because they grease the right palms. If they believed what they said, they'd have given the money to the IRS right there.

Cedarford said...

Tank - "Hey Ann, it's not your fucking money. If people want to throw their cash into the toilet and flush, it's still not your fucking money."

=================
Hey, and guess what, if the public thinks too much in charity dollars is flushed down the toilet to build fucking 22 million dollar air-conditioned Panda zoo housing at a cost of millions in lost tax revenue they can eliminate the fucking tax deduction for all charities.

By present tax policy, we subsidize some useless waste in charity dollars by some - making up for it in larger taxes on those who do not chip in for those wasteful charities.

So in a larger context, it IS public policy as long as tax writeoffs stay in the picture.

And even if writeoffs for buying Matisses for museums, free Yankees tickets for 9/11 Hero cops making 100K a year in bennies pay and pension costs, aid to Israeli charities, and money to nurture cute baby seagulls to health was eliminated...you would still have scrutiny of disparities of wealth. If bad enough that great societal instability would exist if the Top Dogs conspicuously wasted wealth in ostentatious displays in front of the large remaining mass of society.

That usually ends up in revolution, change..even replacement of societies as the people see no need to risk their blood for an aloof wealthy elite if some foreign conquerer or powerful band of domestic rivals comes to put everyone in the castles to the sword.

No, people are not free to be Marie Antionette...counting on the masses to heed the laws the aristocrats wrote.
Too much disparity in personal resources, along with lack of social mobility - means too much anger and resentment and desire for change for such a setup to last long for the Marie Antoinettes of history.

shiloh said...

Again, would like to thank Newt for doing all of Obama's "dirty work" for him re: mittens' record.

Thank you, thank you very much!

Love it when a plan comes together, now back to Romney's tax returns.

I ♥ Willard said...

I would like to add that Mittens is a good name for a kitten.

shiloh said...

"I would like to add that Mittens is a good name for a kitten."

Totally agree :) whereas for a C-in-C, not so much ...

I ♥ Willard said...

No matter what evidence is presented, even if it is exactly what his critics say is needed to prove he didn't do it --- it will not be enough.

Exactly!

And while we're on the subject, Obama needs to release video or photographic evidence of his mother giving birth.

bgates said...

I don't care about the warm feelings of self-love that flood the brains of charitable givers

She cares about the warm feelings of self-love that flood the brains of ageing law professors as they cast their votes for the black guy.

I ♥ Willard said...

Very few people know that Willard is part Scottish, just like Scrooge McDuck.

cubanbob said...

Exactly! The question isn't what he paid — unless he cheated — but what his tax policy for the country would be. Still, he really needs to be able to explain cogently and persuasively why capital gains are taxed the way they are. And he really needs to be able to convey why we should want a man who mostly worked in private finance to help us out with our finances.

Ann that the electorate has to be told why capital gains are taxed differently from ordinary income speaks volumes on just how bad the educational system in this country is. But then again the educational system is run almost entirely by democrats which explain the profound economic ignorance.

I ♥ Willard said...

And Willard was a member of the pep squad in prep school! All our best presidents have been cheerleaders.

Yay Willard!

Brennan said...

Very few people know that Willard is part Scottish, just like Scrooge McDuck.

This must mean that Willard can swim through his gold riches stockpile. I heard that's a Scottish trait.

EMD said...

"He is the Republican John Edwards. The difference is that the Democrats did not make Edwards their nominee."


Edwards droned on and on about Two Americas.

Romney, as far as I can tell, has not.

Tank said...

Cedarford said...
Tank - "Hey Ann, it's not your fucking money. If people want to throw their cash into the toilet and flush, it's still not your fucking money."

=================
Hey, and guess what, if the public thinks too much in charity dollars is flushed down the toilet to build fucking 22 million dollar air-conditioned Panda zoo housing at a cost of millions in lost tax revenue they can eliminate the fucking tax deduction for all charities.


C-4, I have no problem with this. My objection is to people, like Ann, who think they have the right to stick their hand in my pocket and spend my money because they're so smart and can spend it better than me. I would prefer to see a low flat tax with no exemptions or deductions of any kind.

I ♥ Willard said...

Scrooge McDuck uses Swiss bank accounts too.

I ♥ Willard said...

My objection is to people, like Ann, who think they have the right to stick their hand in my pocket and spend my money because they're so smart and can spend it better than me.

No one has the right to stick their hand in your pocket and spend your money just because you aren't smart.

This is America. Dummies have rights too.

EMD said...

My effective tax rate is 14.39%.

Marginal rate is 30%.

I made less than $45 million last year.

EMD said...

I (heart) WIllard has been on Blogger since January 2012.

How convenient.

Don said...

James Pethokoukis points out that Romney pays more than 60% of Americans as well as that no advanced country bleeds upper income people more than the US:

http://blog.american.com/2012/01/romneys-taxes-revealed/

Lets not forget that those 15% capital gains tax rates would have expired if President Obama had not extended them. Despite deserving credit for that, however, do you really want him deciding what to do about all of the tax provisions that expire in 2012?

http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/story/2012-01-20/taxes-capital-gains-individual-rates/52705032/1

I ♥ Willard said...

I (heart) WIllard has been on Blogger since January 2012.

I'm impressed with EMD's sleuthing skills and flattered to learn he cares. Will EMD be disappointed when he discovers no one else gives a damn?

Jay said...

Andy R. said...

I'm saying people are upset that he thinks he should pay so little in taxes. Many of us don't mind him being rich, we just think he should pay more in taxes


Um, those 15% capital gains tax rates would have expired if President Obama had not extended them.

You will vote for Obama.

36fsfiend said...

Ann said…

“…and I don't trust the government to determine the needs and dispense the money properly. I also don't trust people to choose charities well. And I don't trust charities to handle vast pools of money properly.”

Who do you trust?

William said...

Cedarford begs the question: If foolish people organize to spend money on silly charities, why would they not also organize to form politcal parties and spend money on silly government programs. Panda zoos are not any dumber than solar panels for Seattle. In the fullness of time, we may learn that panda hindquarters are tasty and delicious and naturally low in cholesterol. Our charitable work with pandas may be useful in the commercial farming of panda meat. At any rate there is absolutely no basis for a belief that governments spend money more wisely than charities.

William said...

Hussein's supporters find much merriment in Willard's middle name.

Chuck66 said...

Remember, an average non-profit retains 10% of donations for administrative work. Spends 90% on the actual good work (no, I don't have a link, and I doubt this number holds true for certain types of non-profits that hold a lot of "conferences" in nice places).

Government retails 30-35% to administer its programs. Again, no link, but just things I've read over time.

36fsfiend said...

Chuck66 said...

Remember, an average non-profit retains 10% of donations for administrative work. Spends 90% on the actual good work (no, I don't have a link, and I doubt this number holds true for certain types of non-profits that hold a lot of "conferences" in nice places).

Chuck,

Charity Navigator provides a breakout of that information on those charities that report their expenses.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/

Rusty said...

Ann said…

“…and I don't trust the government to determine the needs and dispense the money properly. I also don't trust people to choose charities well. And I don't trust charities to handle vast pools of money properly.”



Of course,Ann, but in the case of the former there is little you can do about it. In the case of the latter it's none of your business.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Obama is spending a trillion dollars more than we were in 2008, l repeat, a trillion more than we were 4 years ago and the real issue is that Mitt and his rich cronies aren't contributing more to this runaway spending.

Cedarford said...

William - "At any rate there is absolutely no basis for a belief that governments spend money more wisely than charities."

The last two hundred and fifty years of human history have reflected a growing societal belief that the private charity choices of the better off does not form an efficient means of wise allocation of needed money to the most pressing societal needs. Nor obviously, does charity address the decision by many better off people that expect society to serve their enterprises and protect their property - to refuse to give any money whatsoever to charity.

Yes, governments can misallocate - but the reason government got into this in modern society was the failure of private charity and owner/aristocrat generosity to adequately deal with public health issues, caring for the sick and indigent.

In some sense, the agrarian feudal systems of Asia and Europe worked in doling out "charity" based on need. As a matter of honor, Asian "face", or Christian compassion.
But the growth of cities and modern industrial societies left that behind with a new proletariate that were on their own.

Cedarford said...

I'd like to see some real rethinking in charitable dollars deductions.

No more charitable deductions for do-gooder projects in foreign countries.

No more charitable deductions for animal welfare or "pet cause species with large weepy eyes". Or charity limited by race, class, gender. No more "only black people need apply" scholarships written for a corporate deduction by GM.

No more charity deductions by the elites for the elites sake. To write off millions to fund, for instance, a Chinese symphony to play before tux and gowned elites at the Kennedy Center with 60 black kids bused in again to cast a veneer of them enjoying the concert as somehow socially uplifting for the masses.

No more church tax writeoffs unless a certain amount is spent on general needs of US citizens without religious restriction.

jim said...

"To be fair, Democrats' idea of government is more of a replacement for charity. Let everyone hand over the appropriate amount and government will rationally/politically determine how to deal with all the needs. If you think that's a good idea — isn't it, in the abstract? — then you probably lean Democratic. I do think it's a good idea — in the abstract — but I lean back to the center when I think about concrete reality, and I don't trust the government to determine the needs and dispense the money properly."

In the abstract? No - in bare-bones functional terms.

In concrete reality, public funding is vastly superior to private funding for addressing certain kinds of problems or situations, including ones requiring rapid &/or large-scale &/or complex input (health-care delivery is a very relevant example for Americans).

The growing conservative meme now is that private charity can (& will) pick up ALL the slack once national public services are underfunded or unfunded. The only way to see this idea as valid is to posit that America's centuries on end of prior real-world experience with this exact same "Unregulated Free-Market OR ELSE" system of public assistance (& the heinous levels of penury, misery & death that it made commonplace) has all somehow mysteriously ceased to exist, perhaps as a miraculous precursor to the Mayan Apocalypse.

Your mistrust of your government in this regard is valid. Note that mechanisms exist by which you can replace them if they fail to deliver the aid that you contribute, & you can even dictate the standards under which they deliver it - as a rule, their private counterparts will offer you no such options. That itself is one of the main reasons why public aid so often trumps private aid.

Rusty said...

In concrete reality, public funding is vastly superior to private funding for addressing certain kinds of problems or situations, including ones requiring rapid &/or large-scale &/or complex input (health-care delivery is a very relevant example for Americans).




I suppose that's why the first responders during the Katrina fiasco was the Salvation Army.
My leg. You pissing. You know the rest.

Jay said...

Right on cue:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle gave $10,772 of the $1.2 million they earned from 2000 through 2004 to charities


1% ers!

Jay said...

In concrete reality, public funding is vastly superior to private funding for addressing certain kinds of problems or situations, including ones requiring rapid &/or large-scale &/or complex input (health-care delivery is a very relevant example for Americans).

Huh?

Which government office delivers health care treatment to the American public?

You mean like the VA?

The growing conservative meme now is that private charity can (& will) pick up ALL the slack once national public services are underfunded or unfunded.

Really?

Why don't you provide us some quotes from these Republicans saying these things?

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 211   Newer› Newest»