Thursday, August 30, 2012

Romney's Party Boat Flew A Cayman Islands Flag

In Tampa there are a lot of exclusive parties where the super rich meet to lay plans for a post-Obama tax climate. It was interesting to learn that the Romney party yacht at the GOP Convention flies a Cayman Islands flag. What's the message here? ABC broke this story.

"I think it's ironic they do this aboard a yacht that doesn't even pay its taxes," said a woman who lives aboard a much smaller boat moored at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina.

Romney defends his secret bank accounts in tax havens, saying: “There was no reduction -- not one dollar reduction in taxes -- by virtue of having an account in Switzerland or a Cayman Islands investment.” Why not keep his millions in American banks then? And why are these places––the Caymans, Switzerland, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Luxembourg––called "tax havens"? Romney's words don't square with common sense or Americans' sense of fairness. This story appeared in the LATimes.

If you want to look more closely at Romney's complex tax evasions, Gawker has posted the most complete information about Romney's tax schemes online.

Gawker's John Cook: "Almost all of them are affiliated with Bain Capital, the secretive private equity firm Romney co-founded in 1984 and ran until his departure in 1999 (or 2002, depending on whom you ask). Many of them are offshore funds based in the Cayman Islands. Together, they reveal the mind-numbing, maze-like, and deeply opaque complexity with which Romney has handled his wealth, the exotic tax-avoidance schemes available only to the preposterously wealthy that benefit him, the unlikely (for a right-wing religious Mormon) places that his money has ended up, and the deeply hypocritical distance between his own criticisms of Obama's fiscal approach and his money managers' embrace of those same policies. They also show that some of the investments that Romney has always described as part of his retirement package at Bain weren't made until years after he left the company."

All of this may explain Romney's nervous chuckle on the stump.

But as much as we focus on Romney's tax secrecy, it's his plans for our taxes which ought to concern us most. His plan would lower his own already very low tax rate and put the burden onto the rest of us who work for a living. The story appeared in the Washington Post.

Romney responded to the criticism, but his response didn't add up either. A good analysis appeared in the Post.

There's also a very well researched analysis in the August Vanity Fair magazine.

There's a lot here about his various offshore schemes, but the most mystifying may be his IRA account.

"Mysteries also arise when one looks at Romney’s individual retirement account at Bain Capital. When Romney was there, from 1984 to 1999, taxpayers were allowed to put just $2,000 per year into an I.R.A., and $30,000 annually into a different kind of plan he may have used. Given these annual contribution ceilings, how can his I.R.A. possibly contain up to $102 million, as his financial disclosures now suggest?"

How indeed.

Andrew Sullivan, a died-in-the-wool conservative finds the tax evasions of rich people like Romney to be repugnant. (Should we rename them The Repugnant Party?)

Sullivan: "Conservatives, it seems to me, should care about all of America, rather than seceding from it. Social and economic inequality are dangerous threats to social stability and democratic legitimacy. That is a conservative belief - and one utterly alien to the fanatics who now run one of our two major parties. If conservatism is to recover, this version of the GOP must be defeated. It's the only language they understand: the language of power." Amen. Remove this Republican Party and give us back the one Eisenhower presided over.

Tax evasion isn't the only theory about Romney's secret taxes. The other theory, reported in the Guardian newspaper, is that Romney is hiding evidence of voter fraud. Was he really living in his son's basement when he voted in Massachusetts? With six large houses do you really think he lived most of the year in a basement? With six houses it has to be a lot of work establishing residency.

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