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Published: Thursday, Jan. 26 2012 12:06 p.m. MST

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atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

His tax returns show he paid a percentage in taxes similar to many middle class families but despite that he (and Gingrich) want to lower taxes on the rich and increase them on the poor based on their tax plans (Gingrich's plan would lower Romney's tax rate from 13.9% to near 0% since he wants to eliminate the capital gains tax).

Romney's tax returns show that no, the rich (I mean "job creators") like him are not overburdened by taxation yet he still makes that claim.

a bit of reality
Shawnee Mission, KS

His tax returns show many things. The most important one is that it illustrates the unfairness of U.S. tax policy. When you combine income tax, payroll tax (i.e. Social Security tax), excise tax (i.e. gasoline tax), sales tax, and property tax, a family that earns, say, $50,000 a year will pay 30% to 40% of their income a year in taxes. In contrast, Romney pays about 15% to 20%.

If Romney were serious about getting America's fiscal house in order, he would be in favor of raising government revenues by raising taxes on the people who pay the smallest percentage of their income in taxes, who receive the greatest benefits from living in America, and who are most able to pay more.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Lots and lots of money.

Esquire
Springville, UT

I don't care how much money Romney has, and we know how he earned it. My issue is that he just does not get it when it comes to the struggles of the middle class. His head is in another universe and he will ultimately do what is in the best interests of his peers, not us. He has offered nothing, and I mean nothing, for the struggling families of this country. I wish him well, but not as President of the U.S.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

The Bible and Democrats : Where much is given, much is expected.

The GOP : Where much is given, less is expected because they I have tax loopholes and accountants/Lawyers/and access to foreign bank accounts so I'm perfectly within the law to pay even less and stiff Middle and Poor America with a higher burden since I need MY money to tell everyone I create jobs with it - when in fact I don't. Besides, the poor 99% will only spend everything they have putting food on their tables and roofs over their heads -- how does that drive the economy anyway?

Brother Chuck Schroeder
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

I voted for Romney, and could care less that Mitt and Ann Romney failed to list investment income from a Swiss bank account on financial disclosure forms filed last year. Other income was missing from the disclosure documents required of presidential candidates.

Rush Limbaugh and Mike Reagan Blast Romney for Smears on Gingrich

Ronald Reagan's eldest son Mike Reagan has issued a statement lambasting Mitt Romney and his supporters for claims that Romney's Republican presidential rival Newt Gingrich was a strong critic of President Reagan.

Mike Reagan says such claims are false.

Even Rush Limbaugh, shocked by the Romney claims, chimed on his Thursday radio broadcast to say, "This is obviously a coordinated attack to take Newt out here in Florida."

Rush slammed the Romney-backed smear campaign against Newt.

That kind of stuff is why people hate Romney so much, Limbaugh said.

Limbaugh added that Newt has always been a conservative from his early days in national talk radio in the 1980s. He was perhaps the premier defender of Ronald Reagan, Limbaugh said.

Rush said as governor of Massachusetts, Romneys achievement was the most socialistic healthcare plan in the nation up until that time.

Mitt Romney
2012.

djc
Stansbury Park, Ut

I think it proved one other thing. He had money in off shore accounts. Mostly money is in off shore accounts to escape taxation. Was his?

Brother Chuck Schroeder
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

Is Jay Evensen now having second thoughts, or is it just a "Mormon Moment"?.

The Swiss account was held in Ann Romney's blind trust. The tax returns show the Romneys made $1,783 in interest income from that account in 2010. Romney's campaign said it was updating 2011 financial disclosure forms after the Romneys' 2010 tax return, released this week after intense pressure from his rivals, showed income from the Swiss account. Romney reported earning nearly $22 million that year, mainly from investments, and paid about $3 million in federal taxes. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had hammered Romney to release his tax returns while Republican voters were still choosing a nominee. Romney initially said he would release them in April, during tax filing season, but then gave in to demands that he make the tax returns public much earlier. The missing income could become a campaign issue as Gingrich looks to criticize Romney ahead of Florida's Jan. 31 primary.

"The tax code fills about 73,000 pages. If you're into visual images, you could give one page to every football fan in a sold out Lavell Edwards Stadium and still have nearly 10,000 pages left over".

The Politics of Listening
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

I think Jay should lighten up on Mr. Romney and talk more about Newt. Romney 2012. Forget the moon Newt, you'll see enough of them this November 2012. I think a more accurate description of Newt would be from the Ghost Busters movie where the Stay Puffed marshmallow boy explodes and makes a gooey mess of everyone and everything that was around him i.e. the republicans. The explosion of the marshmallow boy is what we are now witnessing as the truth about his nefarious past comes out in the Drudge Report. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she has dirt on Newt Gingrich, but so far she's keeping her lips sealed because that's how the last surgeon left them. Even Ann Coulter, who has been openly supporting Romney for weeks, continues to pound the electability theme. Gingrich is simply unelectable. We know the Cayman Islands were only one place where Mitt Romney has offshore accounts. His wife, Ann, holds a Swiss bank account in her blind trust. The income from that account, under $2,000, wasn't reported on financial disclosure forms filed last year, and other income that should have been reported was missing as well.


My views.

MormonConservative
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

Romney 2012.

Talk about Newt, Jay.

Gingrich releasing his most recent tax return. Gingrich still hasn't revealed how he earned most of his $3.1 million. Gingrich, who has demanded more transparency from Romney, doesn't identify where the money came from, including amounts he received from his consulting business. He also doesn't list some of the salary he reported on his tax return on a financial disclosure filed last year after launching his campaign. The way Gingrich has earned a living in recent years has become an avenue for political attack by Romney, charges that the $1.65 million Gingrich received from the government-backed mortgage company Freddie Mac from 1999 to 2007 was for influence peddling. Gingrich's tax return doesn't show how much money he received as a consultant working through his Gingrich Group and his Center for Health Transformation. The center urges changes to health-related policies and laws, practices and technology but says it "does not provide lobbying services nor directly or indirectly participate in lobbying activities of any kind." Instead, all of Gingrich's income is lumped together as $2.4 million in payments from Gingrich Holdings, a parent company managing his interests in other businesses.

Dee J
Portland, OR

@djc: in a word, no. He reported and paid tax on all the income earned in offshore accounts. If an American does not report and pay tax on income from overseas accounts, he is indicted on tax evasion or fraud charges and faces jail time. Until such legal action is taken against Mitt Romney, rest assured that he is complying 100% with US tax laws.

I realize progresssive thought disagrees sharply with reduced long-term capital gains rates, but there is a long-standing, sound economic argument behind it. First, you need to understand the difference between employment income and capital income. By and large, capital income is generated from assets that already represent an underlying tax charge. For example, if you hold stock in a taxable corporation, the corporate tax paid by that corporation is reflected in the value of that stock. Thus, when sold, the value of the stock is less than it would be had the corporation not paid tax, or had paid tax at a lower rate. Dividends paid by the corporation also reflect an underlying corporate tax charge.

Any intelligent argument about US tax policy should distinguish between taxation of employment income vs. capital income. You may conclude that capital income should be taxed at the same rate as employment income, or at least at a graduated scale, phasing out the benefit of lower capital gains rates for higher income taxpayers, but demonizing Mitt Romney for paying taxes at enacted rates is ludicrous.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

"...You want a quick takeaway from the recent Romney tax-return taffy pull? There is only one the U.S. tax system is far too complicated...".

It wasn't too complicated from 2001 through 2008?

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

@Dee J
In theory you are right. But most of Mitt's fortune is attributable to "carried interest" (earned through his Bain Capital partnership interest). If you don't know what the carried interest rule is and how it converts personal service income into capital gain income, I encourage you to learn about it. If you do some research, you will learn that Bain and 11 other investment banks banded together to lobby Congress heavily when they tried to eliminate it.
Query if you use your vast money and influence and successfully lobby for a slick little rule that only benefits you (and a very small, very rich group of individuals), and then claim 'you followed the rules' are you gaming the system a bit?

Further, close analysis of Mitt's 2010 tax return reveals that he paid very little tax in 2009 (I don't have room here to elaborate, but tax professionals will all agree if you look at his 2010 estimated tax payments and capital loss carryforward). I suspect he's volunteering a 2011 estimate (which is uncommon to do) because he really doesn't want us to see 2009.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

If anything, Romney's tax returns, his hesitancy to reveal them, his Cayman Island "investments" to boost the economic interests of that nation instead of America's, etc. all align with Obama's narrative showing how gamed the system is to benefit the wealthy.

Its great to be born rich and to build that wealth in America! It isn't so great to be born lower or middle class and to always be on the outside of the system.

While I totally understand that capital gains are already taxed at the corporate level and if they were taxed again at the same rate for individuals, it would represent double taxation -- the problem is that the typical lower-middle class and middle class American does not enjoy that type of income. Consequently, they're forced to be taxed on their labor at a much higher rate than what rich people have to pay for the passive investments. Is that fair?

I think the real benefit of having Romney continue on in the primaries is that it contributes to America's discourse on fairness of the American tax code. Romney's tax returns should be a case study so Americans can learn how the rich live and how the tax code rewards the wealthy with lower taxes and punishes labor with higher taxes. Sadly, most Americans don't have special interests working to tranform the system in their favor. The Romney elite do!

topplanta
Eagle Mountain, UT

Contrary to one of the quotes in the story, no one in this country pays absolutely nothing in taxes. There are many who don't pay income taxes, but everyone pays some sort of tax: property, gas, sales, use, etc. There are so many kinds of taxes, it would be quite an eye-opener if people added up all the taxes they pay.

JMHO
Southern, UT

@ topplanta: Using your logic, Mitt payed even more taxes. Undoubtedly he spent more than you also so paid more sales tax. Undoubtedly he used more gas in his jets than you do in your car and so was taxed more. I could go on. If the argument is about not paying income taxes, then yes a lot of people did not pay income tax last year. In fact, a large amount of people get money back that they never paid because of "refundable credits." That is wrong. The best anyone should be able to do is break even...not make money from filing a tax return.

aghast
SYRACUSE, UT

When people ask me who my favorite President was, I say "Harry Truman". I am then asked something similar to "why, because he was a Democrat"? Then I explain, no "because he was a Haberdasher from Missouri". Though I share the "Mormon" faith with both Huntsman and Romney, I would have a hard time voting for either because all of their lessons in life about hard work, honesty, integrity, fairness, disparity, etc... come via the silver spoons they ate from. Electing Romney would only separate him further from understanding the plight of the common man. Personally I would like to see both parties drastically reform, or another gain power. I would be giddy if the candidate turned out to be a level headed "Mormon" with a tax return that looked much more like my own.

Mormoncowboy
Provo, Ut

Romney's tax return does appear irrelevant. The idea that he only paid about 15% tax is also not an accurate portrayal of tax disparities because that tax was largely Capital Gains tax, not Income tax. Still, I Romney is starting to impress less and less. Forget the taxes, what does Mitt bring to the table? He is better than Newt Gingrich, but so is everybody else on the platform. I'm not convinced that Romney's executive experience with Bain reall offers any credibility to Romney's ability to "get the economy going". Growing a business from the standpoint of a private sector executive is not the same thing as stimulating an economy from a position of government. I guess my real point is, if you strip Romney of his Mormon affiliation, there isn't anything to be excited about. As far as things that ought to appeal to religious sensibilites, ie, values/morals/principles/etc, both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are the stronger candidates. When it comes to conservative economic principles, again Paul and Santorum have the upper hand, so I don't get why Utahn's are so excited about Romney.

BobP
Port Alice, B.C.

He has declared his offshore bank accounts. That makes his actions totally legal. The complainers here simply illustrate jealousy and the "I am entitled to more of his money attitude."

Obama would turn the US into a socialist nightmare.

red state pride
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Did anyone read the column? The point was less about Mitt and more about the ridiculousness of an allegedly free country having a 73,000 page tax code.Republican Steve Forbes was talking about simplifying the tax code over twenty years ago and we're still muddling along with this travesty of a tax code- it's a disgrace.
I understand left and right can't agree on much but for crying out loud- even the few Democrats who are halfway sensible (e.g. Evan Bayh) understand the need to simplify the tax code. The President's own deficit commission recommended lowering rates and eliminating deductions- of course the President ignored his own commission.
We're on the edge of the abyss financially and if your only solution is to raise tax rates on the rich then you're part of the problem- not the solution.
A simplified tax system won't save America on its own but if we're going into the abyss can we go in as free men and not slaves to a 73,000 page tax code?

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