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September 12, 2012 5:59 AM Age: 8 yrs

Secret Service and Romney Tax Returns

Category: Larry Checco
Source:  Larry Checco, featured commentator

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We learned last week that the US Secret Service is investigating whether or not someone has stolen Mitt Romney’s tax records and is demanding US$1 million not to make them public.

If the claim is true, and I was Mitt Romney, I would not buckle under such a threat.  I’d save myself the million bucks. 

For the most part, I think we already know what those tax records would show: that Governor Romney is worth a king’s ransom—and over the course of many years has sought every legal loophole, including off-shore tax havens, to avoid paying taxes on as much of it as possible. 

All of this we take at face value was legal, above board and—like Mr. Romney—squeaky-clean.

All Right for Your Run-of-the-Mill Private Equity Manager

Now, his approach to tax matters may be a perfectly fine financial strategy for your run-of-the-mill millionaire/billionaire hedge fund or private equity manager -- but for my money, not for a man seeking to become the next president of our United States of America.

Quite frankly, I want to be led by someone who has more skin in the game, like the millions of middle class Americans who pay much more than 14 percent of their annual income in taxes.  I prefer someone who’s looking for every opportunity to reinvest in the nation that has helped bring him and his family so much wealth; someone willing to “pay forward” so as to give another generation of entrepreneurs the same opportunity that he had.

Let’s face it, people in Governor Romney’s position have the ability to do things the rest of us simply can’t.

For instance, Mr. Romney’s company, Bain Capital, contributed $30,000 per year to Mr. Romney’s IRA, which, through what we assume were perfectly legal accounting practices, is now worth as much as a whopping $87 million.  Nice investment—if you can get it.

But, it’s not about the money so much as it is about the message.

And that message is that paying as little tax on your income as possible—even for presidential candidates—is a good, if not in fact, patriotic thing to do. 

Starve the Beast

Yes, we understand that there are many among us who believe in “starving the beast” to the point that our government should be shrunk to the size where “we can drown it in a bathtub.”

Such is the mission of prominent anti-tax activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, as well as all those in Congress who have signed his no-new-tax pledge—including candidate Romney, who said, “I'm proud to be the only major candidate for president to sign the tax pledge.”

I’m not sure there’s much there to be proud of, Mr. Romney.

Number one, by signing such a pledge means you’ve essentially abdicated your ability to govern.   What president in the history of America has given up his authority to negotiate taxes!

Number two, your own penchant for ferreting out every tax loophole for yourself sends the message to the rest of us that you’re in favor of a culture of tax avoidance. 

And we’ve seen what happens when the wealthy employ tax avoidance strategies, and envious others—those without the advantage of legal loopholes—resort to tax evasion to hold on to what they believe is their rightful fair share.  Just look at Greece and Italy today.  Do we want to go down that road?

No, Mr. Romney, just hold on to those one million dollars.  I think most of us know something about what those undisclosed tax returns will show.  Having them released will simply provide us the opportunity to haggle over the details.

Copyright © 2012 by Larry Checco - All Rights Reserved


Published by: Corporate Governance & Accountability Advisors, Inc. Content & Concepts ©2008 by CG&AA, Inc. All rights reserved