Saturday, September 22, 2012

Romney's Greed

As much as I have been disappointed with Obama's presidency, it still looks to me like voting Republican would be an even worse choice.

Since the financial crisis, the U.S. has really needed politicians willing to
  • put in regulations to prevent similar meltdowns of the financial systems in the future,
  • to get rid of the corrupt individuals that caused the crisis instead of delivering them more big bonuses on the taxpayer dime, and
  • to stabilize the debt, not by cutting important services, but by raising taxes (especially on the rich) back to 1990s levels, and by quickly reducing war spending.
Sadly, it turns out that Obama wasn't willing to do "change I can believe in". But Romney? Gah. The stuff I'm reading says Romney lived his life as a greedy, amoral, unapologetic Wall Street profiteer. If this article in Rolling Stone is correct, all his talk of debt control is pure hypocrisy, and Romney just wants to be president because he enjoys having power. Having always been rich and surrounded by rich people, he is unlikely to impose any changes that are incompatible with the way he made his fortunes, or that his buddies wouldn't approve of--that is, anything that would put people back to work or reduce the deficit, but risk "hurting" the 1% at the same time. Seriously, read that article. It's horrifying.

I think the U.S. really needs serious reforms, but I have a sense that the citizens are too complacent, and the megacorporations and superrich are too powerful, to allow major reforms of any kind at this point.

Perhaps a big part of the problem, as evidenced by the internal squabbles inside Occupy Wall Street, is that people can't agree on what, exactly, the problem is. Clearly something is seriously wrong in U.S. politics, but what's the problem? Where does the gridlock come from, and what is the nature of the corruption? How can politicians lie more than ever before, stall congress more than ever before, and care less than ever before about the future of the nation? Why does the U.S. media seem to focus on more superficial issues than in other nations? Are Americans not concerned about their absolutely monstrous debt? If they are concerned, how can so many of them be convinced to oppose simple and easy changes like restoring taxes on the rich to 1990s levels? Perhaps most importantly, we can't agree on how to fix these problems. And I'm not sure, but it feels like some substantial percentage of the population ignores the corruption and can't be convinced to give a damn.

I don't have the answers. But if nothing changes, perhaps the only wakeup call to America will come when the economy collapses.

P.S. you know, it still seems like a lot of people are still buying this "rich people are job creators" nonsense. More on that in my next post.


Aristodle said...

Any one that believes that an article in rolling stones will have a factual article dealing with any Republican or Conservative needs to be sent back to Jouranism 101. The story is severely slanted and full of lies and distortions. Anyone that forms opinions based soely on such articles shoes, at best poor judgment. Read the articles put out by both sides and then do some fact checking. Your attitude will almost certainly change.

Qwertie said...

If you have evidence that Rolling Stone was incorrect about how Bain Capital operated, about Romney's income tax rate or other matters, feel free to offer it.

Debbie Piepgrass said...

Romney just published his 2011 tax return. Romney again gave his typical 16% to charity, and in 2011Romney gave an extra $500,000 beyond his allotted deductions, also says his trustree. Romney published his last two returns to the public, along with a letter from the trustee / accountant that to certify that Romney has paid all his taxes for many, many years.
His trustee / accountant says that this is the first time he has ever had anyone who didn't take all of their alloted deductions, nobody else had ever asked him to pay the government any more in taxes than they owed.
I looked up this information when reading an article with a charge from Harry Reid that "Romney manipulated his taxes". When I opened the article, I discovered that the "manipulation" turned out to be that Romney turned gave $500,000 more than he owed the Gov't in taxes, that's what type of "manipulation" Reid was criticizing. Reid doesn't divulge any source who actually backs up his charge in August 2012 that Romney didn't pay taxes before the published returns. His trustee / accountant refutes this as of Sept. 2012. John McCain earlier said he'd seen several years of Romney's taxes, all paid, typically with 16% in listed charitable deductions.
It also turns out that it is uncharacteristic of Romney to talk about his service, but there are now so many people coming out of the woodwork to talk about his charity, sometimes without 1st knowing it was Romney, that it would take many more hours on the air to tell the stories of his community service, and not just service while he was stake president or bishop, say many sources I have now read, such as in the Deseret News, or on Glenn Beck, and not just before prime time at the Republican Convention.
I hope you read the article in your gmail about several of these stories published on the Deseret News, etc., and on video on Glenn Beck, who used to be pretty hard on Romney, but has had many people correct him in stories on the air. Ann doesnt' tell the stories herself, much, either, it's outsiders who have now started to come forward to correct the record, or we'd all never have known.
In the movie, 2016, by contrast, Obama's half brother, living on $2.00 a day in Kenya, would never think to ask Obama for help. He said, "I'm an adult, I don't expect anything from Obama, he is helping in his own way". Later Obama's half brother did come to the interviewer for the film, afterward, to ask if anyone could help him find $1,000 for his son's surgery. It turns out he'd still never dream of asking Barack Obama for help for it. It turns out he thinks it much more likely he'd get help from the interviewer for the film for it, as he had ruled out Barack Obama. It seems that the "redistriibution of wealth" that Obama talks about in the 1998 film put out by Obama (reminiscent of the comment to 'Joe the Plumber', is something taken from government taxpayers. And we all know how efficient government is.
As it turns out, Romney gaves a bbigger percentage than most people do to the government, not just the part on his return through his church, or to the community, than the Democratic Party would ever let you find out on the 70% liberal mainstream media, heaven forbid. MSNBC, NBC are mouthpieces of the Democratic campaign, outright. CBS, ABC, and etc., cover up for him most of the time, while cutting out parts of Romney's statements that would clear up the problem so that he sounds much worse than he is.

Qwertie said...

If I were running for President and had well over $100 million dollars "in the bank", I'd bump up my charitable donations by a couple million, too. The giving itself is good for PR, plus you can get endorsements from whoever you donate to.

The Romneys' accountants say their 20-year average charitable giving is 13.45%, but presumably 10% of his charitable donations are just tithing, so I'm not *that* impressed (admittedly tithing payments must *feel* harder for the fabulously wealthy, camel through the eye of the needle and all that, but in objective reality it is *easier* for the rich to give a higher percentage).

Personally I give 20% of my net income to "charities" (presumably the accountants stated net and not gross income, since the former sounds more impressive), but 10% of that is tithing. If I weren't LDS, my charitable giving would be far lower (certainly under 10%) because outside the Church, donations are not a big part of our culture.

A couple of places (, give an explanation of why Romney didn't deduct the full "$4 million" that he donated: "The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor’s statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years."

At least 13% tax rate! Since his income in 2010 and 2011 respectively was $21.7 million and $13.7 million, a tax rate near 10% would look even worse politically than it already does. It's too bad Romney isn't willing to significantly raise taxes on the rich; if that's what he wanted, his own tax rate would be the perfect evidence that it's necessary.

Now I will grant you that his average donations (13.4%) are quite respectable (especially if we ignore that the majority is tithing); however, old habits die hard (he was probably taught to tithe since his youth, just as I was) and human behavior is often domain-specific, as I was just reading in a good book called The Black Swan.

What I mean is, just because he gave, say, 7% to tithing and 6% to charity ( doesn't mean he didn't live his life screwing people over to make his fortune (Obama's income is paltry in comparison!) I want to see some evidence either that the facts Rolling Stone presented about Bain Capital are incorrect, or that Romney was somehow not responsible for Bain's actions even though he profited enormously.

Finally, even if everything checks out, Romney's still a Republican: so he's either (a) not going to balance the books, or (b) the way he does it will be painful for everyone except the 1%.