Mitt Romney’s Obscene Tax Return

This tax return makes me sick.

When I cleaned up my father’s house after he moved to assisted care, I found all his returns, neatly and compulsively filed, going back to 1946. Each one was painfully honest. He paid rates as high as 70% as a physician.

Mom would complain that “the air turns blue when your father does his taxes” since my Dad would curse and swear. Yet he paid his taxes at far higher rates than Romney. In cases of doubt he would deliberately err on the side of the government, perhaps because he was ethnically German-American.

That’s what his WWII generation did. His brother laughed at propaganda on the troopship to Europe in 1943, and my Dad voted Republican in hopes of tax relief, but he and his brother were natural Kantians: for them “duty” is precisely that which we do not want to do.

Romney gets a refund of almost two million dollars. His total W-2 withholding is 112.00. He directs the refund to go to paying the next year’s tax not, I would imagine, out of a desire to make the government a loan, but because his preparers find this the optimal strategy from his point of view…and a cool million or two is chump change in a year when you’ve made 22 million.

You don’t need the money to get the clutch replaced or to avoid fraudclosure. You don’t need it for a hospital bill.

While the Fed reduces interest rates to zero but no ordinary person can’t get credit, we have a mediaeval situation; for just as in the Middle Ages, capital was frozen specie, today banks and rich men hoard it…while condemning us for buying a laptop in a world where employers expect you to have one.

If Romney wants to be President he needs to follow the lead of Soros and Buffet.

Don’t give it to charity. For one thing, so many charities are so woman-friendly (usually for a good reason) that they will not support destitute single males. Increasingly they predefine desert.

Instead, call for the capital gains tax to end: call for higher taxes on the 1%. Stop the barbaric practice of taxing us expatriates on money earned overseas, one that is not followed by other developed countries.

The French revolution, like our own, started over unfairness of taxation. Necker could not balance Louis XVI’s books because the First and Second Estates (the nobility and clergy) refused to pay taxes. The Terror was the result.

Stop using coded racism. We’re all black folk today. A white man with no credit and no car is under almost the same suspicion when he walks in the rain to Motel 6. Racist talk died down a bit in the 1930s when people realized this.

The whole system works because people show up for work. But in today’s America, you can be fired “for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all”. Your worth is defined in ridiculous performance reviews where what you thought was good performance (finding a way to bill conference calls, connecting with students by marshaling their anger against Asian schools) can always be renarrated, at will, as not what’s needed.

But the desert of a Romney of capital gains and a 13.9% rate is never in play.

I used to live in a semi-well-sealed bubble. I got company laptops, I could expense hotel rooms, my Silicon Valley firm provided us with a hot tub. But in return I worked 16 hours a day and got paid for eight. And then the company wanted to hire junior college graduates to blindly make changes to parameters, not real programmers.

Job performance can always be questioned. Almost as soon as you’re too “inexperienced”, right around 30, in my former field, you’re over the hill. But capital gains and bonds, ah, they survive everything: wars, depressions, you name it. In fact, young men will go to war to preserve your gains: as Sean Penn says in the Thin Red Line, “this war is about property”. Like TS Eliot, I would like to be in heaven, and, with Mustapha Mond, lie “wrapt in a six percent Exchequer Bond”.

Perhaps we seriously need a President a guy like Harry Truman, who was seriously broke when selected by Missouri boss Tom Prendergast to be FDR’s Vice in 1944, and replace Henry Wallace…who troubled the Mustapha Monds of his day by being a socialist. Truman was broke because he was honest.

Or Lincoln, who passed the Bar through self-study.

There is no political democracy, writes John Rawls, unless there be a rough equality in the fair market value of a vote. But when bondholders and capital gainers vote and call their Congressman, they have real clout. I can write Senator Durbin of Illinois and get a form letter.

Romney’s tax return is obscene. And it IS a set-up. I destroyed my marriage, in part, by working absurd hours; but in consulting, your worth is defined by the worst things that are said about you when you lack “social skills” and would rather code great software … for companies like Standard Oil that didn’t deserve it. I was in the arena, my Dad was, and, in terms of the filthy bastards now running for the Republican nomination, even Richard Nixon was in the arena.

These guys own the goddamn arena so they don’t have to fight.


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