Romney continues to poke holes into his sinking campaign ship. His most recent puncture was at a fundraiser, and should be quoted in its entirety: “Big business is doing fine in many places, they get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses.” Let’s break this down and see why Republicans are shaking their heads in disbelief at how little common sense Romney seems to have.
“Big business is doing fine in many places.” This is absolutely true, and should be deemed positive in a campaign that has seen the definition of negative exaggerated to the point of breaking. Major companies’ profit margins are up, and many big businesses have seen their overall profits increase steadily since the recession ended. American companies in particular were well-placed thanks to good policy changes to adapt to the post recession world. American companies are, in many cases, reemerging as global leaders. It is clear that some big businesses are doing great.
But why then would Romney have spent so much time condemning President Obama for his quote: “the private sector is doing fine.” This is not some sort of cloudy comparison, Romney literally just said the very same thing, word for word, that Obama pointed out and was heavily criticized for. People — no matter how idiotic the Republicans think we are — do not forget things like that quite so quickly. If it was not doing fine when Obama says it but is doing fine when Romney says it at an identical time, then there must be two economies or something, right?
However this little Obama flattery is only the start of the stumbling block, Romney continues by talking about how businesses save money by shifting assets to tax havens around the world, robbing the United States of America of badly needed tax revenue. Even if removing assets to face fewer taxes instead of hiring more people to save money is despicable, it is completely legal, and in some cases it probably makes a lot of sense for a big company to spread out their risk and tax liabilities. If it means a healthier company, the company should do it. Healthy companies should mean more jobs for Americans, but this is not the case. Even as profits have risen over the past years, unemployment has stayed relatively unchanged, with only modest monthly improvements. Why is that? Do the job creators really care about jobs? Absolutely not, it is purely, 100% about profits.
Romney understands business, and understands what businesses need to do to be profitable. He applies the same standards to himself and his family. What is so ridiculous about Romney’s comments is that he is justifying the use of tax havens for businesses, while he himself keeps his personal money in offshore tax havens too. This is again, despicable, but it is not illegal, and if you have tons and tons of money, you have smart people who take care of it for you, and they get rewarded by how well they manage your money, so they take advantage of loopholes and tax havens around the world. Not really Romney’s fault, now is it?
So why then does he refuse to release his tax returns? He has released one full tax return, and portions of others. He flails around like a windsock in Chicago when he gets asked about it, insisting that he is not hiding anything. This is the reason why police get warrants to search people’s houses. If someone is suspected of something, but refuses to let the police inside, they are probably hiding something. If they had nothing to hide, they would welcome the police inside, in which case the police would probably not look around very hard, or at all, because concealing is suspicious. Remember when Republicans made this argument regarding Obama’s birth certificate?
The sad part for Romney is that he is probably not hiding financial connections to warlords, drug traffickers, or questionable overseas companies. He is probably hiding the fact that he may have paid a 5 to 0% effective tax rate over recent years. The outrage that this would incite would be wonderful.
It must be stated: it is not about what rich people do with their money, they can do whatever they want, this is a free, capitalist country. But when a person is running for the highest office in the land, that’s a different story. How much could Romney talk about helping America when the vast majority of his fortune never gets touched by Uncle Sam?