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Swiss Mitt

By The Reverend Published: July 6, 2012

A $3 million Swiss bank account appeared in (Romney's) 2010 returns, then winked out of existence in 2011 after the trustee closed it....

Ed Kleinbard, a professor of tax law at the University of Southern California, says the Swiss account “has political but not tax-policy resonance,” since it—like many other Romney investments—constituted a bet against the U.S. dollar, an odd thing for a presidential candidate to do. The Obama campaign provided a helpful world map pointing to the tax havens Bermuda, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands, where Romney and his family have assets, each with the tagline “Value: not disclosed in tax returns.”

Make no mistake. Mitt Romney has not done anything illegal with his tax havens and his betting against the U.S. dollar. But doesn't Mitt's offshore tax shelters and his betting against the U.S. dollar strike you as questionable behavior for a patriotic, would-be, president. Or, maybe not.

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland put it this way yesterday....

“President Obama is betting on America and American workers, and Mitt Romney is betting his resources in the Cayman Islands, in Bermuda, in Switzerland and God only knows where else he is putting his resources.”

Again, nothing illegal about Romney's offshoring a portion of his large income. Our nation's IRA laws have a cap on yearly tax deferring of income.....and so, Romney, wanting to avoid paying taxes on more than the U.S. IRA limits, deferred taxes by using offshore accounts. Like Mitt said in a primary debate...

"I pay all the taxes owed. And not a penny more."

The problem here is not that Romney violated any laws by avoiding paying taxes through the use of offshore shelters....the problem is the perception, the problem is how this looks to average, non-offshore-account-holding American voters.

No matter how the lawyers explain it, offshoring of monies to defer or avoid paying U.S. taxes connotes cheating. There's an underhandedness associated with hiding income, even temporarily, in order to skip out on paying tax responsibilities. And specially so, when that tax avoidance is done by extremely wealthy Americans.

And when you consider that Willard Mitt Romney is an extremely wealthy running for the presidency.....the perception, I think, stinks to high heaven. Here we have the richest guy ever to seek the Oval Office. He makes millions yearly, but doesn't work, doesn't have a job. His tax rate on those millions, that he doesn't work for, is 15%. And despite those windfalls, those 'entitlements', Romney still dodges paying taxes on a good portion of his income through the use of offshore tax havens.

As Newtie we have our first presidential candidate who holds offshore tax sheltering accounts.....quite astonishing, really. Yet, Romney sees nothing incongruent with his tax sheltering, multiple offshore bank accounting practices and his seeking the office of the presidency. Just how patriotic of a guy is Mitt Romney, anyway? Does he love America? And if he does, why does he try to game offshoring accounts in order to deprive America of tax revenues he owes? Yes, because it's legal.....but is that a satisfying enough answer when the offshorer has amassed a quarter of a billion in personal wealth, and wants to be president of the country he's been purposely avoiding paying taxes to?

The investment firm Bain Capital, the firm where Mitt Romney "earned" his millions, still pays the Romneys a healthy income for the rest of their lives. The GOP candidate, naturally, says that he has absolutely nothing to do with what Bain is doing now.....disattached, he is.....but.....

Romney got more than $2 million in income from Bain in June. "The firm today has at least 138 funds organized in the Cayman Islands, and Romney himself has personal interests in at least 12, worth as much as $30 million, hidden behind controversial confidentiality disclaimers," Shaxson writes. Romney's campaign has repeatedly pointed out that he quit the firm in February 1999, but his ties to the firm lasted beyond that date.

Mitt may have never done anything illegal....ever. However, when Americans are informed about Mitt's massive and ongoing tax sheltering.....let alone his record of promoting U.S. job outsourcing, I'm guessing they'll have a renewed distaste in their mouths.

Only a guess.



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