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September 18, 2012

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The Romneybot doesn't have a self-destruct button!

But if things get too hot, he might well disappear from the public eye, to spend more time with his money in the Cayman Islands.

Why go through the expense and humiliation if you're going to lose anyway, for Pete's sake?

$10 says tomorrow Rove spends $20M on a new ad to tell us that Obama is the guy with the secret agenda that he just can't make public.

Hey, where's Perry?

I guess Mitt is going to test my theory that the American electorate (as a whole) cannot remember anything that happened more than 60 days before the election (certain traumatic events aside).

I don't know if the rebirth of Israel is important to the Church of Latter Day Saints, but it is certainly Very important to many of the fundamentalist Christians steering the GOP foreign policy platform. They do things like fund the reintroduction of a certain kind of red heifer in Israel, so that they can get things ready for the second coming.
In this case, Romney may not be memory-challenged so much as playing to his base.

(Let me change that to -attempting- to reintroduce the red heifer to Israel. The New Yorker had an article on it several years back, including the US Christian groups who were funding it.)

(and, Ma = Marcellina. Somehow I cut my name off.)

LJ, I think you have made a mistake and seriously underestimated Romney.

He does not have a self-destruct button built in. He has an array of self-destruct buttons. And looks to be trying to hit all of them in turn.

Whether this is a result of living his life in a bubble, or of pandering to his base so long that he no longer realizes how extreme that looks to the majority of the country, is left as an exercise to the reader. But he seems on course to gratuitiously offend a majority of those who agree with him on some issues, guaranteeing that he will loose some votes that were his for the taking. Can you win an election this way? Well, if he does, it will be a first.

Ma(rcellina)

"In this case, Romney may not be memory-challenged so much as playing to his base."

There's a part of me (the former liberal, nominally Republican part from decades ago) that wants to continue to believe that.

And to also believe these words from David Brooks this morning:

"Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater."

And also pretending Obama is an unAmerican, antiAmerican, Muslim, Kenyan, socialist member of the Goat-f*ckers Brotherhood.

But the Republican "base" he's trying to appeal to is a cloning experiment gone bad -- the biggest, most dangerous apocalyptaconglomeration of gobshite, confederate, Ayn Randian, kardashian, gunrunning ratf*uckers assembled since Mrs. Lincoln decried the all-too-realistic special and sound effects at the Ford Theater.

He's like George Clooney in that zombie movie, "From Dusk Til Dawn", except that instead of killing the zombies in the south-of-the-border all night zombie truckstop nightclub and bordello with shots to the head, the good-looking lead is trying to serve as the DJ spinning some zombie music and the bartender pouring zombie shots, all in the service of his ambition.

But, the zombie ratf*ckers, never satisfied until they have their surfeit of blood and flesh, have him down on the floor and are chewing his flesh.

If he and ratf$cker Ryan are elected, we're going to need the new I-Phone with the Sturm Ruger, Smith and Wesson, and Kalashnikov apps.

From yahoo:

Asked if he was worried that he had offended the 47 percent of people he mentioned in the statement, Romney did not back off his remarks.

"It's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way," Romney said. "I'm speaking off the cuff in response to a question, and I'm sure I can state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that and so I'm sure I'll point that out as time goes on."

Does he realize he's standing in front of a microphone, speaking to members of the press, and answering questions about what he said? Might that be a good time to restate what he meant more clearly? Is it that hard for him to say what he thinks when he's not speaking off the cuff and knows going in what he's going to be talking about?

What a fncking smacked ass this guy is.

The date of the filming, 17 May is interesting. Here is more about how it came to light, via Jimmy Carter's grandson. If this had come out immediately, does anyone think that he would have lost in the Texas primary at the end of May?

Vampires, Count. "From Dusk Till Dawn" involved vampires - blood-suckers, not flesh-eaters.

""Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater."

I read David Brooks this morning and thought his column was surprisingly good, maybe because there was no way to spin what Romney said. Then I got to the end where the above comment appeared and that, apparently, was the best Brooks could do.

The Republicans might have embarrassed themselves less if they had nominated Clint Eastwood.

Looking at the wikipedia page, the RNC declared him the presumptive candidate on 25 April.

The Republicans might have embarrassed themselves less if they had nominated Clint Eastwood.

or if they had nominated the chair

Listen carefully to this old clip from Mitt Romney's mother, wherein she supports Mitt's father, George's ... the former WELFARE RECIPIENT ... desire to govern.

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/09/romney-unplugged-ctd.html

Mitt Romney had fine parents. Good human beings. True Americans.

I expect now, were Mom Romney alive and could go back in time to before Mitt was born, she'd rush down to Planned Parenthood and have her womb filled with salt and sewn shut with silver anti-zombie thread.

This has got to set traditional child-rearing theories on their ear.

I mean, Mitt was raised in a good God-fearing family with resources. He never smoked pot and even beat up the long-haired faggots, like any red-blooded American boy.

What happened?

Then you have the pot-smoking Muslim, Kenyan orphan with two commie Dads and the socialist slut mother and who, despite some all-too-human frailties, like hypocrisy and extra skin pigmentation, seems to have turned out OK.

I mean, look, I don't think Obama deserves the credit he claims for killing Osama (those names alone are confusing to your typical Republican delegate).

No, Bush killed Osama by ignoring memos from those career bureaucrat elitists in the enemy government about colossal terrorist attacks on American soil, because he KNEW, to save Obama's a&s, that Osama would eventually be lured to a window in a house in Pakistan directly in the path of a U.S. Navy Seal's bullet, lamma, lamma, osama, obama, bing bong.

Bush got his man.

Here's the deal.

The only lesson the 27% Erick Erickson/Moe Lane base is going to learn from Mitt Romney's embarrassing imitation of a credible Presidential candidate is that they should have nominated Paul Ryan, or Newt Gingrich, or Michelle Bachmann, or Hermann Cain, or Ron Paul, or Rick Santorum ("smart people will never be on our side"), or Rick Perry, or, for holy effing crap, Sarah Death Palin as their Presidential candidate.

I'm sure Jeb Bush is thinking about it, which is not good news either.

"or if they had nominated the chair"

Well, I understand the chair contained Invisible Obama , so that would be a problem for Republicans. But still, you're right, the chair would have been better than what they got, no matter who wasn't sitting in it.

Game ain't over yet boys.

hairshirt:

Thanks.

There are two Lincoln movies out too: Lincoln versus vampires and Lincoln versus zombies.

Then there is the Daniel Day Lewis version due soon.

Then there is a Martin Van Buren bi-opic due out soon which pits Van Buren against zombie NASCAR drivers.

Considering Romney’s father role in fighting back extremists in the Republican Party during the early 1960’s, I thought Jr would avenge his father’s work.

But then I think, of Bush and W. I really thought W would be an avenger of his father’s moderating influence…but then I realize, the Republican Party is just freaked up.

"Game ain't over, yet, boys."

Yup.

There's something .... complacent ... about Rmoney's behavior, like he knows about something that might happen before November.

I'm guessing a fake Black Swan event in the financial markets, engineered by, gee, I wonder who?

I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater

Who knows what kind of guy Mitt is, way down deep in his heart?

And, who cares?

There's nothing unusual in anything Romney said in the video. I've heard the same ideas, virtually the same words, from lots of other people.

Some surprising people.

One family member who is a retired union electrician, currently receiving a union pension along with his social security, who was able to retire rather than freaking die of a heart attack on the job because he qualified for a disability pension under union rules.

Another who, after working ~40 years in the insurance industry, is going bankrupt.

Belly up, y'all.

Another who is retired NYFD and never misses an opportunity to crack wise about lazy, good for nothing government employees.

A lot of folks are going to hear the Romney video, nod their heads sagely, and assume he's talking about somebody other than them.

Insert punch line here. Anybody laughing yet?

I don't think Romney mis-spoke, I think he stated, candidly, exactly what he thinks is true.

I also don't think that speaks particularly well of him, but that is not my problem. Somebody needs to tell David Brooks that 'kind and decent' is as 'kind and decent' does.

'Decency' is more than wearing a nice suit and using your inside voice.

Bottom line, lots and lots and lots of folks believe that everything Mitt said in that video is nothing but the truth.

what russell said.

it's a safe bet that a lot of the 47% don't even know they're in the 47% because, hey, they see income tax being taken out of their checks every week. they work and pay their taxes, goddammit!who are these people who don't have to pay taxes every week?! must be the goddamn minorities using some Obama tax trick. probably on six kinds of welfare.

and that big IRS check they get every spring, the one that refunds all the federal income tax they paid? why that's their goddamn money, they earned it!

"Bottom line, lots and lots and lots of folks believe that everything Mitt said in that video is nothing but the truth."

Within this Awful Awfulson post at Redrum ...


http://www.redstate.com/2012/09/18/conservatives-agree-romneys-right/

.... the awful one includes this quote from Ben Domenech:

'Sorry folks expecting a rant on this, but I actually don’t think this one’s a big deal. Here’s the thing: gaffes of this nature have to have real victims in order to be workable. What helps Romney in this situation is that no one thinks they’re in the 47%. Even if they are! No one who was thinking of voting for Romney yesterday is standing up today saying “he’s criticizing me!” SOURCE “Everyone thinks they’re a “maker,” not a “taker,” due to whatever little tax they pay, so when Mitt lays into freeloaders, even people who pay no income tax think he’s talking about someone else. It’s sort of the flip side of senior citizens saying that America needs small government while telling politicians “Hands off my Medicare.”'

Russell's right.

I think there was one guy in the Jonestown crowd who thought to ask the fellow suicide next to him: "Does he mean WE should drink the Kool-Aid. That can't be. He's gotta mean THEY should drink the Kool-Aid, not US."

"Hmm, I love the grape flavor!"

In the immortal words of Ugh (at various times), "we're fncked".

what russell and cleek said.

Everybody else is ripping the government off, except me!


Of the states with the lowest non-payment rates, only three–Wyoming, North Dakota, and Alaska–are clearly in Romney’s column. These are also the states with the lowest population. On the other hand, eight of the ten states with the highest non-payment rates are solidly Republican. The exceptions are New Mexico and Florida. In short, Romney’s geographic base is in states where large numbers of households pay no net federal income tax.

From:
">http://www.theamericanconservative.com/where-do-the-47-percent-live/"> Where Do the 47 Percent Live?

Those three with the lowest non-payment rates are also high on jobs supported by the federal government. Otherwise, they'd be quite a bit higher on the list of non-payment rates.

At least one of the three (AK) holds its mineral resources by constitutional edict as a commons, owned and operated by the state, runs the state on the rents it charges extractors, and distributes the balance to its citizens as a direct cash payment.

Each of whom, of course, did it all themselves.

"Those three with the lowest non-payment rates are also high on jobs supported by the federal government. Otherwise, they'd be quite a bit higher on the list of non-payment rates."

One (me) might consider that the people who do pay taxes in the states that have the highest nonpayment may be more inclined to notice or care about the phenomenon.

It's kind of like Massachusetts and the HC bill, they have no reason not to support it. Even before they did have universal HC, they had the lowest percentage of uninsured in the nation. It's much easier to support entitlements when it ACTUALLY is a very few people getting them.

It's much easier to support entitlements when it ACTUALLY is a very few people getting them.

Posted by: CCDG | September 18, 2012 at 05:13 PM

Apparently, most of the moohcers are ACTUALLY Republicans.

I thought they were Palestinians.

I'm losing track.

Just when you thought there were no other Others, they trot out yet another Other.

My mother, the Medicare Alzheimers moocher, is a registered Republican, but she might be a Palestinian before long.

But then she couldn't vote in November, lacking citizenship.

Or is that because we let her Pennsylvania driver's license lapse?

She's a red-blooded Republican all-American moocher and electoral suspect.

I don't think she'd get it, even if she could.

One (me) might consider that the people who do pay taxes

To be strictly correct, in the context of the graph (and, of Romney's comments): the people who are net payers of federal income tax.

A nit, but one that seems to be forgotten whenever this comes up.

It's much easier to support entitlements when it ACTUALLY is a very few people getting them.

I take your point in general, but I'm not sure if it applies when we're talking about stuff at the federal level.

It's not like my income taxes only pay for stuff in my own state.

Sigh........ yes because only Republicans live in those states...... and only Democrats in the others.

I think this was my favorite quote from the video, in re Israel/Palestine:

S]o what you do is, you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem…and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it."

Or, as Homer Simpson put it when he ran for trash commissioner, "Can't Someone Else Do It?" That's real leadership there, folks. That's who you want picking up that phone at 3:00am.

One (me) might consider that the people who do pay taxes in the states that have the highest nonpayment may be more inclined to notice or care about the phenomenon.

I don't understand why you quoted me before writing this. How does this relate to what I wrote, in particular? Which phenomenon are you referring to? Federally supported jobs in WY, ND and AK? Low rates of income tax payment?

you're right hsh, I copied the wrong quote. Then got lazy and figured people would get the idea.

"I take your point in general, but I'm not sure if it applies when we're talking about stuff at the federal level."

It applies in the sense that you might have a different view of the extent of it as a problem.

And I really don't think that, at this point, people don't understand the difference between income and payroll taxes. Only 18% of people don't pay either, and they pretty much are the very poor and elderly.

That's cool. I was starting to doubt myself.

But, since we are talking about taxes again, here are a couple interesting articles. I am not sure how popular the source will be but the graphs are CBO. I can't copy them here due to lack of skills.

One is income tax rates since 1979 by quintile, the other includes all federal taxes. If you can, feel free to copy them here.

But from the ALL taxes link:

From just this one graph, several observations can be drawn.

• The most obvious observation is that the higher your income, the greater your federal tax rate is. Taxpayers in the top quintile paid about 25% of their income in federal taxes, while those in the bottom quintile paid about 5% in 2007.
• The rate for the top quintile has been very steady for the last thirty years: about 25%. In fact, the rate since the Bush cuts went into full effect (2003-07) was about the same as twenty years before (1983-87).
• The same cannot be said for the lower quintiles; they have trended downward, especially since the Bush cuts in 2003. For the lowest quintile in particular, the rate has drifted downward since 1984, from about 10% of income to about 4%. That is a cut in the tax rate of about 60% for the lowest quintile, versus no cut in rate for the top quintile.
• Changes in these rates cannot be explained by changes in income. The rate is taxes paid divided by income. If your taxes went up only because your income went up, then your rate would not change.
• Reagan's tax cuts became fully effective in 1983. But look at the trend in average tax rate for the highest quintile of earners after that. It went up. That upward trend on the richest Americans went up for seventeen years after Reagan's tax cuts.
• The same cannot be said for the lower quintiles. Tax rates for the lower 80% of taxpayers remained virtually flat, or trended downward, from 1983 to 2000.
• A cut on the capital gains tax rate became effective in 1997. Do you see any kind of accompanying dip in the average tax rate for the highest quintile in that year or shortly after? Nope. The rate is pretty flat from 1993 to 2000.
• The Bush tax cuts did cut tax rates -- for all income groups. The cut was about 2%-3% of income for all quintiles. But since the lower income groups were paying lower rates in the first place, the constant cut across income groups meant that tax rates were cut proportionally more for lower income groups. For example: the top quintile was cut from about 27% to about 24%, which is a cut in the rate of 11%. But the bottom quintile was cut from about 7% to about 4%, a cut in the rate of over 40%.

It would be interesting to see who benefits (or derives benefits) from local, state and federal governments, in relation to what they contribute.

Changes in these rates cannot be explained by changes in income. The rate is taxes paid divided by income. If your taxes went up only because your income went up, then your rate would not change.

This makes no sense. You might not have income in as high of a bracket if your income went down. As income goes up, the rate paid on the taxable portion will asymptotically approach the highest rate (for a given class of income - earned, capital gains, dividend).

Below is how much you would have to make to be in the top quintile in constant 2011 dollars, top to bottom from 2011 to 1967. (You can see the effect of the financial crisis in 2008 thru 2011.)

101,582
103,184
104,857
104,710
108,473
108,239
105,651
104,784
106,228
105,036
106,077
106,790
106,949
103,348
99,900
97,085
95,432
94,304
92,423
91,107
91,407
92,092
94,064
92,427
91,596
90,029
86,867
85,317
82,835
81,456
81,389
81,808
83,730
83,170
81,138
79,322
77,387
79,523
81,498
79,330
75,271
75,783
75,389
71,884
69,710

The tax cuts mattered to the people in this quintile if their average rate hasn't changed.

One (me) might consider that the people who do pay taxes in the states that have the highest nonpayment may be more inclined to notice or care about the phenomenon.

That doesn't do one single thing to explain the voting patterns in Mississippi.

The voting patterns in Mississippi aren't determined by what tax bracket you are in. Which means what Romney said isn't just stupid, incompetent and evil, but a stupid, incompetent and evil lie.

There's so much wrong with what Mitt said that it's hard to know where to start. But I'll start here: Hey, Mitt, whyare you hiding your tax returns? Didn't pay any, didya? You moocher!

But it gets worse. Those folks who don't pay income tax pay plenty of other taxes: payroll, sales, state taxes.

And the reason they don't pay income tax is that they can't afford it. And which party opposes every single intiative that might increase incomes and get those folks up into an incometax payig bracket? Which party engages in union busting? Which party doesn't want to raise the minimum raise? Which party nominated a vulture capitalist who exports jobs> Yeah make people poor and then blame them for being poor!

But it gets worse: Many of those moochers live on Social Security, Medicare vet's benefits or Medicaid--all programs he wants to destroy one way or the other. I guess he's expecting all those old, sick and/or disabled people to stagger down to the nearest temp agency and got to work. At low payinng jobs.

Maybe he just wants us all to die since he can export jobs to China to that places like that factory he describes on the same video. He doesn't need Americans any more, so why should he give a shit?

Changes in these rates cannot be explained by changes in income. The rate is taxes paid divided by income. If your taxes went up only because your income went up, then your rate would not change.

From the cited CBO report: "The share of taxes paid by the top fifth of the population grew sharply between 1979 and 2007. Almost all of that growth can be attributed to an increase in that group’s share of before-tax income."

As income is shifted upward and tax rates reduced, the "rate" paid by the top quintile could well remain somewhat constant. For those in the lower quintiles one would expect to see their both their "rate" and their "share" go down.

This is what the graph appears to show.

You might also check http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1811> here for more analysis.

From just this one graph, several observations can be drawn

The observation the author neglected to include was that Mitt Romney has a really, really good tax attorney.

13%, on a multi-million dollar income. Somebody's earning their fee.

The piece was interesting, but to be honest, 25% for the top quintile vs 5% for the lowest quintile, all in, seems fine to me.

And it fails to explain all the dudes in the top quintile who pay way less than a 25% effective tax rate at the federal level.

Maybe he's failing to account for those loopholes we hear so much about.

I guess it is because I'm overseas, but the tax stuff, while I understand why it is the focus, doesn't really shock me. It's the approach to the I-P situation. Marcellina's comment about how he may be playing to the end-timers in the crowd is possible, but I'm not really sure there are going to be a lot of those folks at a fund-raiser held at this guy's place, but I might have the wrong impression of folks in that crowd.

There are supposed to be more video excerpts in the pipeline, and this comment concerning North Korea is astonishing.

And it's no wonder that people like Kim Jong Un, the new leader of North Korea, announces a new long-range missile test only a week after he said he wouldn't. Because it's like, what's this president going to do about it?

If you can't act, don't threaten.

Not only does the last sentence contradict the previous paragraph, but it is such an idiotic view of how these things work that I do think the fact that we have a black man as president just overrides any impulse towards rational thought.

"The piece was interesting, but to be honest, 25% for the top quintile vs 5% for the lowest quintile, all in, seems fine to me."

Me too, quite fair overall. I even find the breakdown within the top quintile to be ok, right up to 5 million. We should raise taxes on those guys.

If you can't act, don't threaten.

yay! Bush 3.0!

I think Romney's I/P comment was just him channeling what the Israeli right thinks and sometimes says out loud. Netanyahu pays lip service to a 2SS, but he means something the Palestinians wouldn't accept. Dayan, a settler leader, was profiled in the NYT a few weeks ago and he stated the 2SS is dead. Here he is in an op ed piece last summer (separate from the profile I mentioned)--

link

The Republican right is becoming indistinguishable from the Israeli right on Mideast issues.

Another video surfaces of Romney emoting his real inner Erick Erickson

That was totally awsome.

Romney says stupid things because he is a stupid man. How else to explain his conflation of the 47% who are likely Obama voters with the 47% who Mary Matalin dismissively describes as "parasites"? They are two different sets of people. As Republicans are fond of saying, apples and oranges.

How can someone this stupid with statistics be considered an excellent businessman?

Last night, Jon Aristophanes Stewart (when the satire stops, be very afraid, because violence will be imminent) showed a small portion of the video of Rmoney speaking to $50,000 a plate angry people.

It was bad.

Like inadvertently as a kid walking in on your parents having sex.

At any rate, the video was shot on some hand-held device set on a table to the side of where Rmoney and his guests were seated.

As Romney spoke about the parasitic 47%, probably about some of the hard-working taxpayers slinging the hash and pouring the champagne (did I say it was bad; imagine, a video surfacing from, say 1863, of a Southern plantation owner regaling his guests about the heavy burden and rising costs of slave ownership as his "staff", eyes averted, ears on mute, beavers away quietly around him) one of the catering staff kept passing in front of the table.

The catering employee (hey, he's happy to have the work, which is probably leeway for lowering wages further) stopped at the table, and just inches from the video camera, removed a tiny vial from inside his black catering vest and poured the contents into a glass of champagne.

I thought he was going to take the glass and set it at Rmoney's place at the head of the table, but instead the catering staff member listened to Rmoney's words for a few minutes and then, gripping the stem of the champagne flute with thumb and forefinger, he put his head back and drained the contents in one swallow.

He grabbed his throat as his face went into a rictus and fell to the floor, apparently having poisoned himself.

The double thump of his body hitting the floor was audible on the video.

No one in attendance noticed.

In fact, the assembled guests, including Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, rose from the table a few minutes later and stepped over the worker's body as they filed on to the veranda to view the live sex show in the hosting hedge-fund manager's cement pond.


If the Palestinians want to really make some progress, what they need is a stupidly rich Palestinian American who is willing to make seven-figure contributions to some US national candidates.

That'll move the policy debate in their favor.

Another video surfaces of Romney emoting his real inner Erick Erickson

+

Romney says stupid things because he is a stupid man. How else to explain his conflation of the 47% who are likely Obama voters with the 47% who Mary Matalin dismissively describes as "parasites"? They are two different sets of people.

=

and i just heard Erickson on N-fncking-PR make the same stupid argument. and the host let him get away with it.

Yes, Erickson, Matalin and the rest of the usual suspects are the true narcissists, for all the energy they expend accusing others of that disorder.

They hear Romney's words and they hear their own crabbed voices speaking and imagine their own hands up the back of Romney's suit jacket working the dummy's levers.

Who can blame them? He is a dummy.

Any businessmen and women here who would trust one line item of a business contract signed by Mitt Romney?

Erickson goes unchallenged on NPR. To think of all the tax dollars I poured down that rat hole to confirm my own biases.

I kid. I love NPR, but they have been gotten to.

It's like inviting al-Zawahiri to express his view of the world to a PTA meeting.

Everyone nods sagely and considerately and goes home and burns their inner Jew.

So there’s this family of 5 – wife, husband and 3 young kids. One spouse works, making $50k/yr, while the other stays home with the kids.

Using the 2012 tax code:

Standard deduction, married filing jointly - $11,900

Personal exemption for each - $3,800, totaling $19,000 for the 5

This leaves $19,100 of taxable income.

10% on the first $17,400 is $1,740.

15% on the remaining $1,700 is $255.

This yields a tax of $1,995.

With a child tax credit of $1,000 for each child, totaling $3,000 for the 3, this leaves net taxes due at NEGATIVE one thousand and five dollars.

Just happened to flag this story on my morning perusal of financial websites.

http://money.msn.com/main-street-america/job-gone-health-care-out-of-reach

Being a single man, Medicaid is verboten for him.

I know some view universal medical insurance as unconstitutional, among other things.

I say it was nice of the Founders to craft the guy's suicide ahead of time for him and give all of us the impression that we are complicit in his misery.

They thought of everything.

clearly, that family must get rid of one child and quit mooching off Mitt Romney's* taxes.

* who has never found a tax deduction he wouldn't take.

In closing for the week (me, not Stewart), Stewart also spoke with Salman Rushdie, who just released a memoir about HIS ordeal, and it was fascinating, particularly his view of very current events.

Excerpts from his new book are available in this last week's New Yorker.

The New Yorker excerpt is here and the book looks to be fascinating.

There's a section of the video that is even more damning of Romney than the 47% stuff. In that section he talks about how Reagan used the Iran hostage crisis to win his election (that's Romney's interpetation of those events) and goes on to say that if there was a crisis involving Americans he would certainly take advantage of it.

Interesting that he said this before he mouthed off in an obvioulsy gleeful atempt to use the death of the ambassador to his advantage.


I don't think that personal niceness is necessary in a President and the presence or lack of personal niceness wouldn't sway me much one way or the other unless the lack of niceness took the form of torturing puppies or something like that.

Or unless the lack of personal niceness was a filter that effected in a fundamental way the President's reaction to events, thereby influencing to a significant degree his policies.

I think that's the case with the Rombot. His lack of personal niceness is so profound that he sees a crisis involving American lives --genuinely sees--as a means to his ends and has no shame or self awareness that inhibits him from jumping on the opportunty for his own advantage.

In the same video he comments taht his campaign is limiting his wife's exposure so "people won't get sick of her." Jeez,, a person with any awarenness of the feelings of other people at all would find a more tactful way to express that thought.

So he casually dismisses half the populatio of the country for not paying taxes he almost certainly didn't pay himself, labels them all as the enemy...

It's just breathtakingly not nice.

LIke gutting the fundiing for Medicaid is not nice.
Like turning Medicare into a voucher program is not nice.
LIke making unemployment a state responsiblity is not nice.

Lying about the changes in job requirements for welfare was not nice. Lyig about the millions of dollars the Obama adminstration saved on Medicare was not nice.

Like promoting all this crap about rich people being job creators and the lie that cuttig their taxes will produce jobs while demonizing and threatening those few people who remain in the niddle class is not nice.


But its the real face of the Repulbican party, Repubican values on display. Republican party ideas and values are every bit as selfish and primitive as Romney appears to be.

Yeah, the foreign policy comments are even more gob-smacking than the other stuff.

It's like watching a not very trustworthy kid come upon a cache of fireworks.

I'm done now.

Scrape 'em off. You wanna save somebody? Save yourself!

CCDG,

May I suggest you have a look at this.

There's a lot there, and it does an excellent job of debunking Romney.

One point near the end particularly struck me:

A GAO study found that in every year from 1998 to 2005, approximately 55 percent of large corporations paid no corporate income tax. ** But just 2.7 percent of large corporations reported no net tax liability in all eight of those eight years. This reflects a similar pattern as applies to families and individuals — those who do not pay income tax in a given year often do pay income tax over time.

IOW, businesses don't pay taxes when they have a bad year either.

I think it's a general problem of perception, with the kind of statistical categories the come into play when discussing taxes and income, that people tend to think that the individuals who fall into a given category at one point in time are the same individuals who do at another.

We currently have this 47% who pay no federal income taxes. This percentage was lower before the financial crisis, so we know at least some of those people weren't in that category before. But I think some people think of, say, the 30% (just a number of rectal extraction) who entirely accounted for that category some number of years earlier are necessarily part of the current 47%, as though we just added another 17% to those same people.

I think this occurs with unemployment figures, income percentiles and whatever. I sometimes automatically think this way and have to correct myself when considering such matters. It's just simpler and therefore easier to think in those terms, even though it's wrong.

I should add that sometimes, depending on the specific discussion at hand, it just doesn't matter whether you're talking about the same people or not. The categories and their sizes are what matters, not the elements.

But, when you start talking about the people, themselves, the way Romney did, characterizing them and imputing specific thoughts and additudes to them, that mode of thinking becomes highly problematic.

"IOW, businesses don't pay taxes when they have a bad year either. "


I will look through this when I can today. But i am not sure how it debunks Romneys underlying, and, to me, obvious point, that there is a huge number of people he just isn't going to sway. Every pundit on every political show, blog, news show, etc. agrees with this. Some of those are people who fear losing entitlements, some are people who think we should be providing those entitlements that the first set are afraid of losing with no restriction, some believe that Obama has great policies that will recreate the golden age of American business and thus the mddle class.

The ones that Romney needs to convince are the ones that don't fit in any of the above categories. Like most human beings, he was talking to people who weren't going to take his words and assume the worst about every sentence. So he made the point in a lazy way.

I struggle to listen to any of what he said and see where it is politically incorrect, any more than the guns and religion comments by Obama weren't politically correct. Even his assessments of the Palestinian issue and N Korea are pretty standard fare.

It is a problem to hear a candidate speak really honestly about practical realities in the middle of a campaign. So this hurts him because it reinforces and hardens both sides view of him.

Laura Koerbeer ,

In that section he talks about how Reagan used the Iran hostage crisis to win his election (that's Romney's interpretation of those events) and goes on to say that if there was a crisis involving Americans he would certainly take advantage of it.

I don’t know what to make of this observation, Another October Surprise?.

In the same video he comments taht his campaign is limiting his wife's exposure so "people won't get sick of her." Jeez, a person with any awareness of the feelings of other people at all would find a more tactful way to express that thought.

I think Frank Rich shows in My Embed in Red, discovers a lot of right-wing radio show hosts could not stand Ms. Romney. So that may be for certain members of the base.

CCDG,

But i am not sure how it debunks Romneys underlying, and, to me, obvious point, that there is a huge number of people he just isn't going to sway. Every pundit on every political show, blog, news show, etc. agrees with this. Some of those are people who fear losing entitlements, some are people who think we should be providing those entitlements that the first set are afraid of losing with no restriction, some believe that Obama has great policies that will recreate the golden age of American business and thus the mddle class.

I agree with this sentiment, that is to say the Dems and Repub, both go into an election with about a 45-47% base. What it doesn’t assume though, is “Limousine Liberals” and other such categories are not paying taxes. It also doesn’t assume that non-tax payers refuse to vote for Republicans. Romney’s explanation seemed “childish”, something young right-wingers tell themselves, instead of the realities on the ground.

russell: And it fails to explain all the dudes in the top quintile who pay way less than a 25% effective tax rate at the federal level.

Because they're hiding in the data. Assuming that CCDG's number for income necessary to be in the "top quintile" are correct (seems like it), the vast majority of them earn ordinary income taxed at up to 35%. To really see who's getting away with what, things need to be broken down into the top 5%, 1%, 0.1%, 0.01% and even the 0.001% of income. But federal income tax statistics don't do this (other than the summary release of the Top 400 returns, average tax rate in 2009: 19.91%). I wonder why.

CCDG: But i am not sure how it debunks Romneys underlying, and, to me, obvious point, that there is a huge number of people he just isn't going to sway.

Ah, if only he left it at that. Instead, not.

"To really see who's getting away with what, things need to be broken down into the top 5%, 1%, 0.1%, 0.01% and even the 0.001% of income. "

The breakdown of the top quintile is in the article.

I struggle to listen to any of what he said and see where it is politically incorrect, any more than the guns and religion comments by Obama weren't politically correct.

This is a hilarious false equivalency. This is what Obama actually said:

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

In every way, this quotation is compassionate - except that people took offense to the "cling to guns and religion" part. Obama is empathizing with the people he's talking about - saying that their feelings are easy to understand, and that he wants to persuade them. Except for the "clinging" part, nobody even disagrees with anything he said.

On the other hand, Mitt Romney said this:

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it -- that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

In other words, 47% of people have no sense of personal responsibility - they just want to live on government handouts.

If you can't see the difference CCDG, especially when you understand who that 47% is (including active duty military personnel that Romney obviously has no experience with even though he is drumming for war) there's something terribly wrong.

Thanks for saving me the trouble, sapient. I had already formulated more or less the very same thoughts after reading Bill Kristol's Op-Ed putting forth the same false equivalency. The attitudes towards expressed by the two statements are vastly different, even if people could take offense to either.

In other words, 47% of people have no sense of personal responsibility - they just want to live on government handouts.

...AND that exactly same 47% is the Democratic base.

which is a lie.

and, it doesn't take into account the fact that Romney, like every other person in that room, would be very happy to pay no federal income tax; and they do, in all likelihood, employ legions of people to figure out how to get their tax bills as low as possible.

which is perfectly legal. if the deductions and credits are there, take them. i do it; i'm sure we all do. but what i don't do is to then begrudge people who end up paying no federal income tax because they don't make enough to owe any, or they credits and deductions fall just right for them.

why is it not enough to be rich beyond most people's wildest dreams? why does he have to resent people for being poor? and why do people defend him for it?

if someone is too poor to owe taxes, they are parasites. but people who are so rich that they can arrange their vast finances just so that they owe little or no taxes are sainted.

you can't have it both ways, "conservatives". if not paying taxes is a sin, you can't worship and support people who strive to pay no taxes.

For the record, I find Romney’s family absolutely and utterly charming. But I don’t vote on those types of things.

Wow, how many actice duty personnel are there? 1.5M, doesnt move the needle, how many elderly and very poor 18%. In the end his campaign on lowering taxes doesn't mean anything to them, it can't get lower than a little under 0. We can all find examples of hard working people that are in that 47%, I am sure he could to. Again, not nuances he would have thought to make for the crowd he was talking to.

And no, it is not a false equivalence, bad phrasing in a private setting. The rest is where your bias started from.

The breakdown of the top quintile is in the article.

Thanks CCDG, I just noticed that, and it shows that the average tax rate for those making $10M plus is...less than those making 5% of that. 22.6% vs. 24.4%. (also the link to the IRS data on this is broken in the article and I can't seem to re-produce it)

Suffice it to say, someone making $10M a year should not be paying a lower effective tax rate, all in, than someone making $500k a year. If the equalization of the capital gains and ordinary income tax rates was good enough for St. Ronnie, it's good enough for me. And it's rare to see income stats broken down into anything other than the Top 5%, so good for the article's author in doing so.

Yes ugh, I agreed with the point on the 10m guys upthread.

And no, it is not a false equivalence, bad phrasing in a private setting. The rest is where your bias started from.

If you honestly can't read the two statements, whether or not they were both badly phrased in a private setting, and see a difference in the speakers' attitudes toward the people they were taking about, I have to conclude your bias is at work.

Romney is contemptuous and dismissive, while Obama is compassionate, even if condescendingly so. Obama's words may be imperfect, but Romney's are downright ugly.

But there's probably no point in arguing over it. No one's changing anyone's mind.

Some other interesting observations from the Right.

The more general misimpression that Romney propagated in Boca Raton, Fla., is that nearly half of the “47 percent” are nonproductive parasites who take no “personal responsibility or care for their lives.” This just isn’t true. A majority of government spending benefits the middle class. The progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the bottom fifth of households received 32 cents of every dollar of federal benefits in 2010. What’s more, both whites and blacks benefit from government in proportion to their share of the overall population.


It would be great, as David Brooks writes, to have an argument about whether the distribution of these benefits is overly generous to the elderly and too stingy toward the young. (I’m assuming that when Romney promises to repeal Obama’s “raid” on Medicare, he believes today’s seniors are “entitled” to healthcare.) And it would be great, as economist Scott Sumner writes, if we could distinguish between “big government” and inefficient and behavior-distorting government.


From:
The 53 Percent Are at the Trough, Too

CCDG,

Romneys underlying, and, to me, obvious point, that there is a huge number of people he just isn't going to sway. Every pundit on every political show, blog, news show, etc. agrees with this. Some of those are people who fear losing entitlements, some are people who think we should be providing those entitlements that the first set are afraid of losing with no restriction, some believe that Obama has great policies that will recreate the golden age of American business and thus the mddle class.

Nope. That's not his underlying point. He's not saying Obama has a 47% base that supports him for a broad variety of reasons. Absolutely not. That's the GOP spinners' tale, but it's a lie, as you can easily tell if you read the quote.

What Romney said was:

There are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they're entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it. It's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. I mean the president starts off with 48%, 49%, 40--he starts off with a huge number.

IOW, Romney said the 47% Obama base is entirely made up of moochers. It's impossible to read the statement any other way.

Nope. That's not his underlying point.

nope. but that's the point they're all going to insist he was making.

we'll see if the media has enough spine to point out, over and over and over and over, that it's not at all what he said. i'm betting "no".

oops. no, the new talking point is going to be that the video is missing a crucial 90 seconds, and that MoJo snipped out that 90 seconds because it contains crucial context that will make all of the current criticisms moot.

that Romney hasn't yet mentioned what's in this magic 90 seconds will remain one of life's great mysteries.

I struggle to listen to any of what he said and see where it is politically incorrect, any more than the guns and religion comments by Obama weren't politically correct.

"Politically incorrect" is not really the issue.

It was (a) false and (b) extraordinarily offensive to people who work their @sses off and don't make enough money to end up with a net federal income tax liability.

Those people do NOT consider themselves victims. They do NOT assume that the state owes them food, shelter, and healthcare as an entitlement. They are NOT dependent upon government any more than anybody else, and are less so than many of the folks in Romney's audience.

It is not a matter of inartful wording, it's freaking false. The substance of his statement is false. And not just false, but insulting to tens of millions of people.

Obama's comments were likewise offensive to a lot of people, although for different reasons. And he got hammered for it, and deserved to get hammered for it.

And Romney is getting hammered, and will continue to get hammered, for his. And he will deserve it.

If I give Romney's comments the most charitable reading I can, he is so freaking out of touch with normal human life that he might as well be living on Mars.

A more realistic reading, IMO, is that his comments be taken at face value. I think what he said is what he believes, as stated. He's had many opportunities to unpack what he said, correct the wording, explain what he really meant, and he has quite clearly opted not to. By "quite clearly" I mean he has stated, explicitly, that he stands behind the substance of what he said.

Romney started out the 2012 campaign cycle as a reasonably well-regarded guy. I think he's gonna end up as one of the most disliked characters in recent American public life.

If so, IMO he will have earned it.

In other news on the "why this will not lose Romney a single vote" front, earlier today I read a posting from a buddy of mine on FB.

My buddy had a lifelong friend who killed himself a couple of years ago. Lost his job due to the recession, then lost his house to foreclosure, then his marriage fell apart.

In short, his life was freaking shattered to crumbs. We all know the story, it's not an unfamiliar one these days.

In his middle 40's I suppose he figured starting over from scratch just wasn't worth the candle. Or, he just didn't know where to begin.

Anyway, today my buddy chimed in to say that sure, Elizabeth Warren could talk a good line about standing up the banks etc., but his vote was going for Brown because he was in the National Guard.

People do things for all kinds of reasons. Not all of them make a lot of sense to other people.

Stupid, rude, offensive, clueless comments or not, Romney's still got a shot.

Read'em and weep.

But wait, there's more!

What Romney doesn't understand.

A snippet:

The thing about not having much money is you have to take much more responsibility for your life. You can’t pay people to watch your kids or clean your house or fix your meals. You can’t necessarily afford a car or a washing machine or a home in a good school district. That’s what money buys you: goods and services that make your life easier.

That’s what money has bought Romney, too. He’s a guy who sold his dad’s stock to pay for college, who built an elevator to ensure easier access to his multiple cars and who was able to support his wife’s decision to be a stay-at-home mom. That’s great! That’s the dream.

The problem is that he doesn’t seem to realize how difficult it is to focus on college when you’re also working full time, how much planning it takes to reliably commute to work without a car, or the agonizing choices faced by families in which both parents work and a child falls ill. The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it.

Anybody who has ever had to sweat the rent, or pick which bills they are going to let go overdue this month, or choose between fixing the car or eating three meals a day, knows *exactly* what Klein is talking about.

Romney does not. Never has, likely never will.

I'm growing to dislike the guy quite a bit. Didn't start out that way, but I'm getting there.

h/t atrios

One point no one seems to have brought up yet is that claiming to be the victim of evil forces is a favorite on the right. What about the claims that Christians in the US are treated like the Jews in Hitler's Germany, that the liberal media suppresses any public expression of conservative thought, that the liberals want to and will take your guns any minute now, that evil Washington steals the hard-earned money of upright (and therefore automatically conservative) citizens to give it to the undeserving, that all good jobs and all scholarships are given to the unqualified minorities instead of the above mentioned upright citizens, that the children get indoctrinated by the forces of evil in the unconstitutional public school system, that the gays prey on each and every child etc. etc.?

From russell's link:

Romney, apparently, thinks it’s folks like him who’ve really had it hard. “I have inherited nothing,” the son of a former auto executive and governor told the room of donors. “Everything Ann and I have, we earned the old-fashioned way.” This is a man blind to his own privilege.

"Blind to his own privilege." No effing sh1t. I have no doubt he's worked hard, but the idea that he "inherited nothing" is farcical, a sign that the man believes his own BS. Not good.

I agree with russell, I'm growing to dislike the guy quite a bit. Didn't start out that way, but I'm getting there.

It's like being a callous douchebag is a feature, not a bug, for the GOP these days, and probably at least since Nixon.

Fnck.

"The problem is that he doesn’t seem to realize how difficult it is to focus on college when you’re also working full time, how much planning it takes to reliably commute to work without a car, or the agonizing choices faced by families in which both parents work and a child falls ill. The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it."

At least they both have jobs, huh? This describes my whole life until my first two kids graduated from college, I am not sure I would describe it in such pathetic terms though.

Planning to get to work is just what we did. Deciding who stays home with the sick child is Agonizing? Really?

Paying for college? Yeah, I was thrilled when two of them decided to go to state schools, the other two were half paid and half borrowed, and the bills were juggled.

I am much happier to have someone I believe will focus on making sure both of us have jobs (which I don't) than someone worried about how agonizing it is to decide who takes care of the sick kid.

bah.

I am much happier to have someone I believe will focus on making sure both of us have jobs

well, as long as you pay income taxes (or make enough to hire somebody to make sure you don't have to pay any), Mitt welcomes your vote.

everybody else is a professional victim.

This describes my whole life until my first two kids graduated from college, I am not sure I would describe it in such pathetic terms though.

Maybe you were just better off than some other people. Maybe the two jobs you and your wife had were better than the jobs some other people have.

You focus in on the word "agonizing" to turn the description of working poor people's lives into a maudlin soap opera if you like, but the point is that poor people have a ton of responsibilities and that ol' Mitt doesn't get that.

It's not about picking someone who "worries" about who's going to watch the sick kid. It's about one guy who doesn't even know what it's like to have to consider such things.

And it's possible to focus on people being able to find work and to understand what it's like for working parents to take care of their kids, like, at the same time.

Planning to get to work is just what we did. Deciding who stays home with the sick child is Agonizing? Really?

I wouldn't say "agonizing" but certainly a pain in the @$$. Not every job pays you if you don't show up for work.

I am much happier to have someone I believe will focus on making sure both of us have jobs

Really? And you're voting Republican?

Very misguided.

This describes my whole life until my first two kids graduated from college

It describes a lot of people's lives. Like, millions of people.

That's my point. I don't wish to speak for others, but I suspect it's the point of everyone on this thread other than you.

The people whose lives it describes don't suddenly fall into the bucket of "dependent on government", "victims", or "not taking responsibility for themselves" if their income in any given year results in them having no net federal income tax liability.

In fact, if they make little enough $$$ to have no net federal income tax liability, they most likely can't afford to hire anybody to deal with problematic stuff, so they are responsible for everything.

Nobody is running errands for them, Nobody's picking up the dry cleaning, nobody's watching the kids after school for them, nobody's doing grocery shopping or cleaning the toilet or taking the kid to the doctor or [fill in your favorite list of j-random daily household errands].

Nobody is doing that for them. They are doing it, for themselves. They are responsible for themselves, and their families.

And yeah, that describes tens of millions of people in this country. Including you, including me, including most people hanging out here on ObWi.

That is the damned point.

Romney says if they don't happen to have a federal income tax liability, they're not taking responsibility for themselves. They are living on government largesse. So, they won't be open to his promises of a lower tax burden.

What they aren't open to is his inability to understand how people who aren't worth 7 or 8 or 9 figures live.

Because he's never had that experience, and apparently doesn't have the personal equipment to imagine it.

Planning to get to work is just what we did.

See my comment above.

Deciding who stays home with the sick child is Agonizing?

It is if "stay home with kid" means "no pay", or "get fired".

So yes, agonizing. Maybe not for you, in which case lucky you. For lots of people, agonizing.

My message to conservatives, now and always: there are other people in the world besides you.

What they aren't open to is his inability to understand how people who aren't worth 7 or 8 or 9 figures live.

Mitt Romney thinks $200,000 to $250,000 is "middle income":

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Is $100,000 middle income?

MITT ROMNEY: No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.

$200K is four times the median US household income.

man of the people.

OK, true story.

I used to commute into Boston on the train. The morning ritual included a few minutes of hanging around at the station and shooting the breeze with the other folks who were waiting for the train.

It was a mix of folks, from various backgrounds. One guy was from, basically, money. He was sharing a story about a summer party he had attended on a small island just off the coast of a nearby town.

"A party on an island?", someone asked. "How do you all get out there?"

Answer: "You take the boat!".

Obviously.

Because everybody has a boat. Obviously.

Everybody has blind spots. Romney's are the 99% of people in the world who aren't freaking rich.

"Planning to get to work is just what we did. Deciding who stays home with the sick child is Agonizing? Really?"

"I wouldn't say "agonizing" but certainly a pain in the @$$. Not every job pays you if you don't show up for work."

Been awhile since I read Nickeled and Dimed, and I've never been in that position, but it does sound like some people have bosses who are less than kind and understanding.

I thought of replying to CCDG's brief Palestinian comment, but decided it wasn't worth it. Sure, lots of people think the way Romney does. Basically, if you don't have power or money and can't do him any good, you're worthless in his eyes,whether you're some individual in what he perceives as an inferior culture, or someone who doesn't make enough here to pay income taxes.

"Stupid, rude, offensive, clueless comments or not, Romney's still got a shot."

True. With his core constituency, his remarks will spark enthusiasm. Others will (cough, cough) try to rephrase the remarks into something less offensive.

"You focus in on the word "agonizing" to turn the description of working poor people's lives into a maudlin soap opera if you like,"

For the first 20 years of my adult life and 15 years of my kids life we were definitively working poor moving up to lower middle class.

Not so much the last fifteen years,( but it's perfectly possible I could be back there in six months).

The whole point of what was there was to describe the working poors life as a maudlin soap opera. But more important, it is to imply that it is governments role to fix those challenges.

Those are the very ways that people describe things that sound like we were "victims" of some kind of lack of understanding by the government.

As far as I'm concerned Ezra Klein doesn't have a clue how much I object to him painting me as a victim that Romney should be trying to understand. Klein is an example of a huge part of the problem: the patronizing crusader for me or my family, most of whom are still working poor.

I wish he would take his faux concern and shove it.

My brother is a rigger; the company he works for is a subsidiary of Halliburton. Missing work for anything is almost impossible, although there are labor laws that should prevent the exploitive nature of the job; it is an open secret that anything smelling of injury or sickness will not be tolerated and lead to dismissal. Mentioning a union guarantees dismissal.

And kids just don’t get sick, they get into trouble at school, they go to a home devoid of adult supervision, etc.

My highest paying job treated me like a prince (Prospect Research for Catholic institution, separating the middle-class from the millionaires from the billionaires for possible donations) but those below me were constantly supervised and constant passive-aggressive hints of losing their jobs.

My lowest paying job (unloaded trucks for a liquidator) would frequently send people home without pay, and the in-your-face threat of dismissal.

The more money you make, the better you are treated.

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