Romneys and 2011 Tax Returns

September 21, 2012

Willard M. Romney
3 Cottage Road
Belmont, MA 02478

Dear Mr. Romney:

I think I am one of many U.S. taxpayers and voters who really admire and appreciate your release of your personal federal tax return for 2011.

Although it seems to be very long (379 pages?), I’m sure you wanted to ensure that every detail was disclosed so there can be no doubt or challenge to your transparency.

Despite your best intentions, I found as I reviewed each page in your return a number of questions and/or omissions.

The majority of the pages of your 2011 return pertain to Form 8621 reporting. In virtually every case, the preparer tells us, “…the number of shares is unknown.”

Now, I know if this tax preparer worked for me, I would have said, “Well, did you call them to get the number of shares? After all of this extra time we’ve taken to file, don’t you think it would be nice to be able to provide this information?”

As I kept reading through this 379 page document, I could only think that if an accounting firm was presenting this to me, I’d be angry.

I would accuse them of waste, at least. And, I’d be really concerned that maybe they were ‘padding the bill’.

I was tempted to think that this was a creative example of obfuscation, but I’m sure that’s not what you had in mind at all.

I think you need to have a long and serious talk with the folks at Price Waterhouse Coopers. They may have let you down.

Worse than just their seemingly excessive production of paper, it looks as though there may be some computational errors – particularly in the areas of itemized deductions and AMT calculations – that won’t stand the test of scrutiny.

I know you didn’t intend for that, but you did earn both a Harvard JD and MBA, so most people will expect that you would be able to differentiate between compliance with the U.S. tax laws, and stretching them to test the limits.

Again, thank you for disclosing. I know you are very busy, and I certainly will forgive you for not having had the time to do a complete and thorough review of all of the details.

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Makers vs. Moochers

September 18, 2012

Plenty of comments – supportive and otherwise – on Mitt Romney’s comments at a private political fund-raiser in May 2012.

Romney — who called President Obama to task for dividing our nation — himself divided our nation into two groups: the Makers and the Moochers.

47% of Americans, he said, are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

I think it’s useful to look back into history to see what we can learn from the past.

The Brown vs. Board of Education decision (1954) was a seminal Supreme Court decision which ostensibly eliminated the ‘separate but equal’ education doctrine, yet ultimately drew a line in the sand, and created a truly apartheid K-12 education system across most of the U.S.

Add into that equation the impact of heavily subsidized highways which supported the automobile and which exacerbated ‘sprawl’; the prolific conversion of farmland into residential subdivisions; and the residual effects of HUD policies from the 1930’s which encouraged low-income households to exclude wage-earning males.

Pretty soon, we in the U.S. had a perfect laboratory from which to grow a sub-culture which favors 15 and 16 year old girls to make babies, leave school and go on public assistance. The boys? They might go to prison, or maybe die from a drug overdose or a shooting.

Who cares about them anyway? Certainly not Mitt Romney!

It is amazing to learn that this new model exists and flourishes in the Native American communities in New Mexico, in native villages in Alaska, as well as in most cities in the continental U.S.

Is this something Obama created or supports? There is no evidence to support that.

This model of exclusion seems to date back to many prior decades, even centuries — we might even say it began around 1620 when the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth — and now, Romney wants to further polarize our citizenry with his bullshit incendiary commentary.

The real sadness here is that for the past 30 years, or so, there seems to have been no focus on encouraging or developing critical thinking skills for students in public schools.

It would seem that regular people who were challenged and encouraged to do some original research and thinking would be able to differentiate between pure unadulterated bullshit and a more nuanced and careful flowchart that traces back to root causes, and allows for informed conclusions which might result in solutions to our current mediocre position in the world landscape.

Sad. Very sad…..

A Letter to Mitt Romney

September 17, 2012

Willard M. Romney
3 Cottage Road
Belmont, MA 02478

Dear Mr. Romney,

Today, I was listening to the radio in my car (a Chevrolet, by the way) on my way home from the office, and I heard an audio clip in which you were apparently speaking to a group of potential donors.

In that audio clip, you evidently referenced the 47 percent of Americans ‘who are with [Obama], 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. They will vote for this president no matter what. These are people who pay no income tax. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

I want you to know that I am part of the group of Americans who are with Obama.

I also want you to know that – if annual income of $250,000 and under is the cut-off for ‘middle class’, I live in a household which has consistently exceeded your threshold for ‘middle class’.

Yes, Mr. Romney, there are people in the U.S. who rely on earned income to pay their bills; who pay federal income taxes at the marginal rate; and who are penalized by the Alternative Minimum Tax (‘AMT’) — which I recall was originally intended to equalize income tax impact on our U.S. neighbors who excessively benefit from tax loopholes.

Not all of us who support President Obama are dependent on government. Not all of us pay no income tax. In fact, many of us do take personal responsibility seriously, and care for our lives.

Mr. Romney, you have confirmed by rhetoric as well as by action that — while you claim to be a self-made man — you are a member of the “New Elite” – the beneficiary of a wealthy upbringing, private schools and a Harvard pedigree.

You seem to be completely distanced from at least 99% of our fellow Americans.

One has to wonder: Why do you even bother to campaign when it is clear that you could go home, close the gates, and live out your life in the lap of luxury?

Someday, will you share with us: what is your real agenda? And, who is the wizard behind the curtain, directing this improbable screenplay?