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Archive for April 17th, 2012

Think Progress

By Judd Legum  on Apr 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm

In a CNBC interview with Larry Kudlow to air later tonight, Mitt Romney defends his decision to release only two years of tax returns — both filed after he decided to run for President — by claiming that 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry also released two years. From an advanced transcript:

KUDLOW: Why not release your tax returns? Why not go back 10 years?

Gov. ROMNEY: Well, we’ve had people run for president before, and they’ve released two years. John Kerry released two years of taxes.. I’ve released one already, put the estimate out for the next year. We’ll have two years of taxes..

In fact, John Kerry released not two years of returns, but 20. From an April 14, 2004 article by Byron York:

In addition to his 2003 returns, Kerry also released federal tax returns from the years 1999 to 2002 yesterday. There has been some dispute about returns for those years. Kerry has claimed that he had already released the returns — in January of this year, he said, “I released all my tax returns for 20 years. I have never not released my tax returns throughout my political career.” But aside from releasing details from his 2002 taxes — which showed a total income of $144,091 — it is not clear that Kerry has ever made public his returns from 1999 or 2000 or 2001 before now.

Thus far, Mitt Romney has only released one year of returns. Romney’s father, George Romney, released 12 years of returns, stating “one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.”

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Apr 16 2012, 6:42 PM ET

The Atlantic

Matthew O’Brien

The last time we checked in on Mitt Romney’s tax plan, the numbers didn’t add up. Actually, there weren’t any numbers to add up. Instead, there was a not very plausible promise to make the numbers add up at a later date. At stake was that Romney only spelled out the taxes and not the tax deductions that he wanted to cut. Basically, he told us what was for dessert, but not for dinner. Because he promised that his plan would be “revenue neutral,” these numbers had to offset each other. But if Romney’s recent hot mic moment is any indication, they don’t. Not even close.
Let’s start with a quick four-step recap of Romney’s tax plan. First, he extends all of the Bush tax cuts. Second, he cuts income tax rates an additional 20 percent. Third, he undoes the tax hikes and credits from Obamacare and the stimulus. Finally, he eliminates the capital gains tax for all but the richest households. The first three parts of this plan shower high-earners with most of the money. The last part is a bit of a fig leaf for the rest of us. After all, the top 0.1% of households earn half of all capital gains. Exempting middle-class households from this tax certainly helps them, but there’s just not that much money there.
There are two important numbers to keep in mind when it comes to Romney’s tax plan: $480 billion and $900 billion. The former is how much the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center reckons his plan would add to the deficit in 2015 alone in a world where the Bush tax cuts continue; the latter is the same for a world where the Bush tax cuts expire. Since Romney has pledged that his plan will be revenue neutral over the current baseline — that is, with the Bush tax cuts — that leaves him with a $480 billion hole to fill by closing loopholes or cutting spending.

Which brings us back to Romney’s recent run-in with a hot mic. During a more candid moment at a fundraising event, reporters overheard Romney lay out at least two loopholes he would consider closing: the mortgage interest deduction on second homes for high-earners and state income and property tax deductions. Let’s consider these in turn.

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Posted at  09:04 AM ET, 04/17/2012

The Washington Post

By

Despite recent signs that gas prices may be about to fall, the Obama team harbors very real fears that pain at the pump could very well deprive him of credit for the recovery. It could impose additional financial hardships on swing voters who might otherwise be inclined to accept the premise that things are improving.

So today, the White House will unveil a new proposal designed to reframe the debate. The Associated Press reports:

Under pressure to take action on rising gasoline prices, President Barack Obama wants Congress to strengthen federal supervision of oil markets, increase penalties for market manipulation and empower regulators to increase the amount of money energy traders are required to put behind their transactions.

The White House plan, which Obama was to unveil Tuesday, is more likely to draw sharp election-year distinctions with Republicans than have an immediate effect on prices at the pump. The measures seek to boost spending for Wall Street enforcement at a time when congressional Republicans are seeking to limit the reach of federal financial regulations.

Details in the link. The move seems like an effort to take hold of a gas-prices narrative that has mostly eluded the White House’s control. Previously, Obama and Dems had sought to deflect public anger over high gas prices by highlighting GOP protection of oil industry subsidies; by pointing out that Big Oil interests are pumping big money into ads attacking them; and by picking a sustained fight with the oil billionaire Koch brothers.
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Daily Kos

Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM PDT

by- Jed Lewison

Mitt Romney’s campaign explainswhy he doesn’t need to release any more tax returns than the one year’s worth he’s already disclosed:

Mitt Romney has been scrupulous about observing the requirements of the tax code. His income is reported and taxed in full compliance with U.S. law, and he has paid 100 percent of what he has owed. His good name means everything to him. Throughout his life in this and in other matters, he has conducted his personal and business affairs so as to be beyond reproach.

So far beyond reproach, in fact, that they don’t believe anyone has a right to see exactly just how far beyond reproach he went. But you can trust Mitt Romney isn’t a tax crook. His good name means everything to him, after all.

Sure, in 2008, Mitt Romney was willing to give John McCain 23 years worth of tax returns during the vice presidential vetting process. And sure, McCain ultimately picked Sarah Palin over Mitt Romney. But there’s nothing in those returns that would make Mitt look bad. How do we know? Because his campaign said so. Mitt Romney isn’t a tax crook. Period.

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