topic
Is it Mitt Romney's business?

Introduced: July 26 2012

That question can be interpreted two ways: Mitt Romney's business record and how it matters to you. And his tax records -- should they be anyone else's business? You're invited to comment on either or both. With questions swirling around Mitt Romney's business career, tell us how you think his accomplishments make him better qualified for President -- or tell us what concerns you about actions taken then. As for the issue of releasing his tax information -- do you think he's done enough and should ignore further requests? Or does his reluctance indicate something to hide? What would you NOT like to see in those records?

Dialogue on Is it Mitt Romney's business?
187:

I am still making up my mind whom to vote for in this election, so I am not pro-Romney or against Romney, but I would really like to know something. When he was repeatedly asked to make additional years of his tax returns public, he gave two replies. First, that he was not required to. But I guess the issue just wouldn't go away. Second, he said that releasing them would just give the Democrats more material for attacking him -- and I guess that has happened. He is being criticized for unloading a bunch of his foreign investments in what seems like a political play -- they were all sold in August of 2011 before one of primary debates. And he is also being criticized for having some of those particular investments in the first place, investing in things such as the state-owned Chinese oil company. His reply is that these investments were all made through a blind trust and he didn't make the selections. I would like to understand better whether blind trusts are truly blind -- or were just created for times like this when the person wants to separate himself from his investments. And also, are these kinds of investments pretty standard fare in our global economy -- or do they represent a preference for investing in other countries' businesses rather than American companies?



Note from IWD:  Thank you for asking about blind trusts. According to our source, the former head of wealth management for one of the  nation's leading investment firms: Blind trusts are sometimes created for indibviduals who have some role in the public sector and who want to avoid any impropriety or conflict of interest. This individual could give his or her investment advisor some parameters, but once those parameters are set, the individual has no paritipcation in or prior knowledge of investment decisions. It is up to the investment advisor to fulfill the responsibility of making the most money for his or her client. Investments in foreign companies are typically part of most portfolios these days.


(It may have taken Mr. Romney's advisors a little long to realize that some of the investments might be scrutinized later. That would explain the seemingly sudden move to change some investments during the 2011 primary season.)


 

281:

Why do people care about tax returns? I think it’s because taxes are on everybody’s mind these days. The two parties seem to have a different meaning of “fair share.” And we’re just not sure that someone who uses loopholes to avoid paying taxes has our (as in “our country’s") best interest at heart. But it would be naïve to think that wealthy Democrats don’t use the same types of tax shelters that wealthy Republicans do. Maybe we ought to think “amnesty” to anyone who’s made maximum use of tax loopholes in the past (afterall, they are legal according to our tax system) and think about reforming the tax code.

251:

Thank you, #400 (posted on August 23), for reminding us what the real problem is with this election.

134:

I agree with member 352 (posted August 23, 2012) that it’s important to note how generous Mitt Romney and his family have been in their charitable donations. He doesn’t just say that successful people have a responsibility to “give back”; he actually does it. What has been learned from the tax returns he released is that in the past two years, he gave the Church of the Latter Day Saints more than $4 million. According to an article in Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/edwindurgy/2012/05/17/an-inside-look-at-the-millions-mitt-romney-has-given-away/ , he donated all of his inheritance from his father George Romney to Brigham Young University.

Note from IWD: George Romney, an interesting figure who achieved both business and civic success, died in 1995. He was Chairman and General Manager of American Motors, Governor of Michigan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (during President Nixon’s first term), and founder of the National Centre for Voluntary Activity. Mr. Romney was a major supporter of Civil Rights. According to an article in The Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/08/how-george-romney-championed-civil-rights-and-challenged-his-church/261073/), at the Republican Party’s convention in 1964, George Romney was among those who worked to add a non-discrimination plank to the platform. The Presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, did not support the bill; as a result, Romney did not support Goldwater.

The inheritance mentioned above was given to the BYU Marriott School of Management’s Institute of Public Management. Also according to Forbes, Mitt and Ann Romney established the Tyler Charitable Foundation, which donates to various groups, including youth programs and health-related organizations.

352:

I am surprised that the IWD "editorial staff" or whoever provides reference articles would use a NYT article that is laden with insinuations and probablies as a tool to understanding reasons why Mr. Romney has chosen to reveal only what he is required to reveal. Mr. Romney's personal finances are, by sheer magnitude, a complex business. As a financial advisor, I can assure that there is much to be misconstrued and misinterpreted in the returns of someone with Mr. Romney's wealth. I am further puzzled at the notion that taxation is "giving back." We have gone so far away from the intent of our founding fathers and documents!

In this debate, is Mr. Romney's charity..or giving back...selectively ignored?

400:

I am coming to the opinion that the issue of Mr. Romney's tax returns is a diversion for individuals to ponder while the actual election is taken out of their hands. It makes no difference for us to care about Mr. Romney's tax returns when our own Supreme Court has opened the floodgates for special interests (hyperwealthy citizens and corporations as well as foreign ones), through its Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, to spend without limit on our elections. The organizations that are created to do just this are called "SuperPACs". Mr. Obama has a superpac called Priorities USA Action, which has raised a little more than $10.5 million. On the other hand, Karl Rove (of the former Bush administration) and Ed Gillespie (former RNC chair) have created other superpacs. American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, a sister Spac with a status that allows all contributors to remain anonymous.

 

As a head of these organizations, Rove has set up, essentially a shadow political party where he makes the decisions where the money goes and answers to no one. American Crossroads has raised $200 million in addition to the pro-Romney Superpac, Restore Our Future. By the end of May, 2012, Rove's superpac network along with the Koch brothers (multi-billionaire brothers responsible for funding much of the Tea Party movement who are now on board with Rove) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have a new goal of 1 billion. This will be in addition to Romney Campaign money and RNC money which is expected to be $800 million. For perspective, John McCain's entire presidential budget was $370 million.

 

April 5, Ed Gillespie left American Crossroads and joined the Romney campaign as senior advisor, enabling Rove strategic oversight of Romney's campaign. Rove's old friend from the Reagan-Bush campaign, Beth Myers, was Romney's 2008 campaign manager and his chief of staff when he was governor. On April 16, Romney announced that Myers would be in charge of his selection process for the vice president position.

 

Who cares about Romney's taxes when Rove, a quintessential game player, has his sights on capturing the White House, keeping the House of Representatives and winning back the Senate. Given that Rove can be credited with being the brain behind one of the worst presidents in US history (starting two horribly costly wars and leaving the country near economic collapse), there is substantial doubt whether he cares about who he gets elected as long as Rove wins the game. Right now, he has become the king of superpacs and, as the man controlling the money, has recreated himself as the vortex of power for the foreseeable future without popular support or oversight.

 

This is what we should watch and write our representatives and senators to change. They can overturn Citizens United with legislation. The power to elect should stay in the hands of the people who make up the country. That is the very foundation of America. If Mitt Romney gets elected to the presidency, the people of America should elect him, not the special interest groups and not a game-player who just wants to see if he can do it. You can read more about this in the August Issue of Vanity Fair (by Carl Unger) http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/09/karl-rove-gop-craig-unger and in the August Issue of Esquire (by Charles Pierce) http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/citizens-united-2012-10250917 Please be involved.

043:

The reason the campaign does not want to release his returns is that they will reveal that Mitt is not simply a millionaire but a billionaire! It's not a sin to be wealthy in America, but when you have a candidate who seems uncomfortable with who he is, plus so many American's struggling to make ends meet, this fact presents a huge challenge for a campaign that can't figure out how to spin it. The campaign screwed up and should have released the returns months ago when no one was paying attention.

097:

I definitely am against "class warfare" and I try to ignore anything I feel is being over-dramatized or blown up for purely political reasons. (For example, Harry Reid's claim that Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years.) But it would bother me if that was true -- because it would suggest to me that he wants to TAKE from America but not give back. Perhaps he is afraid that if he released his tax records, most Americans would know so little about the financial skill maneuvers commonly used to shield wealthy people from paying a lot of taxes that it would look more sinister than it really is.

033:

I don’t mind that Mitt Romney is wealthy. In fact, I’m rather impressed by his success and I have friends who have also made their mark in private equity and venture capital. But when we are considering putting someone in a position where he must represent all of us fairly and put the welfare of the country ahead of his own – we should know how he handled his wealth in relation to his financial obligations to his country. We have a right to know what loopholes he is using.

224:

I suspect that in the past, Mr. Romney, like many other wealthy Americans, put his business assets into an individual retirement account invested in a Cayman Islands corporation because that permitted him to pay a lesser amount of taxes on his IRA’s earnings. Somehow it seems difficult to convince us that he understands or appreciates the value of taxes to our country’s financial stability when he is taking clever steps to avoid being taxed.

Note from IWD: If you’d like to get into a more detailed presumption of what Mr. Romney’s tax returns might reveal, here’s a link to one explanation. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/opinion/the-mysteries-of-mitt-romneys-financial-records.html?_r=1

311:

I say, whoever has never either exaggerated or understated an amount on his/her income taxes has a right to criticize Mitt Romney if he did the same thing. But we hold potential Presidents to higher standards – or at least we WANT to do that.

259:

Calls for him to release his tax records have come from some unexpected directions – from Ron Paul who is anything but pro-tax, and from conservative commentator George Will, who said on the Sunday ABC-TV news Magazine This Week that he’s surprised Romney didn’t clean up his tax situation four years ago when he knew he might run this year.

108:

The Democrats have found a sticky issue equal to the Republicans' persistent calls for Obama to present his birth certificate. They won’t take no for an answer.

136:

Some people, including Donald Trump, have suggested that Romney agree to release his records if Obama unseals his records from Columbia University. Interesting.

187:

I am still making up my mind whom to vote for in this election, so I am not pro-Romney or against Romney, but I would really like to know something. When he was repeatedly asked to make additional years of his tax returns public, he gave two replies. First, that he was not required to. But I guess the issue just wouldn't go away. Second, he said that releasing them would just give the Democrats more material for attacking him -- and I guess that has happened. He is being criticized for unloading a bunch of his foreign investments in what seems like a political play -- they were all sold in August of 2011 before one of primary debates. And he is also being criticized for having some of those particular investments in the first place, investing in things such as the state-owned Chinese oil company. His reply is that these investments were all made through a blind trust and he didn't make the selections. I would like to understand better whether blind trusts are truly blind -- or were just created for times like this when the person wants to separate himself from his investments. And also, are these kinds of investments pretty standard fare in our global economy -- or do they represent a preference for investing in other countries' businesses rather than American companies?



Note from IWD:  Thank you for asking about blind trusts. According to our source, the former head of wealth management for one of the  nation's leading investment firms: Blind trusts are sometimes created for indibviduals who have some role in the public sector and who want to avoid any impropriety or conflict of interest. This individual could give his or her investment advisor some parameters, but once those parameters are set, the individual has no paritipcation in or prior knowledge of investment decisions. It is up to the investment advisor to fulfill the responsibility of making the most money for his or her client. Investments in foreign companies are typically part of most portfolios these days.


(It may have taken Mr. Romney's advisors a little long to realize that some of the investments might be scrutinized later. That would explain the seemingly sudden move to change some investments during the 2011 primary season.)


 

281:

Why do people care about tax returns? I think it’s because taxes are on everybody’s mind these days. The two parties seem to have a different meaning of “fair share.” And we’re just not sure that someone who uses loopholes to avoid paying taxes has our (as in “our country’s") best interest at heart. But it would be naïve to think that wealthy Democrats don’t use the same types of tax shelters that wealthy Republicans do. Maybe we ought to think “amnesty” to anyone who’s made maximum use of tax loopholes in the past (afterall, they are legal according to our tax system) and think about reforming the tax code.

251:

Thank you, #400 (posted on August 23), for reminding us what the real problem is with this election.

134:

I agree with member 352 (posted August 23, 2012) that it’s important to note how generous Mitt Romney and his family have been in their charitable donations. He doesn’t just say that successful people have a responsibility to “give back”; he actually does it. What has been learned from the tax returns he released is that in the past two years, he gave the Church of the Latter Day Saints more than $4 million. According to an article in Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/edwindurgy/2012/05/17/an-inside-look-at-the-millions-mitt-romney-has-given-away/ , he donated all of his inheritance from his father George Romney to Brigham Young University.

Note from IWD: George Romney, an interesting figure who achieved both business and civic success, died in 1995. He was Chairman and General Manager of American Motors, Governor of Michigan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (during President Nixon’s first term), and founder of the National Centre for Voluntary Activity. Mr. Romney was a major supporter of Civil Rights. According to an article in The Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/08/how-george-romney-championed-civil-rights-and-challenged-his-church/261073/), at the Republican Party’s convention in 1964, George Romney was among those who worked to add a non-discrimination plank to the platform. The Presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, did not support the bill; as a result, Romney did not support Goldwater.

The inheritance mentioned above was given to the BYU Marriott School of Management’s Institute of Public Management. Also according to Forbes, Mitt and Ann Romney established the Tyler Charitable Foundation, which donates to various groups, including youth programs and health-related organizations.

352:

I am surprised that the IWD "editorial staff" or whoever provides reference articles would use a NYT article that is laden with insinuations and probablies as a tool to understanding reasons why Mr. Romney has chosen to reveal only what he is required to reveal. Mr. Romney's personal finances are, by sheer magnitude, a complex business. As a financial advisor, I can assure that there is much to be misconstrued and misinterpreted in the returns of someone with Mr. Romney's wealth. I am further puzzled at the notion that taxation is "giving back." We have gone so far away from the intent of our founding fathers and documents!

In this debate, is Mr. Romney's charity..or giving back...selectively ignored?

400:

I am coming to the opinion that the issue of Mr. Romney's tax returns is a diversion for individuals to ponder while the actual election is taken out of their hands. It makes no difference for us to care about Mr. Romney's tax returns when our own Supreme Court has opened the floodgates for special interests (hyperwealthy citizens and corporations as well as foreign ones), through its Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, to spend without limit on our elections. The organizations that are created to do just this are called "SuperPACs". Mr. Obama has a superpac called Priorities USA Action, which has raised a little more than $10.5 million. On the other hand, Karl Rove (of the former Bush administration) and Ed Gillespie (former RNC chair) have created other superpacs. American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, a sister Spac with a status that allows all contributors to remain anonymous.

 

As a head of these organizations, Rove has set up, essentially a shadow political party where he makes the decisions where the money goes and answers to no one. American Crossroads has raised $200 million in addition to the pro-Romney Superpac, Restore Our Future. By the end of May, 2012, Rove's superpac network along with the Koch brothers (multi-billionaire brothers responsible for funding much of the Tea Party movement who are now on board with Rove) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have a new goal of 1 billion. This will be in addition to Romney Campaign money and RNC money which is expected to be $800 million. For perspective, John McCain's entire presidential budget was $370 million.

 

April 5, Ed Gillespie left American Crossroads and joined the Romney campaign as senior advisor, enabling Rove strategic oversight of Romney's campaign. Rove's old friend from the Reagan-Bush campaign, Beth Myers, was Romney's 2008 campaign manager and his chief of staff when he was governor. On April 16, Romney announced that Myers would be in charge of his selection process for the vice president position.

 

Who cares about Romney's taxes when Rove, a quintessential game player, has his sights on capturing the White House, keeping the House of Representatives and winning back the Senate. Given that Rove can be credited with being the brain behind one of the worst presidents in US history (starting two horribly costly wars and leaving the country near economic collapse), there is substantial doubt whether he cares about who he gets elected as long as Rove wins the game. Right now, he has become the king of superpacs and, as the man controlling the money, has recreated himself as the vortex of power for the foreseeable future without popular support or oversight.

 

This is what we should watch and write our representatives and senators to change. They can overturn Citizens United with legislation. The power to elect should stay in the hands of the people who make up the country. That is the very foundation of America. If Mitt Romney gets elected to the presidency, the people of America should elect him, not the special interest groups and not a game-player who just wants to see if he can do it. You can read more about this in the August Issue of Vanity Fair (by Carl Unger) http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/09/karl-rove-gop-craig-unger and in the August Issue of Esquire (by Charles Pierce) http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/citizens-united-2012-10250917 Please be involved.

043:

The reason the campaign does not want to release his returns is that they will reveal that Mitt is not simply a millionaire but a billionaire! It's not a sin to be wealthy in America, but when you have a candidate who seems uncomfortable with who he is, plus so many American's struggling to make ends meet, this fact presents a huge challenge for a campaign that can't figure out how to spin it. The campaign screwed up and should have released the returns months ago when no one was paying attention.

097:

I definitely am against "class warfare" and I try to ignore anything I feel is being over-dramatized or blown up for purely political reasons. (For example, Harry Reid's claim that Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years.) But it would bother me if that was true -- because it would suggest to me that he wants to TAKE from America but not give back. Perhaps he is afraid that if he released his tax records, most Americans would know so little about the financial skill maneuvers commonly used to shield wealthy people from paying a lot of taxes that it would look more sinister than it really is.

033:

I don’t mind that Mitt Romney is wealthy. In fact, I’m rather impressed by his success and I have friends who have also made their mark in private equity and venture capital. But when we are considering putting someone in a position where he must represent all of us fairly and put the welfare of the country ahead of his own – we should know how he handled his wealth in relation to his financial obligations to his country. We have a right to know what loopholes he is using.

224:

I suspect that in the past, Mr. Romney, like many other wealthy Americans, put his business assets into an individual retirement account invested in a Cayman Islands corporation because that permitted him to pay a lesser amount of taxes on his IRA’s earnings. Somehow it seems difficult to convince us that he understands or appreciates the value of taxes to our country’s financial stability when he is taking clever steps to avoid being taxed.

Note from IWD: If you’d like to get into a more detailed presumption of what Mr. Romney’s tax returns might reveal, here’s a link to one explanation. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/opinion/the-mysteries-of-mitt-romneys-financial-records.html?_r=1

311:

I say, whoever has never either exaggerated or understated an amount on his/her income taxes has a right to criticize Mitt Romney if he did the same thing. But we hold potential Presidents to higher standards – or at least we WANT to do that.

259:

Calls for him to release his tax records have come from some unexpected directions – from Ron Paul who is anything but pro-tax, and from conservative commentator George Will, who said on the Sunday ABC-TV news Magazine This Week that he’s surprised Romney didn’t clean up his tax situation four years ago when he knew he might run this year.

108:

The Democrats have found a sticky issue equal to the Republicans' persistent calls for Obama to present his birth certificate. They won’t take no for an answer.

136:

Some people, including Donald Trump, have suggested that Romney agree to release his records if Obama unseals his records from Columbia University. Interesting.

136:

Some people, including Donald Trump, have suggested that Romney agree to release his records if Obama unseals his records from Columbia University. Interesting.

108:

The Democrats have found a sticky issue equal to the Republicans' persistent calls for Obama to present his birth certificate. They won’t take no for an answer.

259:

Calls for him to release his tax records have come from some unexpected directions – from Ron Paul who is anything but pro-tax, and from conservative commentator George Will, who said on the Sunday ABC-TV news Magazine This Week that he’s surprised Romney didn’t clean up his tax situation four years ago when he knew he might run this year.

311:

I say, whoever has never either exaggerated or understated an amount on his/her income taxes has a right to criticize Mitt Romney if he did the same thing. But we hold potential Presidents to higher standards – or at least we WANT to do that.

224:

I suspect that in the past, Mr. Romney, like many other wealthy Americans, put his business assets into an individual retirement account invested in a Cayman Islands corporation because that permitted him to pay a lesser amount of taxes on his IRA’s earnings. Somehow it seems difficult to convince us that he understands or appreciates the value of taxes to our country’s financial stability when he is taking clever steps to avoid being taxed.

Note from IWD: If you’d like to get into a more detailed presumption of what Mr. Romney’s tax returns might reveal, here’s a link to one explanation. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/opinion/the-mysteries-of-mitt-romneys-financial-records.html?_r=1

033:

I don’t mind that Mitt Romney is wealthy. In fact, I’m rather impressed by his success and I have friends who have also made their mark in private equity and venture capital. But when we are considering putting someone in a position where he must represent all of us fairly and put the welfare of the country ahead of his own – we should know how he handled his wealth in relation to his financial obligations to his country. We have a right to know what loopholes he is using.

097:

I definitely am against "class warfare" and I try to ignore anything I feel is being over-dramatized or blown up for purely political reasons. (For example, Harry Reid's claim that Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years.) But it would bother me if that was true -- because it would suggest to me that he wants to TAKE from America but not give back. Perhaps he is afraid that if he released his tax records, most Americans would know so little about the financial skill maneuvers commonly used to shield wealthy people from paying a lot of taxes that it would look more sinister than it really is.

043:

The reason the campaign does not want to release his returns is that they will reveal that Mitt is not simply a millionaire but a billionaire! It's not a sin to be wealthy in America, but when you have a candidate who seems uncomfortable with who he is, plus so many American's struggling to make ends meet, this fact presents a huge challenge for a campaign that can't figure out how to spin it. The campaign screwed up and should have released the returns months ago when no one was paying attention.

400:

I am coming to the opinion that the issue of Mr. Romney's tax returns is a diversion for individuals to ponder while the actual election is taken out of their hands. It makes no difference for us to care about Mr. Romney's tax returns when our own Supreme Court has opened the floodgates for special interests (hyperwealthy citizens and corporations as well as foreign ones), through its Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, to spend without limit on our elections. The organizations that are created to do just this are called "SuperPACs". Mr. Obama has a superpac called Priorities USA Action, which has raised a little more than $10.5 million. On the other hand, Karl Rove (of the former Bush administration) and Ed Gillespie (former RNC chair) have created other superpacs. American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, a sister Spac with a status that allows all contributors to remain anonymous.

 

As a head of these organizations, Rove has set up, essentially a shadow political party where he makes the decisions where the money goes and answers to no one. American Crossroads has raised $200 million in addition to the pro-Romney Superpac, Restore Our Future. By the end of May, 2012, Rove's superpac network along with the Koch brothers (multi-billionaire brothers responsible for funding much of the Tea Party movement who are now on board with Rove) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have a new goal of 1 billion. This will be in addition to Romney Campaign money and RNC money which is expected to be $800 million. For perspective, John McCain's entire presidential budget was $370 million.

 

April 5, Ed Gillespie left American Crossroads and joined the Romney campaign as senior advisor, enabling Rove strategic oversight of Romney's campaign. Rove's old friend from the Reagan-Bush campaign, Beth Myers, was Romney's 2008 campaign manager and his chief of staff when he was governor. On April 16, Romney announced that Myers would be in charge of his selection process for the vice president position.

 

Who cares about Romney's taxes when Rove, a quintessential game player, has his sights on capturing the White House, keeping the House of Representatives and winning back the Senate. Given that Rove can be credited with being the brain behind one of the worst presidents in US history (starting two horribly costly wars and leaving the country near economic collapse), there is substantial doubt whether he cares about who he gets elected as long as Rove wins the game. Right now, he has become the king of superpacs and, as the man controlling the money, has recreated himself as the vortex of power for the foreseeable future without popular support or oversight.

 

This is what we should watch and write our representatives and senators to change. They can overturn Citizens United with legislation. The power to elect should stay in the hands of the people who make up the country. That is the very foundation of America. If Mitt Romney gets elected to the presidency, the people of America should elect him, not the special interest groups and not a game-player who just wants to see if he can do it. You can read more about this in the August Issue of Vanity Fair (by Carl Unger) http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/09/karl-rove-gop-craig-unger and in the August Issue of Esquire (by Charles Pierce) http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/citizens-united-2012-10250917 Please be involved.

352:

I am surprised that the IWD "editorial staff" or whoever provides reference articles would use a NYT article that is laden with insinuations and probablies as a tool to understanding reasons why Mr. Romney has chosen to reveal only what he is required to reveal. Mr. Romney's personal finances are, by sheer magnitude, a complex business. As a financial advisor, I can assure that there is much to be misconstrued and misinterpreted in the returns of someone with Mr. Romney's wealth. I am further puzzled at the notion that taxation is "giving back." We have gone so far away from the intent of our founding fathers and documents!

In this debate, is Mr. Romney's charity..or giving back...selectively ignored?

134:

I agree with member 352 (posted August 23, 2012) that it’s important to note how generous Mitt Romney and his family have been in their charitable donations. He doesn’t just say that successful people have a responsibility to “give back”; he actually does it. What has been learned from the tax returns he released is that in the past two years, he gave the Church of the Latter Day Saints more than $4 million. According to an article in Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/edwindurgy/2012/05/17/an-inside-look-at-the-millions-mitt-romney-has-given-away/ , he donated all of his inheritance from his father George Romney to Brigham Young University.

Note from IWD: George Romney, an interesting figure who achieved both business and civic success, died in 1995. He was Chairman and General Manager of American Motors, Governor of Michigan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (during President Nixon’s first term), and founder of the National Centre for Voluntary Activity. Mr. Romney was a major supporter of Civil Rights. According to an article in The Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/08/how-george-romney-championed-civil-rights-and-challenged-his-church/261073/), at the Republican Party’s convention in 1964, George Romney was among those who worked to add a non-discrimination plank to the platform. The Presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, did not support the bill; as a result, Romney did not support Goldwater.

The inheritance mentioned above was given to the BYU Marriott School of Management’s Institute of Public Management. Also according to Forbes, Mitt and Ann Romney established the Tyler Charitable Foundation, which donates to various groups, including youth programs and health-related organizations.

251:

Thank you, #400 (posted on August 23), for reminding us what the real problem is with this election.

281:

Why do people care about tax returns? I think it’s because taxes are on everybody’s mind these days. The two parties seem to have a different meaning of “fair share.” And we’re just not sure that someone who uses loopholes to avoid paying taxes has our (as in “our country’s") best interest at heart. But it would be naïve to think that wealthy Democrats don’t use the same types of tax shelters that wealthy Republicans do. Maybe we ought to think “amnesty” to anyone who’s made maximum use of tax loopholes in the past (afterall, they are legal according to our tax system) and think about reforming the tax code.

187:

I am still making up my mind whom to vote for in this election, so I am not pro-Romney or against Romney, but I would really like to know something. When he was repeatedly asked to make additional years of his tax returns public, he gave two replies. First, that he was not required to. But I guess the issue just wouldn't go away. Second, he said that releasing them would just give the Democrats more material for attacking him -- and I guess that has happened. He is being criticized for unloading a bunch of his foreign investments in what seems like a political play -- they were all sold in August of 2011 before one of primary debates. And he is also being criticized for having some of those particular investments in the first place, investing in things such as the state-owned Chinese oil company. His reply is that these investments were all made through a blind trust and he didn't make the selections. I would like to understand better whether blind trusts are truly blind -- or were just created for times like this when the person wants to separate himself from his investments. And also, are these kinds of investments pretty standard fare in our global economy -- or do they represent a preference for investing in other countries' businesses rather than American companies?



Note from IWD:  Thank you for asking about blind trusts. According to our source, the former head of wealth management for one of the  nation's leading investment firms: Blind trusts are sometimes created for indibviduals who have some role in the public sector and who want to avoid any impropriety or conflict of interest. This individual could give his or her investment advisor some parameters, but once those parameters are set, the individual has no paritipcation in or prior knowledge of investment decisions. It is up to the investment advisor to fulfill the responsibility of making the most money for his or her client. Investments in foreign companies are typically part of most portfolios these days.


(It may have taken Mr. Romney's advisors a little long to realize that some of the investments might be scrutinized later. That would explain the seemingly sudden move to change some investments during the 2011 primary season.)


 

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