Hurricane Sandy is not the October surprise. Mitt Romney's tax records, on the other hand, are.
If you're on the fence and still not sure whether to vote for Obama or Romney, perhaps this latest piece of information might help you make up your mind. Remember when Harry Reid claimed that he had solid proof that the GOP hopeful hadn't paid taxes for many years? Remember how some folks were skeptical about that, believing Reid was just grandstanding for show? Turns out he was right.
Bloomberg broke the story late Sunday night, with a story published around 11pm Central Time which gives an in-depth explanation of Romney's legal tax evasion since 1996. His tax avoidance was completely legal, although most hardworking Americans might question its ethical qualities. As President Obama said in the second debate, the GOP candidate paid less money in taxes than people earning less than $30,000 per year. How can that happen? Well, up until 1997, if you were rich, you could "rent" non-profit status from your favorite charity.
Huh? How can an individual rent tax-exempt status from a charity? It's pretty intricate, but the way it worked was, in Mitt's case, he used the Mormon church as a tax shelter by setting up a Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT), that paid him a specific amount of money per year from dividends while also donating the smallest amount possible to the church.
Estate and trust attorney Jonathan Blattmachr told Bloomberg that he had set up many of these for clients prior to the 1997 law banning them: "I used to structure them so the value dedicated to charity was as close to zero as possible without being zero."
Romney got lucky in that he and other wealthy individuals who took advantage of this loophole were grandfathered in so he was permitted to keep his "charitable" status.
So, when did Romney actually start paying taxes again? Well, since he hadn't paid any taxes at least since 1996, it's easy to discern that he began when he decided to run for president. Forethought. He knew his tax returns would be an issue, so he paid in 2011 and used that return as "proof" that he'd paid what was "legally required" of him.
So, here you see a man who made a conscious effort to evade taxes by using his own church as a tax shelter, you see a man who morphs into whatever hero it takes for him to get people on his side, a man who purchased the eHart InterCivic voting machines being used in Ohio and elsewhere, and you start to get a much more clear picture of the kind of man Mitt Romney is.
So, do you want a tax evader as president? Do you want a man who ships jobs overseas while pocketing profits to be your president? Do you feel comfortable not knowing where your president stands on issues because he's flip flopped whenever the occasion demanded it? Do you feel comfortable with a president whose whole goal in life is to make as much money as possible using whatever means it takes, even if it means ruining others? If so, Romney's your man. If not, then there are several other candidates out there just waiting for your vote.
Photo Credit: mittromney.com