Mitt Romney Debates Mitt Romney On Israel, Taxes, Education, Healthcare and Abortion

Foreign Policy Speech …

Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.

Private Fundraiser …

“I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way … the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish … [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.”


Israel quotes courtesy of Josh Marshall and Mother Jones. Videos courtesy of DailyKos and Talking Point Memo.

New OFA Web Video: The Real Mitt Romney

Just weeks before the election, Romney isn’t being honest with the American people about his severely conservative positions, and a new video from OFA allows voters to see this dishonesty laid bare. Romney will say anything to win, even if it’s not true. Over the past few years, the real Mitt Romney has consistently committed to overturning Roe vs. Wade and denying women the right to choose. He’s been promising a tax cut including “the top 1 percent,” that is mathematically impossible to pay for without higher middle-class taxes, higher deficits or both. And he has committed to a plan that would put at risk health coverage for millions of Americans living with preexisting conditions. He can try to hide these far-right positions, but voters simply won’t be fooled when he cynically and dishonestly tells voters the exact opposite of what he’s run on.

Mitt’s Remaining Taxing Questions

Mitt Romney finally filed his taxes for 2011 and on Friday, Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan made their 2011 returns public along a letter from Romney’s accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers attesting to Romney’s tax rate over the last 20 years.

Romney is hoping these disclosures will end discussion of his personal finances and allow him to turn his campaign in advance of the October 3 debate. However, these disclosures raise perhaps as many questions as they answer.

  • Mitt’s enormous IRA: Romney’s IRA is valued at over $100,000,000. How did he build up such a big retirement fund given the $6,000 legal annual contribution limit. Even assuming a healthy 10% rate of return it would take 78 year for an IRA to grow that much. Did Bain undervalue the assets it contributed in Mitt’s IRA?

  • Cayman Islands: In this 2010 video courtesy of BuzzFeed, Paul Ryan calls the Cayman Islands “the place you hide your money”. We know his running mate Mitt Romney had an offshore bank account there? How long has he had the account? How much money was in it? And how much tax was he able to avoid thereby?
  • Residency: M. S. Bellows of the Guardian has an interesting theory about why Romney refuses to follow the tradition of disclosing his tax returns. Perhaps he is not so worried about the bottom line (how much taxes he paid) but the top lines (his mailing address)!
    Tax returns require taxpayers to state their residence address, and the Romney returns already produced, although partially redacted, state clearly that they lived in ‘Belmont, MA 02478′ in 2012 (tax year 2011) and 2011 (tax year 2010)… But the Romneys, arbitrarily, refuse to disclose a copy of the returns they filed in 2010 or 2009 (for tax years 2009 and 2008) – which, perhaps not coincidentally, bracket the time period when Romney allegedly committed fraud by voting in Massachusetts when he actually resided in California. So here’s the question: did Romney put his son’s basement’s address on the returns he filed in 2009 and 2010? Or did he truthfully use his real (non-Massachusetts) address, thus implicating himself in voter fraud?

  • Missing Millions: According to Rick Newman at US News & World Report, Mitt’s preliminary 2011 tax return showed $20,901,075 in adjusted gross income. His final return shows $13,696,961 in AGI. A $7,204,114 error is not small change! Where does the discrepancy arise?
  • Missing Thousands: Similarly, Paul Ryan’s final return show $64,122 in income that he “forgot” to list in his original return. To Romney that might not be much, but it still represents 20% of Ryan’s income. How could Ryan who chairs the House Budget Committee lose track of 20% of his family income?
  • Donations: Romney had a political problem with his 2011 return. Earlier this year, he said he never paid less that a 13% tax rate, but this year’s taxes were going to work out to a 12.2% rate. In order to avoid this embarrassment, he voluntarily chose to claim only $2.25M out of the $4.02M in donations they listed. This increased their tax rate to 14.1%. According to William Douglas and David Lightman:
    In 2011, the Romney’s charitable cash contributions included $1.115 million to the Mormon church and $214,516 to Tyler Charitable Foundation, a Romney family foundation. The Romneys also claimed a deduction of $920,573 for noncash contributions that were not spelled out in a statement accompanying the return.

    Romney could file an amended return at any time during the next three years and receive a refund of this excess tax. Does he plan to do this? And if not, how does that square with his statement in July

    “I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president.”


At least there is one question that is off the table for now:

A Special Kol Nidre for Congress

Kol Nidre is the traditional Aramaic declaration recited for the Yom Kippur evening service. This solemn ceremony is meant to release the community from oaths which were made in error or under duress. The Rabbinical Assembly of New Haven has created a variant of the Kol Nidre formula for use by Congressmen, Senators and otehr politicians trapped by their pledge to Grover Norquist.

Dissolution of “No New Tax” Pledge

All vows, renunciations, bans, oaths, formulas of obligation, pledges,  and promises that were made by members of the House of Representatives or the Senate and other public officials, lawmakers,  city officials and candidates for office in the United States of America  before this Yom Kippur 5773 (17 September 2012), whether in writing or orally, to not raise taxes or impose new taxes, all are undone, repealed, cancelled, voided, annulled, and released, and regarded as neither valid nor binding by our community.  They are hereby released and forgiven by this Earthly Court, and so may they be released and forgiven by the Highest Court.

Thus ordered, thus decreed and thus released by the signatories below, constituting a rabbinic court of three under our authority and the authority of the Rabbinical Assembly of New Haven, Connecticut,  USA, and others who have joined with us.

Beit Din
  • Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen,  
  • Rabbi Yaakov Komisar, and
  • Rabbi Baruch A. Levine

Witnesses

  • Rabbi Murray Levine,
  • Rabbi Alan H. Lovins, and
  • Rabbi Joshua Ratner

כל נדרי ואסרי וחרמי וקנמי וכנויי וקנוסי ושבועות והבטחות והתחייבויות דנדרו ודאשתבּעו
ודאחרימו ודאסרו ודהבטחו והתחייבו חברי בית הנבחרים והסנאט ופקידי הציבור
ומחוקקים וחברי וועדי העיר ומועמדים למשרד בארצות הברית עד יום כפור זה שנת
ה׳תשע״ג בין בכתב ובין בעל פה בכוונה ללא להעלות מיסים וללא להטיל מיסים חדשים
כלּהון יהון שרן שביקין שביתין בטלין ומבוטלין לא שרירין ולא קימין.  אין כאן לא נדר
ולא אסור ולא חרם ולא קונם ולא קנס ולא שבועה ולא הבטחה ולא התחייבות ויש כאן
מחילה וסליחה וכפרה.  וכשם שמתירים בבית דין של מטה، כך יהיו מֻ תרים מבית דין של
מעלה.  

כך צוים וכך גוזרים וכך מתירים אנחנו، חתומי מטה، בישיבת בית דין של שלשה של כנסת
הרבנים בניו היבן ומצטרפים עלינו עוד רבנים מוסמכים כאן בעיר ניו היבן קנקטקט במדינת
אמריקה הצפונית.

   

Yet Another Theory Why Romney Won’t Show His Tax Returns

M. S. Bellows of the Guardian has an interesting theory about why Romney refuses to follow the tradition of disclosing his tax returns. Perhaps he is not so worried about the bottom line (how much taxes he paid) but the top lines (his mailing address)!

Tax returns require taxpayers to state their residence address, and the Romney returns already produced, although partially redacted, state clearly that they lived in ‘Belmont, MA 02478′ in 2012 (tax year 2011) and 2011 (tax year 2010)… But the Romneys, arbitrarily, refuse to disclose a copy of the returns they filed in 2010 or 2009 (for tax years 2009 and 2008) – which, perhaps not coincidentally, bracket the time period when Romney allegedly committed fraud by voting in Massachusetts when he actually resided in California. So here’s the question: did Romney put his son’s basement’s address on the returns he filed in 2009 and 2010? Or did he truthfully use his real (non-Massachusetts) address, thus implicating himself in voter fraud?


Obama and Romney’s Campaign Manager Exchange Memos

Memo from Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina to Romney’s campaign manager Matt Rhoades:

Dear Matt:

I am writing to ask again that the Governor release multiple years of tax returns, but also to make an offer that should address his concerns about the additional disclosures. Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide. So I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point: if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more-neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign.

This request for the release of five years, covering the complete returns for 2007-2012, is surely not unreasonable. Other Presidential candidates have released more, including the Governor’s father who provided 12 years of returns.  In the Governor’s case, a five year release would appropriately span all the years that he has been a candidate for President.  It would also help answer outstanding questions raised by the one return he has released to date, such as the range in the effective rates paid, the foreign accounts maintained, the foreign investments made, and the types of tax shelters used.

To provide these five years, the Governor would have to release only three more sets of returns in addition to the 2010 return he has released and the 2011 return he has pledged to provide.  And, I repeat, the Governor and his campaign can expect in return that we will refrain from questioning whether he has released enough or pressing for more.

I look forward to your reply.

Jim Messina

Matt Rhoades’s reply follows the jump.
Matt Rhoades replied to Jim Messina as follows:

Hey Jim,

Thanks for the note.

It is clear that President Obama wants nothing more than to talk about Governor Romney’s tax returns instead of the issues that matter to voters, like putting Americans back to work, fixing the economy and reining in spending.

If Governor Romney’s tax returns are the core message of your campaign, there will be ample time for President Obama to discuss them over the next 81 days.

In the meantime, Governor Romney will continue to lay out his plans for a stronger middle class, to save Medicare, to put work back into welfare, and help the 23 million Americans struggling to find work in the Obama economy.

See you in Denver.

Thanks,

Matt Rhoades
Romney for President
Campaign Manager