Archive for tax code

What? Fifty Years of Secrecy Just For Your Ideas?

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top  secret

What's wrong with this picture -- or story?  Here's the headline in the Wall Street Journal's Capital Report --

Senators promised 50 years of secrecy for tax ideas

Something's up when the carrot dangled in front of you is 50 years of secrecy. I needed to find out more. These senators are trying to figure out how to fix our broken tax codes. I like that. And the only way the Republicans would participate is if they were guaranteed secrecy? Well, why? I understood when Kennedy was assassinated many files were to be kept closed for 50 years. National security was an issue.

But tax reform suggestions? What's next, keeping attendance records sealed for a century and what you ate for lunch punishable by a stay in Gitmo?

Senators soliciting ideas for what deductions and credits to keep as tax reform moves through Congress have promised colleagues that their input will be kept secret for 50 years,according to a report in the Hill newspaper.

Sens. Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, and Orrin Hatch of Utah, the panel’s top Republican, have given fellow senators a deadline of Friday to send in ideas under the committee’s “blank slate” process. That approach, unveiled about a month ago, asks senators to justify what credits and deductions should be kept in the tax code.

And if 50 years of secrecy wasn't enough, it wasn't.

Meanwhile, at least one senator is skeptical that Republicans will participate in writing. North Carolina GOP Sen. Richard Burr told the Hill he thought all Republicans would decide against written submissions.

If they're not going to participate, what's plan B? Go whisper your ideas in Baucus's or Hatch's ears.  Use a secret code? Someone dig up Hedy Lamar. Maybe she can decipher what's going on. Are we looking at a tax code or Enigma code?

What congress hasn't yet learned is that we need more transparency, less cloak and dagger. When just making suggestions becomes top secret and the topic is my taxes, you better "F''n" look out because I'm going to be voting and I don't think I can trust someone who has to hide their own opinions -- especially elected officials.

Is there any more justification needed than this as to why congress has such a low approval rating?

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Senators promise colleagues 50 years of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on tax reform, "making secrecy a priority"

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what's the big secret

You know, the one thing I've been wishing for is more secrecy from our elected officials, because gee, who really needs transparency anyway? Especially when it comes to tax reform and being aware of which U.S. Senator supports which policies.

Yes, by all means, the more secrecy the better. America first!

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The Hill:

The Senate's top tax writers have promised their colleagues 50 years worth of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on what deductions and credits to protect in tax reform.

Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), have assured lawmakers that any submission they receive will not be released by either the committee or the National Archives before the end of 2064.

Deeming the submissions confidential, the Senate’s top tax writers have said only certain staff members will get access to a senator’s written suggestions. Each submission will also be given its own ID number and be kept on both password-protected servers, with printed versions kept in a locked safe.

The promise of confidentiality was revealed just two days before the deadline for senators to participate in the Finance Committee’s “blank slate” process, which puts the onus on lawmakers to argue for what credits and deductions should be preserved in a streamlined tax code.

The piece goes on to say that Baucus and Hatch were "trying to prove to colleagues that they were making secrecy a priority."

A priority. Of course. Forget about allowing the rest of us in on what you're up to.

Keeping the submissions confidential for a half century, the aide added, was “standard operating procedure for sensitive materials including investigation materials.”

Okay, I get that their motivation was to get all the senators engaged, but providing fifty years of secrecy doesn't do much to instill confidence in the honesty and intentions of our Congress members. And as The Hill noted, "blowback from interest groups and businesses" is a concern.

How about ignoring the lobbyists, just this once? How about showing some spine and concern by unambiguously standing up for the welfare of all Americans? Rhetorical, and yes, I know, I know, totally unrealistic. But sometimes that pesky wishful thinking just slips out.

wishful thinking fingers crossed smaller

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White House seeks August 1st deadline for tax, federal health program reforms

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President Obama has a  proposal to delay sequestration until August.

WaPo:

President Obama is seeking an Aug. 1 deadline for overhauling the tax code and making changes to expensive federal health programs, the final pieces of what the administration conceives as a far-reaching plan to rein in the national debt, senior administration officials said Friday. [...]

To ensure that Congress acts by Aug. 1, Obama is proposing to delay automatic spending cuts only through that date. The so-called sequester would then act as a new trigger to force congressional action. Delaying the sequester for eight months would cost about $80 billion, officials said. They recommended covering that cost with new spending cuts and tax hikes, but did not specify which ones.

As for changes to Medicare and Medicaid, some of the savings would come from higher premiums for high-income beneficiaries.

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VIDEO- Romney: “There was no reduction- not 1 dollar reduction in taxes- by virtue of having an account in Switzerland or a Cayman Islands investment."

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Via from an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

“There was no reduction --  not one dollar reduction in taxes -- by virtue of having an account in Switzerland or a Cayman Islands investment."

“The conduct of the trustee in making investments was entirely consistent with U.S. law and all the taxes paid were those legally owed and there was no tax savings by virtue of those entities."

“I could have said, ‘Don't make any investments in any foreign companies, in any foreign bonds, in any foreign currency, only U.S. entities. And by the way, don't buy any foreign products, don't have any Japanese TVs, or foreign cars.’ I could have done that."

Yes, you could have done that.

We interrupt this post for a Willard Whopper Alert! Incoming! The majorest of major whoppers in 5... 4... 3... 2...

“But you know, I did live my life and I expect that by virtue of disclosing all of these things, people can take look at it and see whether that’s something they’re comfortable with or not. I’m not going to try to hide who I am and try and manipulate my life to try and avoid the truth.”

Some of us beg to differ: VIDEO: Mitt Romney won’t discuss his record as Mass. governor. No worries, we’ve got it covered.

And there's this: VIDEO: Serial hypocrite Mitt Romney lied, pointed fingers in 2002 and got away with it. It’s now 2012: Blather, wince, repeat.

So by “not avoiding the truth” he means releasing one incomplete 2010 return and one 2011 estimate… And how about all the rest of Willard‘s lies?

As I said in a previous post, media, will you please take Rachel Maddow up on her request to insist that Mitt Romney (and Paul Ryan) give us some straight answers? Or “do you just write down what they say?”

“It’s not what they say, it’s about what they’ve done. And when what they say is some distance from what they’ve done, that distance is the story. This is what the press is for.”

Speaking of lies:

“Their campaign is trying to find something to say, ‘Gee, hey, he had a Swiss bank account,’ which apparently was done by the blind trustee. I mean, I had no involvement in this, but the blind trust said we’re going to have some currencies, U.S. currency and some in foreign currency, that tends to be something which investors do. But they’re trying to make that seem like it is some kind of unsavory action and frankly all of the taxes are paid exactly as owed and there were no tax savings by virtue of having that vehicle.”

"I had no involvement in this, but the blind trust said..." So now blind trusts can speak?

Blind trusts are people, too my friend.

Hypocrites can certainly speak. Remember this, Willard?

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In 2010 Paul Ryan paid an effective tax rate of 15.9%. In 2011, 20%.

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Via

Coupon Paul Ryan is right up there with LaDeeDa Willard Romney when it comes to displaying a sense of entitlement and outward disdain toward voters. And just like Willard, Coupon Paul is only releasing two years of tax returns (although Willard has really only released part of his 2010 return and an estimate of 2011). And again, like Romney, he's paying a lower rate than most middle class families do.  And yet they want us to pay more so they can pay less.

Romney thinks we're asking “small minded questions” about his tax returns and said, “I never paid less than 13 percent.” How dare we want to understand a guy who wants to be the leader of the free world?  Who are we to ask how he's affecting the U.S. economy? How rude of "you people" to want to see firsthand whether or not he's lying again!

And Paul Ryan has assured us that he's limiting his disclosures to a measly two years as well, even though he submitted several years of returns when he was being vetted by Team Romney.

They're sure showing us, aren't they?

Via JSOnline:

Paul Ryan and his wife Janna paid an effective tax rate of 15.9% in 2010 and 20% in 2011, according to tax returns provided by the Romney-Ryan campaign to the Journal Sentinel Friday. [...]

[T]he couple also earned significant outside income from dividends, capital gains, real estate and other sources. ... [T]he Ryans’ investments include several companies that lease land and mineral rights to energy companies. [...]

The Ryans filed a corrected return in 2011 after their original return understated their income by $61,122.

The last thing Romney and Ryan want is to give us "more ammunition."

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Harry Reid to Mitt Romney's insufficient “I never paid less than 13 percent” claim: "We'll believe it when we see it."

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Harry Reid's office had a thing or two to say in response to: Mitt Romney answers “small minded questions” about tax returns with, “I never paid less than 13 percent.”

It was similar to my own response, which included wanting to know why we’re “small minded” for asking him to explain why he thinks he’s so good at handling finances, especially considering all that boasting about his business background.

And why he would look down on "you people" for wanting him to prove whether or not he’s telling the truth... because he lies so often.

And why he'd take offense at us peons for wondering how he gets away with paying less than we do.

And why he'd balk at us for wondering if he may have avoided felony charges by being granted amnesty.

In short, Willard, why should we believe you? How do you have the unmitigated gall to say, "trust me" when we have absolutely no reason to? What are you hiding?

Via BuzzFeed:

"We'll believe it when we see it. Until Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, Americans will continue to wonder what he's hiding. Romney seems to think he plays by a different set of rules than every other presidential candidate for the last thirty years, all of whom lived up to the standard of transparency set by Mitt Romney's father and released their tax returns," Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson told Buzzfeed in a statement Thursday.

Give 'em hell, Harry.

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VIDEO: Mitt Romney answers "small minded questions" about tax returns with, "I never paid less than 13 percent."

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Yesterday Ann Romney got a little icy bristled snarled when she was asked about hubby Willard's tax returns. Now hubby himself is clearly feeling the heat, because he sees that this is not going away any time soon.

Harry Reid, I salute you. First Read:

"Given the challenges that America faces -- 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty, the fascination with the taxes I paid I find to be very small-minded compared to the broad issues we face," Romney told reporters gathered for a press conference at the Greer airport in South Carolina, where Romney had just arrived to attend a fundraiser.

"I did go back and look at my taxes, and, over the past 10 years, I never paid less than 13 percent," he said, later adding: "Every year, I paid at least 13 percent, and if you add in, in addition, the amount that goes to charity, the number gets well above 20 percent."

So we're "small minded" for asking him to explain why he thinks he's so good at handling finances, especially considering all that boasting about his business background. We're "small minded" for wanting him to prove whether or not he's telling the truth. We're "small minded" for wondering how he gets away with paying less than the so many of us. We're "small minded" for wondering if he may have avoided felony charges by being granted amnesty (see video). How dare we even think that this is important?! 

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"The Romneys have spoken."

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