Doctor Cleveland's picture

    What Did You Do in the Crisis, Mitt?

    All that talk about how many years of tax returns Mitt Romney will release obscures the real question. It's not how many years he won't give us. It's which years.

    What Romney doesn't want to give us, most of all, are his taxes from 2008 and 2009, the years of the crash and the bailout. Those returns tell us how Romney's personal fortune weathered those years, how much he might have lost, and how much he might have profited.

    Had Romney been the Republican candidate in 2008, or been chosen as McCain's running mate, he would have been releasing his returns from at least 2006 and 2007, and likely more. (McCain would doubtless have insisted on more, and even the 2012 Romney is willing to release one or two returns.) Whatever clean-up his accountants and attorneys may have done before this year's run were presumably done before that year's run. If he was ready to release those returns four years ago, he has no reason to hide them now.

    It's the ones between then and now that Romney wants to hide. It's not that he told his accountants to let it all hang out in 2009; Romney's been planning to run in 2012 since the day he realized he wouldn't win in 2008. But the 2008 crash changed a lot of plans. There's one theory that Romney lost so much in the 2008 crash that his accountants could "carry over" the losses and wipe out his 2009 tax bill. But it's also possible that Romney's business interests were helped, directly or indirectly, by government action to stop the crash. And those theories aren't even mutually exclusive: Romney could have lost tens of millions, excusing him from paying taxes, AND profited from taxpayer dollars to the tune of more millions. The bailout money stopped the bleeding for big investors, and kept them from larger losses; Romney could have lost a bundle (without missing it from his daily life) and also been saved from losing even more because the taxpayer bailed him out.

    [What's the worst thing that could conceivably be in those returns? What would destroy the entire rationale for Mitt Romney's candidacy? TARP money.]

    Either way, those tax returns tell a story about Mitt Romney and the financial crisis that's still hurting the rest of America. It didn't affect him the way it did us, because he lives in a different world. He did not go through that experience the way his fellow Americans did. He is not one of us. Whatever he says in his convention speech Thursday night, that's the truth.



    I keep hoping his returns will appear on Wikileaks.

    Maybe another year every three days or so...just to keep the pot boiling.

    ooooooohhhhhhhh !!!!!

    I had suspected his accountants were busy cleaning up questionable, if not down right illegal, tax code manipulations, however, it never occured to me he may took advantage of the meltdown and made a literally killing.

    That he may have relied upon TARP to turn losses into hansome profits to his personal portfolio would raise eyebrows indeed!

    Dr. C - What are your thoughts on the investigation being conducted by the NY AG?

    It seems plausible that Romney utilized these types of loopholes and that is (at least) part of the reason he's not publishing his returns.

    I'm stunned that there is not more of an uproar and demands that these are made public. 

    Thanks for your post and thoughtful insight.

    I'm hoping that the demand for his returns will come back full force after the conventions.  This is something they can't just let go.  It's so obvious he has something to hide.  If the press doesn't go after him, they're abetting.  Not that I would be surprised.


    Ramona - FYI:

    CNN's latest poll:

    Sixty-four percent of all Americans, and 68% of independents, think Romney favors the rich over the middle class. And 63% of the public thinks Romney should release more tax returns than he has already made public, a figure which rises to 67% among independents.

    So a full 37% see no problem with Mitt hiding his tax returns?  And 36% think he doesn't favor the rich?  And half the voters think he would make a better president?

    If I had a brain in my head I would just give up.

    Ironically, if you didn't have a very good brain in your head, you wouldn't care or even able to be such a strong advocate for the multitudes that need you to be and do what they cannot.

    Now, how do we rev up the call to action for release of his tax returns - sooner, rather than later? 

    You see Ramona? That's what 2/3 of the  people think about Romney but the economy feels so bad to them the race is dead even. What would the polls look like if the republican candidate was likable?

    What would the polls look like if the republican candidate was likable? I have no idea but I'm getting a headache just thinking about all this. 


    Now I have a question for you:  What would the polls look like if the Republicans in Congress had done their jobs and worked to solve the problems we have in this country--unemployment, underemployment, insurance-driven health care, underfunded public education, pollution, a crumbling infrastructure, runaway consumer prices, aid to the poor, wars, famine, pestilence, privacy of the vagina--if they had done anything except sit on their hands laughing at their cleverness, creating a climate where their do-nothing, promise-nothing, Thurston Howell of a candidate would still be running neck-and-neck with the president they've worked so hard to destroy?

    The republicans didn't sit on their hands. They worked against him constantly. They attacked him relentlessly. They came up with total lies like death panels killing grandma and sold them to the public. They jerked him around like a puppet for two years pretending that they just might vote for the health care bill if he added this compromise and then that one too. He bent over backwards and damn near kissed their a.. begging for just one republican to vote for the bill. In the end not a one of them did.

    Did you expect anything different? I didn't. I and many others predicted this four years ago. While Obama was talking about bringing comity, civility, and compromise back to Washington I was saying look at the Clinton years. It will be worse than that. That's why I supported Hillary. Not because her policies were better, they were almost the same as Obama's. Because I thought she understood who the republicans are and was prepared to fight them.

    Ah well that's past. I voted for Obama four years ago and I'll vote for him again. I just hope if he wins he's learned that no matter how hard he tries his legacy isn't going to be the great mediator in chief.

    Yes I'll vote for Obama its an absolutely sure thing. But you know what worries me? I don't think Obama has learned a thing. I think he's ready to sell out our safety net for some piddling little tax hike on the rich.

    As president, however, he has come to believe the news media have had a role in frustrating his ambitions to change the terms of the country’s political discussion. He particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security, while Republicans oppose almost any tax increase to reduce the deficit.

    “I do think that should I be fortunate enough to have another four years, the American people will have made a decision,” Obama said in an interview with Time magazine released Thursday. “And hopefully, that will impact how Republicans think about these problems. I believe that in a second term, where [Sen.] Mitch McConnell's [R-Ky.] imperative of making me a one-term president is no longer relevant, they recognize what the American people are looking for is for us to get things done.”

    This time I think he's right. I watched the republicans fight with Norquist  a few months ago. I think the republicans have realized they can get substantial cuts in medicare and SS for virtually free, just a tiny little tax hike on the rich.




    I meant that they sat on their hands in Congress, trying to keep anything worthwhile to the voting public from becoming law so that Obama couldn't take credit--and take votes.  It was obvious that they were going to spend 100% of their time working against him.  It didn't take a mind reader.  Mitch McConnell said it out loud and so did many others.

    No, Obama shouldn't have tried to play nice once he knew there was no hope of compromise, but I'm not so sure Hillary would have done much better.  Yes, she's tougher on the surface, but why would you think that wouldn't have made the Republicans even worse?  They hate them both, and the attack machine, never in fear of running out of money, would naturally just step up the game.  Whatever it takes.


    I don't know, Aunt Sam.

    What I do know is that the NY AG has been an outlier among financial regulators, much more aggressive than the other (federal) regulators are. Whether that means that the AG's office is being overly aggressive or the rest of the regulatory agencies are being too passive is impossible to say from the outside. (I have an answer I'd like to be true, but that's wishing and not knowing.)

    If Bain, and the other five companies under investigation, do end up in public trouble, then Romney's own wealth, much of which has been in shares of Bain, is implicated. Remember, his "severance package" from Bain was paid out over roughly a decade, until 2008, so their profits in those years (and any increase in the value of Bain shares) meant profit for Mitt, too.

    It's my understanding that Romney still receives income from Bain's 'investments and profits'.  Is that incorrect?

    I would like to see at least one blog every day on his taxes, each could approach the issue in various ways.  I also believe we need to communicate with our members of congress about this - in Alaska we have one GOP senator, one DEM senator a good ol' boy GOP house member (we only get one for whole state).  I will be sending them each a letter with factual data and documentation about this matter, with copies to the state media outlets - as well as urging many to join me in this 'crusade'.

    My concern is timing with the NY AG's investigation - it doesn't seem likely that it will come to fruition before the election.

    He certainly may.

    My best understanding of his massive IRA account is that it's stuffed full of Bain shares, which have increased a hundredfold in value since he put them in.

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