Richard Milhous Romney

So Mitt Romney still won’t release his tax returns from before 2010, but instead has deigned to give the masses “summaries” of these previous returns.  And of course we are supposed to believe him, because what possible motivation could he have to dissemble about these sorts of things?

Sort of reminds me of one of Willard’s predecessors….

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

10 thoughts on “Richard Milhous Romney”

  1. Thanks so much for this pointer! I knew about the Saturday Night Massacre but not this pre-history. Nixon continues to delight from the grave.


    Well, you seem to think that Harry Reid is a reliable source for info about Mitt Romney’s confidential tax returns. Why don’t you ask him?

    Of course, you could just mirror your blogging colleague (below) and find something nefarious in that fact that Romney gave twice the % of his income away to charity as Mr. Obama did in his highest giving year (and orders of magnitude more as a % of income than Mr Biden). When one narrative collapses, there is always another one to take its place, dutiful and eager for service.

  3. Sd – Is it really “charity” if his church requires it as a condition of his membership?

    Romney could very easily clear up the whole matter by providing the same documents as any other presidential candidate in decades, but chooses not to, and any reasonable person has to ask: what is he hiding? Because there must be something in there to make him think the flak is preferable.

    I don’t really care what he gave in charity; I want to see where his income came from and how many other deductions like $70k for his dancing horse are in there, and what other dodges he used, and what actual tax rate he ended up with. Others would like to see which state he declared residence in (to compare with voting records and such), and whether he gave the full 10% tithe to LDS.

    So what is it on those tax forms that makes him think he’s better off not showing us the forms? If he wants to prove there is nothing untoward in there, all he has to do is adhere to past practice, and SHOW US.

  4. Oh and there is also that little matter about whether Mitt took amnesty for utilizing illegal overseas tax shelters–did he or didn’t he? We have a right to know, because it is a reflection of his character.

    1. Well, his “Stennis” kinda sorta implied that everything was on the up-and-up without being too specific, so OK then. Now we have a nice tidy summary that we can pretend paints an accurate picture that answers all these questions.

      The thing that gets me is how RMoney had to go out of his way to increase his 2011 tax burden to get it above the 13% rate he’s been claiming shows he’s a responsible patriotic citizen, in hopes that it will help him win the Presidency for the party that wants to reduce it even more.

      Anybody who doesn’t see through that is actively avoiding doing so.

      1. And, of course, reducing the deduction for charitable contributions in the tax return he released is utterly meaningless. He has three years to change his mind and decide that he wants to claim all of them after all. And no one will know if he does so.

  5. And of course the tithing to the LDS is tax deductible, is it not? So (a) it doesn’t cost 10% of one’s income, unless the church requires members to tithe from their after-tax income, and (b) it reminds one of the questionability of tax deductions for donations to religious organizations in a nation that prides itself on separation of church and state. Anyway the church is not likely to do anything useful with the donations – better robes for that Choir? room and board for the annoying missionaries? – while the state does a lot of good with taxes – medicare, medicaid, education, roads, etc etc – some people would even include foreign wars in that category.

    So charitable donations are not relevant in the question of Romney’s taxes, which as kathleen says are evidence of a good deal more than his possible contribution to the nation’s coffers.

    1. I’d like to see the tax deduction for ALL charitable contributions abolished.

      Why should taxpayers effectively subsidize someone’s choice of where to direct their contributions? If someone believes in whatever cause, they should be willing to contribute to it without receiving a tax advantage for doing so. At least taxpayers have representation to address where tax dollars are spent; they have no say in where people direct their charitable contributions.

      In addition, making the contributions tax-deductible makes the contributions of some worth less than those of others. For a given $100 someone wants to remove from their income and direct to charity, varying tax rates and filing status come into play, and if those who take the standard deduction receive no tax advantage at all for their contributions.

      I most resent being forced to subsidize ANY religions through loss of tax receipts that then must come from the rest of us, but even in the arts and social services, why should all of us be forced to subsidize what we have no say in?

      1. At least one principle behind a tax benefit to someone who donates to a recognized charity is that the state is allowing the donor to have a (small) say in how his or her tax money is spent. Of course he or she has a say by electing the people who decide how the big bucks are spent, but that doesn’t have much feel of personal control to it. But if I decide that ballet company A or museum B or hospital C is worth supporting, the government backs me up and makes the task lighter.

        Canada switched from a tax deduction to a tax credit some years ago for the reason you mention, kathleen: the more you earn, the less painful it probably is to give, but the more you benefit from the deduction because of your tax bracket. I was never fully persuaded of the inequity of that argument, but the government of Canada was. So it can be done… (but we still give the tax subsid to religions, unfortunately.)

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