So, Mitt Romney released his 2011 taxes. And on cue, Think Progress rolls out this inane hit piece entitled "By Romney’s Own Standard, His Tax Returns Would Disqualify Him From The Presidency". The summary of their argument accuses Romney of paying more than his fair share of taxes this year. This implies that he is somehow gaming the system or dishonest.
However, this outrage -- besides being just plain stupid -- is entirely disingenuous. Why? Because in 2010, Romney actually DID pay more than his fair share of taxes, and when it was discussed in January after the release of his tax return, no media outlet said a word about it. I know this because I wrote about it.
Here's the scoop:
I reviewed Romney's returns for several different media outlets. In my article, and with discussion to the media, I pointed out this fact:
However, the most stunning information on his return is the fact that, due to inequities inherent our tax code, Romney paid taxes on more than a million dollars of income that didn’t exist.
The problem arises with regard to Romney's hedge funds, and how must record income and expenses:
From the income items, off comes the subtraction for interest. However, all of the other expenses that reduce profit – which, with hedge funds, include virtually all operation expenses to earn income, including fees to the operators – are required to be recorded as miscellaneous itemized deductions. You cannot deduct your share of expenses unless that amount exceeds 2% of your AGI. What's worse, even if your expenses do exceed the threshold, and you are subject to the AMT you can't deduct them at all. (Romney paid AMT).
This inability to deduct necessary expenses incurred while generating that income means that Mitt Romney paid taxes on $1.017 million of income that does not exist except on paper.
I went on to chronicle my exchanges with Bloomberg, NYDaily News, and CBS Evening News. None of them mentioned this. Out of curiosity, I even sent this off to Fox Business (remember -- in January, Romney was not our nominee yet). Still, I received no reply. Then I saw some erroneous information coming out of the Boston Globe, and contacted the reporter for this story, who, after a basic exchange of emails, never followed up with me regarding hedge funds or the tax return analysis.
You can read the article from back in January 2012 in its entirety here.
So, back when Romney's 2010 tax returns were released, the narrative then was that Romney didn't pay enough in taxes, and therefore ignored a report that showed Romney did indeed pay his fair share -- and then some.
The story picked up a little traction in early July, when Vanity Fair and Politico coordinated a financial smear on Romney. Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard, made mention of the summary of that fiasco, when I was pointing out the hypocrisy of media coordination when it fits a certain narrative.
So now the pendulum has swung. Instead of saying Romney paid too little in taxes, the Left wants us to be offended again but in the opposite vein. By claiming he paid more taxes than necessary -- Romney is somehow hoodwinking us again.
He can't be trusted and doesn't pay enough taxes. He can't be trusted and he pays too little taxes. Thus the new message: Romney can't be trusted with finances at all.
No, the real problem is that we can't trust the MSM.
Crossposted at alanjoelny.com
Note: I have not had a chance to review Romney's 2011 taxes to see if the same iniquity occurred. I will post an update when it gets done.