The Agitator #34
by Oliver_Halle
 The Agitator
July 23, 2012 12:58 PM | 1364 views | 12 12 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Much has been said and a lot of arguments made for and against Mitt Romney to disclose his tax returns for more than two years. I have absolutely no reason to believe that Romney has committed tax fraud. In fact, I believe that he has almost certainly complied to the letter with our tax laws. Count me on the side of disclosure, though, because the issue isn’t about breaking the law. Anyone running for public office gives up an awful lot of privacy, and the higher up the office, the less privacy a candidate has. A presidential candidate pretty much has no personal privacy left in his life by the time his opponents and the media gets through raking over every last detail from birth to the present. How much detail is relevant is a separate debate.

Disclosing tax returns, in my opinion, is a very relevant issue for the voters. Tax returns can reveal where and how a person made his money, how many tax credits and deductions the candidate took, what esoteric tax laws allowed the candidate to avoid paying taxes, and other information. And this is where the returns become important. The voters should know what tax loopholes were available, in this instance, to a candidate that made millions of dollars but only paid fourteen percent in taxes in 2010. This is a matter of public policy that should be debated. I think most Republican and Democratic voters agree that we need tax reform in a major way. But most major legislative changes occur only when there is either a crisis or strong movement. Perhaps Romney was fortunate enough not to have paid any taxes for a period of years---legally. Shouldn’t the American people know that? Maybe many voters would be outraged, and maybe not. But if there is outrage it can be expressed to our elected representatives and serve as the impetus for tax reform.

Some may argue that Romney paid far more of his income to charity, a good thing, which allowed him to take a sizable tax deduction. What is troubling about that is that rather than pay taxes that fund a myriad of costs that benefit all Americans, to include the armed forces, he gets to choose where his money goes and puts nothing into the national pot. There is not a single tax paying American that supports all the government spending. Many wouldn’t have given a dime to pay for the Iraq war. Others wouldn’t choose to fund various welfare programs. But only those at the very top of the income ladder have options.

I want to stress that I support making money and achieving a high level of prosperity. I also want to be clear again that I honestly believe that Romney has complied with all tax laws. I just would like for all voters and tax payers to know from a presidential candidate’s tax returns what laws were applied to minimize or avoid paying taxes so that this can become a public policy issue to be debated and argued in the media and the deliberative bodies of the Congress. Recall that there was very little controversy over the draft in the 1950s and early 1960s. When the Vietnam war heated up that all changed. And that ultimately resulted in the public debate that led the Congress to eliminate the draft and turn to a volunteer military.

Comments
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Devlin Adams
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July 27, 2012
No, Foley. You are not getting under my skin. People like you are as predictable as flies around a molaasses barrell, I have been swatting them for over 70 years.

I just figured, falsely of course, that you might grow up one day and tire of making such a complete fool of yourself, day and day out.

But, as I have uirged you before, hang in there sunshine. You and your writings provide a much needed distraction from things of real importance and substance.
Kevin Foley
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July 26, 2012
@ Mr. Adams - Am I getting under your skin? Good.
Devlin Adams
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July 26, 2012
Foley,why don't you just keep your mouth shut about things you are miserably uninformed and patently biased about?

My message was to someone who can respond to a dissenting point of view without insults, juvenile bhavior and restating charge for which he has no basis, back up or documentation.

That is not a descriptio of you. You respond to everyone who does not grovel at the feet of your alleged intellectual superiority, by attacking them, ridiculing their opinions and regurgitating the same crap over and over.

Grow up for Heaven's sake!
Kevin Foley
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July 25, 2012
Hilarious. Mr. Adams is worried about Obama's past, which has been sliced and diced ad nauseum, but he knows next to nothing about Romney because that's how Mittens wants it.

Just vote for him because he's the white guy.

Romney was all for the war and then bolted for France the second it was his turn to get drafted (but he wanted to serve, as usual, Mittster trying to have it both ways): "I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there, and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam."
Devlin Adams
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July 25, 2012
Oliver, why is what Romney did, as a college student, in realtio to the Vienam War, so vital that it overshadows every other concern? What about Kerry who was for the war in Iraq, before he was against it. They both made what they would iek to think are errors in judgement.

As to the people being drafted, not long ago I did some research into that subject and found that only a relitively small percentage of those eligible got draft notices. So the question reamins, would Romney have been called if he did not have student deferments? Does having a student deferment invalidate your right to have an opinion or express that opinion? Do you fault him for the missionary trips, which are the religious duty of young Mormon men? Did you support amnesty for the draft dodgers who ran off to Canada to avoid going to Vietnam?

Finally, if you do not see the hypocrisy in demanding that Romney release information not required of him, yet exempting the President of that same obligation, then, Yes, I am afraid we look at evidence in entirely different lights.
Oliver G. Halle
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July 25, 2012
Devlin, you completely miss my point about disclosing tax returns and Romney's Selective Service record. Not everything turns on legality or illegality. I am sure Romney did nothing illegal in taking advantage of the deferments he got. The issue, though, is whether Romney was a hypocrit in overtly supporting the war in Vietnam while hiding behind deferments so that he wouldn't have to participate in it. I think it is a fair question to ask Romney why he was gung ho on the war but didn't think it worth his time and effort to participate in it or at least serve in the armed forces, especially at a time when others were being drafted who didn't support the war.

As to Obama's "shadowy" past, you are a conspiracy buff that connects dots without supporting evidence. If you think for one minute that Hilary Clinton and John McCain didn't have people doing some serious checking on Obama's past in order to destroy him, I have no rebuttable comment. I'll accept that we examine information and evidence differently. Either you or another blogger that opposes a need for Romney to release his tax returns has made the arguement that any release would only result in a demand for more releases. Obama produced his long form birth certificate, yet the demands for more proof never stop. It's interesting to note that if Obama falsified his birth certificate he would have committed several felonies, including filing government documents certifying that he was American born. Unless you believe that the FBI is part of a cover up to investigate it, I am satisfied that Obama is in fact a native born American. And two Hawaiian newspaper reports of his birth also support that.

My final point is that Obama has no legal authority to seal his school records. These are privacy issues regulated by federal and state laws. Otherwise the media would have gotten his and Romney's records by now. And unless there are more than rumors, gossip, and innuendo, which there seeems to be no end to, I see no reason for Obama to ask Pomona College, Columbia and Harvard Universities to release his academic records than any other candidate or earlier president.
Lib in Cobb
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July 25, 2012
@Devlin: You have used the term "class warfare", what term would you assign to the movement that has been going on for over four years which is demanding proof of President Obama's birth place, other than "birther"? President Obama released his long form birth certificate, the Hawaiian government has validated his Hawaiian birth, timely birth announcements published in Hawaiian newspapers have been produced, multiple courts including one in GA have decided that there is no basis for a suit regarding the birth of President Obama. Yet, there are still many who just don't believe it. You may very well be one of those nut cakes, by the way, the moon is not made of cheese.

When anyone runs for public office especially the presidency the life of the candidate become a fish bowl.

I don't begrudge anyone a good or very good living, but Romney is hiding his wealth from taxes and wants us to believe his presidency will be transparent.
Devlin Adams
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July 24, 2012
Oliver, I am disappointed that you chose to ignore or sidestep the basic question, in your non-responsive response.

What possible difference could it make whether or not Romeny took offered deferments, unless you have reason to think he broke the law?

On the other hand, there are unanswered questions about Obama's educational records and you know, as well as I do, that those questions have nothing with his grades. More to the point, they have to do with his shadowy past. More to the point they have to do with going to college as a foreign exchange student, and then claiming to be a citizen when it suits his needs. He either did those things, or he did not. There has been too much evidence, however substantial, offered to ignore the questions. Obama needs to clear up those issues if he is going to gain the trust of the people. There is a reason he has spent money and used his position to have those records sealed and so long as they remain sealed, the trust issue will remain.

The "bury your head in the sand" attitude is not going to resolve the issue.
Oliver G. Halle
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July 24, 2012
What relevance do Obama's grades have in this race or any other political race? After someone gets their first job, their grades are usually unimportant. But if grades are so important to some readers, why doesn't Romney release his? (I personally could care less. He was a successful businessman and served as a governor---that's more relevant.) Unlike Obama, Romney was of draft age during Vietnam. Why don't the Republicans demand to see his Selective Service records so that all can know what deferments Romney took advantage of? Yes, this would be relevant in light of Romney's known support of the Vietnam war. I would think that Obama's Selective Service would consist of one page---the same form that all 18 year old males have had to complete since some time in the late 1970s.
Devlin Adams
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July 23, 2012
Ed Buckner, as I asked Oliver, would you also demand that Obama unseal his college and other personal information that he has had sealed, by power of his office?
EM Buckner
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July 23, 2012
Romney's own father, George Romney, released 12 years of income tax returns, setting a key precedent years ago; he noted then that any one year's return might be unrepresentative. My guess is that the only thing Mitt Romney has to hide is that his returns will demonstrate conclusively that our tax laws are unfair and unreasonable. I have no problem at all with an entrepreneur making lots of money--but he or she should then pay a reasonable income tax on his/her earnings. No one should blame Romney for taking advantage of the law--but the law should be changed.
Devlin Adams
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July 23, 2012
A good piece, Oliver. However, I submit that the stink is not about how much tax Romney does or does not pay. It is about making public the amount of money romney earns. The liberals are engaging in class warfare, and attempting to plant the seed that being successful in business is somehow evil. The nature of the dollars that Romney has accumulated would most certainly make him out to be evil, providing the libs are able to make people swallow that cock and bull story to begin with.

On another point, you say that when running for office, a candidate relinquishes a great deal of his right to privacy. On that basis, then, do you also believe that Obama must unseal all his college and other records which he has used his office to seal, and conceal from the public?
Oliver Halle of east Cobb is a retired FBI agent and has law degrees from The University of North Carolina and New York University. He commanded a Swift Boat in Vietnam, where he earned the Bronze Star with the Combat V for meritorius action. While with the FBI he helped investigate and prosecute members of the Columbo organized crime “family” and later launched the investigation that resulted in the conviction on corruption charges of Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell.

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