Romney’s Taxes and The Clueless Media

Dear Media,

Romney’s initial refusal to release his tax records had nothing to do with the fact that he makes a lot of money.  It had very little to do with the fact that he only paid about 15% in taxes.  It likely had nothing to do with wanting to hide shady dealings.


It had everything to do with the fact that he’s almost certainly a full tithe payer (and then some).  I have no idea how much money he made last year, but if he can refer to +300K in speaking fees as “not much,” then I’d assume he made perhaps tens of millions or even much more.  That likely means he paid 1M or more in tithing and other donations.  And that number is likely to freak out both Evangelicals and not-religious swing voters. Very few people in this country donate either 10% of their income or huge amounts of money.  It is one thing to say “I’m a Mormon” and another thing to give 1M+ (I’m just guessing on the number here, remember) to an organization that doesn’t release its financial data.  A quick perusal of the released tax returns of other candidates shows that most give much less (in dollars and in percentages), and so Romney is going to look . . . weird.  Very, very Mormony, and weird.  And that isn’t going to play well.


I am disappointed that no news outlet (that I have seen) has picked up on this angle.  But since I’ve read speculation that Romney might run for LDS Church President if he doesn’t win the nomination and assured statements that LDS children are all raised bilingual so they are ready to serve missions, I perhaps should not have expected you to pick up on this.

Let’s look at another story you missed:  you’ve spilled lots of ink (and, um, pixels) writing about whether Romney will be a puppet for HQ in SLC and/or whether voters will perceive him as such, but I haven’t seen a single report on the fact that he is currently taking a position on immigration that differs with the Church’s position.  Do you think that might possibly be a useful data point?

Left, right, center, nutter–I realize you are all struggling from a changing landscape that makes it difficult to do your job properly, but please.  There’s a bunch of Mormons engaged with current events out there.  Start with Nate Oman or Joanna Brooks and try to get up to speed before you run something.

85 comments for “Romney’s Taxes and The Clueless Media

  1. Dan
    January 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    really? you think this is about tithing? oh jeez. my goodness! This is about him exploiting Caribbean tax shelters to protect his hundreds of millions of dollars from being taxed by the US government!

  2. Ben S.
    January 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Dan, I also think this is about tithing.

  3. queuno
    January 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    If he can’t win a nomination because he pays tithing, maybe it wasn’t worth it to begin with.

  4. Sam Brunson
    January 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Julie, you would post this while I’m in church. I think the issue is carried interest, and being taxed at ~15%. More on that after church.

    Dan, nothing to do with the Caymans. PRI’s The World had a great piece on it on Thursday; if I remember I’ll link to it when I get home.

  5. Dan
    January 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Bring it Sam,

    I’ve got your favorite, The Wall Street Journal!

  6. jeff hoyt
    January 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm


    Just where on his form 1040 will information about his Carribean tax shelters be disclosed?

  7. January 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Dan, preview blogs about Romney and his wealth and criticism of his tithing donations are far more ridiculed than his Caymon Islands account. It just happens to be the icing on top as in “oh, and he has this off shore account . . . ” to sweeten the Romney hatred.

  8. January 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Dan: You’re clueless about how venture capital works with off-shore accounts, aren’t you. Foreign investors require such off-shore accounts to invest — and such investments bring money into the United States that is taxed when it creates a profit and jobs for others. Capitalism and the nature of business require thinking a bit about how things actually work. In fact, I’ll bet you lunch that he pays way more in taxes than you do.

    There is also no problem with an effective 15% tax rate. He pays a high rate of taxes than 54% of Americans who receive back more than they pay and whose effective tax rate is much less (in fact less than 0). That is easily explained.

    Julie — you’re dead on. Romney wanted to get through to the 15 April to get over the primaries in Florida and the south before disclosing that he pays a lot in tithing because it will freak out evangelicals and atheists alike.

    Queuno is also correct — if one must hide the fact of paying an honest tithe to avoid political damage, then I say pull a Mormon and refuse to lead them.

  9. January 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Well said, Julie. Fully agreed on all points.

  10. bbell
    January 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Agreed that it is about the tithing, PEF, Fast offerings, missionary fund etc. Its going to freak a lot of people out when they look at his deductions schedules.

  11. Tim
    January 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Looks like he’s planning to disclose them this week after his defeat in South Carolina. I think he realizes the main damage is done–he pays a smaller percentage of taxes than a huge number of significantly poorer Americans, and everyone already knows it.

    It will be interesting to see how the media handles his donations to the church.

  12. Ray
    January 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    His tithing already has been characterized as “cutting the Mormon Church in on business deals” (because he paid some tithing in stocks) and other such nonsense – by ABC News, not the National Enquirer. His tax records will show he not only is Mormon, but he’s uber-Mormon. The extremists in the evangelical community would rather vote for a serial adulterer, bombastic, angry troll, like they did in South Carolina, than for a rich, moral uber-Mormon who actually lives the ideals they preach.

    Yes, there are lots of other issues, but everyone knows he’s the richest candidate. For lots and lots of people, his tax forms are about being able to inspire religious bigots to get over their inclination to vote for him despite his faith.

  13. JimD
    January 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Alternate (unlikely?) scenario:

    Romney’s 2010 donations to the LDS Church were far below 10% and it’s the Mormons Romney fears will be alienated by this information.

  14. E.D.
    January 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I agree with JimD. I thought he wasn’t keen to release them because it may show that he *isn’t* a full tithe payer.

  15. January 22, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Seeing that Romney is known for his many administrative callings within the church, I doubt he is less than a full tithe payer.

  16. Ryan
    January 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Why can’t it be both? IOW, Julie is absolutely right–Romney doesn’t have a lot to gain by giving the nation a soundbite-ready dollar figure for how much he paid in tithing. But on a broader level, he also doesn’t have a lot to gain by giving the nation a soundbite-ready dollar figure for how much he made. Truth is, even if he’s done nothing wrong by the church or the government, this guy still has all kinds of reasons not to want us to know EXACTLY how much he paid in [fill in the blank].

  17. Sam Brunson
    January 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    The IRA issue isn’t terribly controversial, and certainly isn’t insidious; the way the UBTI was designed, he has to invest through blocker corps. You can certainly argue that it’s bad as a policy matter to force tax-exempts to invest through tax haven jurisdictions—I do here—but his IRA is doing exactly what IRAs were designed to do: accumulating money tax-free until he takes it out, at which point it will be taxable to him. Just the way my IRA works (except that I don’t have the money in mine to make an investment fund investment, and, because mutual funds don’t pass UBTI on, I don’t need a blocker).

    Simpler version: his IRA is deferring taxation until he takes money out of it. That’s exactly what IRAs and 401(k)s do for all of us. His just happens to be large and invested in Bain Capital (or at least that’s where I assume it’s invested).

    A couple things: first, the Tax Policy Center estimated that 46% of Americans pay no taxes, not 54%. Moreover, half of those pay no taxes do so because they earn too little—you and I also pay no taxes on the first $25,000 or so of our income, so we get the same benefit.

    Moreover, saying that a 15% rate isn’t politically damaging because many people pay less makes no sense. Sure, plenty of people pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes than Romney. But a larger percentage of Americans earns less than he does. Romney is paying a lower effective tax rate than, for example, Gingrich, who presumable earned tens of millions or more less than Romney did.

    Which is why I think that the carried interest thing is why Romney didn’t want to release his return. Preferential taxes on carried interest are a political and popular hot potato; whatever the merits of a lower rate of taxes (which I wrote about here), it looks bad.

    The tithing idea is interesting, but there’s no reason Romney would necessarily release the schedule explaining what the charitable donations were—politicians have historically varied in how many schedules they’ve released. And, having glanced at a few presidential returns, 10-12% (or whatever he’s paying) is on the high side, but not way outside the mainstream—other than Biden, most presidents generally donated in the 6-8% range to charities.

  18. Sam Brunson
    January 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Oh, and Dan, the piece I mentioned above is here.

  19. Julie M. Smith
    January 22, 2012 at 5:54 pm


    I hadn’t considered the fact that he could choose not to release the schedules, but I am fairly confident that if he did that, Gingrich et al would instantly say, “I think the American public has the right to know to whom Romney gave over a million dollars last year . . .” and the mess wouldn’t be over.

  20. Bill
    January 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    According to Newt’s tax return, he gave $81,000 to charity on $3 million in income, for a little less than 3%. I also noticed that he paid over $8,000 for tax preparation fees. Can’t wait to see how much Mitt paid for tax prep.

  21. Jax
    January 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I can’t believe that people are willing to vote for a Former Speaker of the House (doesn’t that define “insider”?) who left office on the heels of an ethics violation and who is on his third marriage after cheating on his first two but won’t vote for a Mormon on whom the only available “scandal” is that he donates a larger than average percentage of income to charity. I don’t like Mitt’s policies and he would be my 2nd pick out of this field, but the fact that Newt the adulterer/insider/ethics violator is the “conservative candidate” is outrageous!

  22. Stan Beale
    January 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Tithing would only become an issue if Romney did not pay a full tithing or used an interesting accounting maneuver to lessen it. It is too easy to defend and return the attack if it is a true full tithe. Imagine what a spinmeister could do with Gingrich and his 2.5% donation to all of his charities (81,133 out of an adjusted gross income of 3,142,066).

    Gingrich appears to be dropping the issue for two reasons–Romney is releasing his returns and the Gingrich tax return have raised a couple of issues. As a Forbes article stated, he is probably declaring too much of his S Corporation income as profit rather than wages (wages would have a 2.9% medicare tax rate, profits do not). In addition little light is shown on his lobbying activities (pardon me, his work as a historian).

  23. Sam Brunson
    January 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    That’s an interesting idea, and supremely possible. But not releasing the information has recent precedent: George W. Bush released his Schedule A (which lays out the amount of charitable donations) without any additional statement discussing to whom he made his donations. I’m not sure if that’s standard or not—both Obama and McCain provided a lot more detail, including statements laying out the recipients of their charitable largess—but I’m not really up for looking through more than ~10 presidential tax returns on a Sunday evening.

    Whatever the reason he didn’t release them, though, it really feels like an unforced error: he’s known for several years that he was going to run, he’s known that candidates routinely release their returns, so it seems like he should have had time to prepare his answer, or to adjust his finances to be within a politically acceptable range, or to come up with a politically-palatable answer to the inevitable question.

  24. Chadwick
    January 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I agree with Sam and Jax on this one. But taxes are my life.

  25. Last Lemming
    January 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    the Tax Policy Center estimated that 46% of Americans pay no taxes

    No, the Tax Policy Center estimated that 46% of Americans pay no federal income</b< taxes. As the first paragraph of the linked article states:

    Commentators have often misinterpreted that percentage as indicating that nearly half of Americans pay no taxes. In fact, however, many of those who don’t pay income tax do pay other taxes—federal payroll and excise taxes as well as state and local income, sales, and property taxes.

    We wouldn’t want T&S to be among those “commentators” now, would we?

  26. Last Lemming
    January 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    And furthermore, the TPC never screws up its HTML codes.

  27. Sam Brunson
    January 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    LL, absolutely true—TPC explicitly makes the point, and my bad not repeating it. In my defense, though, I rarely reread my blog comments carefully, especially on a Sunday afternoon.

    Pretty much all Americans pay state, local, sales, property, Social Security, and unemployment taxes. The 46% TPC was talking about is solely federal income taxes. Many of these other taxes fall regressively on lower-income individuals (particularly sales taxes, property taxes, and FICA, which only applies to a person’s first ~$108k of income.

    My point, though, would stand, even if 46% of Americans paid no taxes: the rate paid by 46% of Americans has very little bearing on the appropriate level of taxation that Romney (or, for that matter, I) should pay.

  28. wondering
    January 23, 2012 at 2:30 am

    Romney claims that he thinks his tithing won’t be a problem for voters. So I guess Julie is wrong about his motivations.

    (Or, could it be, just maybe, that Mitt is being less than genuine in some of his political statements?)

  29. January 23, 2012 at 4:55 am

    Blake, #8, spot on.

    Ray #12:

    The extremists in the evangelical community would rather vote for a serial adulterer, bombastic, angry troll, like they did in South Carolina, than for a rich, moral uber-Mormon who actually lives the ideals they preach.

    Jax #21:

    I can’t believe that people are willing to vote for a Former Speaker of the House (doesn’t that define “insider”?) who left office on the heels of an ethics violation and who is on his third marriage after cheating on his first two but won’t vote for a Mormon on whom the only available “scandal” is that he donates a larger than average percentage of income to charity

    I can’ only ditto the two of you.

    Dan, get a clue, dude.

  30. Dan
    January 23, 2012 at 6:17 am

    I have a clue, thank you. And it’s not about tithing.

  31. stephen hardy
    January 23, 2012 at 8:16 am

    A few random points:

    To those who fear that Romney will take marching orders from the church, we also have his record as a governor. The press in Boston would have been all over it if they caught a whiff of church influence on him.

    I believe that Romney struggles because of his lack of authenticity. He has worked hard to seem like the “normal” everyday bloke. However, he simply isn’t. Whether its $10,000 bets, or claiming only small amounts of income from speaking and have it turn out to be over $350,000 he repeatedly stumbles in trying to connect to the every day person. Rather than being seen as the moral candidate, he is seen as the amoral candidate. (Not the immoral candidate, which the public seems to be willing to forgive.)

  32. Assistant to the Assistant to the President
    January 23, 2012 at 8:35 am

    This is an intriguing angle. I hadn’t thought of this before yesterday’s Fox News Sunday interview where Chris Wallace asked Romney is the Mormon tithing money might be politically explosive.

    Either way, Romney definitely wanted to hide something. Now we will find out on Tuesday.

  33. Ray
    January 23, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I usually enjoy your posts and I usually agree with you, but this one is off the tracks. Romney is tone deaf to a whole lot of things and how his wealth appears to voters is one of them. He should have prepared for this moment long before running. For example, all those millions in the Caymans may be perfectly legal and innocent, but they will turn off millions of voter, guaranteed. Don’t cry for Mitt. He’s guilty of the same sin as most rich people: insensitivity.

  34. Assistant to the Assistant to the President
    January 23, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Then again, maybe this is all part of a brilliant Romney campaign strategy. No one is talking about Romneycare right now.

  35. Julie M. Smith
    January 23, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Romney: “and say, hey, what’s wrong with you, fella, don’t you follow through on the promises?”

    Read more:

    I always feel like I’ve wandered into 1958 when I hear Romney.

  36. Ray
    January 23, 2012 at 10:20 am

    #33 – “Ray”, please add an initial or a last name. I’ve been “Ray” here for a long time.

    (Admins, will one of you please send him an e-mail explaining the situation and ask him to change his moniker? He probably hasn’t read my previous requests. Thanks.)

  37. Assistant to the Assistant to the President
    January 23, 2012 at 10:39 am

    @ Julie Smith

    He also uses “gee” in the same interview. It makes you wonder if it’s all part of a campaign master strategy to appear all-American.

  38. January 23, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Ray #33 — and your evidence besides simple bias is what?

  39. January 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    This is all happening in a Republican primary where class warfare is supposed to be forbidden. Don’t tell me this is not about his Mormonism, but mostly his finances. Newt is a hypocrite. After all that time blasting Romney for his business practices he includes Romney’s business acumen as a positive in the S.C. victory speech.

  40. WillF
    January 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    What I want to know is whether Utah will continue to be a Red State after a stab-in-the-back by the Republican party, or if people will leave the party and become more independent. I know after what happened in South Carolina I have no ganas for becoming a “registered Republican.”

  41. January 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm
  42. Ray
    January 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    What Romney lacks and Gingrich has is a bitter soul that gives passion to his oratory skills and manipulates other people who are mad and scared. Gingrich is getting the mad and scared voter – and heavily evangelical areas have lots of those voters, especially when their anger and fear can be directed toward the evil, scary Mormons.

    It really isn’t more complicated than that when discussing Gingrich and Romney, specifically.

  43. Raymond Takashi Swenson
    January 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    It is troubling that Romney was unprepared for an attack on his income, his taxes and his level of contributions to the Church. An assessment of your vulnerabilities is an essential part of any business plan, so it is hard to believe that Romney did not assign people on his team to play devil’s advocate and bring those things up to prepare him to respond. That is the way he used to run Bain Capital. I can only assume that he is relying a bit too much on the advice of professional political hacks on his team, instead of following his own gut instincts and being the “Mittmost” he can be. The isolation is not his wealth and his own mindset, it is his reliance on professional political advisors. (This comes from me, a total amateur whose last political experience was as a Hinkley Institute Intern during the 1972 elections in Utah.)

    If I were writing a debate comeback for Romney, I would suggest:

    “I succeeded in Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School because I worked hard and was smart. I was hired by Bain Consulting because I was smart. I was entrusted with starting and leading Bain Capital because I was smart. I succeeded, more often than not, in making money for our investors–including your pension funds, you school teachers!–because I was smart.

    “Now you don’t mind that Michael Jordan got rich playing basketball, using his skills and his smarts to succeed. Jordan’s wealth does not make you poor. In fact, everything he received was in exchange for something he gave, the value of the entertainment and amazement we received when we watched him play. That is the way our free market economy works. Business people don’t get rich by stealing, they get rich by working out ways to sell things that people want, so both buyer and seller are better off from each transaction.

    “The “vultures” in the business world are governments, who swoop down and reap where they never sowed, who take but don’t give, except to their own pet projects, where they lose taxpayer money over and over again. Every time you complain about the money that oil companies make, remember that between the royalties on the crude oil, excise taxes on fasoline, and income taxes on the companies, the government makes more money from the sale of gasoline than the company does, without risking a dollar.

    “By the time my Dad died, I was already CEO of Bain Capital and had earned most of my present wealth. I gave away the inheritance he left me to charity because I didn’t need it.

    “The great thing about the American economic system is that it lets you use your hard work and your smart work to get you ahead. I made money because I earned it, the American way, working smarter and harder than others.

    “Now, the problem with Mr. Obama (etc.) is that he wants to pick winners and losers and say you don’t have a choice to become a winner through your own work and intelligence, but because HE deems you worthy. No work on the oil pipeline from Canada, you welders and pipefitters are not worthy! If his EPA gets its way, no work drilling natural gas in Pennsylvania, because you gas drillers are not worthy. And in fact he doesn’t think anyone who has earned wealth really deserves to keep it. He wants it to be HIS wealth, to be handed out to other people so they can praise HIM for being generous with what other men and women have earned.

    “As for Mr. Gingrich, he is definitely up in the top 1%, with his line of credit at Tiffany’s, though he hasn’t succeeded as well as I did. I earned my income out in the real world, investing, losing and winning, private money, not taxpayer money. Mr. Gingrich earned a lot of his money from writing books–some very good books, he should stick with that–but he also made a lot of his money from telling companies how to get more money out of government, or get the government to protect them from competition. $1.6 million from Freddie Mac. He is a government money man, and the wealth he trades in is the power of government to destroy businesses. If he gets in the White House, he will be thinking about how he can multiply his real business by a hundredfold when he leaves office.

    “I am not even tempted to do that because I made all the money I ever wanted ten years ago. Since then, I have been working, but NOT to make more money, the way Warren Buffett does, but to serve my country and you, my fellow Americans. I did that in the 2002 Winter Olympics. I did that in Massachusetts as governor. I did that without a salary. I want to give back to the nation that blessed me so abundantly, give not just wealth but also the skills that I used when I earned it. America needs a new birth of freedom, of economic freedom, and an end to businesses being slaves of the government.”

    Since I doubt Romney reads this blog, that will of course never happen.

  44. Cameron N
    January 24, 2012 at 12:14 am

    I completely agree Raymond. Romney is getting bad advice and it’s a pity he’s listening to it. It’s paralyzing him and making him look weak and incompetent. He just needs to fire people and start using common sense.

  45. chris
    January 24, 2012 at 1:52 am

    It really shows the bias that some would have on this thread to suggest perhaps he doesn’t pay enough tithing. No wonder some people are out to get the rich… I wonder if they are projecting their own greed and how they would act onto others… btw last year it shows Romney earned 21million and paid at least 7mil to charity at least 4mil of it to the church.

  46. Bill
    January 24, 2012 at 2:03 am

    21 million is the figure for one year, while your charitable contribution numbers are for the combined 2010-11.

  47. Bill
    January 24, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Among the many fantastical premises of comment 43 is a misconception about oil royalties. The mineral rights to federal lands are owned by the taxpayer, so when they are leased by fossil fuel companies it should be no surprise that the companies make royalty payments to the Treasury, just like they do to private citizens when they drill on privately owned land. Unless, of course, republicans want to fleece the taxpayers.

  48. Hiram357
    January 24, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Bravo Raymond! You really should look into emailing that to Mitt’s campaign.

  49. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 7:03 am

    heh, Mitt Romney “earned” his money. yeah…go on thinking that.

  50. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 7:12 am
  51. Ryan
    January 24, 2012 at 8:43 am

    A lot of the comments here have talked about Romney’s tithing not being a big deal to the public because he was simply giving money to “charity.”

    That’s an often, umm, charitable way to look at it.

    Talking about it that way may make sense to us Mormons. But I suspect that some, if not most, non-mormons would not regard our tithing as “charity” in the most normal sense of the word.

    When people think of giving money to “charity,” I think most people are they’re thinking of things like the Red Cross or soup kitchens or disaster relief. But when outsiders talk about us giving our money to the mormon church, I would imagine they’re assuming it’s going to things like building our secret-temples and funding all those 19 year old boys in suits with name tags.

    So when you compare the 3% of Gingrich’s money that he gave to “charity” to Romney’s presumed 10% tithing, I don’t think the public is going to think they’re the same thing. If anything, I think a lot of people would think that Gingrich’s 3% was actually more charitable.

  52. Assistant to the Assistant to the President
    January 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

    @ Dan

    I’m sure the 200,000+ people working at Domino’s Pizza, Staples, and the Sports Authority are glad Romney invested in their companies.

  53. Raymond Takashi Swenson
    January 24, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Bill #47 is correct; the revenues the Federal government receives from royalties on oil leases is the only part of the Federal income that is based on a Fedetal input rather than straight taxation. Which makes even more puzzling the unnecessary restrictions on oil development and production in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizons spill which deprived the Federal government of revenues.

    One of the largest components in Gingrich’s charitable giving was substantial support to a Catholic church in the DC area.

  54. Ryan
    January 24, 2012 at 11:00 am


    I didn’t realize that about Gingrich’s giving. That should change things, I think.

  55. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Assistant to the Assistant to the President,


    I honestly have no idea what your comment has to do with anything in this post. In 2010, Romney earned 24 million dollars. That money was not “earned” from any hard work. So, no, sorry man. He didn’t “earn” anything from hard work. But from knowing how to game the system in his favor.

  56. Ray
    January 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

    “He didn’t “earn” anything from hard work.”

    There we have it – the lazy rich man stereotype.

    Yes, in fact, Mitt Romney did work hard. He was born into privilege, but he worked very hard. I knew him when he was my Stake President, and he worked extremely hard. The quote above simply is a misinformed stereotype.

    Again, he wasn’t my favorite candidate initially (although he now is, given the buffoons still running against him), but to mischaracterize him as not having worked hard . . .

  57. January 24, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I’ll address your comment like you’re being serious. I presume you mean that he wasn’t out getting a salary do build a company, or give speeches to audiences (although he admits he got paid to do that), etc.

    By “not working” you mean that he received a return on previous investments he had made through hard work in years gone by. This is an interesting take on investment. If what you’re saying is true, investment is a bad thing, because it means we no longer work once our investments start to generate a return. It’s also strange because you seem to be suggesting, what he should have done, instead of devoting his life to causes he believed in, is keep running around doing more and more and accumulating more and more wealth, etc. (for which we could criticize him for always pursuing wealth)
    It also assumes, he actually didn’t do anything with his money other than watch it grow (or pay someone else to watch it grow while he sat on the couch with Ann watching Netflix) — I don’t know if that’s the case.

    But at the heart of what you’re saying is a farmer doesn’t “work” most of the year, because you define him to only be “working” when he receives the fruits in close proximity to his labor. Taking a ridiculous leap the atonement, you could just as easily say the Lord hasn’t done much work lately, since it’s been about 2000 years since he actually put some time in pounding the pavement.

    In short, I don’t see much in your assertion other than petty jealously and it reveals more about you than Romney. As an aside, if you want to analyze my comment in the same light, it’s that I’m quick to come to defense of those who I see as being unfairly attacked, especially by those who I presume should know better.

  58. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 11:31 am



    of the $24 million he made in 2010, how much of that was for work done in 2010?

  59. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 11:33 am



    Interesting that you compare a farmer to an investor. Does a farmer actually get paid while he sits around waiting for his crops to grow?

    oh and Jesus was never paid for his labor. It’s a shame that you compare the work of the Son of God to a vulture capitalist.

  60. Ray
    January 24, 2012 at 11:40 am

    #58 – Why would I care? Chris already described why that’s an irrelevant, misguided question.

    #59 – “vulture capitalist.”

    *sigh* If we’ve gone there, there’s nowhere else to go. It’s just such a stupid term, used in this case.

  61. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 11:41 am

    he should have chosen a different line of work

  62. Bryan Stiles
    January 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I think Chris’s comparisons are a bit weak, but I don’t agree with Dan. If someone won a million dollars in a lottery and invested it wisely and lived off the investments I think most people would look at that with appraisal. Even if they never worked another day in their life.

    I don’t make all that much but I invest what I can and make a small amount of money off interest. Is that money somehow “lazy money”.

    It seems to me the only difference with Mitt is the scale. Somewhere along the line investing and getting money off interest goes from “smart and responsible decision” to “greedy, lazy, and evil decision”.

    Now if Mitt was living off investments that he inherited from his dad and that’s all he ever did, well you would have a perfect point here.

  63. January 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Dan: Here is how it works. Venture capital is a tremendous risk. No one will take the risk without a possibility of high return. We want people to invest and reinvigorate companies so we reward the risk. It takes an incredible amount of work to put it together and to manage the assets to make a company work. People are hired, jobs are created when the risk pans out. More jobs, more business, more taxes are paid. Everyone gains. That is how it works — and it is a good thing when it works that way.

    The kind of thinking that labels what Romney did as “vulture capitalism” is actually simply about anti-capitalism and a failure to grasp how this works. It works far better than coercive government force to redistribute the wealth — we’ve seen how well that works in Russia, Europe and the United States.

  64. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm


    I’m well aware of venture capitalism and its risks and rewards. But that’s not what Bain Capital was doing. It was predatory, and destructive, except for those who invested in it or who worked for it. And guys like Mitt Romney pushed for a tax policy that made them even more rich. Well good for them. But don’t expect a pat on the back.

  65. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm


    Take this for example

    what kind of company makes millions of dollars on a failed attempt? Where is the risk? You say that vulture….sorry venture capitalism is risky, but look at this example. Bain’s attempt failed, yet they still profited handsomely off of it. Should they not ALSO have lost money in the failure? Yet they didn’t. Because they saw that when they destroyed a company, they profited handsomely from it.

    It started in 1995, when Romney’s Bain Capital targeted the company that became Dade Behring, which made blood-testing machines and performed animal research at its Miami campus.

    Bain borrowed heavily to buy the company and closed a factory in Puerto Rico to improve the bottom line. About 400 lost jobs there. Then in 1997, Bain shuttered Dade Behring’s Miami operations, costing another 850 jobs and a $30 million payroll in the community.

    Before growing debt consumed the company, Bain executed its exit strategy and made $242 million.

    Wow, that’s just risky. Succeed and you make money. Fail and you make money. Wow….such risk.

  66. January 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Pay attention Dan. The transaction that resulted in loss to Dade happened AFTER Romney left. Dade’s VP was involved in the later business decisions that led to the company’s demise AFTER Romney left but now blames Romney who wasn’t even there for poor decisions made AFTER Bain exited and left the company in healthy condition. What Dade did to increase its debt was not the venture capital, but failing to make business decisions that would make it profitable AFTER avoiding bankrupcty earlier. Easy to blame others in an election year for one’s own actions. You just might to pay better attention and be a little more critical of a media anxious to twist turn and shout – and distort.

  67. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    yes, Blake, i read it carefully. Bain, under Romney, massively increased Dade Behring’s debts while charging huge fees. Where is the risk, Blake? Where is the effort, the work, the labor, that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars for a company that eventually is bankrupt?

  68. Bryan Stiles
    January 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Romney left Bain in 1999, according to your article Dade went bankrupt in 2002.

    Also, you claim Romney pushed for tax policy that made him even more rich. Do you have a source for that?

  69. January 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Dan: You are clueless. I have worked with venture capital. It is tremendous amount of work and a great amount of risk. That Bain was able to sell its position means that another investor came in and bought it. It was profitable and healthy at that time or the subsequent investor wouldn’t have made the investment. If they hadn’t been able to make the sale, they would have eaten that debt themselves. Great risk. A lot of work.

  70. Bryan Stiles
    January 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I would like to retract #68. Bain got Dade to buy their stocks back in 1999 only a few months after Romney left.

  71. Jeff Hoyt
    January 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm


    You are wasting your time trying to reason with Dan. He has bought into the “evil capitalist” line, and truly believes it is Christlike to steal from the rich to give to the poor. He and is ilk have it backwards – thinking that somehow if we can just eliminate class distinctions we we all be more like Christ. This belief is particlarly sad when the means of accomplishing it is vilify people.

  72. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    as opposed to constantly attacking poor people as moochers….yeah good luck with that one guys.

  73. January 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Jeff: #71 — Well, like Dan I would like to eliminate all classes as well, but on the conditions that: (1) it is by voluntary covenant to share everything we have rather than coercive government action; and (2) we bring people up to share in the wealth through productive work rather than bring everyone down by handing out unearned handouts that make them more dependent and, in the long run, worse off.

  74. Bryan Stiles
    January 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I find attacking poor people as lazy and attacking rich people as lazy both to be invalid arguments. I also think it’s rather hypocritical to defend one group saying “they aren’t lazy!” and then label the other with the same argument.

  75. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    i have never argued that Romney was lazy. I’ve only argued that you cannot claim he “earned” his income from 2010 when he didn’t actually labor. That is all. And that’s all i’ll say on this post.

  76. Ray
    January 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Who has attacked poor people as lazy in this thread – or as a regular commenter on this site?

    *crickets chirping*

  77. Ray
    January 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    The following article proves Julie’s point perfectly. It calls tithing “Mormon payouts” and criticizes Romney for paying more in charity than in taxes. Oh, and it calls paying tithing “crazy”. (puts it in a list of “crazies”)

  78. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    hey look at that, Ray, you find a negative, I find a positive

    In Monday’s debate, Romney said he is “proud of the fact that I pay a lot of taxes.” Though he’s at times reluctant to speak publicly about his Mormon faith, his charitable giving, half of which goes to the socially-active LDS church, is something to be proud of as well.

  79. Ray
    January 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    and your point is, Dan?

  80. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    you think there are any points in this whole post and comments? This post is lame about how the media supposedly cares whether or not Romney paid tithing. It’s utterly ridiculous. You find some silly blogger from Miami who says bad things about it, i find a national magazine which says something nice about it. There’s no point here, Ray. There never was, because the post itself was lame, as I said in my number 1 comment.

  81. Sam Brunson
    January 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Hey everyone,
    Cool it. Calling the post “lame” is uncalled for; if you’re not interested, there’s plenty of other stuff to read. Disagreeing is just fine—I disagree with Julie’s ultimate conclusion, though it did make me think—but please do so respectfully.

    I’ve worked with private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds, too. And just because a VC firm (or PE firm, or whomever) sells a company and makes a profit doesn’t mean that company’s in good shape; it just means that there’s a buyer who believes (rightly or wrongly) that it’s underpriced.

    Investment funds aren’t evil; if they were, I wouldn’t have dedicated the time and thought I have to them. On the other hand, they’re also not angels. They often (though not always) produce value, but that value doesn’t always accrue to society—like anything else, their externalities can be positive or negative.

  82. KLC
    January 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Dan, I’m used to you misquoting what others say but you even misquote what you say. So your #1 said the post was lame? Really?

  83. Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm


  84. Dan
    January 26, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    THIS is why Romney didn’t want to reveal his tax returns,0,1504762.story

    What more is there in the years he has NOT revealed?

  85. Ray
    January 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Nothing that should be even close to damaging. Hyperbole is fun sometimes, but in cases like this? Not so much.

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