Feeding the Paranoia

So you have a bunch of people yelling and screaming that the government can’t be trusted and is coming after us.

What does the government do?  It feeds and justifies that narrative by the IRS specifically targeting these groups and subjecting them to extra scrutiny.

The IRS has admitted and “apologized” for the fact that tax-exempt groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names were singled out for heightened review during the 2012 election cycle, including unlawfully demanding names of individual donors, that left-leaning groups didn’t receive.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

But What About the Swiss Account?

Mitt isn’t releasing any more tax returns, but he’s asking us to take his word that he paid at least 13% in each of the last ten years.

First, I’d be more inclined to trust him if he hadn’t flat out lied as to what his tax returns said about his residency when he ran for governor of Massachusetts after paying taxes as a resident of Utah.

Second, I’m not impressed about the 13%.  I’ve paid far more in each of the last ten years on a teeny, tiny fraction of his annual income.

Third, this doesn’t tell us if he took advantage of the IRS amnesty for Americans who had been hiding their Swiss bank accounts and not paying taxes on them.  If he participated in this amnesty, he admitted to being a felon.  Election over.

Does Mitt Have a Tax Problem with Church as Well as State?

Is Mitt’s tax problem a church problem?

From “Harry Reid Gives Mitt Hell,” Bill Buck, CBS Boston:

“But the source coming to Harry Reid for these revelations [about Mitt’s not paying taxes for a decade] adds a level of intrigue. Reid just happens to be the highest-ranking member of the Mormon Church in the history of this nation.

“It is likely that Senator Reid’s source shares the Mormon religion with Reid and Romney.

“That message will not be lost on Romney. If the Bain fortress is not a fortress; if people are talking, Romney knows that trouble lies ahead.

“And the motivation for this leak may not be political. It is likely personal and tied to the Mormon Church.

“Specifically, if Romney was hiding money from the IRS he may have hidden money from his church.

“It is expected that members of the Mormon Church tithe a minimum of ten percent of their incomes. But if Romney was not paying taxes and hiding money, then his disclosure – which itemizes deductions, including to the church – would tip off his actual income to the IRS.

“Even more telling, Senator Reid specifically says that Romney’s father, George, would be ashamed of his son.

“It is true that Mitt’s father, who set the precedent of releasing multiple years, would be ashamed of the son’s lack of disclosure.

 “Another reason for such a strong statement from Reid is that Mitt’s father would be ashamed for religious reasons.”
I think the key element here is not that Reid is a Dem and Romney is a Republican, but that both are Mormon.  I don’t think Reid would attack Mitt unless he was confident of his source because he would be sensitive about attacking a fellow Mormon, given that it is a minority religion that has been harshly persecuted in this country.  It’s a strong tie that would make Reid, whom I see as a very cautious guy anyway, extra cautious.

More on Mitt and Tax Amnesty

I had previously posted about the possibility that Mitt isn’t releasing more tax returns because his 2009 return would show that he took advantage of a “general amnesty” the IRS offered those with secret Swiss bank accounts — pay the back taxes and a fine, and we won’t prosecute you.

Today I’m delighted to see that Josh Marshall from Talking Points Memo (who has a few more readers than I do!) has picked up the story (“Is the FBAR FUBAR?”):

Given the radioactive-ness of the whole Swiss bank account issue I’m a little surprised that this whole thing hasn’t gotten more attention.  And I’m also surprised since to the best of my knowledge — hard to prove a negative — Romney or his representatives have never been asked whether he took advantage of the amnesty program.”

The issue is finally getting some traction, as media types connect the dots between the timing of the IRS amnesty and the closure of Mitt’s Swiss account.  At some point, he’ll get asked.

Given Mitt’s vehement insistence against “amnesty” for any illegal immigrants and his priggish defense of his own virtue and uprightness, it would be so great if he were caught with his magic Mormon underwear down,  benefiting from a government “amnesty.”  Maybe we could make him replace his flag pin with a scarlet “T.”

What Obama Must Do Now

With his Supreme Court victory on Obamacare, the President must blunt the GOP’s strategy of distorting what the health care law means and creating panic and anger about it.  It would have been better for the President to run again after the law became full effective and Americans lived with it for awhile, but that isn’t happening.  The GOP will try to manipulate our fear of the unknown, and the Obama campaign can’t let them get away with it.

Not long after the decision was announced, Marco! Rubio! was on Fox News yelling about this huge “tax increase” and warning viewers that the IRS will be coming after them.  He was a conservative Cuban-American version of Paul Revere, crying “The IRS is coming, the IRS is coming!”