Tuesday Morning Open Thread

I'll be on Daily Kos Radio with Jesse LaGreca at 11. Listen here.

Open Thread.

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    I Stopped Reading... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:35:00 AM EST
    ...his insights long before he left the WM.

    What he fails to take into account, Reid isn't exactly the lying type, his political prowess is nowhere near this level of sophistication, or tha Romney surely produced axe grinders over at BC.  I don't buy into the entire premise, that HR is making it up.  That he is willing to risk his political reputation on Romney's tax returns.

    So talk of a false equivalency is ridiculous, Harry Reid IMO just is not capable of this kind of political maneuvering and he isn't a liar.

    The Harry Reid and know and love faltered at nearly every point with ACA, yet now I am to believe he is playing upper level chess with the big boys, pleaze.

    Response for Comment #2 (none / 0) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:35:56 AM EST
    Not sure why it got promoted.

    Senator Reid's claim is but a (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:56:47 AM EST
    stage whisper to the choral speaking of Republicans that are calling for Romney's release of additional tax returns. (such as TX Rep. Pete Sessions (head of the House campaign), Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, former MS Gov. Haley Barbour, former RNC chair Michael Steele, Republican strategist (e.g. Reagan's campaign) Ed Rollins, TX Congressman Ron Paul, TX Gov Rick Perry, George Will, and William Kristol.). To me, this is the big story--the immutable Mr. Romney-- seemingly the one and only time. A sharp contrast to the otherwise pliable candidate, who is putty in the hands of such Republicans. And for what reason? Privacy? That door has been opened already with release of 2010 and 20ll returns (although incomplete). We will find him to be rich? I think we know that already and don't care. Democrats will scrutinize his returns? Yes, but he is a presidential candidate and financial transparency is a likely criterion for a successful campaign.. That Republicans will not come to his defense against Democratic reviews. Not likely. That Romney has something that he does not want Republicans to see? Maybe, we are getting warm. In any event, it seems that Romney has calculated that revealing tax returns will be worse than hiding them.

    Agreed. (none / 0) (#76)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 02:53:17 PM EST
    This is a really big gamble on Mitt Romney's part. If he wins in November, then his decision to stonewall will be somewhat vindicated by the results, albeit not completely.

    But if he loses, this may well be seen in retrospect as the issue upon which American voters subsequently decided that he could not be entrusted with the highest office in the land.

    Honestly, though, Romney really ought to consider that even if he somehow wins, this issue is not going to magically go away. Because if the truth outs during his term in office, and we learn that yes, he took advantage of the IRS's Swiss account tax amnesty program to avoid felony tax evasion charges and / or didn't pay any federal income taxes for the better part of a decade, he could very well be quickly discredited politically and rendered a one-term lame duck.


    RIP Marvin Hamlisch (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:14:22 PM EST
    One of the soundtrack composers to my life, certainly.

    You beat me to it , ruffian. (none / 0) (#27)
    by caseyOR on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:19:58 PM EST
    While I was composing my comment, you were posting yours. :-)

    Street Art (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:17:31 PM EST
    Street Art from the folks most affected by the games.

    Marvin Hamlisch, composer of Broadway (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by caseyOR on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:18:58 PM EST
    musicals and movie theme songs, has died suddenly at age 68. According to his family Hamlisch collapsed from a brief recent illness.

    Hamlisch wrote the music for the whoppingly successful Broadway musical A Chorus Line. Some of his better known film work includes The Sting and The Way We Were.

    I know 68 isn't young, but it seems too young to die.

    RIP, Marvin.

    68 seems younger every year I get closer to it (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 05:00:39 PM EST
    Sorry it must have been a shock to his family and friends. Really rough on all.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:14:55 PM EST
    I'm convinced that the GOP maybe slitting their own throat with this whole voting thing. I went to the DMV today and they require at least FIVE documents just to RENEW your driver's license. All the young people had it together but the older people were walking out in droves because they did not have the necessary paperwork to renew their licenses.

    The Red Scare (none / 0) (#1)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 09:57:57 AM EST
    Harkening back to a previous open thread, why doesn't(didn't) the First Amendment protect the right of American citizens to be "communists?"

    Isn't is our right to hold any political philosophy we choose?

    What, exactly was the threat of "communism" that justified the hysteria I remember (McCarthy, Jedgar, the Birchers) from the '50s and '60s?

    Communist automatically meant (none / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:57:46 AM EST
    working with the Soviet Union to overthrow the US government, in many people's minds.

    What stupid people think (none / 0) (#68)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:23:45 PM EST
    should not limit freedom.

    Shouldn't, but it always does (none / 0) (#90)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 04:54:36 PM EST
    Interesting (none / 0) (#2)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:07:30 AM EST
    Kevin Drum attacks Reid for "making stuff up" about Romney:

    It's just Reid making stuff up in order to put pressure on Romney, and I think we all know it.

    Can I prove this? Of course not. Given the epistemological limits of proof, I can't prove Barack Obama was born in the United States either. Nevertheless, I feel safe saying that anyone who claims to have an "extremely credible source" that Obama was born elsewhere is either crazy or lying. The same is true for Reid, and Reid isn't crazy. It's simply vanishingly unlikely that he's telling the truth, and no one -- not liberal or conservative -- would spend even ten seconds on a story so patently far-fetched if it were anybody but Reid and the background were anything but the frenzy of a presidential campaign.

    Take a deep breath, folks. This is contemptible stuff and it's not just business as usual. We've spent too many years berating the tea partiers for getting on bandwagons like this to get sucked into it ourselves the first time it's convenient. It's time to quit cheering on Reid and get off this particular bus.

    False equivalencies abound.  I certainly think the presence of the Obama birth certificate is not the same as the absence of the Romney returns.  And the tax return issue is a) very conventional and b) lacks the weird racist tinge of the BC controversy.

    I'm really not sure sometimes what Kevin Drum's approach to winning in politics is.  I really don't have any problem with what Reid said.  If anything, compare it to the (limited) clamor over Obama releasing his grades.  I'm not sure what the grades would tell us, exactly, but, whatever, it's on the record and perhaps the public would be interested.  Romney's returns are also on the record, and the public usually is interested in this kind of thing.  

    Compare it to that, not tea party insanity, or accusing Clinton of killing Vince Foster, or whatever.

    We all know what is intended when the right (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Farmboy on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:33:19 AM EST
    refuses to acknowledge Obama's birth certificate.

    We know what they're doing when they ask for "proof" of his citizenship, residency, school attendance and grades, social security, draft records, etc.

    None of it is asked for in the public interest.


    Did you ever think it was???? (none / 0) (#50)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:32:03 PM EST
    The thing with Reid is stupid (2.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:07:09 AM EST
    Even the WH is backing away from Reid's statements, saying "they are his own." They don't want any part of his claims.

    Romney needs to release his tax returns. Period. Not sure why he's dragging his feet, as it would be common sense that if someone contemplates running for president, they know this is something that needs to be done. My prediction - Romney will release the returns, people will see that he's rich (shocker!) and it will have turned out to be nothing, except for bad political play by the Romney team.

    (Of course, Harry Reid, while not running for president, but who IS the Majority Leader, and is the line of succession has absoltuely refused to release his own tax returns, even though he helps write tax policy and is lobbied by those who wish to influence tax policy).

    And if Harry Reid wants to accuse a nominee for president of a federal crime, then it would probably be in his best interest to release some proof - more than just the ethereal "someone" at Bain told him.


    He hasn't suggested (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:16:00 AM EST
    that his non-payment of taxes is a federal crime.  This is about the nature of our tax policy, loopholes, etc. more than anything else.

    He has said (2.00 / 1) (#26)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:19:29 PM EST
    "Romney hasn't paid taxes for the last ten years."

    Not paying taxes, by definition, is a crime.

    And no, Harry isn't running for anything - this year.  But he did in 2010.  Don't you think that everyone who has a role in making tax policy should show their tax returns?  From the lowest member of Congress to the President?

    McCain hasn't said anything to the effect that Romney wasn't chosen for VP because he had bad tax returns - he said Palin was the "better candidate" - i.e. she was a woman and a dark horse so she would create excitement (which she did).

    Seriously, if there was a real problem with his tax returns, does anyone with half a brain really think that he would be able to successfully get the nomination of his party?  You don't think there are people who know what's in his tax returns who would love to spill their story to the media if they thought it would hurt him?


    Nooo, it isn't (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:22:29 PM EST
    In fact, what is legal, as is often the case, is the real scandal.

    Again, you funny.


    Yes, it is (2.00 / 1) (#36)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:23:50 PM EST
    at least what Reid is implying - that Romney avoided paying taxes.

    But you're just cheerleading.  Rah Rah!


    Avoiding paying taxes is a crime? (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:26:39 PM EST
    Again, you funny.

    Tax evasion, as opposed to avoidance, is a crime. Tax avoidance is not.

    Again, the story is about what GOP tax policies have made legal.

    I do like though, that you are now open in your Romney advocacy. Refreshing.


    jbindc is right (none / 0) (#48)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:30:32 PM EST
    You need some pom poms!

    Also (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:41:06 PM EST
    Go Gators!!

    You know, you had me until ... (none / 0) (#88)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 04:41:51 PM EST
    ... the Go Gators!!" part. Boo. Hiss.



    I do indeed (3.00 / 2) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:32:24 PM EST
    But so does she, and so do you.

    We are obviously rooting for different teams.

    I'm good with that.

    Indeed, Jim, we enjoy having you to kick around during this election season.


    Not paying taxes isn't a crime ... (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:37:17 PM EST
    ... if you have no tax liability.

    Surprisingly, a not insignificant number of those who are clearly well off are also among the "lucky duckies." There are 78,000 tax filers with incomes of $211,000 to $533,000 who will pay no federal income taxes this year. Even more amazingly, there are 24,000 households with incomes of $533,000 to $2.2 million with zero income tax liability, and 3,000 tax filers with incomes above $2.2 million with the same federal income tax liability as most of those with incomes barely above the poverty level.

    I don't think Reid should have made the charge without more evidence, but his charge is that Romney paid no taxes for 10 years which is not, per se, a crime.


    I'd be interested in seeing these (none / 0) (#67)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:13:02 PM EST
    high income/no tax tax returns. My bet would be these returns have most/all of their income from tax-free municipal bonds.

    Us too!!! (none / 0) (#71)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:42:00 PM EST
    Release the returns Mitt!!

    see other people's tax returns. Broadly speaking, of course. I'm sure most/all of TL's community have long since evolved past such coarse inclinations...

    I want to get some tax tips! (none / 0) (#91)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 04:57:42 PM EST
    Maybe he didn't make as much money (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by oculus on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 05:00:00 PM EST
    as people think he did and he doesn't want this info public.  (snk.)

    No - Harry did not say that Romney (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:11:00 PM EST
    hasn't paid income taxes - he's said that someone he believes to be credible said that.

    There is a difference, believe it or not.

    And not paying taxes isn't the test for whether a crime has been committed; even we non-lawyers know that.


    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:08:26 PM EST
    not paying taxes is not a crime. You apparently don't remember when it came out that GE does not pay taxes.

    You're right, it's no crime. (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:21:27 PM EST
    That said, it's certainly not inconceivable that such a disclosure of non-payment would probably be a political disaster of the first magnitude. Just look at the grief Romney's already taken, once people learned that his federal tax rate was only 13.9% for 2010.

    And Heaven help his candidacy if, like General Electric, the public somehow learned that the Romneys actually received a refund from the federal overnment after not paying a dime, even for only one year.


    Romney's dragging his feet (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by shoephone on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:31:02 AM EST
    because whatever is in his tax returns is something he considers more than enough to sink his candidacy. To go to such great lengths to keep whatever it is secret means it's not simply that "he's rich (shocker!)" but something more on the order of sheltering so much $ in those offshore accounts that he will, in fact, be seen as a criminal.

    Ah, but for the old days, when someone like Spiro Agnew would go down in flames for roughly $30,000 in tax evasion and $100,000 in bribes. What Romney's hiding is much, much bigger than that. Otherwise, he wouldn't be doubling down.


    Here ya go, shoephone (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:20:23 PM EST
    2010 2011 Romney Tax Documents

    Have fun telling us why giving 40% of your income to the government and charity is evileeeeee.


    The Mormon Church ... (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:29:54 PM EST
    ... is a charity?

    Only for IRS purposes.

    But nice try lumping taxes and "charitable contributions" (deductions) together.


    He's been using that silly tactic all week (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by shoephone on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:09:55 PM EST
    As we know from earlier threads...

    It can be, forMormons in need. (none / 0) (#102)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:38:11 PM EST
    I'll give them credit for the fact that they do take care of their own. As for their concern for the rest of us gentiles, well, maybe not so much.

    I am not convinced Mormons actually (none / 0) (#103)
    by oculus on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 12:38:40 AM EST
    always take care of their own.  My Mormon friend said, "no" when I asked if there was a social services organization w/i the Mormon church.  

    I spent a year in Utah and Idaho (none / 0) (#107)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 11:43:07 AM EST
    working primarily with Mormons. They said they do have a social services safety net. That said, it may well depend on where you live and which "stake" you belong to...

    My friend was in charge of organizing an (none / 0) (#108)
    by oculus on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 04:09:01 PM EST
    ethnic minority group of Morman immigrants.  One had cancer, and moved from stake to stake seeking a place to live with a stake family in each.  Very difficult for my friend.  That's when I asked her about Mormon social services.  Nada, was her reply.  This is a large metropolitan area.  

    They might (none / 0) (#109)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 07:51:48 PM EST
    be like the Southern Baptists. The Southern Baptists will tell you they have one but good luck getting them to actually use it to help someone. Someone at my son's school went for them for help after their house burned down and they were turned down.


    I want to see 12 years of returns (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by shoephone on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:07:45 PM EST
    This election season is turning out to be gobs of fun!! Especially seeing all the winger heads exploding -- that's the most fun part.

    Or (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:21:59 PM EST
    He's riding it out, maybe unwisely, because he thinks it's a non-starter.

    What Romney's hiding is much, much bigger than that.

    You know that for sure?  Or could it be he just doesn't want people to know how rich he is - and nothing more nefarious than that?


    "...it's a non-starter." (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by shoephone on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:09:16 PM EST
    And yet it's never going to end ... until we see those returns. LOL!

    Romney knows for sure (none / 0) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:24:08 PM EST
    No one (none / 0) (#79)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:07:05 PM EST
    really knows but people already believe that Romney is somewhat shady or has had some shady business dealings. The reason this is dogging him so much is because he's saying "trust me" and no one trusts him. Of course, this conversation could end right now if he just released the tax records. He's obviously making a calculation that the real thing is worse than what's imagined. The tax system is gamed towards people like him and I think his tax returns will prove and that information would likely hurt Romney's economic message of cutting taxes for the wealthy.

    As far as I know (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:32:04 AM EST
    ...there is no long-standing tradition of Senate candidates releasing returns.  Plus, THIS JUST IN, Harry is not running for anything this year.

    Ever since GEORGE ROMNEY created the unbroken tradition of releasing multiple years of tax returns, every presidential candidate has agreed to this symbolic display of honesty.

    Except the fruit of his own loins, Willard.

    Releasing one's returns is no more "required" than shaking hands or kissing babies, but everybody does it because you won't win otherwise.

    Maybe Willard should punch a few old ladies and kick a kid to change the subject and improve his image.


    The politics of this is such that (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:45:51 PM EST
    Harry Reid's strategy allows the WH the room to back away and not have to jump in with both feet; they can sit back, enjoy the show, maybe with extra butter on their popcorn.

    And with plenty of Republicans now fairly begging for Romney to release the returns, Democrats clearly have the upper hand, notwithstanding the effort on the part of some GOP spokespeople, aided by fact-checkers who don't really have any facts to check on this, to call Reid a liar.  Is the lie that a former Bain investor told him about Romney's non-payment of income taxes, or is the lie that Romney didn't pay any income taxes?

    Harry, by the way, hasn't accused Romney of anything.  He said he was told by a credible source - a former Bain investor - that Romney hadn't paid any income taxes in 10 years.  MAking that public isn't an accusation of the commission of a federal crime, either - plenty of people don't pay income taxes and do it legally, in accordance and in compliance with the tax code.  

    As for Harry's own tax returns, remind me again what office he's running for...oh, right - he's not running at all.  

    And if Romney ever does release his returns, and they do show that this was all a tempest in a teapot, everything legal and by-the-book, then he's even dumber than I think he is to have allowed this issue to dominate the political discourse in a way that has harmed only his own image and credibility.

    I don't, by the way, think his returns will turn out to be a lot of hoo-ha about nothing; I think they're going to show that Romney took advantage of the amnesty on off-shore income previously unreported, and paid a lot to get legal and straight with the IRS.


    You're "not sure why" he's stonewalling? (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:14:51 PM EST
    I think it's quite obvious that Romney's determined that the potential political damage to be incurred from any release of those tax returns far outweighs whatever current grief he's getting for his refusal to do so.

    Ha (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:21:32 PM EST
    You funny.

    Hey (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:22:52 PM EST
    If even the WH says Reid is on his own with this one, it just makes those defending Reid to the death look pretty silly.

    Seriously? This White House backing down (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by caseyOR on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:27:02 PM EST
    from a skirmish with the Republicans and their minions is pretty par for the course, as is this WH hanging its own allies out dry.

    It proves exactly nothing about what Harry is doing.


    Not sure what you mean (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:31:08 PM EST
    I've seen no back down from the White House on their demands that Romney release his tax returns.

    Reid has his source, not the White House. I happen to think the White House has played this exactly right.

    Let me also say, in a perfect world, Reid's type of approach here would be verboten. IT is irresponsible.

    But we do not live in a perfect world now, do we?

    Or have you not noticed how Romney lies about EVERYTHING, and the Media says nothing.

    If we had a better Media, I'd be with all the criticisms of Reid, but we don't.

    So this is the political discourse we have.

    Unilateral disarmament does not work.

    Beyond that, Romney can end this by releasing his tax returns.

    He does not. Obviously there is something to hide. What is it? My own speculative theory is he paid little or no taxes in 2009.


    Do you think we're ever going to see them? (none / 0) (#60)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:59:17 PM EST
    Or is it too late now.  I'm curious, dangit.

    Broadly, the theory is that he lost a ton of money in the stock market in 2008 (which seems pretty likely) and carried those losses forward to offset income in 2009, as any sane person would legally do.

    For Romney to pay no taxes for 10 years, as Reid claimed, Romney would essentially have had to either lose money for 10 years or have been almost completely invested in tax-free municipal bonds, neither of which scenario seems very likely.

    Regardless, him not paying any taxes in any year - regardless of how much money he lost - would not play well in Peoria...


    And like I said earlier, ... (none / 0) (#84)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:25:52 PM EST
    ... not even Heaven could help the man's candidacy were the public to somehow learn that like General Electric, the Romneys managed to collect a refund from the IRS despite not having paid a dime in taxes, even if it were for only one year.

    And, although it's been shown numerous times to be a complete falsety, you continue on with the untrue GE rants...

    Boo, Hoo. (none / 0) (#89)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 04:45:36 PM EST
    You want to explain to us exactly how the story about General Electric not paying federal taxes is not true?

    As I said, your GE claim has been shown (none / 0) (#94)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 05:06:21 PM EST
    numerous time to be false.

    Actually, neither of your claims are true. (none / 0) (#95)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 05:26:42 PM EST
    Neither your original claim that:
    General Electric [...] managed to collect a refund from the IRS despite not having paid a dime in taxes
    nor your quick, um, "revision" of your original claim to:
    the story about General Electric not paying federal taxes

    From the New York Times: (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:25:38 PM EST
    "General Electric, the nation's largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010. The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion." (Emphasis is mine.)

    From the Columbia Journalism Review:

    "The New York Times unloads a fantastic piece of reporting on General Electric and taxes this morning. It's an ugly portrait of GE and the political system it's helped create. David Kocieniewski zeroes in on GE's tax avoidance, which is a proud corporate strategy at Obama appointee Jeff Immelt's company, which earned $14.2 billion globally last year but paid no taxes in the U.S. It actually had a negative U.S. tax rate last year, since it got a $3.2 billion American tax benefit. Over the last five years, GE made $26 billion in what it says were American profits, but got the IRS to pay it $4.1 billion total (UPDATE: I should clarify that this is an accounting benefit, not an actual cash payment). Astonishing." (Emphasis is mine.)"

    Now, let's look at your source, ProPublica (from which CNN posted this story). I read it in its entirety, and this part stood out for me:

    "After repeated conversations with GE -- remember, we've been working on this story too -- we can finally give you reasonably definitive answers. The company says that it's not getting any refund for 2010 -- validating Outslay's analysis. Its 2010 tax situation? "We expect to have a small U.S. income tax liability for 2010," GE chief spokesman Gary Sheffer told us. How big is small? GE declined to say. The number is unlikely to ever be disclosed unless GE goes public with it, or is forced to do so."

    In other words, after so much harumphing, it turns out that ProPublica's primary source for its contention that the New York Times got the story wrong about General Electric was -- drum roll, please -- none other than GE itself. What a surprise.

    This isn't the only time ProPublica has found itself in the weeds. More recently in December 2011, it waded into the California redistricting process, and posted a story about supposed interference in that process by the California Democratic congressional delegation. Unfortunately, it offered so many specious contentions and relied on so many GOP sources for its information that it got a smackdown from Robert Cruikshank over at the political blog Calitics and California Progress Report, who said the following:

    "From what I can tell, ProPublica is just another one of these supposedly 'independent' news sites that actually gets stories fundamentally wrong because they are interested in making everyone look bad and finding 'evidence' of wrongdoing even if no such evidence exists. Rather than tell their readers the truth - that Republicans were doomed to lose out in any fair redistricting process and that they are now whining about it to anyone who will listen - they are misleading their readers by concocting a story in an effort to score cheap journalistic points. One of the primary reasons blogging exists is because for media outlets like ProPublica, telling the truth is no longer valued." (Emphasis is mine.)

    For these reasons, I'm going to stand by my statements and original contention about GE and its taxes.



    So lame. Drum roll, please. (none / 0) (#105)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 11:11:25 AM EST
    Even David Kocieniewski, the author of the NYT article you cite, has backed away from what he wrote there:
    For instance, General Electric reported a federal tax benefit of more than $3 billion in 2010, but company officials said they still expected to pay a small amount of cash taxes.

    not want to accept what GE's "tax benefits" actually are - they are reductions to taxable income, they are not a refund from the IRS. iow,
    [Mistaking GE's "tax benefit" income deductions for IRS cash refunds is] roughly analogous to mistaking personal itemized deductions on a tax return for a refund figure.
    To make it super simple, if GE had 5B (or whatever) in pre-tax profits, and 3B (or whatever) in "tax benefits," they would pay taxes on  5B - 3B = 2B.

    Now, where did these "tax benefits" come from? They came from the 30B GE Capital lost during the financial meltdown.

    To make that super simple, if your business lost, say, $100 last year, and made $500 this year, you can use the $100 loss from last year as a deduction against the $500 you made next year and pay taxes this year on $500 - $100 = $400.


    Even the White House says (none / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:24:44 PM EST
    Romney needs to release his tax returns.

    Or are you talking about something else?


    There are only two logical reasons (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dadler on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:15:39 AM EST
    ...for Romney not offering up his returns: 1) they would sow how obscenely rich he really is, and 2) they would show he has paid next to nothing in taxes during one or more years.

    Reid is NOT the story here.  He's a sideshow.


    He has given you 2010 and 2011 (none / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:15:26 PM EST
    What else do you want?

    Obama's college grades?



    12 years (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:23:19 PM EST
    like dear old dad.

    Keep wanting (none / 0) (#45)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:27:33 PM EST
    It'll keep you wisher in shape for Xmas.



    I'll keep talking about until November (5.00 / 5) (#53)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:33:20 PM EST
    as will everyone else.

    He gave us partial returns, on both counts. (none / 0) (#77)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 02:58:58 PM EST
    I agree with BTD. We really need to see Romney's verious tax returns in their entirety for the past dozen years, because he's basing his campaign for the presidency almost entirely upon his business acumen and financial prowess, and those returns are the only way to determine his veracity.

    Agreed, And at this point, the ... (none / 0) (#78)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:06:52 PM EST
    ... fact that the normally retiscent and accommodating Harry Reid is not only not backing off one iota from his hard stance, but has actually doubled down instead, leads me to think that he's privy to something about Romney's returns that the rest of us are not.

    If we've learned anything about Sen. Reid while watching him for this past decade, it's that he's not the type of guy who'd stake his political career and risk his legacy on a whimsical whim. To paraphrase Getrude Stein, the odds are probably better than even that there is a there there.


    "normally retiscent and accommodating" (none / 0) (#86)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:33:31 PM EST

    Except for the "smelly tourists" comment, and the "Only 36,000 people lost their jobs today." comment, and the [Obama is a] "light-skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." comment, and the...well, you get the idea.


    The issue here is not Harry Reid. (none / 0) (#101)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:33:09 PM EST
    It's Mitt Romney.

    Haw! The above 3 comments are as (none / 0) (#104)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 10:57:06 AM EST
    funny as it gets.

    I think it's inspired (none / 0) (#5)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:17:54 AM EST
    Taking a page out of the Karl Rove playbook, Reid, who is untouchable in this election, has defined the candidate unfavorably, and now the discussion is all about the GOP whining.  After all, when loony nut-wingers called Mr. Obama a blackety-black Kenyan Muslim gun grabbing Affirmative Action food stamp socialist-fascist-Nazi, the GOP stood up for him


    The GOP surrendered any moral high ground on this when John Kerry's decorated combat service or Barack Obama's birth certificate were questioned.

    Mr. Reid should buy Mitt Romney a gold-plated microphone and rent a stadium, so nobody misses a minute of whining.


    The discussion I hear from (none / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:16:53 PM EST
    people who I know are Independents is why is Reid lying?



    Independents.. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:20:16 PM EST
    meaning "social liberals" who thought GWB had to many liberal tendencies..

    After years of..



    After years of personal attacks (2.00 / 1) (#40)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:25:24 PM EST
     by jondee and his continual demonstration of an inability to debate the issues I am forced to note that discussing anything with him is not worthwhile. Simply put, he is incapable of a reasoned debate.

    Funny listening to you suck (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:36:10 PM EST
    your thumb in print..

    The point being that your moderate "Independent" schtick is a complete, intelligence-insulting sham.

    Not to overstate the obvious..


    Here, have a hankie. (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by shoephone on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:12:08 PM EST
    "Independents" - heh (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:26:11 PM EST
    Wingers who are marginally sane on a few issues ...

    Or who became "Independent" (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:46:45 PM EST
    after being identified with Bush/Cheney became radioactive..

    I'm an independent.... (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:49:28 PM EST
    I assume Reid & Romney lie more before lunch than I do in a year.

    Bottom line...even if Romney and his tax accounting task force followed the law to the letter, he's still dirty.  He knows in his heart of hearts that he is getting over in a tax system, and system at large, designed by, of, and for the Mitt Romney's of the nation...not the PPJ's and kdog's.

    I don't know what he is thinking...he should just release them and take his lumps for what the tax records show.  Instead of leaving it up to our imaginations how shady the contents are.


    He is getting over in a tax system he (none / 0) (#62)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:07:56 PM EST
    wants to ensure will be even kinder to him and the rest of the 1%-ers going forward; that's the plan.

    The conservative test for whether any part of government is worth keeping is apparently whether it enables the rich to get richer: get rid of all the silly regulations, cut taxes, gut the social safety net - destroy the government-imposed impediments to wealth and let people like you and me foot the bill.


    How do you know (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:25:35 PM EST
    that Reid is lying?  

    You must have evidence that someone DIDN'T tell him something.  Please share it.


    Some of your best friends Jim? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:22:56 PM EST
    Yes indeedy BTD (none / 0) (#38)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:24:41 PM EST
    I have some??

    How about you?



    Some of my closest family members (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:27:19 PM EST
    are reactionary Republicans Jim.

    I'm Cuban American.


    And I am a hill billy of (none / 0) (#46)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:28:28 PM EST
    Scot Irsh NA extraction.

    Shall we dance?


    Rumbas or jigs? (none / 0) (#52)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:32:50 PM EST
    Not only that (none / 0) (#7)
    by vicndabx on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:32:34 AM EST
    the tax thing speaks to the character of the one who would be president.  While it's more acceptable for us regular joes to "get over" on our taxes to the extent we can, those w/a lot of cashish presumably should not - at least if you want to be president.  I.e. the tax returns, IMO, indicate whether you are truly interested in "public service."

    And oh yeah, extremely bad analogy on Mr. Drum's part.


    Romneyhood! (none / 0) (#3)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:14:42 AM EST
    Sounds like the President is increasing in confidence with his campaign.

    A bumper sticker (none / 0) (#6)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:19:33 AM EST
    type statement that makes its point with one word.

    That's going to leave a mark on the Etch--Sketch.


    Sound (none / 0) (#10)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:55:13 AM EST
    is more consistent today.  Good discussion.  I missed the story about Kansas' regressive tax cuts.  Liked a lot of Jesse's framing today.  

    Thanks (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:01:42 AM EST
    Work in progress.

    Didn't McCain see Romney's returns? (none / 0) (#14)
    by unitron on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:20:20 AM EST
    Any chance someone from the McCain '08 campaign is Harry's source?

    Perhaps McCain would be willing to comment (none / 0) (#18)
    by Farmboy on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:35:32 AM EST
    on Romney's 16,667 years worth of IRA contributions.

    Looking forward to Florida Gov. Scott's (none / 0) (#70)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:35:41 PM EST
    speech on "Health Care" at the Republican Convention. As CEO and Chair of the hospital giant HCA until he got the boot in 2000, and the company wound up reaching settlements involving huge Medicare frauds that eventually came to $1.7 billion in fines and repayments, Scott should be able to bring to his audience some interesting perspective on how to make money for health care investors. It should be noted that HCA was charged with wrongdoing, but Rick Scott was not personally accused of wrongdoing, sort of like the piano player at the brothel who did not know what was going on upstairs. Indeed, Scott received a multi-million dollar settlement from HCA. As for updated perspectives, hopefully he will refer to the NYT expose on HCA (August 7, 2012) that suggests just how difficult it is for a corporation to change its culture. Initiated by a nurse whistle-blower, questions arose about As reported in the NYT article, HCA was taken private in 2006 by a group of private equity firms, including Bain Capital. By mid-2010, the private equity owners wanted to cash out. HCA prepared for its initial stock offering by borrowing to pay the equity firms $4.3 billion in dividends. The financial steps set the company in the direction of lucrative cardiac care. One cath lab physician was highlighted in a 2009 business plan as being the most profitable doctor at the facility--the leading "EBDITA MD." (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). HCA is reviewing its procedures, but with little thanks to the whistle-blower nurse, whose contract was not renewed and an internal memo concluded that the nurse was let go in retaliation.

    Someone recently said that having (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 02:03:27 PM EST
    Rick Scott give a speech on health care would be like having Al Capone do a speech on crime...

    I once had a nun as a health teacher ... (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:31:04 PM EST
    ... in 9th grade in Catholic high school, and she lectured us boys about sex. Does that count as an oxymoron, too?

    Sounds like a funny guy. (none / 0) (#74)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 02:16:19 PM EST
    Does anyone know (none / 0) (#96)
    by NYShooter on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:20:20 PM EST
    Of any credible articles spelling out Romney's involvement with the Mormon Church? I remember reading something a while back that Romney's commitment to the church goes beyond being simply an enthusiastic parishioner.  I know he was some kind of officer in their management levels, and that he was extremely ambitious with its leadership.

    I also remember the article hinting that this is an issue he will want to steer clear of as the hold the Mormon church has over its flock resembles more that of Rev. Moon than the Baptists.

    Other than my strong suspicion that there's more than  meets the eye in Mitt's involvement with the Church, my suspicion is strengthened by the lack of Media scrutiny regarding that subject.

    We had (none / 0) (#97)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 08:15:43 PM EST
    one poster who I haven't seen lately that was really into that issue. I think it was MKW but I'm not sure. I don't remember seeing s/he around her much lately.

    One site (none / 0) (#98)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 08:17:06 PM EST
    that could point you in the right direction is exmormon.com or .org. Military Tracy got some stuff from that website the other day.

    hey, thanks (none / 0) (#99)
    by NYShooter on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:25:05 PM EST
    gonna check it out