Will someone PLEASE GET THE HOOK!?!
Bloomberg News - through the Freedom of Information Act - made a startling discovery on Oct. 28, regarding the real reason why Romney didn't want his tax returns divulged:
"In 1997, Congress cracked down on a popular tax shelter that allowed rich people to take
advantage of the exempt status of charities without actually giving away much
Individuals who had already set up these vehicles were allowed to keep them. That included Mitt Romney, then the chief executive officer of Bain Capital, who had just established such an arrangement in June 1996."
The song and
dance act that has been the Romney campaign since its inception has centered
around money, Mitt's money as well as the rest of the country's. With a
"jobs jobs jobs" campaign, the Romney-Ryan ticket has created an
undeniably thick scrim, too thick to see through to the real Romney and the true
machinations of Paul Ryan.
Of course, it's been a laugh riot worthy of the Marx Brothers, and, to their credit, they gave America a rollicking good show by bumbling and blundering their way through a series of quotes and events, creating the most work for late night stand-ups and looking more like Crosby and Hope in a Road film. Take for instance, these wonderful musical numbers:
"Tax Returns, What Tax Returns?"
"The Road To The Caymans"
"Getting Out Of London Without Getting Hung"
"Oh, Those Beautiful Binders Of Women!"
"Costco, That's Me!"
"I'm Pumped Up, Bro And Ready To Go!"
"The Photo-Op Clean Pot Shuffle"
"Candy's A Snitch!"
...and who could forget:
"Firing Big Bird Isn't Immoral, But Funding Him Sure Is!"
The finale, however, might not match the merry mayhem done on stage. Let's hope, however, that it truly IS the finale.
"Let's All Do The CRUT!"
"When individuals fund a charitable remainder unitrust, or "CRUT," they defer capital gains taxes on any profit from the sale of the assets, and receive a small upfront charitable deduction and a stream of yearly cash payments. Like an individual retirement account, the trust allows money to grow tax deferred, while like an annuity it also pays Romney a steady income. After the funder's death, the trust's remaining assets go to a designated charity."
Jonathan Blattmachr, a trusts and estates lawyer who set up hundreds of such vehicles in the 1990s before the loophole was closed, explained CRUT fully in the Bloomberg article, but the gist of it is:
1. Romney used the tax exempt status of the LDS to defer taxes for 15 years.
2. He received a small upfront yearly deduction
3. He also received yearly cash payments.
"Like an individual retirement account, the trust allows money to grow tax deferred, while like an annuity it also pays Romney a steady income. After the donor's death, the trust's remaining assets go to a designated charity."
The problem is, the charity can invariably suffer if the assets of the trust are invested in less-than stellar investments or left to dwindle from payouts. Romney's CRUT of $750,000 in 2001 is now worth only $421,000. Some CRUTs are structured in such a way as to give the "donor" maximum tax breaks and cool "annuity" while leaving the charity next to nothing.
Paul Ryan would have loved this arrangement if he could have taken advantage of it: "give" to charity without actually giving much of anything! Hey, it's kinda like cleaning clean pots and pans!
The Romney campaign has not commented on the recent disclosure accept to say that "it was legal."
Over they years, Romney has "donated" millions of dollars in stock of Bain-owned companies. How much you want to bet that these were companies slated for unloading anyway?
Just a thought.