Politics Explained: Mitt Romney Releasing his Tax Returns

Whether or not Mitt Romney will release his tax returns has become a big question in the media, especially as allegations are being thrown around like a baseball concerning those very taxes. So what’s the big deal? Why does Obama care so much about Romney releasing even more tax returns (because he’s already released two years worth), what do we expect to find in these tax returns, and why doesn’t Romney just release them? Well, as with everything having to do with this campaign, it’s all political.

Politics Explained: Obama demanding Mitt Romney's Tax returns

Politics Explained: Obama demands Romney’s tax returns

First off, where did this all come from? Why does Obama even care? Well, it has become some sort of a tradition for presidential candidates to release as much as 10 years worth of tax returns, detailing how much money they made, how much they paid in taxes, and what kind of investments were made and exemptions received. Why this became tradition, I don’t really know. It really does nothing except expose potential tax fraud and show you just how rich these candidates are. But either way, it has become tradition and Obama is using it to his advantage.

Well, one of Obama’s campaign strategies is to portray Romney as a rich, insensitive, disconnected, heartless capitalist who cares more about his money than the American people. Every bit of information Obama can get about Romney’s taxes will just serve as more ammunition. But why is that? What is in those tax returns that is so valuable to Obama.

Politics Explained: Romney's Taxes are lower due to capital gains tax rates

Politics Explained: Romney’s investment career

Well, here’s what we’ll find in those tax returns. First you’ll find that Governor Romney only pays about 14% of his income in taxes. This, according to Obama, is evidence of the unfair tax code. But what he won’t tell you is why. He pays 14% because, since he is retired, he’s making his money from returns on investments. This is called “capital gains” and as of right now, the capital gains tax rate is effectively 15%. “But you said he probably paid more like 14%.” Well, that’s because he took advantage of deductions. Obama will use that to try and show that Romney is greedy and out of touch. But let me ask you a question. Would you ever not take a tax deduction that you could legally obtain? Do you know anyone who would ever pay more in taxes out of the goodness of their heart? No. People don’t do that, but Obama would have you believe that Romney is not patriotic because of that fact. Another reason you will find that he pays less in taxes is because he gives a large portion of his income to charity. We would not be surprised to find that 10% of his income went to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And obviously that proves that he is a member of a cult that is making secret plans to take over the government (sarcasm intended).

The last thing you’ll find is that Romney invested in foreign companies and businesses. The Obama campaign will show that his tax returns are proof that Romney doesn’t believe in America. But, really, Romney is doing what anyone else would do. Try to be as prosperous as possible. Because do you know what he did with the money he made from investing abroad? He spent it in America. He gave to charities. He purchased a home, a car (or two or three), gave people jobs, bought specialty items from small businesses. He contributed to the economy more than he could have if he had not invested abroad.

So that’s why Obama wants Romney to come out with these tax returns, because he has a plan of attack for each and every point. And to make things better for him, in the mean time, Obama can paint Romney as having something to hide for not releasing his tax returns. This is why Obama won’t let it go, because either way you slice it, Romney loses.

But so, why doesn’t Romney just own up to his tax returns and release them? Why can’t he just get it over with. I mean the Obama campaign manager even sent Romney a deal that if he released just 5 years worth, he promised out of the goodness of his heart to not attack Romney on them. Now what are the chances that deal would be kept? Sure, the Obama campaign may not attack him, but they don’t need to, they have the media to do all of their dirty work for them.

So what? Either way, Romney is being attacked, why not just release them and be transparent? Because, he is choosing the lesser of two evils. By not releasing, not only does he avoid the calculated attacks that I’ve already mentioned, but he avoids looking weak by giving in to the demands of the Obama campaign. Yes, he lacks complete transparency, but he has decided, and I agree with this decision, that it is better for people to make themselves look ridiculous making unfounded accusations than have him distract from the message on the economy to defend his taxes.

Obama wants nothing more than to distract from the current economic struggles, and Romney won’t let him.

Politics Explained: Romney and Obama come to a head.

Politics Explained: The beginning of a tense race

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Politics Explained: Romney/Ryan depicted as Mormon missionaries, political cartoon

Politics Explained: Romney and Ryan portrayed as Mormon Missionaries in political cartoon

Romney and Ryan portrayed as Mormon missionaries

You may have seen this before. This is not the first time that the media has poked at Romney because of his religion, but this is the first time that someone else has been roped into it.

My general reaction is, I would wish people would have the decency to not poke fun at religious beliefs, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t surprise me that they do.

Recently, I’ve spent some time going through political cartoons, trying to find ones worthy of passing along on this blog’s Facebook page. I’ve noticed that most political cartoons go for shock value. They want it to be something that people will talk about and share with the hopes that as it is passed around, people will come to agree with the message that is. This is no different, and obviously it worked as I am here talking about it.

However, just because people are talking about it, does not justify being insensitive to a person’s religion. However, what can you do in such a situation? Kick and scream and demand that it be rescinded? Nothing will come of it. All we can do is take the time to spread the truth.

The thing is, yes, Romney and Ryan do have some proselytizing to do, not for any religion, but for free market capitalism. And yes they are going to save the rich, but like most political cartoons, this fall short in its analysis. Not only are they going to save the rich, but they’re also going to save the poor and middle class. Unlike the left, Romney and Ryan want all Americans to succeed. They don’t have the mentality that “if everyone can’t be successful, then no one can,” like the Obama administration is perpetuating.

If they want to make fun of religion like kids in high school, let them. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about these little side distractions; it’s about getting America working again, and Romney and Ryan are the best companionship to make it happen.

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Politics Explained: Biden says Romney’s “going to put y’all back in chains”

This kind of rhetoric shouldn’t surprise me, but I am still taken aback by the divisiveness of this administration. Obama and Biden alike have taken to the streets to split America in two by engaging in class warfare.

The two of them, are going across America to rile up the poor against the rich. They are inciting anger and envy that will only subside once they get their way and have taxed the rich into oblivion and decreased everyone’s standard of living. To them, if everyone can’t be successful, no one should be, because that’s what’s “fair.” It was once said, if you want more success, you have to stop attacking success, and that is why Obama must be stopped.

Now about the politics of this all. I’m not sure if Biden was making a reference to the Civil War and slavery with his, “going to put y’all back in chains” comment. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one and just say his rhetoric was just a little extreme. Even so, even without an intentional reference to slavery and the Civil War, just listen to how that comment was received.

And another thing. From the way Biden was speaking, can you guess where he’s from? You guessed it…Pennsylvania. Wait, I didn’t know Pennsylvanians had a Southern drawl? I guess you learn something new every day. And did you hear how he let his grammar go? This man is pandering. He is playing up the crowd, and he’s going to change his message, his accent, and his vocabulary at the next campaign stop. Because that’s what Biden and Obama do. They do whatever is necessary to be elected; that is priority number one.

But doesn’t Romney do the same thing? Sure he’ll adjust his message from campaign stop to campaign stop based on what is important to that people, but I challenge you to find an instance of him changing so dramatically that he sounds like a different candidate. When Romney spoke to the civil rights organization, the NAACP, he didn’t pander to African Americans; he didn’t just tell them what they wanted to hear. He delivered the same message of economic recovery that he has been spreading across the United States.

That’s the difference between Romney/Ryan and Obama/Biden. Romney/Ryan are concerned with one thing, getting the country back on track. They are concerned, not with dividing the country, but unifying it and raising up everyone together. Obama/Biden just don’t want to leave their posh seats in the capital. Because if they were really concerned about putting the American public in chains, they would be taking a serious look at how they are creating a dependency on the government.

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Politics Explained: What picking Paul Ryan as VP says about Mitt Romney

I woke up very excited as I got a notification from my “Romney VP” smartphone app, telling me that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan was selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate. The thing is, this pick explains much and speaks volumes to the character and future presidency of Mitt Romney, and they’re only good things.

Politics Explained: The Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan VP Pick

Politics Explained: What picking Paul Ryan says about Mitt Romney

Before we can understand too much about what this says about Mitt, we need some background on the pick himself, namely Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan is an ideological leader of congressional republicans. As a member of the budget committee, he has presented bold and innovative ideas for balancing the budget and reigning in out-of-control government spending – ideas that I will be discussing in future posts. The most important thing to note, is that Paul Ryan is no passive voice in the government. Obama knows who this guy is and knows that he’s a threat.

So what does this say about Romney. It says for one that he’s serious. If you have ever heard someone say, “Romney just does things to get elected,” this should support the opposite. If Romney was worried solely about being elected, he  would have picked Condi Rice, an African-American woman. Or he would have picked Marco Rubio, a Latino from Florida. Or he would have picked someone with a more bland political record, someone who won’t draw much fire from the liberal media like Ryan already is. But no, he picks Ryan. And why? Because being elected for Romney is merely a means to an end. For Romney, the end result is putting America back on track. The goal is to make America unquestionably prosperous again.

Some critics are saying that this pick is political suicide and that it draws attention away from Obama’s first term. Nothing could be more wrong, and in fact, the reality is quite the opposite. This pick by Romney shines a bright spotlight on the failed policies of the last 4 years and will bring the economic issues that face our country to the forefront of public debate instead of having them swept aside by distractions from the Obama people.

This is also a testimonial to the fact that Romney has the great ability to surround himself with the best people. At Bain Capital, Romney built his company by surrounding himself with the best and brightest in the field, and it worked. He has shown how he can do that in his political career as well. He made his decision, not based on demographics or polls, but on merit. He found the brightest, most articulate and talented person who understands almost better than anyone else, just where this country is headed economically, and he put him on the team. Imagine what this will mean for the future White House Staff and Presidential cabinet? This means that he won’t look at these decisions with a political lens  trying to decide which appointment will make him most popular. He will judge people according to the content of their character and their merits instead of any other test.

Selecting Paul Ryan as VP was Romney’s first major presidential decision, and he passed with flying colors. We can expect more of this great leadership and decision making from Governor Romney if we elect him as President come November.

Politics Explained: America's comeback dream team

Politics Explained: Paul Ryan truly makes this a winning ticket for America

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Politics Explained: Negative Ads and Presidential Debates

Politics Explained: Negative Ads and Presidential Debates

The Great Debate

As the presidential builds up to its Autumn climax, we are bombarded with negative political ads as well as accusations being flung back and forth by various cable news organizations. As strange as this may sound, I want to take a moment to recognize the importance of these negative ads in the political process and give you hope for a more productive and constructive debate in the fall.

The purpose of a negative ad, also known as an attack ad, is to discredit your opponent’s ability to fulfill their promises or ability to even effectively function in the office they are running for. An incumbent, meaning the guy who already has the job, tends to use less of these simply because he can use his own successful past in the office to prove that he should be reelected. The challenger however needs to not only prove that not only is he qualified for the job, but that he can do it a lot better than the other guy. In this sense, a series of ads focusing on the incumbents weakness seem to make sense.

In the current presidential race, there is a lot of mud being flung from both sides. Obama’s campaign is noted for criticizing the allegedly incredible amount of attack ads coming from the Romney campaign. The Romney camp’s only real retort is, “hey, we’re not the only ones.”

Something like over 90% of advertising, from both sides, is negative. This frustrates Americans. However, if Romney is going to prove to the American people that it is worth cutting out President Obama after only one term, he’s going to have to have proof. He’s got to convince the American people that they are not better off than they were 4 years ago and they won’t be any better 4 years from now if Obama is re-elected. Obama on the other hand is responding by fighting fire with fire. He constantly attacks Romney’s business record, in a way trying to convince America that, “sure things aren’t great right now, but it could be worse with that guy.” I could write a whole separate article about that very mindset, but I’ll move on.

This myriad of  negative advertising, especially from the Romney side, has left a bad taste in people’s mouths. They’re asking, “Okay, so Obama is bad. But what are you going to do? What can you bring to the table to make this any better?” To those people, I say, hold out a little longer. Your answers will come. By that I mean that the substantive talk about more specific policy will come as we get closer to November. Now as our 44th President loves to say, “let me be clear,” and say that Romney has come out with specific plans. Obama is already criticizing those plans as proof to their existence. You can go to http://www.mittromney.com to read those plans. They exist. But they will become more apparent and the talk of more media organizations in the near future. Why is that?

That is because right now, Mitt Romney is working hard to convince America that this is possible, that it is possible to remove Obama from the White House. Especially after a typically brutal primary campaign and republican infighting, most American’s figured that Obama had it in the bag and that there’s really no hope for change. Americans have felt that if they have to choose between two evils, they would rather choose a known evil. This is why Romney has been working to hard to make a case for not only his election, but Obama’s removal. And with every attack on Obama, there is a rebuttal and an attack in return. It’s a nasty war that is being fought on the TV screens of unsuspecting residents of swing states.

But don’t worry, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That light is studio lights of red, white, and blue, lighting the stages that will hold the 2012 Presidential Debates. That is where the real progress will be made. As it stands now, we have the candidates and their supporters filling the air waves with accusations and attacks against their opponent. Every time, the accusation is supported by some sort of “fact.” But facts are a fickle thing since any number can be twisted to mean whatever you want. Don’t believe me? When the August jobs report comes out, just watch how the democrats use it as “proof” that Obama is succeeding and the republicans use the same report as undeniable “proof” that Obama has failed. Though slightly informative, this type of debate is extremely ineffective.

Politics Explained: Presidential Debate

Politics Explained: The ever important debate stage

On the debate stage, it becomes much more difficult to throw out some number or “fact” and have it be blindly accepted. Their opponent will be standing just feet away from them with their own “facts” which will also be examined and attacked. In such a manner we get closer to the heart and truth of the issue at hand. Yes it’s messy, yes sometimes it’s uncivilized, but it’s debate. This type of debate, without teleprompters and inspirational music in the background will finally show us what these candidates are made of.

At the debates, Romney will finally come out swinging and make his case for the presidency. He will remind us that it isn’t over ’till it’s over and that he is the man to replace Barack Obama and bring about the change that America needs. Obama is of course going to try and prove him wrong, but the only way he will be able to make a strong enough case is by running on his record. The American people are tired of excuses.

So the next time you hear an angry talk show host, or news anchor, or even candidate slinging mud to the other side, try to recognize its role in the process and remember that the debates aren’t far away.  We look forward to the debates, not because it’s another excuse for the candidates to yell at each other, but so that finally we can hear some actual substance that must be backed up by acceptable facts.

I would like to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment on, and be sure to LIKE, this blog’s Facebook page. You can find it by clicking here. You can also follow me on Twitter (@PPLvI ) by clicking here.

Politics Explained: The Batman Theater Shooting in Colorado

As you woke up this morning, the first thing you likely heard when you turned on the news was that there was a shooting in a pleasant, unsuspecting town in Colorado during a viewing of the highly anticipated new Batman movie. Being in Moscow, Russia, I was awake as the story broke, and have been following the developments closely. I have made some interesting observations which I would like to share.

Politics Explained: Batman Colorado Theater shooting

Politics Explained: Scene of the Crime

It was so sad to me how quickly this became a political issue. To quote someone who left a comment on the New York Times article on the issue, “this is not a time for politics, it is a time for mourning.” With that statement, I couldn’t agree more. What happened last night was horrible. We should be sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of the 12 dead and 50+ wounded (not to mention the rest of the audience which has been psychologically assaulted), instead of throwing around accusations with incomplete knowledge. To be quite honest with you, I’m going to have a tough time fully enjoying the movie, knowing that is exactly what these defenseless victims were trying to do at the moment of their untimely demise.

Gun control advocates jumped all over the issue from the very start. I believe that the gun control debate is one that should be brought up, and I will be writing about that later, but I think that there is something much deeper in the heart of the issue.

Politics Explained: Batman Theater Shooting in Colorado

Not so fast, Mr. Media

We can argue gun laws all day (and I have a feeling there will come a day when we will), but you have to ask yourself, how could a person do this in the first place. There are those who suggest that it is because the 24 year old shooter possibly listened to Rush Limbaugh who has been attacking this movie as being liberal propaganda. The thing is, there is no evidence yet speaking to the shooter’s motives. Anti-Rush Limbaugh people just think, guy had gun, republicans like guns, republicans listen to Rush Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh hates Batman, therefore, this is Rush Limbaugh’s fault. I think that is completely ridiculous, but at the very least, we are getting away from the “he had a gun, therefore he wanted to use it” argument. The thing is, there is nothing we can definitively say until a full investigation has gone into this shooter’s background.

Politics Explained: Think of the children

Think of the Children

No matter what is found in the investigation, no matter what comes of the renewed gun control debate, one thing is certain, we need to better educate our children. We need to do better at teaching kids that violence is never the answer. I want to underline the fact that the primary place this education should be happening is in the home. Parents have a responsibility to raise their kids right. Unfortunately, not every kid has good parents, which is why we need to be providing this sort of education in the schools.

No matter how strict gun control laws become, guns will never disappear from our country, and this propensity for violence in our culture will not immediately vanish. Let’s take this moment to not only mourn for those who so tragically lost their lives in Colorado and think of the children.

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Politics Explained: “You didn’t build that” – Obama

Video

Obama Meme from "You didn't build that" comment

Obama “You Didn’t Build That” Meme

Recognize this picture? Well here’s the story behind the madness. At the beginning of this week, President Barack Obama caused tsunami level waves among conservative crowds for his comments made at a campaign stop in Virginia. At the end of this video, Obama culminates his build up by making the bold claim that, “If you’ve got a small business, you didn’t build that…” I recommend watching the clip before reading on; it’s less than one minute long.

If you are having trouble viewing this video, click here for the original on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKjPI6no5ng

Conservative audiences jumped all over this comment saying things like, “President Obama doesn’t believe in the American dream!”

When I first set out to write this column about Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment, I was going to try and just give him the benefit of the doubt; I really was. But every time I re-watched the video, I was more and more put off by his comments. However, before I go into that, let’s go over what Obama’s supporters, and those sympathetic are saying.

On the surface, these comments seem pretty normal. Nothing to scandalous about them. In fact, you can see where the president is coming from. To be quite honest with you, when I first saw the clip for myself after reading all of the hype, I thought to myself, “So what? What’s the big deal?” I wanted to join in the exposure of some radical comment but I just didn’t get it. It seemed that all he was saying was, you are where you are because other people have helped you along the way. I mean it makes sense. Even his part about the roads. I mean I guess no one could come to my business if there wasn’t a road leading up to it (but now that I think of it, they seemed to do just fine in the old west, and for all we know, in the future we might not even need roads; I guess only Marty McFly and Doc Brown can answer those questions). Forgive my aside. But anyway, all our dear president was saying was, be a little bit more grateful for your success. When you think about it like that, it doesn’t seem like that radical of a statement.

That’s just the surface though. The more I listen to this (and I’ve rewatched the video multiple times now), the more I realize just what this says about Obama’s thought process and ideology that I don’t agree with. Conservatives are talking all about how Obama doesn’t understand that small business is the lifeblood of the economy. I disagree, I think he does understand that any business is good, but there is something much more fundamental that needs be exposed.

I’m especially disturbed with his statement about being smart or working hard. Obama is in essence saying, if you’re successful, it’s not because you are smarter than the average person or that you worked harder than the average person, it’s because you got lucky. It’s because you were given that success. And I dare say, he means to say that it’s because of the poor who worked on those roads and built your building, that you are rich.

This is another example of class warfare. Obama is trying to convince people that the rich and successful are only that way because they got lucky and their success is a gift. Since it is a gift, according to Obama, they are then greedy and heartless for not wanting to give back to the people that made them that way and pay more in taxes to fund the government.

Politics Explained: George Romney American Dream

George Romney: Fulfilling the American Dream

“But what about those smart kids in the intercity? Even if they work hard and are smart, can you really think that they can be as successful as the kids who went to prestigious public schools? It’s not the kid’s fault that he was born into a poor family.” I sympathize with this sentiment. I think that the way out of poverty is education. Why else do you think Mitt Romney talked so much about education reform in his speech to the NAACP. He realizes that this is an issue and wants to fix it, because it hasn’t been fixed. That being said, I say now back to you, what is the American dream anyway? The American dream is that anyone, from any walk of life, can come to America and make something of themselves. How many stories exist of people fulfilling that dream? Many.

George Romney, Mitt’s father, was so poor in Michigan that at one point he was selling paint out of the back of his car just to make a living. Because of his hard work and intelligence, he worked his way up the corporate ladder, became the president of a major American automobile manufacturer and then became governor of that very state. Was that luck? Was that because he was serendipitously handed opportunity? I don’t think so. I think he worked his tail off out of a love of family and a strong work ethic.

Obama wants us to believe that we are nothing without the government. He wants us to believe that just as God gives us everything so we should give 10%, government gives us everything so the rich should give 30%+. I don’t agree.

Politics Explained: Obama in Rain as campaigner in chief

Campaigner-in-chief speaking in Virginia

This kind of rhetoric is destructive, it’s divisive, and it’s the product of a master campaigner who know just what people want to hear, despite the consequences of such actions. I mean, watch the video again. Do you notice something different about our president. Hear that southern twang in his voice? He was born in Hawaii and went to school on the East Coast and ended up in Chicago. That’s not the South. But here him droppin’ the “g” as he’s speakin’? He knows his crowd (Virginia), and he’s riling them against a made up enemy…the rich.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the clip again, except this one is longer and gives more context. Listen for those things. Hear how he speaks, listen for the words he uses, and I think you’ll tend to agree with my analysis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=192oEC5TX_Q

So, in short: On the surface, this sounds like your run of the mill liberal rhetoric, nothing too radical. But as take the statement in a greater context, you’ll find divisive politics aimed at pitting Americans against each other in a case of class warfare that is destructive to our country. We should be trying to make America a place where all can prosper, and not take from those who were successful just to make people dependent on government welfare. We need a safety net for the poor, not a hammock.

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