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: 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.

If you’re not with us, you’re against us

As I’ve been scanning the world of conservatives on Twitter and seeing things pop up on facebook, there have been some disturbing things coming from people who claim to stand firm in their conservative values. All over I have been hearing people say things to the effect of, “Well, Romney isn’t conservative enough so I’m not going to vote for anyone this election.” That statement is almost as insulting and absurd as saying that we could fix our energy problems by keeping our car tires properly inflated. There is so much more at stake.

I have done my best to explain to people that not supporting Romney automatically equates to support for Obama. I have seen this pop up so much that I can’t address everyone, so here I am stepping up to my soap box.

Here is an exchange I had on twitter recently:

@RaisedOnReagan: The @GOP will continue to shove #RINOs like @MittRomney down our throats until Conservatives stand & say “no more”. Well, no more!#noMitt

@PPLvI: @RaisedOnReagan at this point if you don’t support #Romney, you support #Obama. It’s as simple as that.

@PPLvI: @RaisedOnReagan #noMitt = #yesBarack

@RaisedonReagan: @PPLvI Saying no to Mitt does NOT equal yes to Obama, & I refuse to debase my beliefs by voting for either.

I understand this user’s frustration. The candidate that he thought was best for the country was not chosen by the people and so he finds excuses for it and passes blame. I know how that feels because four years ago I felt the same way as people didn’t catch the vision of Romney as I thought they should. Now I’m happy because the candidate I support is also the candidate that has more support than any other; Romney is even polling above Obama these days. But there comes a time when you have to put your personal pride behind you and vote for the guy that is going to do the most good for the country, even if you feel he is simply the lesser of two evils.

Four years ago, I didn’t like McCain all that much but I knew that things would be better with him than Obama, so I supported him. Me sitting on my hands and complaining about how nobody seems to see the world quite like I do wasn’t helping anyone. Trying to convince people that Romney was best all along, even after McCain was selected to be the nominee would have only hurt McCain and would have gotten me no where. Four years from now if you want to be able to look back and say, “I told you so,” that’s fine. But you don’t have to sabotage the current candidate to do it.

First off, Romney will be the Republican nominee. If you don’t believe that then we have more serious problems than I thought. Second, the race between Romney and Obama in the Fall is not going to be an easy one. Obama has the home field advantage as the incumbent so Romney is already fighting an uphill battle. What is going to help the least is people taking some ideological stand in protest of “the establishment.” Because, I hate to break it to you, but we live in a two party system. As long as the American political system remains winner-take-all in nature, there can only be two major parties. There aren’t many “laws” in political science, but that’s one of them.

Obama represents one of those parties, Romney the other. You may not like either candidate; that’s fine, you are entitled to your opinion and vetting our candidates is a part of the process. But to say that you simply won’t participate is damaging to your party. In this case, if you are a republican and choosing to protest and not vote for Romney, then you are giving that much more of an edge to the Obama campaign. By choosing to not support Romney, you are making it that much easier for Obama to win. If you are okay with that, if you can sleep well knowing that you contributed to the success of the Obama campaign, then fine, continue your protest and sit at home grumbling. But in general, all republicans, regardless of how they feel about Romney, agree that four more years with Obama is the worst thing for the country right now. And if you want your republican choice to run as an independent then you are effectively handing over the election to Obama, and that’s just the way it is.

So, leave your Gingrich, Paul, Santorum, or Cain bumper stickers on your car if you want, but leave room on your lawn for a Romney sign because if you don’t then you are just as responsible for Obama’s reelection as the people who actually voted for him.

“But I’m sick and tired of the republican establishment picking my candidate!” you may say. First, the establishment didn’t pick your candidate. The millions of intelligent people who voted for Romney over your guy in the primaries did. So if you’re still bent out of shape, write nasty letters to the GOP, register as an independent, leave the party if you want, but don’t make the country suffer for four more years of Obama’s failed leadership because you want to prove a point. It’s not worth it. These are our futures and our children’s futures that you are gambling with.

So swallow your pride, think of the children, do your civic duty and vote for the candidate that will put us in a better place in the four years ahead of us. Because if you don’t, someone else will.

A Better America Begins Tonight

Video

This speech came as Mitt Romney swept 5 state primaries on April 24. Though it has been clear for a couple of weeks now, this speech marks Romney’s commencement of the General Election against Barack H. Obama.

I sat in awe as and even smiled to myself as I listened to this speech. I just look at Mitt Romney and can’t help but think, “Wow, this guy can actually do it. He can become the President of the United States and put us back on course to prosperity.” And I think he will. Romney makes a great point when he mentions that Obama doesn’t really have a record to run off of. Are you better off than you were 3 years ago? What has that extra 6 trillion in debt done for you? Romney get’s it. Romney understands the economy. He understands what the American dream truly is and he’s bringing it back to us.

The next few months are not going to be pretty. You can count on mud being thrown by both sides until election day in November. People are going to say things they regret. Candidates will be o so delicately placing their foot in their mouths on multiple occasions. It’s going to get messy. But I firmly believe that Romney will come out on top. He has the winning message and Obama has the failing record.

The general election begins tonight but more importantly, “A Better America Begins Tonight”