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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jon Stewart Delivers the Goods on Mitt Romney's Taxes

Mitt Romney claims to simply have been following the law in how he paid his taxes for 2010 and 2011. As we have seen, he was able to use the carried interest loophole (taxing hedge fund managers' fees as if they were profits and therefore subject to the 15% capital gains rate rather than being ordinary income) to reduce his tax rate below 14%. But how is that loophole still in existence, despite a bipartisan effort to kill it in 2007?

Building on a recent New York Times story*, Jon Stewart spilled the beans on Romney tonight. On "The Daily Show" (via Mediate, h/t @Phostir), Stewart poses and answers that question. Starting at 3:27 into the clip, Stewart notes Romney's claim to be simply following the tax laws as written. He hows a 2007 video of co-sponsor Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) talking about how heavily lobbied it was. At 4:51, Stewart answers the question of who was fighting repeal: The Private Equity Council, started in 2007 by, among other firms, Bain Capital. He then plays a clip of Romney himself telling a TV reporter he "doesn't think it's a good idea to raise taxes" in response to a question about this bill.

What Stewart has laid bare for all to see, of course, is exactly how much influence Romney had on the laws that today he claims simply to be following. I'm shocked, shocked... Occupy Wall Street proven right once again.

* "As Romney Campaign Advances, Private Equity Becomes Part of the Debate," NYT, Jan. 11, 2012, p. A17, via Lexis-Nexis Academic.

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