Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I can’t stand it any more.

The primary election cycle, that is.

We now have reached the stage in the Republican race where a guy (Mitt Romney) is getting heat for how much money he made and what his tax rate was.

Do we prefer to have somebody who was a failure in life run the country?

Here’s what I mean. Say you’re at a horse race track and two touts come up to you with tips on the next race.

Who are you going to listen to -- the guy with in the ratty jacket, dirty shirt, wrinkled trousers and holes in his shoes, or the guy who is neatly dressed wearing a real Rolex?

From what I hear from some of the Romney’s critics (hello, NBC and your cable outlets) is they would go with the guy with the dirty shirt.

And if Romney didn’t pay the same tax rate as Warren Buffett’s secretary, whose fault is that? Apparently, he (or his accountants, to be more precise) paid exactly what the numbers called for. Any beef should be with the tax system, not Romney.

But not according to the media.

Hell, a piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is whining about where Romney got his money and pointedly notes none of it came from wages, as is customary with most of us common folk, it adds, almost sneering.

Is that a sin now? I’d like to have had a life where I could have lived off money earned by my investments, but so far I haven’t gotten a decent return from my lotto tickets.

To show how slanted the piece is, it even tempers something in Romney’s favor, that he donated $7 million to charities over the last two years, with the qualification that most of it went to the Mormon Church, as if that should discredit him.

I would say anyone who supports his church financially the way Romney has his should be congratulated, not scorned, no matter what church it is.

I also have a problem, quite frankly, with the conclusion in the piece that states the effective tax rate for Romney’s returns for the last two years is 13.9 percent. (The DNC has picked up on this as well. Surprise, surprise!) The genius who wrote the piece apparently got that figure by dividing the amount Romney paid in taxes by the total of his gross income.

Ummmm. That ain’t the way it works. None of us pays taxes on our gross income. We all have inductions, whether they are itemized or we use the standard deduction. We then pay taxes on the net. I guess that’s why the piece uses the words “effective tax rate” cause it isn’t the real thing.

Of course, if the media bothered to do math right, the tax rate would have jumped. Just deducting the charitable deductions from his gross and then doing the math would result in a tax rate of 17.1 percent, and that doesn’t begin to include his other deductions.

I’ m just guessing here, too, but I’m thinking if you earn your money from investments, which will have at least some risk, you’re probably going to have more to deduct than someone on a salary.

Whether that is right or wrong can be debated elsewhere. Right now it’s the system we got.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not necessarily for Romney, though I must confess that I would prefer him or anybody else (well, not sure about Ron Paul) over the Democrat candidate.

Wait. I have gotten off my original point here, which is that the primary campaign, which started, if memory serves, about the time since the Cardinals won the World Series (not the 2011 Series, the 2006 one), has gone on far too long.

How many more times can the candidates answer the same questions in the debates? (Another disclosure here. I have watched very, very little of the debates. My wife does that for me. But what I have seen is so much repetition.)

I think we should go back to the old days when nominees came out of smoke-filled rooms.

Go back and check out movies like The Candidate (1972, Robert Redford) or The Best Man (1964, Henry Fonda, Cliff Robetson), though the best political movie in my mind didn’t involve a presidential race. The Last Hurrah (1958, Spencer Tracy) is a real classic about an aging mayor of an unnamed U.S. city (one thinly disguised as Boston) running for reelection.

Or read The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore White. (It’s the first and the best in the series.) and you’ll see what I mean.

Of course, that’s not going to happen. Smoke-filled rooms are hard to find nowadays. Plus, all the political pundits on TV would be out of business and have to get a real job.

Say, that’s a benefit I hadn’t thought of. Maybe they could invest in something.

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