Jan 24, 2012, 12:44 pm EDT
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s release of his 2010 tax return and details of what he plans to file this year were the public’s biggest letdown since Geraldo Rivera came up empty in his quest to find the treasure in Al Capone’s vault.
The Romney tax returns didn’t tell voters with a pulse anything they already didn’t know. First, the presumptive — at least for now — GOP nominee is wealthy. In 2010, he reported adjusted gross income of $21.7 million, not too shabby for someone whose full-time “job” for the past few years has been running for president. He earned about the same in 2011. He has set up a $100 million trust for his five sons, which represents prudent financial planning.
To be clear, Romney isn’t just a 1-percenter. He is a 0.5-percenter who enjoys a lifestyle that few Americans can imagine. The former financier has clearly benefited from the generosity of the tax code, as Martin Sullivan noted recently in Tax Analysts, a trade publication: Read
Jan 24, 2012, 10:59 am EDT
The Florida primary season kicked off yesterday evening, with an NBC-sponsored debate among the four remaining GOP presidential candidates. As is typical for many debates, the truth got pushed, pulled, stretched, and outright ignored by the candidates. In particular, these five claims were either incorrect or misleading.
1. Romney: Navy currently smaller than any time since 1917
In terms of number of ships in the fleet, this is untrue. The most recent numbers put the U.S. Navy’s total of active ships at 285, compared to 342 in April of 1917, when the U.S. entered World War I. However, there were fewer ships in the Navy during fiscal years 2005-2008: 282, 281, 278, and 282 respectively. Further figures can be seen at the Naval History and Heritage Command’s active ship force levels web page. Read
Jan 24, 2012, 10:55 am EDT
Government lies are legion.
So many are its lies, that narrowing them down to three of the most important is a demanding task. But our current crisis has been chiefly enabled by monetary policy, fiscal policy and the global military empire.
So I have chosen to focus on lies about each: the Federal Reserve, the orchestrator of monetary policy; the U.S. budget, the accounting of government fiscal policy and just a little of the war lies of the empire. I am sharing just a smattering of this astonishing record of duplicity in three areas, for life is short, or at least far too short to recount all of the state’s lies about each. Read
Jan 23, 2012, 3:25 pm EDT
The mainstream media is shining a spotlight on national politics right now. Just consider that there have been more than 20 debates for the GOP primary so far — many of them with big-name sponsors that include CNN, CNBC, Fox News, Bloomberg and The Washington Post.
But don’t kid yourself. The sad reality is that while there may be plenty of nominal coverage, that doesn’t mean the mainstream media is shedding a whole lot of light on anything.
Job creation, tax reform and help for American small businesses are complicated issues — but too often boiled down to soundbites on big networks. And perhaps more disturbing is that financial news outlets who know this stuff cold would prefer to sit on their hands or stick with day-to-day coverage of the markets instead. Read
Jan 23, 2012, 12:21 pm EDT
On Saturday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich capped off a tumultuous week of campaigning in South Carolina by pulling off a comeback for the ages. In the course of a week, Gingrich overcame double-digit deficits in polls at the beginning of the week to post a 12-point win in the South Carolina primary.
Gingrich’s win blows the race wide open and puts former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney scrambling. With the Florida GOP primary just eight days away, what do the remaining Republican candidates need to do to boost their chances of gaining the party’s nomination?
Keep up the momentum. Gingrich benefited from excellent debate performances in South Carolina, and shrewdly played his hand with regards to the tax return controversy that engulfed Romney. Tonight’s debate in Florida could not come at a better time for Gingrich, who undoubtedly will use the forum to showcase his conservative credentials, prove that he is electable, and assail Romney as the candidate of moderates and the very wealthy. Read
Jan 23, 2012, 10:32 am EDT
Money may or may not make the world go around, but when it comes to running for President of the United States, it certainly makes things a lot easier. While having millions and millions of dollars is not a 100% guarantee you will get elected president, the richest candidates to have run for president since 1992 certainly had a leg up on the competition because of their wealth. Here’s a look at the top five:
5. Al Gore
Current estimated net worth: $100 million
The vice president of the United States from 1993-2001, Gore narrowly lost the 2000 presidential election to former Texas Gov. George W. Bush after the Florida vote recount controversy was settled in the Supreme Court. Gore decided against a 2004 election run and focused on environmental politics, writing a book about global warming titled An Inconvenient Truth that later became an Academy Award-winning documentary. Gore’s current wealth includes holdings in real estate, speaking fees and stock options from his time spent on the board of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Read