Buffett Rule or Romney Rule?
Mitt Romney is heading to New York City Wednesday morning for a massive fundraiser fueled by Wall Street’s 1 Percenters. One could hardly find a better crowd to demonstrate why we need President Obama’s proposed Buffett Rule — the idea the millionaires and billionaires should pay at least the same tax rate as hardworking middle class Americans.
Almost every single one of the 80+ event co-chairs listed on the invitation to the Romney fundraiser works in finance or related industries. But more to the point, dozens of them work in private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, and the like. In other words, they have large incomes made not from wages like most middle class Americans, but from making money with money. This means that many of them are likely to exploit the tax loopholes that allow them to pay a lower tax rate than many middle class Americans — what we’ve called the Romney Rule.
Mitt Romney, who opposes the Buffett Rule, is estimated to pay a tax rate of just 14 percent, which is less than half of the 29.9 percent rate a typical, single middle class American earning $60,000 a year would pay. We can’t say for sure how he makes his millions or how much he pays in taxes because Romney has never released his tax returns and continues to refuse to do so.
Here are just a few of the 1 Percenters who will help Wall Street make it rain for Mitt Romney tomorrow morning:
- Ira Akselrad: An attorney who was recently sued for “fraud, legal malpractice and unjust enrichment” based on his alleged role in marketing illegal tax shelters to his wealthy clients.
- Louis Bacon, Julian Robertson, and Marc Rowan: Three billionaires worth a combined $5.25 BILLION and who are among the 400 richest Americans. You know, those same 400 richest Americans whose combined net worth is greater than that of the bottom 150 MILLION Americans.
- Anthony Scaramucci (or “Gucci Scaramucci” as former President George W. Bush used to call him): The hedge fund manager famously complained to President Obama at a town hall meeting that he was being too mean to Wall Street and that Wall Streeters felt like a “pinata” that had been “whacked with a stick.” The president responded that he was “amused by this sense of [him] beating up on Wall Street. I think most folks on Main Street think they got beat up on.” Watch it:
- Greg Butler: He is senior vice president and general counsel for the Northern Pass, a highly controversial and highly unpopular power line project in New Hampshire. After his role in this fundraiser and other fundraising on behalf of Romney was exposed yesterday, Romney’s campaign today tried to have it both ways and refused to take a position on the project.
- Scott Frantz: The wealthy financier and state senator from Greenwich, Connecticut is also an investor in Solamere Capital, the Romney family investment vehicle that was today exposed as having extensive ties to three men who allegedly helped perpetrate an $8.5 BILLION Ponzi scheme.
- In addition to top employees of numerous hedge funds and other investments firms, numerous executives from some of the biggest banks – Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, and Credit Suisse — will be on hand to write checks to Romney.
Progressives organized by Americans United for Change, MoveOn, and others will be on hand to protest with posters making reference to the Gordon “greed is good” Gekko character from the 1987 film Wall Street. Their poster also makes use of the now infamous photo of Mitt Romney from his Bain Capital days:
IN ONE SENTENCE: It’s time to end the tax loopholes that let millionaire Mitt Romney and his Wall Street 1 Percenter friends cheat the system and pay a lower tax rate than hardworking middle class Americans.
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
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News Corp executive James Murdoch approved a $1.2 MILLION payout to a phone hacking victim after being presented with evidence that would be “fatal” to its claims of innocence.
Jewish-American leaders denounce right-wing attempts to smear the 99 Percent Movement as anti-Semitic
Can we talk about sexual harassment?
Streaming video services and cultural literacy.
National Assessment of Education Progress, the long view, and the crisis in reading.
The Obama administration’s reliance on drones is “extreme” and “shouldn’t be a state secret” says Brookings senior fellow, Benjamin Wittes.
Condoleeza Rice credits Bush for the Arab Spring, saying, “I think we had a role in that.”
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee grilled State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland about how UNESCO’s vote to welcome Palestine as the newest member state undermines the Israeli-Palestinian peace process or damages U.S. interests.
BOMBSHELL: Romney Family Investment Group Partnered With Alleged Perpetrators Of $8 Billion Ponzi Scheme
Check out ThinkProgress for complete details of this investigation, but here’s the short version:
Mitt Romney, his son Tagg, and Romney’s chief fundraiser, Spencer Zwick, have extensive financial and political ties to three men who allegedly participated in an $8.5 billion Ponzi scheme. A few months after the Ponzi scheme collapsed, a firm financed by Mitt Romney and run by his son and chief fundraiser partnered with the three men and created a new “wealth management business” as a subsidiary.
In an exclusive interview with ThinkProgress, Tagg Romney confirmed their business relationship, but falsely claimed that the men were cleared of any wrongdoing associated with the Ponzi scheme. Tagg Romney told ThinkProgress that his three partners collected about $15,000 from their involvement in the Ponzi scheme. Court documents obtained by ThinkProgress show that the legal proceedings are ongoing and the men made over $1.6 million selling fraudulent CDs to investors.