Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dropping The Ball

There are seemingly few things that political partisans in the U.S. can agree on in America right now, especially when it comes to making or applying rules and regulations. The NFL referee lockout, however, is a possible exception.

Whether you're Democratic or Republican - or even if you don't even like pro football - the NFL referee lockout seems to be getting a unanimous thumbs down from fans, teams, coaches and businesses alike - especially after last night's horrible game, decided not by the actions of players but by the officials on the field. Virtually everyone connected with NFL football has said this lockout is hurting people on all sides.

We understand both the labor issues with the referee lockout and the problems from the fan perspective. We've even come up with some less-than-orthodox solutions to the problem - though we highly doubt NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be listening to us.

The primary cause of the dispute is - no surprise - the greed of the NFL owners and their desire to offload their pension responsibilities to the referees. As bad as the calls are, the worst effects of this dispute aren't the horrible calls or the angry fans. The biggest problem this labor dispute is causing is a tendency by every player and coach on both sides of the ball to get used to manipulating the very rules of the game.

It's the kind of warped interaction that Mitt Romney and the I.R.S. not only recognize - they may have even perfected it.

In case you missed it, Mr. Romney and his campaign finally released his complete 2011 tax returns last Friday, after being hounded by voters, the media, and even other politicians.

If you just take a quick glance at the summary of what's in Mitt's 2011 tax returns, you likely won't find anything unusual for someone as rich as Mr. Romney. His effective tax rate - the amount he paid after all his deductions were taken into account - was 14.1 percent. The Romney's donated over four million dollars to charity in 2011 - nearly thirty percent of their income - for which they claimed a deduction of $2.25 million.

The problem with Mitt's taxes comes in when you add to those multi-million dollar numbers two statements he made in the last three months.

The first statement came in July, in an interview with journalist David Muir, when Romney stated, "I don’t pay more [taxes] than are legally due, and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president." The second statement came in August, due to prodding from Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, when Mitt Romney claimed that he'd paid at least 13% income taxes in each of the last ten years.

Now, these two statements normally wouldn't add up to a problem - except, of course, when you follow the unbending laws of mathematics and add those statements to Romney's 2011 tax return. Because unlike the substitute refs in the NFL, we can see Mr. Romney's infraction clearly from hundreds of miles away.

In order for Mitt Romney to have paid a tax rate of 14.1% in 2011, and for his statement in August to be true that he'd never paid less than 13% income taxes in each of the last ten years, Mr. Romney has to have paid more taxes than were legally due in 2011.

Which means, by his own standards, Mitt isn't qualified to be president.

If this were an NFL game, even the replacement refs would likely call a penalty on Mr. Romney for a foul that flagrant. We hope voters do the same thing this fall at the polls.

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