Monday, August 27, 2012

Romey: An "active" Bain partner as late as 2010

A Huffpo team has made a good catch: According to his 2010 tax returns, Mitt Romney was an "active" partner at Bain Capital as recently as 2010. The IRS defines "active" thus:
"Factors that indicate active participation include making decisions involving the operation or management of the activity, performing services for the activity, and hiring and discharging employees.
Now, it is undeniably true that Romney portrayed himself as active in order to catch a tax break. Tax law is, as you know, a funny thing -- and one of the funniest things about it is that gives an advantage to the folks at Bain:
The distinction is valuable, for the IRS treats passive and active income and losses differently. If a passive investment loses money, the taxpayer can only write off that loss if passive gains have also been made. But active losses can be written off at a 35 percent rate and deducted from the taxpayer's ordinary income. In other words, a taxpayer wants active losses, not passive losses. So by describing many of his investments as active, Romney saves himself millions of dollars in taxes.

With those active investments, he is also securing a tax break few Americans enjoy: When he wins, he's paying a 15 percent rate on the gain. When he loses, he's writing it off at 35 percent, meaning that tax policy is subsidizing Romney's risk in his Bain investments.

In other words, Romney didn't build that, at least not without taxpayer backing.
Well, they're wrong, so I wouldn't say it's a good catch. All of the expenses were from hedge funds, which are excluded from the definition of "passive activity." Here's the regulation @ 1.469-1T:
"An activity of trading personal property for the account of owners of interests in the activity is not a passive activity"
Sunspot maximum soon.

Mayan end of epoch.

And now a lion is on the loose in Essex, England.. No photos yet. Just sightings.

(I.iii: Julius Caesar)
Against the Capitol I met a lion,
Who glazed upon me and went surly by
Without annoying me: and there were drawn
Upon a heap a hundred ghastly women
Transformed with their fear, who swore they saw
Men all in fire walk up and down the streets.
And yesterday the bird of night did sit
Even at noon-day upon the market-place,
Howling and shrieking.

(II.ii: Calpurnia)
Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,
And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.
O Caesar! these things are beyond all use,
And I do fear them.

b, I knew you'd have something important to say about the American income tax code.
Okay, as long as you bring it up: I've long wondered what the phrase "stood on ceremonies" meant to Shakespeare. What bothers me is not the word "ceremonies" but the concept of standing on them. The visual is pretty weird.

A lot of the appeal and the difficulty of Shakespeare's language is that it his word choices are just so freaking odd, even if we take into account the changes in the language since the days of Queen Liz and King James.

I read Marlowe's "Dr. Faustus" when I was ten. No problems. Nearly everything was quite comprehensible. But Shakespeare...! You can't read twenty lines of Shakespeare without wondering if they had 'shrooms in Elizabethan times.
"I knew you'd have something important to say about the American income tax code."
"Stand on" - base your outlook on, rely on. I wish I could reach for my unabridged OED but it's in storage along with 99.5% of my library :(
I think it's the past tense in the Shakespeare quotation that makes it sound weird. The phrase "we don't stand on ceremony here" - or similar - is still commonly used in the UK when someone wants to indicate informality....must be just another oddity from Old England then, if not familiar here.
Oh, I use the phrase myself. But I assumed that we were following Willie's lead.
He coined enormously many phrases. In a given play it's usually easy to spot half a dozen right away which nowadays everyone is familiar with, but which Shakie used first. Re. standing on ceremony, I think we are probably following his lead - but if anyone has got the unabridged OED to hand?

Meanwhile on the lion: here, here, and here. Twitter seems to have got a lot of advertising out of it.
The "lion" sightings have been on hand for a few years. Several of the paranormal shows have cooked-up episodes around the beast. It would be more interesting if it were the Jersey Devil.
b, there's a long history of British "mystery beasts" turning out to be simple large-sized domestic cats. If you hear an actual roar, let me know...!

I think I would not mind a Romney one term presidency, but the income tax thing is starting to bug me.
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