$100 million isn't cool

What’s In Your IRA? Don’t Worry, Mitt Romney Doesn’t Know Either

Romney (R-Money)Oh HI, rapidly aging baby boomers! How is that retirement planning coming? From what we hear, not so hot! Perhaps if America’s baby boomers had been as smart as Mitt Romney and found a way to siphon $100,000,000 (ONE HUNDRED MILLION) into an IRA (individual retirement account to you young ones) in spite of strict caps on contributions, and found tax loopholes to exploit and sent their moneys on exotic vacations to places like Bermuda, they would not have to suckle so hard from the government’s teat and would be able to exercise Personal Responsibility of the kind that Saint Reagan preached.

As TPM reports:

After a six-month hiatus, a Vanity Fair article about Mitt Romney’s tangled web of investments has thrust his foreign holdings and complicated tax strategies back into the center of the 2012 campaign. But questions have persisted for months about an individual retirement account held by the Romneys valued at upwards of $100 million — a stunning amount for a savings vehicle designed to provide middle class retirees comfortable, but non-lavish retirement.

His IRA raises two key questions, both of which his campaign has consistently declined to answer: How, despite a $6000 legal limit on annual contributions to an IRA, did Romney’s IRA grow to over $100 million? And did he avoid any U.S. taxes on its enormous returns?

Sponsored Video

How DID he avoid these taxes? How indeed? Are you sitting down? Good because you’ll be shocked—SHOCKED—to know that he did so through telling a very specific type of lie about the size of the initial contributions. But this lie benefits rich people, mostly, so don’t worry, it’s totally legal and above board! And then he told another kind of a lie, that also benefits rich people, so is also probably legal. Except this is less a lie than a kind of an obfuscation, which is kind of complicated so to be fair, Romney probably didn’t think of it himself:

Romney’s campaign has publicly insisted that none of Romney’s foreign investments have allowed him to avoid U.S. taxes. But the campaign has persistently declined to answer questions about a specific, but obscure tax, that Romney’s IRA may have helped him circumvent….

In other words Romney’s IRA may hold stock in Romney’s offshore funds, those funds could have levered up [in other words, been highly leveraged -ed] and yielded huge returns to the IRA [translation: "paid a lot of money to the individual retirement account"]. That would allow Romney not just to circumvent the annual contribution limits, but to avoid a 35 percent tax that would have kicked in if the IRA had taken on the debt-financed investments directly.

In other words, he was using a tax-deferred vehicle to make a bunch of investments, even though the tax-deferred vehicle was designed to help Poors and Middle Class people have a dignified retirement, NOT help rich people evade taxes. This, of course, is just a theory — it’s possible that he told different kinds of legal lies that benefit rich people, instead of or in addition to these. Except we’ll never REALLY know, since Romney is still refusing to release enough tax returns to let the experts figure it out, probably because of class warfare concerns. Anyway, you plebes wouldn’t understand how it works, because of not being educated and all.

[TPM]

Related

About the author

Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson

View all articles by Kris E. Benson

Hola wonkerados.

To improve site performance, we did a thing. It could be up to three minutes before your comment appears. DON'T KEEP RETRYING, OKAY?

Also, if you are a new commenter, your comment may never appear. This is probably because we hate you.

179 comments

  1. ChernobylSoup

    How can Baby Boomers be getting close to retirement? When you ask them, they all say they're "middle aged."

    1. Oblios_Cap

      That's because we'll all have to work another 30 years into our 80s and still have to eat dog food when we retire.

          1. OneDollarJuana

            Hmmm. Maybe I should be hanging on to those mice I've been catching under the kitchen sink.

      1. JustPixelz

        By deferring retirement because IRAs are too low or health insurance is too high, the olds hold on to jobs that otherwise could be filled by the youngs. That's why keeping social security (and personal savings when you're older) away from stock market is a good idea: It lets you retire when the market is bad, or when your employer needs to uncreate your job due to another Bush (or clone) being elected.

    2. SorosBot

      Don't you know, 60 is the new 40! Which is something my old-but-in-denial parents actually said.

      1. Fare la Volpe

        My parents have given up all pretension and embraced their fifties with gusto. My mother now times herself from when she enters the door after work to see how fast she can get into her pajamas. This is an actual thing she actually does.

        1. SorosBot

          Mine are still all about the pretense. They're 65 and almost 64, both are retired but they still claim they're not old, my mom religiously dies her hair and they both think they pass as in their 40s (they don't).

          1. emmelemm

            I used to be all like that ("ha ha silly old people just wake up and smell the Aspercreme"), but just wait'll you're 40. Then remember when you were 20. Then imagine being 60. Who wouldn't try to hold on to their youth?

      2. Maman

        Yeah, I hear that from my mom too. I am 46, she is 68. I keep saying to her, "How many 136 year old women do YOU know?"

    3. actor212

      Because I only have to work another twenty years, instead of working only 40 when I was twenty five. I'm half-way there, and it's only taken me thirty years to get here!

  2. skoalrebel

    Stop it, Libtards! spit Romney has nothin' to do with the Irish Republican Army! The terrorist is the Kenyan Mooslimb in the White House! spit Him and his Black Panther wife are known to pal around with terrorists, y'know. Romney Libel!

    1. elgin_pelican

      I have a MOTH RA which will descend on Tokyo when I turn 65 (Osaka if I take early retirement).

  3. fartknocker

    Mitt enjoys asking his chauffeur to slow down when he drives past a crowd so he can throw rocks at them.

          1. MumbletyRadio

            My IRAdio

            Your aptitude for the singular wordplays at your disposal continues to astound me.

            full of static

            Pardon my B-52's:

            "Gettin' nothin' but static;
            Gettin' nothin' but static;
            Static in my attic
            On Channel Z" ♫

          2. Extemporanus

            Aw shucks, ma'am…you're much too kind. This joint is lousy with singular aptitude.

            Truth is, I always feel a little dirty when I whip out too-clever word play, and fight the urge to do so at every turn.

            Unfortunately, I'm a punner, not a fighter, so… [<---SEE?!]

            ALSO: Roam if you want to — I'd rather sleep through the static.

    1. EatsBabyDingos

      I went long on Hobo Beans, and now have a hundred million hobos.

      Love, Uncle Sam

  4. Beowoof

    Hiding money overseas and then lying about slipping money into his IRA. Well don't worry if Mitt is elected he will slip you a little something from his magic underwear. Just lay back and enjoy.

  5. Fare la Volpe

    Right now my retirement plan consists of a box of Magnums and prodigious amounts of shrooms. I think it's gonna work out just fine.

    1. FakaktaSouth

      Oh man I always knew we were meant to be the dearest of friends. I wish that had been my erstwhile old man's plan too, then there would be more to steal – sometimes it's a lucky thing to be able to shroom it out.

      1. Fare la Volpe

        The first time I did shrooms I hallucinated that I was visited by a girl with Wolverine-style claws coming out of every angle on her body, and her friend, the woman with humanity's collective womb in her head. They were very nice and invited me to tea and daquiris!

        I've seen them both a few more times since, but next time I trip I'll try to get their Facebook accounts before I sober up.

    2. prommie

      Magnums? What the fuck are magnums? Big dickbags? You tryin' to say you gots a big one? Showoff!

  6. Oblios_Cap

    The Miacle of the Bush economy pretty much prevented me from ever having to worry about the money in my IRA. Wall Street stole it all.

    1. not that Radio

      There's a tax on DYING now? I can't afford that. Will no one think of the corpse creators?

  7. noodlesalad

    But Rmoney has promised to share all of his investor secrets with America once we elect him! Isn't that what's supposed to happen? We all get Cayman IRAs and car elevators?

  8. OneYieldRegular

    Those Stieg Larsson books would have been much more entertaining if Lisbeth Sander had hacked into Mitt Romney's accounts.

      1. Generation[redacted]

        It was pretty harrowing when Dick Cheney shot her in the face, though it made her final revenge all the sweeter. "Hello, Tea Party? He's in the abandoned warehouse with his feet nailed to the floor. And he said deficits don't matter."

  9. Antispandex

    "— a stunning amount for a savings vehicle designed to provide middle class retirees comfortable, but non-lavish retirement."

    Haven't the middle classers had it easy enough. Isn't it time we gave the super rich a break. Because if not, we're just supporting class warfare…and that's bad. Bad.

  10. Oblios_Cap

    the tax-deferred vehicle was designed to help Poors and Middle Class people have a dignified retirement

    In all fairness, $100M is a pretty dignified retirement.

  11. mavenmaven

    Finally, a president who will strip mine our country's finances and do for us what our former ally, Ferdinand Marcos, did for the Philippines.

  12. SayItWithWookies

    Mitt also claims he had no idea about that Bahamian shell corporation he signed over to his wife the day before he became governor. Apparently his investments are so evolved that they've become sentient and self-aware — so, in fact, he was right — corporations are people.

    1. SorosBot

      Ah, fuck you and fuck everyone who made too many damned comments to read them all before posting! And damn, that should have way too obscure for anyone else to have thought of.

      1. sullivanst

        I'm kinda mad at myself for not thinking of it. Although, I do live in his district, until November, or is it January the new boundaries take effect?

  13. Not_So_Much

    The first hundred mil is nobody's business but his. And his car elevator company. And whoever dopes up his broken down dancing horses. But that's it.

  14. Awful People

    I haven't heard a politician not talk about the IRA this much since Pete King held hearings on terrist sympathizers.

  15. Callyson

    On a campaign conference call in January, Romney’s trustee promised to investigate whether Romney’s IRA included investments that allowed him to avoid the UBIT. Neither he nor the campaign ever provided an answer

    Can't wait to hear how Rmoney tries to flip flop this one…I'm sure we'll be hearing his complete explanation/s in 3…2…1…speak up there, Mittens…

  16. ChernobylSoup

    I'm starting to think there's not a quiet room big enough to discuss all the things Mitt needs to explain.

  17. ifthethunderdontgetya

    even though the tax-deferred vehicle was designed to help Poors and Middle Class people have a dignified retirement

    If the nails ladies can afford to retire, then the price of having one's nails done might go the wrong way. Can't you uneducated peons understand this?
    ~

  18. starfanglednut

    Stupid libtards. Romeny is a rich person and therefore morally superior. He would never cheat. Only people on welfare cheat. The explanation is simple. He's been putting $6000/yr into his IRA for 16666.666 years. Duh.

    1. Dumbedup

      He won't cheat on Anne, because he obviously can't get hard for anything but MONEY, piles and oodles of MONEY, he lays around dreaming of the stuff, clutching it, breathing hard when his minions dream up another way to keep more of it. Some men drink, and some screw around, but this man is a MONEY fetishist plainly.

  19. sullivanst

    Hey, can't everyone set up their own investment funds, issue shares to their IRAs at an artificially low par value, and declare 20% growth rates over 30 years?

      1. sullivanst

        Now where's that seed money… I know I left it around here somewhere, probably with Saddam's WMD's, but I can't remember where I put those either.

  20. SayItWithWookies

    How, despite a $6000 legal limit on annual contributions to an IRA, did Romney’s IRA grow to over $100 million?

    Don't make such a big deal out of this — anyone who's 16,666 years old would have that much in their IRA. And since Mitt's been creating jobs since before cattle were domesticated, I think he deserves it.

    1. Thurman Munster IV

      Cows? Before the fucking wheel was invented! To be fair to Mittenz, are Mormon alien planet years shorter than Earth years?

  21. MumbletyRadio

    This IRA thing? when last I checked .. could inspire more Frostian* / "Outsiders" verse that should do Rebecca proud:

    My IRA's first green was gold —
    Contributions were few, but bold!
    Its early fruit from flower
    Lasted only about an hour
    Then stock subsided to plunged stock
    So speculations sank in disbelief
    So its value's still illin' today…
    While Mitts' boons rècherchè!?!

  22. BerkeleyBear

    The thing is, I completely believe Romney's people when they say he's fully complied with the laws. Because I've read just enough corporate documentation to know that legal compliance doesn't have shit to do with right or wrong, and that the average American has no clue just how many ways there are to manipulate money if you have no conscience.

  23. SorosBot

    "How is that retirement planning coming?"

    HAHAHAHA. I'd need to actually have a job and money before I could actually think about saving for retirement! Not that I plan on retiring, since the Baby Boomers will probably eventually win on their promise to destroy Medicare and Social Security for all of us who are not yet elderly like them.

    1. Dashboard Buddha

      I don't know to which group I belong. I was born in '61. By some measures I'm a boomer (going up to 1964), by others I'm an x-er.

      This is a silly question any since I'm fucked either way.

        1. BerkeleyBear

          See, pity those of us born in the early 70s. We definitely aren't boomers (or so the statisticians tell us) but the whole Gen-X thing doesn't feel right, either. I think we are the "AIDS and Nancy Reagan scared us out of the joys of misspent youth" generation. Which might explain why we're such immature pricks even as we approach our 40s.

          1. SorosBot

            Yeah, where I am is the tail end of Gen-X; my brother, just six years younger, is smack in the middle of the Gen-Y/millennials, having graduated college in 2000.

    2. Isyaignert

      On behalf of all Baby Boomers, I whole-heartedly apologize for letting the crazy right winggers destroy all that our parents worked for to give us a better life. Things like a 40 hour work week and a secure pension with safe working conditions, clean water, air, safe food, care for the mentally ill, contraception and trying to get healthcare for all (RIP Hillarycare). We fukked up the world so damn bad that it is doubtful we can ever regain the glory days of the 1950-1979. I am so very, very sorry, although I have never personally voted for a Republcon in my life.

  24. Goonemeritus

    “How, despite a $6000 legal limit on annual contributions to an IRA, did Romney’s IRA grow to over $100 million?”

    I’m told some of those Human Trafficking index funds can have excellent returns.

  25. SoBeach

    It looks like Romney engaged in the same bs with his kids' trust funds. They somehow managed to accumulate tens of millions of dollars with just $10k/year contributed by daddy.

    The getting rich by screwing people over part people understand. It's the refusal to even give a reach around by paying taxes that's gonna really tick people off. Even some republicans.

    1. prommie

      Yerp, its the de riguer way to avoid the gift and inheritance taxes that we have repealed anyway, you create a security instrument with an artificially low present value which is designed to appreciate extraordinarly at some later point, and gradually move these cheap shares to the kids trust staying under the $10,000/$20,000 annual exclusion, till next thing you know, you have a $100,000,000 trust find that has avoided all estate and gift taxes! Yay heirs!

  26. LesBontemps

    Wait, guys, this is Mitt's solution to the national budget/debt crisis! He is a genius!

    1. Ducksworthy

      That's it! Take all the money in the social security trust fund and invest it in aborted fetus futures-profit.

      1. Generation[redacted]

        And as voters who voted for Romney, we collect our management fees, even if the country goes belly-up. I like it!

  27. johnnyzhivago

    Romney has actually managed to execute the Steve Martin "how to make a million dollars and don't pay any taxes" routine in real life!

    EXCCCCUUUUSEEE ME!!!

  28. va_real

    Why would Mitt know anything about IRA? He's probably never even HEARD of 'This American Life'…

  29. PuckStopsHere

    Fuck this guy. Just fuck this guy. No wonder he won't release his tax returns. He's stealing from all of us. He's stealing from the country he professes to love. He's stealing from the country he thinks he is going to lead. Fuck this guy.

  30. actor212

    Now now, everyone cheats on their taxes! The rich just have lawyers and accountants who can find the best ways to do it!

    Who among us hasn't turned $3,000 a year into a $100,000,000, I ask you?

    1. SoBeach

      All Mitt had to do was put $6,000 per year in his IRA every year since 1985.

      By 2010 he would have that $100,000,000.

      Assuming, of course, he got a 40% return on his money every single year.

      Nothing hinky about that. Let's put this nonsense behind us and talk about something Mitt wants to talk about.

  31. Dashboard Buddha

    OT, but I shared that SC rape thing on my FB page and one of the folks on my list piped up and said that the centers were just places where women could learn how to squeeze more alimony and child support out of the "bad men".

    This made me wonder…since when do rapists have to pay alimony and child support?

      1. Dashboard Buddha

        Stay strong. I would prefer that you hang around and asshole like my acquaintance not live in the world any more.

    1. Chick-Fil-Atheist™

      Wow. Your friend needs a boot in their ass. A spiky steel-toed boot, like Gene Simmons wears onstage.

      1. Dashboard Buddha

        Agreed (you can see the discussion, I believe…feel free to join in)

        Anyway, here's the punchline. The dude's a scientist and when I asked for a source, he declined. I'd ask him if there was a personal connection between him and rape/alimony/child support, but I'm not that mean…

        Today

        1. Chick-Fil-Atheist™

          Yeah, I just read that. Your friend is no fucking scientist, if he can't produce some documentation.

          Also, ASSHOLE for making a broad generalization. Maybe there are rules for different types of services that could be provided by these clinics, but fuck him in his right ear for thinking that

          Now that I've read this, it pisses me off that I won't post on Facebook during work hours. I make the exception for Wonkette, because GOOGLE.

          1. Dashboard Buddha

            Unfortunately, his is in fact a scientist…a physicist. I know him from when we were in a band together. From what I was able to gather his ex-wife got a generous (aka fair) settlement from the divorce.

      2. Dashboard Buddha

        It gets better…

        "Trust me, the word "crisis" is liberally applied"

        Seriously…he put the word crisis from "Rape Crisis" into scare quotes?

        I am so teeing up on this asshole.

        1. Jadetiger79

          Personal story: yes, rapes with the consequences of unwanted pregnancies happen. I should know because it happened to me. Trust me, little boys like your friend have serious issues with women.

          1. Dashboard Buddha

            No doubt…he was once married to a woman that "cleaned him out". If by cleaned out he meant he lived in a nice house, had an extensive guitar collection, and drove a Porsche, then yah…this fucker was just above the poverty line.

            Just for the record…he's not my friend. Just a former bandmate.

  32. Chichikovovich

    The young ruffians out there won't remember this, but I remember a time, long, long ago, when Bill and Hillary Clinton bought some property, and then sold it a little while later for much more than they bought it for. It was obvious that something nefarious must have been afoot! And so the Republicans left no stone unturned, no pumpkin unshot, no insane opinion unproffered, until they could get a massive report, in the end costing untold millions of tax dollars hard working taxpayer dollars which said there had been no wrongdoing in the Whitewater transactions.

    So just imagine the furor coming over this one! Right? ….. Right?

    1. Fare la Volpe

      Wait. That is seriously what the terrifying "Whitewater" scandal was about? Reselling a property at a higher market price? The almighty Clinton Administration was nearly brought to its knees over what they do every week on Flip This House?

      For fucking fuck's sake, what the fuck is wrong with this fucking country!?!

      1. prommie

        Well, arguably, the Clintons were cut into the investment as insiders as a way for the developer to buy influence, but then the developer went belly-up anyway so the Clinton's lost money, but the scheme was to try to throw them a piece of the action.

          1. BerkeleyBear

            Commodities futures, to be exact – and it was more like a month than a year based on a tip from her adviser (aka why Martha Stewart went to jail)

      2. MumbletyRadio

        Thanks for that bit — for you just gave me reason to re-examine that issue.
        I remember some summers ago reading the Vanity Fair exposé and getting quite disgusted with how the Whitewater thing resounded within a number of apparently greed-mongering, power-playing moves the Clintons were capable of. Yet it seems some perspective is called for, albeit many years after the fact~

      3. Generation[redacted]

        Actually they bought land to build and sell summer homes just before the big recession of the late 1970s, when mortgage rates were like 20%. They lost a lot of money on the deal, so it's like investigating the guy who bought Facebook at $42/share.

        But one of their business partners was siphoning off money to make up for his own losses, and went to prison. So there's that.

    2. Dumbedup

      yeah, or that congressman from Illinois badmouthing the veteran lady, GOP gonna' be all over that shit soon, right, like support the troops and we love the troops and whatnot. Any second now Allen West is gonna'…..

  33. SoBeach

    It's pretty obvious that Bain paid a crapload of Romney's take to an offshore corporation, and then Romney's IRA invested in that corporation.

    Christ, even the 15% "carried interest" tax loophole wasn't enough for this guy. He had to find a way to pay 0%.

    He'll never release his returns going back to his Bain days. If he did there would truly be peasants with pitchforks at the gates of his mansion.

  34. TootsStansbury

    This asshole won't release his taxes, answer any questions regarding his business dealings, probably won't participate in any debates and people will still vote for him?! Fuckcicle.

    1. TootsStansbury

      Thanks guys/gals! I need to retire. To a nice padded room tor the rest of the day.

  35. Pithaughn

    Retirement? R U fucking kidding? My retirement plan is to get killed in such a way that in addition to the massive death benefit ( $600k ) my wife and kid can sue someone for a fucktillion dollars. Like most of friends, I'm worth way more dead than alive.

    1. Monsieur_Grumpe

      I predict many people will be retiring by throwing themselves under Mitt's car wheels.

  36. Chick-Fil-Atheist™

    What would really be sexy is knowing that Romney's investments were handled by those Madoff and Stanford assholes…

  37. Dumbedup

    My retirement plan? A dim bar with free peanuts, Hobo Beans and monthly meetings with my "self Dentistry Club" friends (from the bar). Hey, that and a cable subscription and I'm all set.

  38. poorgradstudent

    But the people who say they applied for four jobs when they really only applied for two in a week on their unemployment benefits form are the real parasites and criminals.

  39. DahBoner

    Those shares in the Mexican Drug Cartel he inherited from his Mexican Papi sure paid off!

    THAT COCAINE DON'T IMPORT ITSELF

  40. NYNYNYjr

    "I will release all my financial records, very soon."
    "When, Mr. Romney?"
    "Chip, when will the boys be done fixing all the records and erasing the trail and bribing everyone involved?"
    "August"
    "Sometime in August I will release them."

  41. Veritas78

    This one's the keeper. Skip the dressage horses, the car elevator in the tear-down house, the Bain lootings, the Swiss and Cayman accounts. This is the story that kills his candidacy.

    IRAs were invented as a sop to all us middle-class types whose defined-benefit pensions were being eliminated by (Bain) consultants. Along comes this asshole and he games our sad little retirement vehicle in a way that not a one of us could even imagine. And we all do understand IRAs a little because we'd all like to have them if we could afford to fund them and so forth. He spat in our eye.

    Plus, he's such a Richie Rich that the disclosure process will be excruciating and quite revealing of how he regards his wealth, and us.

  42. Baba_NinjaCat12

    Two words to explain why Mittbot is able to have $100 million in his IRA, "Magic Underwear".

Comments are closed.