Tag Archives: Banker

Mitt Romney’s tax returns would make him lose the election to Obama

Wall Street Banks contributions to Mitt Romney
Wall Street banks make huge contributions to Mitt Romney

From The Hill. (H/T Riehl Worldview)

Excerpt:

It’s important not to overstate the perils Romney faces. He is still by far the best-funded candidate in the race. He has a state-by-state infrastructure that is the envy of his rivals. Even if he were to lose Saturday’s South Carolina primary, he would  likely remain the overall favorite to clinch the nomination.

But the procession of errors has been striking nonetheless — and it has raised concerns among many in the GOP about his vulnerabilities in a general election contest with President Obama.

Most of Romney’s awkwardness has revolved around questions about his wealth. During a heated exchange during a debate last month, he ill-advisedly offered to bet Perry $10,000 that his own account of what he had written in one of his books was correct. Perry declined, saying he was “not in the betting business,” but the episode heightened perceptions that Romney is out of touch with most Americans.

The same pattern keeps cropping up. Earlier this week, he was asked about the effective tax rate he pays on his income, and managed to injure himself twice in the space of a few sentences. First, he acknowledged that his tax rate was “probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything.” He then added: “I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.”

The first claim was almost certainly true. Romney’s income is believed to come chiefly from long-term investments rather than earned income, and that would indeed make him liable for capital gains tax levied at a 15 percent rate. But it still places the multimillionaire in a more lightly taxed band than many voters — something which Newt Gingrich tried to take advantage of with his mocking proposal to introduce a “Mitt Romney 15 percent flat tax.”

Perhaps even worse was Romney’s “not very much” comment. His latest financial disclosure form, which covered the period from February 2010 to February 2011, revealed that he earned $374,327 for speeches. The sum is approximately seven times the median household income in the United States.

Those remarks had been preceded by a televised debate at which he gave a muddled response about whether he would release his tax returns.

Romney flubbed the tax-return question for a second time at a debate last Thursday, eliciting boos from the crowd when he said he would “maybe” follow the example of his late father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, who released 12 years of tax returns when running for the presidency in 1968.

Romney’s mangled syntax on these occasions seems symptomatic of a wider personal unease in discussing his finances. GOP consultants say he needs to get over that discomfort if he is to prove an effective candidate.

Another concern that I have is that Mitt Romney has $20-100 million dollars in his retirement account.

Excerpt:

Like many Americans, Mitt Romney has an individual retirement account. Unlike most Americans, Mr. Romney has between $20.7 million and $101.6 million in it, a big chunk of his fortune.

Experts on estate planning said it is highly unusual to accumulate such a considerable sum in an IRA, an investment vehicle restricted by annual contribution limits. It appears that Mr. Romney’s grew so large mostly because it holds investments in Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he helped start.

[…]Mr. Romney is one of the richest presidential candidates in decades, and his GOP opponents increasingly are trying to turn wealth into a liability. President Barack Obama is expected to do the same if the former Massachusetts governor wraps up the nomination. Mr. Romney’s tax liability has emerged as a debating point in the GOP nominating contest, a proxy for a bigger argument over who should shoulder the nation’s tax burden.

In recent days, Mr. Romney’s rivals have pressed him to release his tax returns. They have attacked him for his role at Bain Capital, the source of his wealth. When Mr. Romney revealed Tuesday that his effective federal income-tax rate had been about 15% in recent years, both the White House and GOP candidates used the number as a cudgel.

[…]Michael Whitty, a lawyer at Vedder Price in Chicago who advises private-equity executives, said it is impossible to determine from Mr. Romney’s public disclosures how the IRA grew so large. Based on its listed holdings, which include many Bain Capital vehicles, Mr. Whitty theorizes Mr. Romney may have invested in Bain funds through a 401(k)-type plan, or directed some of his Bain holdings into such a plan, which he then rolled into an IRA.

How is he going to explain that? This might be one of the reasons why Romney is not releasing his tax returns. He needs to be pounded on this by Gingrich and Santorum until he drops out – we can’t afford to choose a nominee who has no hope of beating Barack Obama.

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Has Obama’s buddy Jon Corzine misplaced $1.2 billion of customer funds?

From the Washington Times.

Excerpt:

The facts are that on Oct. 25, Jon Corzine, a former New Jersey governor, stated he was confident that MF Global would successfully manage its $6.3 billion exposure to European debt (Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Italy). Yet a week after a failed attempt to sell the company, MF Global filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Oct. 31.

Now let’s discuss the failure of management at MF Global. Mr. Corzine who is considered by many one of the smartest fixed-income minds in the business took immeasurable risk with the capital of his firm. It was revealed that the company was leveraged 40-1. In summary, the company only had 2.5 percent equity invested against risk positions. Note: Even in the height of the subprime crisis a 40-1 leverage would have been considered extremely risky, where small movements in underlying positions could represent deleterious outcomes for investors.

Did the great Jon Corzine not learn from the greatest financial meltdown seen in the U.S. economy? The answer is simple, here is another example to the entrusted “gambling with other people’s money.” The irony of this is that in the August 2011 bond deal there is a key clause that states if Mr. Corzine departs as MF Global’s full-time chief executive officer prior to July 1, 2013, because of an appointment to a federal position by the president and confirmation of that appointment by the U.S. Senate, investors would get an additional 1 percent coupon on their existing 6.250 percent bonds. I beg to differ in that the “clause” should have said if Mr. Corzine decides to increase the risk-taking at MF Global similar to previous risk positions at Goldman Sachs, investors should be redeemed their money at 100 cents on the dollar. We will find out more but another concern, there is approximately $600 million of unaccounted for customer funds.

UPDATE: The figure is now $1.2 billion.

Excerpt:

The court-appointed trustee overseeing MF Global’s bankruptcy says up to $1.2 billion is missing from customer accounts, double what the firm had reported to regulators last month.

Obama is the Solyndra president. He’s been raiding the public coffers to reward his billionaire campaign fundraisers from day 1 with from his “stimulus” funding – running 1.3 trillion deficits to pay off all the people who got him elected. The young people who will have to pay off this debt still keep voting for him like lemmings – they have no idea about his connections to rich Wall Street bankers. They buy the rhetoric. And the Obama-media has no interest of informing anyone about his connections to dodgy people and organizations.

Look for Corzine to get a presidential pardon in 2012, when Obama leaves office.

Richest hedge fund managers gave 98% of contributions to Democrats

Story here on Big Government. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

The world’s top-earning hedge fund managers have bankrolled almost exclusively Democratic campaigns.

The top 10 highest-paid hedge fund managers in 2009 have dished out campaign contributions almost only to Democrats.

Over their lifetimes, those managers have given almost $33 million in campaign contributions to Democrats, according to research by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and that is based on data maintained by the nonpartisan CQMoneyline.

The same managers gave roughly $600,000 to Republicans, according to the research. The contributions went 98 percent to Democrats and two percent to Republicans.

But there’s more:

As the Senate prepares to debate possibly hundreds of amendments to a Wall Street overhaul bill, labor unions and others have criticized the bill for not having tough restrictions on hedge funds.

“It’s very disconcerting to see this legislation moving forward that gives them a complete pass,” said Heather Slavkin, of AFL-CIO.

I wonder if the two facts are connected in some way? Maybe.

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    New York Times admits that GM repaid its bailout loans with TARP loan money

    Story here in the radically-leftist New York Times. (H/T Hot Air)

    Excerpt:

    AS we inch closer to a clearer understanding of the products and practices that unleashed the credit crisis of 2008, it’s becoming apparent that those seeking the whole truth are still outnumbered by those aiming to obscure it. This is the case not only on Wall Street but also in Washington.

    Truth seekers the nation over, therefore, are indebted to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who in recent days uncovered what he called a government-enabled “TARP money shuffle.” It relates to General Motors, which on April 21 paid the balance of its $6.7 billion loan under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

    G.M. trumpeted its escape from the program as evidence that it had turned the corner in its operations. “G.M. is able to repay the taxpayers in full, with interest, ahead of schedule, because more customers are buying vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse,” boasted Edward E. Whitacre Jr., its chief executive.

    G.M. also crowed about its loan repayment in a national television ad and the United States Treasury also marked the moment with a press release: “We are encouraged that G.M. has repaid its debt well ahead of schedule and confident that the company is on a strong path to viability,” said Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary.

    Taxpayers are naturally eager for news about bailout repayments. But what neither G.M. nor the Treasury disclosed was that the company simply used other funds held by the Treasury to pay off its original loan.

    This is what you get when you appoint a tax-cheat to be the Treasury Secretary.

    Here’s what we need to understand about government bailouts. There should never be any such thing as a government bailout. GM and these other bailed-out companies made bad decisions that put them at a competitive disadvantage with respect to their competitors. The Obama administration bailed out these failing companies with money from other hard-working individuals and successful companies, including small businesses. The Obama administration did this for political gain with its favored special interest groups, e.g. – unionized labor,  wall street bankers and GSE executives. Those are the groups that got Obama elected, and he paid them back with “bailouts”. Government has no right to get involved with bailing out their buddies with my money and your money.

    I remember when people use to complain about profit margins of 8% in some big corporations when Bush was President. But at least they earned that money by selling things that people needed and freely chose to buy. They did operate on a government-backed expense account. Sometimes I wonder whether all of these problems are caused because we elect spoiled-brat, silver-spoon liberals who spent their entire lives getting into trouble and then begging their parents, (and grandparents, in Obama’s case), for bailout money. Maybe they are just making policy based on their experiences in making irresponsible choices and then being bailed out by their parents?

    Did GM pay off its bailout loans by using other government loans?

    Story from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.

    Moderate Republican Chuck Grassley, who supported Obama’s bailouts, wants to know how GM paid off their debts. He wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

    Excerpt:

    General Motors (GM) yesterday announced that it repaid its TARP loans. I am concerned, however, that this announcement is not what it seems. In fact, it appears to be nothing more than an elaborate TARP money shuffle.

    On Tuesday of this week, Mr. Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for TARP, testified before the Senate Finance Committee. During his testimony Mr. Barofsky addressed GM’s recent debt repayment activity, and stated that the funds GM is using to repay its TARP debt are not coming from GM earnings.

    Instead, GM seems to be using TARP funds from an escrow account at Treasury to make the debt repayments. The most recent quarterly report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for TARP says “The source of funds for these quarterly [debt] payments will be other TARP funds currently held in an escrow account.” See, Office of the Special Inspector General for TARP, Quarterly Report to Congress dated April 20, 2010, page 115.

    Furthermore, Exhibit 99.1 of the Form 8K filed by GM with the SEC on November 16, 2009, seems to confirm that the source of funds for GM’s debt repayments was a multi-billion dollar escrow account at Treasury—not from earnings.

    […]In reality, it looks like GM merely used one source of TARP funds to repay another. The taxpayers are still on the hook, and whether TARP funds are ultimately recovered depends entirely on the government’s ability to sell GM stock in the future. Treasury has merely exchanged a legal right to repayment for an uncertain hope of sharing in the future growth of GM. A debt-for-equity swap is not a repayment.

    Ed summarizes:

    In other words, this is just a shell game. As Jim Vicevich points out, it’s akin to paying off your Visa credit card with your Mastercard — and then bragging about your financial condition. Taxpayers are still on the hook for GM. Nothing at all has changed.

    Instead, we have another good reason for government to refrain from bailing out private companies. It makes them act like government when it comes to transparency about their finances. This claim really does prove that GM now stands for Government Motors.

    Michelle Malkin also has a good column here about MORE connections between Democrats and rich Wall Street investment bankers. The Democrats are tightly connected with large corporations and investment banks. As a small government conservative, I find this alarming and unsettling. I believe in separation of government and corporations.