Aug 16

This post appeared in my short-lived site It existed because I was interested in an ongoing dialog of how Romney’s policies would affect the economy, combined with my belief that this man had nothing in common with the average American. An ongoing series of Romney posts at this site would have grown tedious, and too political. That said, when Obama won a second term, the site’s existence became moot. This was one article I had published which linked from, and I’ve moved it here to avoid a bad link.

As both of my readers (sorry, are there 4 yet?) know, the democrats have requested that Romney produce 5 years worth of returns, nothing new there. But. yesterday, I’m watching CNN, and our President is telling the crowd during a speech, if you see Mitt Romney later, ask him why he won’t show five years worth of returns.


In a “yes, my life is strange” moment, a couple hours later, I’m in a restaurant on Nantucket. A friend tells me Mitt Romney is now on the island. Ok. Small island but a hundred restaurants. As we’re finishing our meal, the eagle has landed. The kid hands me her phone to snap a photo of my thumb and Romney. Right after the shot, I call out “five years returns, sir.” Secret service tells me to quiet down, so I wait till he’s out the door, still ignoring me and I repeat my line to mild applause from within the restaurant. I go back to my table and ask my wife and daughter what the odds are. They both respond “One in three.” It’s a family joke, as I’ve had some remarkable coincidences happen over the years.

This issue may be the one thing that wont go away. If, in fact, his average tax rate turns out to be 13%, just produce the returns. A capital gain rate of 15% and some large donations (good for him, no criticism regarding lowering your taxes this way) and his rate may have been 13%. But unless and until he shows his returns, it will be like when a certain moron real estate developer kept going on camera asking POTUS to produce his birth certificate. For a $25 donation I got a “Made in US” mug showing a miniature copy of that certificate.

I know you heard me, Mr Romney, and I know you’ll hear it from others, show the returns, Five Years Returns!

Update – The above occurred Saturday night; on Sunday morning my wife Googled [Romney Millies Nantucket] to find a brief newswire story about the visit. AP referenced this with “Several Millie’s patrons wished Romney well. But one man shouted “five years’ returns.” He was alluding to Democrats’ demands that Romney release five years of his tax returns instead of two.” Pretty cool, but I did call him “Sir” as indicated in the post title.

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Jul 19

I saw a few minutes of a speech President Obama recently gave. Here’s the paragraph that seems to be getting the focus:

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

While that was what was what the news liked to show, the speech continued:

“The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together.  That’s how we funded the GI Bill.  That’s how we created the middle class.  That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam.  That’s how we invented the Internet.  That’s how we sent a man to the moon.  We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for president – because I still believe in that idea.  You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.”

All in all, this sounded like “we’re all in this together, and even those who are successful had the opportunity and the work of those before them which helped their success.” If you take a step back, this isn’t an insult, it’s a fact. Warren Buffet was a student of Benjamin Graham. Graham authored the bible of investing titled Security Analysis. He also wrote the more easily read The Intelligent Investor. Is Buffet not a self-made man? Of course he is, but he’ll be the first to pay homage to his mentor, Ben Graham. Bill Gates founded Microsoft, but you knew that. A software company can’t exist without hardware, the processor it runs on. Gates is no less a success for this fact, it’s just a truism, he built on what came before him, and he did so very, very successfully. I think it’s fair to say that anyone who is successful would be happy to point to a teacher, a mentor, someone they look up to as a positive influence. The US is a land of opportunity, and to suggest that there was someone before you who literally paved the road so people could drive to your business or bridge so your town is accessible takes nothing away from that success.

Back to the President’s speech. This is the soundbite the media has latched onto – “If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.” A WTF moment. Parse out the sentence, “You didn’t build that.” “That” refers to the roads and bridges from the prior sentence.

Now, Romney, instead of ignoring an ignorant out of context clip, hops on the bandwagon, “to suggest that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple……”

Mr Romney, I’d expect more from you, sir. I’d expect you to read the whole Obama speech, understand his message, and not hop on the ignorance train. Because you’ve already stepped on your own feet. You’re not concerned about the poor, but no context changes that. That particular speech you gave made it clear. That speech showed that you are very disconnected from the population you wish to govern. Larry Kudlow (CNBC program host) – I’m surprised at you as well, repeating the out of context few words and ignoring the spirit of the speech.


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Jan 10

As Saturday’s political cartoon Is There a (viable) Republican Candidate? suggested, it seems there’s some anti-Romney sentiment even within the party. When watching this past Friday’s Washington Week with Gwen Ifil, she used the expression “Anti-Romney Rubric” the implication being the party itself might prefer it had another front runner.

Last month, a regular reader and sometime guest poster Elle led me to an article in the New York Times, Two Romneys: Wealthy Man, Thrifty Habits. In this article, the comparison to Warren Buffet seemed clear to Elle and me as well. The article quotes Mitt as saying “Just because you can afford something doesn’t mean you should buy it.” He’s rich, for sure, but he’s not a show off. Not only doesn’t he own a plane, but he shoots for discount fares on Jet Blue as a regular means of travel.

We still have over ten months until election day, and I’m keeping an open mind so far. When comparing the candidates’ plans for the economy, it seems that Romney will seek moderate changes, a bit of tinkering. Others’ plans appear too radical to stand a chance. 9/9/9? Never happen. Ron Paul’s elimination of the individual tax, along with the federal reserve? I can’t see even his own party voting these radical changes into law.

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Jun 08

Our President offered the Muslim world an olive branch in a speech he gave in Cairo last week. Here, I offer a Wordle of the text of that speech, I continue to be fascinated by this image, which is created by analyzing a text document and adjusting the size of a given word for how many times it appears in that text. The only adjustment I made was to delete the word applause from the transcript I downloaded. (Note, A right click will let you view the image full size) Enjoy.


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