At a fundraiser on Thursday evening, soon-to-be Republican nominee for president Mitt Romney made a surprising admission. “Big business is doing fine in many places. They get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses.”
Romney’s words seemed to contradict his persistent tactic of denying that any aspect of the economy is faring well under President Obama.
In June, Republicans widely mocked the president after he said, “The private sector is doing fine.” They fixated on the phrase “doing fine,” using the hashtag #doing on Twitter to suggest he is out of touch with the nation’s economic condition. As the president pointed out at the time, nearly a million private sector jobs have been added in 2012 alone. He was contrasting that number with steady job losses in the public sector.
Romney, however, was contrasting small businesses with multinational corporations, such as Bain Capital, which have fared exceptionally well since the financial crisis of 2008. Bain and Romney’s use of “tax havens” has become a issue in the campaign that flared up again on Thursday when Gawker published a trove of Bain documents revealing, according to the New York Times, “aggressive strategies that Bain appears to have used to minimize its investors’ and partners’ tax liabilities.”
If big business is doing fine, budget experts might wonder why Mitt Romney is proposing to give it nearly a trillion dollars in tax breaks, while asking the middle class to pay more. Perhaps this is the corporate reward for mastering the tax code and hiding money off shore — two activities favored by Romney. Think Progress points out that Romney’s expressed concern for small businesses ignores studies showing that the use of tax havens by big business costs smaller businesses an average of $2,116 a year.
For some reason, perhaps a feeling of comfort among wealthy donors, Romney continues to display uncharacteristic candor at campaign fundraisers.
Early this year, he revealed that as president he would cut several cabinet level departments including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, an agency that his father George ran during the Nixon administration. Earlier this week he told a crowd of donors that he wouldn’t reveal details of his energy plan because reporters were present.