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Mitt's Taxes

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This morning, former Gov. Mitt Romney released his taxes from last year, and a prospective look at what he will file this year. Over both years, Romney made $42.5 million and will have paid $6.2 million in taxes when he files in April. In 2010, Romney's effective tax rate was 13.9% and his accountants anticipate he will pay an effective rate of 15.4% this year. The Romneys gave $7 million to charities during these two years.

Romney pays a lower rate than most of us because almost all of his income was derived from capital gains on investments. When Ronald Reagan and Bill Bradley negotiated the last serious overhaul of the tax code, they eliminated a special rate for capital gains. The lower rate for capital gains was reinstated by President Bill Clinton in the late 90's in exchange for special tax breaks Clinton wanted. It was one of Clinton's biggest mistakes.

No, I'm Not Becoming a Republican

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The response to my article announcing that I could not vote for President Obama again, in light of his decision to keep an exceedingly narrow conscience exemption to the HHS mandates, has certainly garnered a great deal of attention. I thank everyone who has commented.

But, one of the more frequent comments seems to me misplaced, namely, those that suggest I shall now be a Republican.

Teixeira on Hispanic Vote

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Roy Teixeira has an article up today at TNR that focuses on the critical importance of the Hispanic vote in the upcoming presidential race. Although President Obama has not delivered anything like a real push for comprehensive immigration reform, and has exceeded previous administrations in the number of deportations, the GOP nominating contest has dragged that party into the far-reaches of the "deport 'em all" approach to immigration associated previously with such outliers at Tom Tancredo. Mitt Romney is especially virulent in his anti-immigration stance, using that as the one issue on which he can try to outflank Gingrich and Santorum from the right.

If Latinos in New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado back Obama and carry those states, getting to 270 electoral votes becomes much, mcuh easier for Obama and much, much more complicated for the republican nominee, whoever it is.

On To Florida

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Newt Gingrich did not defeat Mitt Romney on Saturday. He thumped him. Gingrich won in all but three counties in the Palmetto State, and won every age and income demographic with one exception. Mr. Romney won among those who make more than $200,000 per annum. The 1% stood by their own.

The size of Gingrich’s victory was startling and it was principally the result of a single fact, one unlikely to repeat itself: Gingrich had a great week last week and Romney had a dreadful week. If they had both had good weeks, or more likely, both had so-so weeks, the margin would have been tighter. But, going forward, it is vital that both campaigns focus in particular on why Newt’s week was so good and why Mitt’s was so bad as they craft their strategy for the rest of the race.

UPDATED: White House refuses to expand conscience exemption

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UPDATE: This article now includes the statement from the USCCB on the HHS decision.

To say that news of the decision by President Obama not to expand the conscience exemption for church-affiliated institutions who do not wish to cover birth control is a disaster would be a gross understatement. I'll explain my thoughts on the subject in a subsequent post.

But one sentence in the statement from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stands out: “The administration remains fully committed to its partnerships with faith-based organizations, which promote healthy communities and serve the common good.”

RC Leaders Challenge Gingrich & Santorum

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An illustrious collection of Catholic leaders has signed an open letter to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Senator Rick Santorum, asking them to refrain from racial stereotyping and other demeaning comments as they seek the GOP nod for the presidency. The signatories remind the candidates that racism is an "intrinsic evil."

Hope is a Christian virtue and a splendid thing, and hoping that GOP candidates will refrain from dog whistling about race in the midst of a South Carolina primary shows that hope can spring eternal, even when the likelihood of it attaining fruition is slim indeed.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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