Fred Thompson Explains How Tax Returns Work: Let's Say There's a Guy Watching Pornography...
Dadgum bumblebee-belchin' hoopdy bumbler mcdoo Fred Thompson, the former Senator who was convinced to "run for president" in 2008 because he drove a pick-up truck, has finally weighed in on the issue of Mitt Romney's undisclosed tax returns. Writing at National Review, which is trying to reestablish its cred after publishing that editorial a few weeks ago telling Romney to release his returns, the ol' derper says, shucks, well I says, I says don't release those taxy money-papers to the presscritters -- just ignore those dumblydoodlies; they don't deserve nothin' so much in the way of informinatin' and such like. The whole media sitchee-ation's a lot like pornography, what with the watchin', and the frownin', and the no-goodin'. (Fred Thompson has written a poor column.)
Starting with the second paragraph:
These tax-return demands are just one of the ways politics gives us an excuse for doing what we could not otherwise get away with.
An adult watching movies every day during daylight hours would be frowned upon (unless he were a movie critic). A middle-aged man poring over reams of pornographic material would be ostracized (unless he were a judge hearing a case about that subject matter). But a political race allows us, as “concerned citizens,” to consume information about what a candidate did with his lunch money in junior high, as well as whom his wife dated when she was a teenager.
As far as perennial guilty political pleasures go, none has achieved a greater and more predictable status than reviewing the tax return.
Thank god he put in those parenthetical caveats, otherwise Fred Thompson might have been in danger of writing stupid analogies! (This deserves further consideration: "A middle-aged man poring over reams of pornographic material would be ostracized"? Fred, writing columns in a major political media outlet hardly counts as ostracism. Another reason that this doesn't stand up is that there are more than zero middle-aged men in the world who have not been ostracized.)
Oooh, now he's going to teach us about retirement contributions:
Oftentimes, the more successful a person has been, the longer and more complicated his or her tax return will be. It is, therefore, that much more target-rich for the opposition. The thought of the selective and misleading use of a “rich guy’s” tax return makes the political ad man’s mouth water.
A small example: There is a provision in the tax law that allows a business owner, large or small, to set up a retirement account and not pay taxes on income that goes into that account until the money is drawn out, possibly years later. You must include and set aside money for your employees, too, although you can have as few as one employee. This deferral of taxes on the retirement contribution, of course, makes your taxable income less. This in turn lowers the current percentage of taxes paid on gross income.
In everyday life, such retirement accounts are considered sound and responsible. In the political world, such retirement planning is tailor-made for the 30-second unscrupulous ad.
Indeed. In everyday life, it is considered sound and responsible to put away $6,000 each year towards one's retirement. That's why most retirees have 100 million dollars now.