Romney’s Master Chicanery

Josh BarroI really don’t like Josh Barro. It’s not just his politics. There is something visceral to my disdain. It could be that in some fundamental way, he’s too much like me. I don’t like to think these things. But whenever I dislike someone more than is strictly reasonable, I have to consider everything. I’ve written about Up With Chris Hayes two times recently, and both times I went out of my way to complain about Josh Barro: in August and September.

Regardless of my feelings toward Barro, I fully admit that he’s a smart guy. And he’s very knowledgeable about one thing I find even more confusing than economics: finance. And earlier today, he pointed out something that shocked me in its cynicism. (I mean that as a compliment.)

As you have probably heard, Romney paid more federal income taxes in 2011 than he had to. He did this so that his promise that he’d never paid less than 13% would be true. But that’s not the end of the story as Barro points out:

Romney won’t have to pay those extra taxes after all. You have three years after filing to amend your tax returns and claim deductions that you missed the first time you filed. So, if Romney loses the election, he can amend his return to claim the deductions he skipped and get a refund check from the government.

There are a couple of notable things about this. First: wow! I knew you could amend your taxes because Romney has done it very publicly a few times. But I didn’t see this one coming. This is like watching a great slight of hand artist work.[1] I love it!

The other thing isn’t about Romney; it’s about Josh Barro. Maybe I was too hasty with that compliment. Maybe he’s just clever and not cynical. At least he’s not as cynical as I am. The first thing I thought after reading that was, “Why would he amend the return only if he loses?”

The truth is that I’m sure that Romney’s accountants are every bit as clever as Barro and as cynical as I am. It’s already in the works. On Wednesday, November 7, Romney’s people will file that amendment. Interest on a quarter million dollars adds up quick. There’s no time to waste!

[1] Another master of chicanery, Ricky Jay:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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