Romney: ‘Big businesses are doing fine’
August 24th, 2012
01:10 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney: ‘Big businesses are doing fine’

(CNN) – In calling for a broader, simplified tax code, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday that bigger businesses, in knowing how to utilize loopholes in the tax code, are "doing fine in many places" compared to small businesses.

"We've got to make it easier for small businesses," Romney told a crowd of about 300 people at a high-dollar fundraiser in Minnesota. "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. But small business is getting crushed."

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Romney's running mate Paul Ryan made similar comments in an interview earlier Friday, also in arguing for what the duo says would be a tax code more conductive to a competitive economic system.

"By plugging loopholes, which are uniquely enjoyed by higher income individuals, you're reducing their ability to shelter their income from taxation," Ryan said. "Therefore, more of their income is subject to taxation and that allows us to lower tax rates for everybody in America–families, small businesses."

The Romney and Ryan plan includes proposals that primarily emphasize reducing tax rates while maintaining tax breaks for savings and investment. More specifically, the plan calls for an extension for all of the Bush tax cuts, including a tax break on an annual income of more than $250,000. The Republicans' plan also calls for reducing the individual income tax rate by 20%, eliminating the estate tax, eliminating the alternative minimum tax, and reducing the corporate income tax.

The Obama administration has attacked Romney's tax proposal as detrimental to the middle class. Obama has rejected the Republican supported tax proposal while calling for an extension of the Bush tax cuts only on income of under $250,000 and, furthermore, tapping wealthier individuals to pay a higher tax rate, which he calls the Buffett Rule.

"Here's the thing, he's not asking you to contribute more to pay down the deficit, or to invest in our kids' education. He's asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a tax cut," Obama said this month at a campaign event in Mansfield, Ohio, pointing to a report by the Tax Policy Center that concludes that Romney's economic plan would provide large tax cuts to high-income households while increasing the tax burdens on low to middle income taxpayers.

The Romney campaign took issue with the study, saying that it doesn't take into account the Republican candidate's full tax program and ignores benefits created by the corporate tax plan and proposal for deficit reduction in the Romney plan.

Romney's personal finances have been a topic on the campaign trail since the former Massachusetts governor and successful businessman entered the presidential race.

Critics have cited Romney's off-shore account holdings as evidence of the former Bain Capital executive's willingness to use loopholes in the tax code to his benefit. His financial disclosures suggest his net worth is as high as $264 million, making him one of the wealthiest candidates in history to seek the U.S. presidency.

Additionally, Romney's refusal to release more years of tax returns have fueled Democrats attacks that the presumptive GOP nominee is playing by a different set of rules.

Romney has released tax returns from 2010 and an estimate for 2011, thus far, refusing to release more years of returns.

Romney and his campaign have rejected the calls for more financial transparency as a ploy from the Obama campaign to avoid talking about major issues facing the nation like the economy.

Romney's comments may stir political memories of a comment made by Obama in a June news conference saying "the private sector's doing fine." The Romney campaign seized on the comment using the gaffe as evidence that the president is out-of-touch with the ailing economy.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Taxes
soundoff (189 Responses)
  1. Slimj091

    well Romney should know a lot about how big business uses every loophole and underhanded trick to avoid paying much in taxes. he used nearly all of them. so i have to ask Gov. Romney. why do you hate wealthy Americans? why do you hate yourself Romney? why?

    August 24, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  2. Logic N LA

    Funny, when Obama said the same thing Romney said he was out of touch.
    And, despite Romney's claim, small business have had a lot of help in the past three years. but since he's a big business guy, he wouldn't know that.

    August 24, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  3. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    Mittens: "They [big businesses] 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."

    Did you catch that, folks? Mittens just said that big businesses (and wealthy Americans) avoid paying their fair share in taxes by putting their cash in "low tax havens around the world."

    If Mittens really believes in America, then why does he hide his money overseas? And why does he want to lower taxes even further on these big businesses and wealthy Americans – so they can hide even MORE money?

    August 24, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  4. GIUK

    Now there's a subject Mittens knows lots about. Tax loopholes.

    August 24, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  5. fire0bama

    Why is 0bama attacking the Romney/Ryan plan that will close the loopholes for the rich people? Isn't this what we want?

    0bama is so dishonest and he lies constantly.

    August 24, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  6. enuff

    And Romney knows personally where to hide his income in different countries to avoid taxes. By the way, big corporations = you didn't build that. Your employees did. While you collected the benefits and hid them in off shore accounts.

    August 24, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  7. Bob

    As an economist and a Democrat, I agree with Mitt Romney on this one. The USA should look to Canada for it's simple and very effective tax code.

    Actually, Romney's idea is so sensible here that I almost can't believe it is coming from a member of the GOP. They soundly rejected it earlier this year and called it a 'tax increase' when Obama proposed it.

    August 24, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  8. The Social Critic

    Two points: 1) If Republicans would drop the tax break for people earning more than $250,000 they would be more credible for people earning less than $250,000 per year — meaning most voters. 2) If Republicans had nominated ANYBODY besides Mitt Romney they would have more credibility on healthcare. Obamacare is modeled after Romneycare, a plan that was once considered an accomplishment! Republicans are losing credibility because they are not making an attempt to appeal to ordinary Americans. If they continue to strive be the party of the proverbial 1 percent, GOP candidates will attract that percent of the popular vote, if not this time around, sooner or later. Theirs would appear to be a case of "diminishing returns" as American affluence — and middle class security specifically — wanes.

    August 24, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  9. craig

    Yup, big business is doing just fine. Ask GE. They made billions and paid NO TAXES. In fact, they actually have a tax credit they can carry over. Yeah, that's "just fine" by any definition. Now, how about they pay their share and either give the rest of us a break, or maybe pay down that debt you keep preaching about? How about THAT, Rmoney?

    Apparently we don't need those additional tax cuts for the big spenders that you're proposing, do we? How do you explain your positions? Time to shake the Etch-a-Sketch again? When the President said "big business is doing fine, you laughed. Now...what's different? Why shouldn't we laugh now?

    August 24, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  10. AmericanWaxwing

    Absolutely voting for Romney & Ryan. Time for some solid leadership in Washington. Time to get people back to work.

    August 24, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  11. tammyk tammy

    A while back when Obama said the private sector businesses were doing fine the repuglicans jumped all over him. Now Rmoney admits private sector big business is doing well, but where are the jobs? COULD THEY BE HOLDING OFF ON HIRING TO MAKE OBAMA LOOK BAD? Nice that Rmoney finally admits that the manipulative use of off shore tax havens and loopholes by big business and the wealthy have a crushing effect on small business and the middle class. Wonder how much tax manipulation he used. Alas, he won't be releasing those tax returns, but we should just magically believe he will now put an end to the system which he used so well to benefit himself to the detriment of many others. Yes, greedy GOPigs can fly if the little people will just believe in him and then get out of their way.

    August 24, 2012 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  12. Jack Lord

    They flipped out ridiculing Obama for saying that.

    August 24, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  13. Jbow

    Thanks mitt, why dont you mention the sky is blue while youre at it?!

    August 24, 2012 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  14. Dave in Texas

    The rich are fat and happy. Now Romney wants to lower their taxes even more.
    Did you know Romney would pay less than 1% in income taxes under the Ryan plan?
    That's how the GOP rolls!!

    August 24, 2012 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  15. zooni

    I don't believe Romney said that. quote "Mitt Romney said Friday that bigger businesses, in knowing how to utilize loopholes in the tax code, are "doing fine in many places" compared to small businesses." Show your taxes Romney and the GOP supporters will see they are being robbed.

    August 24, 2012 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  16. Ramrod

    No more "tax break" manipulations; fix the tax code. Tax income = government spending.
    Corporations should pay 1% administrative fee on GROSS income and 0% tax, but must distribute all profits to sharholders. No retained earnings, no more 100 billion cash reserves a la Apple.

    August 24, 2012 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  17. joseph

    There are so many great business people out there who are ethical, trying to do the right thing, and firmly believe in treating their employees with respect and like family members. It is unfortunate that we call what Mitt Romney has as 'business experience.' He headed up a vulture fund which created immense wealth for the investors, whether the ultimate enterprises succeeded or not. If they succeeded, the returns were substantial; if they failed, the returns were just so-so.

    Please don't use Mitt Romney as an example of a successful business person. That demeans the hard work of many entrepreneurs and CEO's who deal with real world problems without resorting to cheating and questionable tactics that are only available to the elite.

    August 24, 2012 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  18. john

    It's okay for a Republican to say that big business is doing fine but it's not okay for a Democrat, hmmh?
    I don't know who is stupid here. More likely those who agreed with Romney yet disagreed with Obama when they both in fact stating the same thing.

    August 24, 2012 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  19. chedar888

    If Romney don't release his tax return for the next 10 years. It's an insults to the american voters. In refusing to show his income tax, it is like saying his experience is only 1 year and x months. How will the citizen of the US of A hire this guy as a CEO of this nation. If he is Not thrustworthy to American people.

    August 24, 2012 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  20. chedar888

    Here is Romney to the American people: You Play My Way or the Highway.

    August 24, 2012 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  21. Purush

    Mitt.... Big businsses doing fine. Did I hear you correctly? You said it or was it a gaffe?

    August 24, 2012 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  22. Name dff

    It's his business and his money. I think liberals should worry about their own finances.

    August 24, 2012 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  23. Iamnotfooled

    Big businesses are doing fine. Didn't President Obama say that? Romney just admitted it along with confessing everything he is doing, like using all loopholes, and hiding his money in foreign accounts with low tax havens. Unbelieveable. I see an Obama ad coming up with this in it. They went NUTS when Obama said the Private sector was doing fine. Hypocrites.

    August 24, 2012 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  24. desertbro

    If big business is doing fine, and Robmey's not worried about the poor, then why doesn't he try to help all us folks in the middle, instead of yanking away our health care, our retirement plan, our sweat-earned money, and our voting rights?

    August 24, 2012 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  25. Kilgore Trout

    Romney, what a scammer.

    August 24, 2012 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
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