Filed under “Uh, so what?”

Dec 17 2007

From the Los Angeles Times, via a WSJ email snippet this morning:

Los Angeles Times: While in private business, Mitt Romney — whose presidential campaign cites his record of closing state tax loopholes as Massachusetts governor — used shell companies in two offshore tax havens to help eligible investors avoid paying U.S. taxes, federal and state records show. Mr. Romney gained no personal tax benefit from the legal operations in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, but his aides and former colleagues acknowledged that the tax-friendly jurisdictions helped attract billions of additional investment dollars to Mr. Romney’s former company, Bain Capital, and thus boosted profits for Romney and his partners.

Sadly, this tells me nothing I didn’t already know about Mitt Romney – he’s clearly a smart guy, and he’s clearly a competent businessman. Whether either of those makes him the best suited presidential candidate is both another thing completely and a matter which doesn’t concern me at all right now.

However, the intimation that there’s some undercurrent of hypocrisy here strikes me as overbaked by half – he used the system, properly & as designed, to benefit those to whom he had a fiduciary duty. The fact that he and his partners boosted their profits from having satisfied their clients strikes me as precisely the result he expected, and deserved.

Surely there are other crucial things about him we need to know, but this ain’t on that list.