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Unearthing Romney's booty

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What a blessing to have Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee for president!

It's a blessing because he is a living portrait of Mr. Wall Street Man, and, as his candidacy unfolds, it's allowing us commoners to get a peek into how the privileged few rig the rules for their own gain — at our expense. Obviously.

Romney is, of course, a full-fledged initiate in the Uppermost One-Tenth of the 1-Percenters Club, with at least a quarter-billion dollars stashed away, and apparently much more that he's trying to hide from voters.

It's not his wealth, however, that's troubling — we've had many rich politicians who have become admirable servants of the common good. Rather, it's how Romney got his and where he's put it.

The "how" has now been well documented: Romney's corporate takeover outfit, Bain Capital, practiced the hocus-pocus of legalized Wall Street robbery known as private equity deals.

Bain continues to put millions in Mitt's pocket, even as it has bankrupted companies, cut thousands of jobs, and slashed workers' pay.

But where did he put his booty? We don't know about all of it, for Romney keeps playing a shrewd game of hide-and-seek with it, refusing to release his tax returns or fully report his holdings on legally required disclosure forms.

Good investigative reporters, however, are now digging out some rich little nuggets, such as his secret, $3 million Swiss bank account that had been used to bet against the U.S. dollar.

That's legal, I guess, but not nice.

Also uncovered is his tax shelter in the Cayman Islands, where he uses a tricky dodge called a "blocker corporation" to shield his IRA investments from business taxes and from public scrutiny.

Other assets turn out to be hidden in offshore accounts and tax havens in Australia, Bermuda, Luxembourg, and elsewhere.

How sneaky!

As the old saying goes, Romney can run, but he can't hide.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.

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