Despite representing what is supposedly the party of fiscal conservatives, two of the five Republican presidential candidates are receiving tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded pensions, and front-runner Mitt Romney has deposited millions of his personal dollars in the Cayman Islands to avoid taxes.
Newt Gingrich is one of over 350 former US lawmakers and congressional staff receiving a federal pension of over $100,000 a year. Rick Perry gets a Texas state pension of over $92,000 a year in addition to his governor's salary. This seems questionable for two candidates who repeatedly denounce excessive government spending.
Meanwhile, Romney has between $10 million and $25 million in accounts in the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax haven. Because of his Cayman accounts--and the fact that much of his Bain income was classified as capital gains rather than ordinary income--Romney has been paying a far lower percentage in taxes (about 15 percent of his earnings) than most Americans.
So it seems extremely unlikely that the next president, no matter who it is, will do anything to reform the tax code. Obama and the Democrats will use Romney's low tax payments as yet another argument for raising tax rates, despite the number of millionaires and billionaires (Obama, Pelosi, Kerry, etc) in the party leadership. That's because they know that they can continue to exploit loopholes in the tax code, and only those who are less politically connected will be hit by the tax hike. Assuming he gets the Republican nomination, I cannot imagine Romney--a Wall Street millionaire with numerous accounts in the Cayman Islands--to do anything about tax loopholes. The Republicans seem to think that they can have their cake and eat it too by cutting tax rates while keeping loopholes and congressional pensions in place. Is it a coincidence that the last three Republican administrations have run massive deficits nearly every year?