"Renaissance Thinking About the Issues of Our Day"
In Hour 2, Thom mentioned the TPM article on Romney's IRA account and how/why it could be worth as much as $102 million despite individual limits on annual contributions. Basically, most reporters on this subject are only speculating about the possible background calculations behind Romney's IRS filings. [ http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/07/romney-offshore-ira-tax-avoid... ]
That TPM article (by Brian Beutler, not Josh Marshall) references a detailed Reuters article on the subject from January 23 titled "How did Romney's IRA grow so big?" [ http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/24/us-usa-campaign-romney-ira-idU... ]
Nick Shaxson also addresses this issue in Vanity Fair with "Where The Money Lives," suggesting that one possible explanation is Mitt deposited deliberately undervalued "special" shares in his IRA via an IRS loophole, which then skyrocketed in value. [ http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/08/investigating-mitt-romney-off... ] An expert on valuation methods suggested that whatever the valuations were, Romney might have been “pushing the envelope.”
Bottom line: a shorthand way to refer to this systematic tax avoidance is to call it a "turducken." That's a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a big turkey. Whether it's "investment income," or capital gains, or carried interest, or IRS loopholes, or hedge fund returns, one thing is certain: it's all cooked offshore and Mitt Romney's family is walking away from the table stuffed with cash.