Meet the Guy Who Picks Up 15 Tons of Trash Mitt Is Trying to Shortchange

AFSCME has launched a fascinating campaign, introducing people to the current sanitation worker, a former one, and the firetruck maintenance guy who service Mitt’s La Jolla home.

It’s a great campaign for the way it makes the invisible consequences of Mitt’s hatred for government–and the 47%–visible. 15 tons of trash, Mitt’s trash man collects, yet Mitt thinks there should be fewer people picking up his and his neighbors’ trash.

But there’s one more piece missing: Mitt’s efforts to avoid paying his fair share for precisely these services. Remember, right after Mitt bought this home, he tried to claim it lost 45% of its value. When that didn’t work, he hired a lawyer to fight to lower his tax bill paying for precisely these kinds of services. Ultimately, this man worth at least a quarter billion fought for years so he could avoid paying $109,357 over four years.

But he tried to drop his yearly tax bill by enough to support one of these jobs.

I want to look at Mitt’s original claim–that his house had lost almost 45% of its value in less than a year. That claim was higher even than the property decline all the houses in his zip code experienced in the two years after he bought the house.

Working for the Romneys, Streb concluded that the entire 92037 ZIP Code had suffered a 41% decline in average sales prices between the first six months of 2008 and the six months preceding his appraisal in October 2010. He settled on a value of $7.5 million for the Romney home.

Had Mitt’s outrageous claim been successful, he would have saved something like $75,000 a year. This amounts to Mitt, buying a pricey home at a time when any half-witted being knew home values were crashing, turning around almost immediately and asking for a discount for buying at a time of falling values. But for a county struggling with the effects of banksters ruining the wealth of its much more average residents, it amounts to a real churlishness about the common good.

The LAT ends by justifying Mitt’s efforts to save what amount to a few pennies on property taxes.

“I would think it’s foolish not to request a decline in value if you are entitled,” said Paul Habibi, who teaches real estate finance and development in the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management. “That’s like saying a rich man should not bend over to pick up a hundred dollar bill.”

Or you could look it another way. Most rich men, standing over a hundred dollar bill next to a poor kid, would let the kid take the bill. Not Mitt. He’s gonna hire a lawyer to elbow the kid away from the cash so he can pocket it himself.

So it’s not just that Mitt shows undue appreciation for the people who work hard to protect his La Jolla home and keep it clean. He has taken aggressive steps to make sure these specific individuals don’t get paid.

I guess Mitt plans on picking up those 15 tons of trash himself?

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

17 replies
  1. Linnaeus says:

    I suppose I shouldn’t be, but I still am amazed from time to time when I see people like Romney fighting over what amounts to pocket change for them, and that pocket change is still well in excess of the salary of the best-paying jobs I have ever held.

  2. OrionATL says:

    i’ve mentioned before, one of candidate romney’s outstanding personal characteristics is being miserly – he’s a real pennypincher.

    these unusual characteristics of would-be presidents rarely get attention until after they are in office acting on them.

  3. KWillow says:

    Its quite possible that Mitt paid his lawyer as much if not more than the $26K he saved. Rich people seem to loathe the very notion of “their” money benefitting anyone but THEM.

  4. bmaz says:

    You pick 15 tons
    and what do you get
    Another day older and
    deeper in debt

    You pick 15 tons
    and what do you get
    A jerkoff politician
    and a dick like Mitt

    Oh St. Peterr don’t call me
    cause I can’t go
    Mitt tied my dog to the roof
    of the Bain company store

  5. Peterr says:

    Dude — you left out the best, and most appropriate, verse:

    If you see me comin’, better step aside
    A lotta men didn’t, a lotta men died
    One fist of iron, the other of steel
    If the right one don’t a-get you
    Then the left one will

  6. bmaz says:

    @Peterr:

    If you see me coming
    better step aside
    A lof men didn’t
    and a lot of men were fired

    One fist of Mormon
    the other of greed
    With multiple wives
    i’ll plant my seed

  7. OrionATL says:

    @bmaz: @bmaz:

    first-rate lyricizing, bmaz, but there’s some spelling errors lurking there:

    “one fist of mormon”

    should be

    “one fist of mammon”

    AND

    “and the other of steel”

    should be

    “and the other of steal”

  8. P J Evans says:

    @greengiant:
    In Los Angeles, the city only picks up from single-family residences, except for large-item pickup, which is by request.
    Other areas may differ – trash pickup is at the local level.

  9. OrionATL says:

    @OrionATL:

    note the lack of a suit and patent-leather shoes (not to mention socks and underwear),

    or even a checkered shirt nestled amongst some hay bales.

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