Huffpost Politics
Michael McAuliff Headshot

Lindsey Graham: 'It's Really American' To Avoid Taxes Like Mitt Romney Does

Posted: Updated:
Sen. Lindsey Graham sees
Sen. Lindsey Graham sees "nothing wrong with playing the game" of tax avoidance.

WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney shouldn't be criticized for using off-shore tax havens because "it's really American to avoid paying taxes, legally," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday.

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee has come under fire for stashing assets overseas in places like Bermuda and Switzerland.

Graham argued that Congress is responsible for tax avoidance because it has crafted such convoluted rules and said he was fine with Romney's taking advantage of the loopholes.

"As long as it was legal, I'm OK with it," Graham said. "I don't blame anybody for using the tax code to their advantage. I blame us for having it so complicated and confused. Pick a rate and make people pay it."

In the meantime, anything within the rules goes, he argued.

"It's a game we play," Graham said. "Every American tries to find the way to get the most deductions they can. I see nothing wrong with playing the game because we set it up to be a game."

The senator's solution to such gamesmanship is a major overhaul of the tax system, similar to the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan that calls for lowering rates while closing loopholes.

"I want to end the game," Graham said. "I want to make it so simple that you know what you owe, and if you don't pay, we're going to whack the heck out of you. It's a game, and people play the game to their advantage. Sometimes they lose when they play the game. I've got no problem with people playing the game, as long as they don't cheat."

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

Related on HuffPost:

Mitt Romney's Greatest Hits
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Lindsey Graham Breaks With Grover Norquist's Anti-Tax Pledge ...

 
  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Holdover
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results