Romney’s Taxing ProblemBy: hawkgrrrl
There has been much ado about the number of years of tax returns Mitt Romney should share as candidate for POTUS. Critics on both sides of the political spectrum as well as the majority of Americans have called for him to release them, and yet he has refused, resulting in speculation that whatever is in them must be damning indeed. Romney supporters want him to release them to clear the air so that speculation will stop. But others (presumably Romney included) see no upside to releasing more than the 2 years he has.
“It’s crazy” not to release several more years of returns, “tomorrow,” says William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard.
So, just what could be in those tax returns? The lost ark of the covenant? Jimmy Hoffa? Imelda Marcos’ shoes?
He’s done something illegal.
His most vociferous critics claim that what he has revealed so far is full of irregularities that raise questions about his integrity. Irregularities they cite include paying a lower tax rate, off shore accounts, and the date he left Bain to go run the Olympics. Others state that his tax returns look just like all rich people’s tax returns.
Who wins if he discloses? If his tax records are copascetic, Romney theoretically wins. But, it’s a defensive win, a hollow victory, and he will be torn apart in the media regardless. Words like “loophole” and qualifiers like “technically not illegal” have been thrown around in the media to further the idea that Romney is untrustworthy, and that’s without him releasing them. At the end of the day, this will end up as another class warfare discussion in the media, with critics concluding that the wealthy hire accounting firms and lawyers to help them wriggle out of paying taxes.
Hawkmaaan and I predicted exactly what Romney’s tax rate would be before he released his first two years, and we were exactly right. How did we know? Because we know the tax code, and we know that people in Romney’s financial situation pay taxes on capital gains.
Given the current state of class warfare in the US, it’s no wonder Romney wants to keep his wealth from becoming a further distraction in this election. It’s out there already. As I blogged about at By Common Consent, he’s wealthy. He has a lot of moolah. Cha-ching. His wife rides horses and drives multiple Cadillacs (which I maintain is an old person car more than a rich person car, natch). Releasing further tax returns just adds a few more zeroes.
Who wins if he discloses? Those who benefit from class warfare; in this case, Obama. IMO, this is pandering to class envy, a time-honoured if not very noble political tradition.
He has paid a lower tax rate than me.
As Romney has stated, he has paid exactly what he owed in taxes and not a penny more. And who would? The government isn’t exactly a charitable foundation. We all pay the amount of taxes required by the tax code. Romney, like many wealthy people, pays most of his taxes on capital gains from his investments because he doesn’t draw a salary. And yet, investors are the ones who bolster the economy and US businesses. If we want higher taxation of capital gains (which will result in less investing), we should tax them at a higher rate, not apply a retroactive charitable giving test to wealthy taxpayers.
According to Bob Webster of WEBCommentary, there’s a perfectly good reason for Romney to refuse to release his tax returns: They “are none of anyone’s business.” The US tax code is a mess, and the media could pick apart the personal returns of anyone at Romney’s income level. In short, it’s a losing situation for Romney if he gives in.
Who wins if he discloses? Those who benefit from class warfare; in this case, Obama. It could also result in more scrutiny of the tax code, but that’s already a known issue that doesn’t need several more years of tax returns to prove or disprove.
He’s paid a LOT in tithing.
Every additional year he releases increases the focus on the amount of tithing Romney has paid to the church, making him sound one Oprah couch-jumping shy of Tom Cruise in his religious enthusiasm. Some assume that tithing contribution equals influence in the church (as with Scientology) or how far entrenched he is in it. Let’s be clear: Mitt’s Mormon. He’s more Mormon than lots of Mormons. But he’s not in the church hierarchy.
Who wins if he discloses? Those who benefit from anti-Mormon OPs; in this case, Obama. And little do the media know that nobody is buying influence with tithing funds. It’s nothing like the Godfather II.
At the end of the day, the media is hoping to expose something the IRS has not found objectionable (do people really think the IRS doesn’t go through the taxes of the 1% with a fine tooth comb?), but even if they don’t find anything damaging in his tax returns, Romney still loses.