Mitt Romney isn’t getting much support even among Republicans for his refusal to release more tax returns. And it is easy from the outside to say, “Put it out there, and get past it in a day or so.” But this is nonsense.
As we have seem from the symbiotic relationship between the media and the Obama campaign, there will be no end to it. One week it will be his capital gains rate in 1982 (or whatever year), the next it will be a mortgage deduction in 1990. And so on. Before long the media will be picking through medical deductions for Ann Romney’s MS and cancer treatments. I f he releases five years of returns, the media will demand 10 years worth. And so on.
What we know is that Romney is very, very rich and paid capital gains at the capital gains rate and ordinary income at the regular personal income rate. We know from his first release of returns in the primary that at least recently he paid the full U.S. tax on his foreign holdings. We also know he’s given millions away in charity. And if, as David Axelrod whined, Romney took every available deduction and exclusion, then good for him. It was his money and he doesn’t have to pay a dime more than is legally owed. (He is, by the way, advocating a flattening of the code that would end many deductions for the rich in exchange for lower rates; he is not proposing lowering the capital gains rate for the rich.)
President Obama at one time owned (thanks to Tony Rezko) a very nice home and took a healthy mortgage deduction. Is it only Romney who is supposed to pay more than is owed?
If Romney is going to get off talking about his finances and get back to substance he’s got to put his foot down. He has, and I suspect it won’t cost him a single vote in November.
Now my colleague Greg Sargent has found some “experts” (who happen to be Democratic donors) to opine that maybe Romney’s undisclosed tax returns would show he didn’t pay much, if anything, in taxes. (Is he a felon again or simply complying with the tax laws?) I’m sure I could find GOP donors to say the opposite (or neutrals to say they have no idea what is in them, nor does anyone else), but so what? (I also bet if Obama released the Fast and Furious documents we’d find some gems in there.)
If liberals were honest about full disclosure they’d have complained about the Obama administration's serial secrecy and lack of transparency. But they haven’t, even though documents in all these instances reflect his record in office and potential wrongdoing within his administration. Given the recent behavior of the media (both biased and sloppy) and Obama team (and the latter’s willingness to lie about Bain offshoring jobs and/or Romney’s departure date), Romney is right to turn the page. Really, is Romney suppose to let the Obama camp and and his spinners direct his campaign?