Mitt Romney is going to release his tax returns. No doubt he made a lot of money and has followed the rules when paying his taxes. Will Republicans gasp and have a negative reaction to his wealth and the amount of taxes he paid? Aren’t we for more Romneys in America? That is, people who have made money and who are allowed to keep it and invest their savings in ways in which their money isn’t taxed twice at the full rate?
Is there now some amount to have paid in taxes that sounds right and feels right politically, based on a candidate’s income, and if you fall below that number, you have a political problem? Do we think that a wealthy candidate who is following the rules but paying below the “feels right” amount in taxes, is somehow a less desirable candidate for president? Should GOP candidates now boast, “I paid a higher income tax rate than you did,” as if that distinguishes them in a positive light?
If Republicans suddenly declare that Romney hasn’t paid his fair share, does that imply a Republican bond has been forged with the Occupy Wall Street movement and that the protesters have a valid gripe? Politically, I see that Romney has a problem, but intellectually and philosophically, as a good Republican, I don’t think such criticism is fair or smart.
It will be revealing to see how we Republicans handle it when we are suddenly confronted with not just the abstract concept of wealth and low taxes, but with its personification in the front-runner for our party’s presidential nomination. We are for success, wealth and low taxes in theory, but when these are personalized in a GOP candidate, do we think it’s bad politics? Is it disqualifying? Much more to come.