There has been much speculation on Romney’s historically unprecedented refusal to release more than two years of tax returns. Romney, who also refused to release any tax returns in his 2002 run for governor, seems to be acting on some mysterious principal that his tax return is sacred script, never to be made public. But the more strident his refusal becomes, the more curious the public becomes in wanting to know what he is hiding that would be so devastating to his campaign that he is willing to be dogged by this for the rest of the campaign.
I have to admit, as an owner of a small IRA account, I am intrigued that Romney has over one million dollars in his IRA account, a feat that is financially impossible to accomplish within the context of IRA rules. The path Romney followed through the ticket of the tax code to get around those rules most certainly is only available to the very, very wealthy. And that is the crux of Romney’s tax return problem. His returns provide a window into how the tax code is used to protect the exceptionally wealthy at the expense of everyone else. Romney has said many times that he pays everything he is legally required to pay, but what he won’t say is that there are different sets of rules for what is "legally required," one which favors people with immense wealth, and a different set for people like me. Romney also won’t say that as president, he will be the one who decides what is "legally required."
It is an issue of fairness. No tax system will be considered fair and supported by the public when the rules are not the same for everybody or when the rules are being written by individuals who are either owned by special interest groups or are beneficiaries of the very rules they are writing.
And that is where trust comes in. There are going to be big changes in our tax system in the next few years. Should we entrust those changes to an individual who gleefully signed a pledge to Washington lobbyist, Grover Norquist, agreeing never to raise tax revenue no matter how dire the fiscal health of the country, to an individual who has Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Islands accounts and other offshore holdings whose sole purpose is the sheltering of taxes? Should we entrust the changing of our tax policy to someone who seems to think the sole duty of the office of the President is to make certain that corporations and the very rich pay as little taxes as possible?
The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center report graphically illustrates how successful Romney’s tax policy would be in redistributing the wealth upwards and in punishing the middle class and working poor.
Romney aides claim that Romney’s economic and tax policies would be George W. Bush on steroids. Enough said!
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