Counterpoint: Romney Should Totally Release His Tax Returns!

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This is a compelling case that Mitt Romney shouldn’t release years of tax returns that he’s not required to disclose. It almost persuaded me. Almost. But I think there are both political and moral reasons Romney should open up the books. The benefits for his campaign–and the public good–are multitudinous.

“There’s no evidence to support the contention that releasing the documents would hasten the end of this brutal news cycle.”There’s also no evidence the story will simply blow over. What you provided, not unlike the guesses as to what’s in the returns, was pure speculation. You say the press will find something else to write about, while you, a card-carrying member of the press, are writing about it! The media is particularly fond of this type of transparency issue with presidential candidates. The parallel with his father, who released many years of returns in 1968, and the aggressiveness of the Obama campaign is just too enticing. And it’s not like this situation is without precedent. During the primary, Romney was harangued into disclosing tax returns earlier than he’d have liked. Admittedly, he’d had to have disclosed those eventually under law, but he still responded to a few weeks of pressure, after which the issue went away entirely until just last week.

“The operative question is whether the stories about Romney’s reluctance to release the returns are more damaging than stories about what the returns actually contain.” Assuming Romney’s Sixth Sigma accountants didn’t accidentally inform the IRS of some legal wrongdoing, I agree there’s nothing THAT explosive in his returns. Something politically compromising maybe, but we’re not talking Eliot Ness-Al Capone stuff here. So I don’t think the issue is which story is worse, but that there’s a story at all. Because Romney wants the election to be a referendum on Obama, everyday the press spends talking about Mitt Romney is a point scored for the incumbent. Within a reasonable range, it doesn’t really matter what the topic is–Romney news is bad news for Republicans. Everything else—Obama, the economy—is good news.

“Romney is the best authority around on whether the downside of disclosure outweighs outweighs the downside of the slow drip of stories extinguishing his momentum.” First you argue that there’s nothing illegal in the returns, then you say you trust Romney when he says he’ll be eviscerated by whatever’s in there. Put aside all the issues with simply taking any politician at his word, and you’ve got a conflicting argument. Beside, if it’s really the content you’re worried about, do you think Obama is desperate for material to put in withering attack ads? Have you seen that America the Beautiful horror flick he’s airing? There’s plenty already out there. With political advertising, volume is more meaningful than substance anyway. There’s no way releasing his tax returns costs Romney the election.

“Set aside the moral or civic cases for the virtues of transparency.” I’d try to set those things aside, but I’d throw out my back trying to lift the weight. Morality and civic virtue don’t have anything to do with presidential politics now? That’s nuts. Romney should release his returns on principle alone. Full financial disclosure is important in politics because you never know what tomfoolery human beings interested in power might have gotten up to. This isn’t case-specific: Romney strikes me as an upstanding guy who’s probably never so much as jay walked in his life. He’s an eagle scout. Just a rich one with a low tax rate. But as a general rule, we’re much better off erring on the side of disclosure with our leaders. We’re handing off the nuclear football, after all. If that’s not compelling enough, there’s policy value in seeing how little he paid. Call it a teachable moment for American revenue.

“Suppose, to pick one possibility at random, that Romney paid a very low tax rate for one or more years. Such a disclosure wouldn’t end the discussion; it would fan the flames.” Hm, what if Romney paid a very low tax rate. Something like, say, 14%? We already know he paid a very low tax rate. Show me the voter who says, “Well I was going to vote Romney when he paid 14% on his income in taxes, but this whole 9% thing is a bridge too far.  Four more years!” That’s just silly. As you imply, Obama is already running ads calling Romney a rapacious capitalist. You really think that’s going to stop because Romney won’t give him the goods?

“Just 17 of the 535 members of Congress complied with McClatchy‘s request for their tax documentation. Romney is within his rights to do the same.” Of course Romney is within his rights. More importantly, he’s also within the law. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t release his returns, that just means he can’t be disqualified for not doing it. He should release them. Everyone running for office should.  There’s just no downside, unless you want to make a privacy argument, which you notably haven’t. And if you did, I’d say there’s all kinds of uncomfortable public spectacles we submit our presidential candidates to. Disclosing some IRS forms isn’t that bad, and whatever discomfort it might cause is vastly outweighed by the potential for public good.

“For the conservative base, which is eager to see Romney engage Obama… sticking to his guns would be a gesture of defiance.” Are you sure the Republican base is with you on this? National Review‘s editorial board isn’t. Rick Perry, whose boots read “Liberty” and “Freedom,” who jogs with a laser-sighted revolver because the Constitution says he can, thinks Romney should release his tax returns. Rick Perry knows defiance. And Tea Party populists are no fans of opaque politicians.

“The horse race is static.As you say, the attacks so far haven’t worked. So what difference would it make now if he opened up the books? Everybody wins. Hey, we could even write about something else.

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paradoctor
paradoctor

To: Mitt Romney

From: Human Resources Department

Re: Tax Disclosure

Dear Mr. Romney:

Be advised that thorough financial disclosure is a precondition for

employment in the position that you seek. We will also require a

medical examination, a drug test, and at least two references;

specifically from the State of Massachusetts and from Bain Capital. We

know that you worked there, and we need to know what you did there.

Please respond soonest. Compliance is not optional.

Signed,

Human Resources Department

Dirk van Toor
Dirk van Toor

Look at it this way:

The candidate is like a car salesman and I am there to buy a car.

I need a car for my livelihood, but given the current economical conditions, I cannot afford to buy a new one.

I drive a good reliable car, but it has developed  a couple of undesired quirks and every four years I assess whether it is a good time to switch.

I go to the (few trusted) dealerships to see what is out there and I run into an attractive looking, second-hand US-Presidency  ( listed first owner: G.W. Bush who to my knowledge, had a very raucous and sketchy driving record.), but the salesman does not allow me to see the maintenance-records and the history of the car.

Now ask yourself: Do I trust the car salesman (Romney )and buy that car ?

My answer: I walk away and for the time being stick to my current US-Presidency.

I do not trust this saleman and I will switch dealership.

ChowT
ChowT

The fact that the salesman (Mitt Romney) is hiding the fact that the previous owner of the car is George Bush is very telling.

As he knows that it wont sell.

Steven Janiszewski
Steven Janiszewski

 

Mitt

Romney is a puppet of the Mormon Church, not the old men presiding

over it, the spiritual powers behind it. Mitt, bless his heart,

doesn't want to be president. The Mormon Church intends to buy the

White House and put Romney in it. Not releasing his tax returns is

Mitt's way of fighting against the spiritual powers behind the Mormon

Church, to thwart their plan. To gain an existential understanding

of the cult that produced Mitt Romney, and to get your socks scared,

off read The Assassination of Spiro Agnew, available

at:

www.amazon.com/Assassination-S...

It dramatizes the Mormon superiority

complex manifesting as racism, sexism, jingoism, and an anti-federal

government temperament. It shows the similarities between Islam

and Mormonism and reveals the secrets of Mormon mind control,

the spiritual powers behind the cult.

Here's a review:

“With a clarity of language and

vision unsurpassed in contemporary American prose, Steven

Janiszewski's Assassination of Spiro Agnew takes us into a

U.S. mazed with madness and Mormonism and all things Utah, a U.S.

that was then and still is. Do we need a novel, even as brilliant as

this one, about a young man on a divine mission to assassinate the

Vice President because he is too liberal? Yes, now more than ever.

Readers, welcome to a masterpiece.”

tomwhalen.com

Read

The Assassination of Spiro Agnew.

gene taylor
gene taylor

Romney has already released his tax returns. You want him to do it again as a phishing trip so liberal press can make up stories. You're an idiot. Romney should ignore trash like you.

ChowT
ChowT

We have not seen the tax returns.

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

has he? :c

how do we know he didnt anticipate this, as he must have known he wanted to run for president for awhile?

huh?

maybe he wont release more because theres BAD stuff in there?

huh? huh?

america doesnt need blind faith. we dont need romney, a liar and a criminal. (just like the founder of his religion... which, guess what, WAS proven to be both in a court of law!)

Miroco
Miroco

All Mitt might gain from more returns is more liberal cretins mischaracterising every entry. Transcripts on the ---- yes I would abuse them ;-)

ChowT
ChowT

If you are not a crook, why worry?

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

If Romney decided to examine only 2 years of tax returns for his veep, people would think he was insane. Yet, he wants the public to elect him based on two tax returns alone.

This is not a partisan issue. Unless you are a blind polarized hack, you should want to know what Romney's finances say about his handing of his affairs. He is running as the economic savior of the masses, yet when Bain is scrutinized, he cries foul, when his religion and how it could affect his governance is discussed, they say its bigotry, if he is asked to release his returns, he tells the press, as you would to Hoi Poloi, to kiss his behind.

Sharing many tax returns with the populace is an established part of the culture of Presidential politics. An unwillingness to abide by this established more at best smacks of arrogance, and at the worst, is an indication that Romney has some sleazy things in the returns.

Either way, the Republican establishment stuffed Romney down our throats knowing that most of us did not want him as our flag bearer. And now, with all his short comings and weakness, they have reduced the party to a polarized version of the serfs (the base) being controlled and led by the landowners (billionaires). They can only win by fanning a hatred of Barack Obama as opposed to providing a cohesive narrative of Romney's past achievements and his future plans.  Making a case by demonizing the president and having people vote against the president as opposed to voting for Romney is frightening.  We are in the process of considering the election of a man who has refused to give an in depth view of himself, and has refused to provide a detailed plan for the future of our great country. 

Pathetic and sad!

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

        

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

Would Romney select a veep based on two years of tax returns alone?????  Yet, Romney is demonizing calls for at least as many tax returns as Obama shared, some sort of distraction. He should release at least 8 tax returns.

If Romney selects a veep based on review of two years of tax returns, people would consider him irresponsible. Yet, Romney wants America to elect him to lead us without seeing anything in-depth about his financial life. 

For better or worse, the economy and finances, at least for now, are the main issue in the election. It is absurd that Romney has informed the press to kiss his behind because he will only be sharing two returns.  This issue is not about what the democrats want, it is about what the public needs to know. This issue transcends partisan politics. It is about doing the right thing!

 

How can a man running for the position of the leader of the free world start treating the press and populace like Hoi poloi already. The masses will get only what he gives???  This provides an insight into the presidency Mitt Romney envisions for us.  He might be "god" as people of his ilk and status are deemed to be in the Mormon community, but in the real world, when running for public office, the least he can do is to follow the set cultural and proper mores set for the role.

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

  

ChowT
ChowT

Something to hide.

How big we dont know.

What it is we dont know.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

I give victory nod to Adam over Alex, especially with the "First you argue that there’s nothing illegal in the returns, then you say you trust Romney when he says he’ll be eviscerated by whatever’s in there" line. Ann is not quite helping out the hubby by contradicting herself. "You people" doesn't help, either. Clearly Mitt does NOT follow the “Like father, like son” rule.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26...

(skip the Justin Bieber stuff up front and jump to 11:00)

stevenewman
stevenewman

Romney has been running for president since at least 2006.  It is not asking too much to see his tax returns from the date that he made that decision.   The fact that he could not be bothered to get his financial act in order says loads about his arrogance and lack of thoughtfulness.  Also, the only reasons someone sends money  off-shore are;

1.  To avoid creditors from finding the money.  (Doubtful in Romney's case.)

2.  To hide funds from a spouse or other family members.  (Again, doubtful.)

3.  To avoid paying taxes.  (Possible, but unlikely.)

4.  To delay paying taxes.  (BINGO!  Most likely scenario)

5.  To make investments that are illegal in the US.  (Possible.)

Ron Bockman
Ron Bockman

Lots of leftist jealousy in these comments. Stew in your bile and admiration of the socialist in chief. Romney will release them if and when he wants to.

ChowT
ChowT

What is there to be jealous when we dont even know what Mitt Romney is hiding.

mightylou
mightylou

If there is nothing to hide, then why not release the tax returns, if he has been a flip flopper on many subjects why is he so adamant now?  Could it be that what he has to hide is the fact that he really paid no tax not just a lower tax rate, between the years of 2008 amp; 2009, to cover up his manipulation of the tax laws.  However, I betyou that whoever is chosen as the VP, they provided multiple years of tax returns as they were going through the vetting process.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Terrific article in Mother Jones entitled 6 Things Mitt Romney is hidiing. Some have been touched on in both articles and some comments to both.

http://www.motherjones.com/pol...

3xfire3
3xfire3

Watch the Shinny Object. Isn’t It Interesting?

Pay no attention to the massive unemployment and underemployment or the fact that millions of people have stopped even looking for jobs.

Don’t worry about the fact that our economy is in a melt down because of the policies of the most inept, inexperienced, clueless, totally unqualified president of all times.

Watch the Shinny Object and count backwards starting at 100 and repeat after me. Adam Sorensen said I should vote for Barack Obama.

jmt13
jmt13

Common sense tells me to vote for Obama

ChowT
ChowT

Mitt Romney candidate for those rich people who dont pay taxes.

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

 phs. common sense. thats for socialists and rich people!

america!

ah-mur-ih-ka!

'mer-ih-ka!

ih-ka!

herr.... i forgot what i was talking about but lets vote for that shiny white man!

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

The rates that people pay in income and capital gains taxes and the strategies they use to avoid paying taxes and the results that that has on both domestic and foreign investment and hiring is actually THE MOST CRUCIAL ISSUE in the current campaign.

Mr Romney's tax returns are as pertinent to the issue of the economy as ANYTHING you might care to mention. Rather than being a shiny object that distracts, this particular shiny object is an indicator of where to dig.

ChowT
ChowT

Good thinking!

3xfire3
3xfire3

Paul,

Man are you nuts. Re-read what you wrote. It makes no sense.

pollardty
pollardty

"It almost persuaded me."  

 

You are being overly generous.

pollardty
pollardty

Oh, and thank you for this beautiful take down of lazy, amoral thinking.

1hopelessoptimist1
1hopelessoptimist1

Since when is it illegal to have a foreign bank account, except in Iran, Cuba and North Korea? It isn't but the Democrats and US banks would like to make it so. As long as one discloses the accounts to the IRS and Treasury, no problem. I am not aware that Mitt Romney, for whom I will not vote, is in violation of those laws. So what is this venom all about. When the Kennedys were running for the presidency their wealth was not an issue, even though there was circumstancial evidence that it wasn't all obtained by legal means.

The media ignored it and so did your hated Nixon.

What should have been disclosed was JFK's significant health problems including continual use of pain killers. That was hidden from the public but should not have been because it is highly relevant to being the president and commander-in-chief . Let's not forget that JFK took us closer to Armageddon than anyone else, friend or foe.

As for Obama, there are lots of curious facets that puzzle many of us. The truth will only come out, if ever, after he leaves office in'17.

ChowT
ChowT

We dont know whether it is illegal or not, as to where Mitt Romney's offshore accounts are.

Since Mitt Romney is not telling, there is something fishy.

How big the fish  is, we dont know.

dymb
dymb

 Umm.  It is illegal when you're doing it to evade US taxes.  For instance, when the IRS offered amnesty to tax dodgers with secretive accounts in the Swiss UBS providing they own up and pay the back taxes.  You may recall that the Romney's had a Swiss bank account only a few years ago.  While that isn't direct evidence of wrongdoing, it is highly suggestive.

ChowT
ChowT

Thats the point.

Something is not right.

jillibrown
jillibrown

 And it's awful smarmy considering romney wants to be president.

ChowT
ChowT

We just cant take Mitt Romney's word for it.

chupkar
chupkar

It may not be illegal but if you are the leader of the "ZOMG WE ARE REAL PATRIOTS" party it's at least unwise. I still think the very fact he's been blind sided on so many predictable things in the campaign (stumped on Afghan policy, stumped on ethics policy, stumped on how to respond to Bain criticism, stumped on responding to tax issue) how the hell is he ever going to anticipate problems for the entire country?

ChowT
ChowT

Thats another point.

sacredh
sacredh

Adam, does Alex owe you money? ;  )

Allan Clark
Allan Clark

Romney won't release more returns because it would completely undercut his major

proposal—cutting taxes on the rich. Despite the fact that income taxes are at historic lows, it is a fixed dogma among Republicans that the only way to get the economy moving again is to cut taxes on the "job creators". This is Romney's major platform plank. It would be devastated if people found out how little the rich are paying in taxes already.

ChowT
ChowT

Probably Mitt Romney does not pay taxes.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

RiP doesn't have a constitutional right to carry a "laser-sighted revolver."  The SC has never taken a definitive position on the Second Amendment.

bobell
bobell

I'd say finding an individual right to bear arms in the Second Amendment is taking a definitive position.  The rest is just filling in the details.