The hits just keep coming for Mitt Romney. This a another defining moment for the Romney campaign, and shows the fissure between Romney’s business experience and the political realm. But it also shows that Mitt Romney’s financial issues — from Bain to his secret taxes to his hidden off-shore money — make him the poster boy for the 2%. The more Americans learn about how privileged Mitt Romney is, the more aware they’ll be that they are being royally screwed by the privileged. This is a conversation topic that the 2% do not want Americans to be engaged in.
This morning’s discussion on ABC This Week is a strong indicator that even Republicans don’t like the direction Mitt Romney’s campaign is going and can’t support Romney’s arrogance in not releasing his tax returns and information about his offshore accounts.
Watch here courtesy of ABC:
Matthew Dowd said it was arrogance that allowed Romney to think he could get away with not releasing his returns, and he said if Romney’s tax returns were clean, he would have released them.
“There’s obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, ‘Have at it.’ So there’s obviously something there that compromises what he said in the past about something.”
Dowd continued, “Many of these politicians think, ‘I can do this. I can get away with this. I don’t need to do this, because I’m going to say something and I don’t have to do this. If he had 20 years of ‘great, clean, everything’s fine,’ it’d all be out there, but it’s arrogance.”
George Will jumped in and said, “The cost of not releasing the returns are clear. Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” I.e., Romney clearly made a calculated decision that to release his tax returns was more costly than to not release them, which indicates there’s something hidden Romney doesn’t want us to see.
In business, Romney can be King of his castle – but in politics, especially when running for the highest office in the land, Romney can’t play King without consequences. George Will made this point today, saying, “I do not know why, given that Mitt Romney knew the day that McCain lost in 2008 that he was going to run for president again that he didn’t get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest.”
Yes, tidy up that privilege before the American people get a gander, because they wouldn’t like it.
This is a point we’ve been making as well. Romney knew he was going to be running for President; he obviously assumed that he didn’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else. And while Will says there is nothing illegal but simply “impolitic” about Romney’s returns, Will can’t know that for certain until and unless he sees them.
The reason I say this is because here is what Romney is offering us, and only after much pressure: He gave us his 2010 tax returns and he says he will give us 2011 when “they are ready”. If you’ve ever had complicated tax returns, you know all about amending them years later with corrected information from your broker or changes in the business returns. Holdups in filing with complicated returns aren’t unusual, but neither are amended returns. Amended returns adjust something that was inaccurate previously.
I have to question why Romney’s returns aren’t “ready” this year and why it took so long to release his 2011 returns, and if they were amended when he released them or have been amended since he released them, or if he is amending any of his previous returns.
For example, Romney could have amended his 2011 returns by moving a profit to another year (amending it as well) or claiming a loss that wasn’t there previously, thereby reducing his profit or explaining a low tax rate. We have no way of knowing this if he won’t release the returns prior to the one year he has released so far. The most current version, I should add for specificity.
The fact that he will not release them says there is something he doesn’t want us to see. It would have been pretty easy to amend 2011’s returns retroactively before he released them. Perhaps to claim money in offshore accounts or clean up what is not illegal but would certainly bring attention to tax code issues that the wealthy don’t want the 98% of Americans to know about. But all of those assumptions give Romney the benefit of the doubt.
Has Romney earned the benefit of the doubt with his Bain claims clearly demonstrating that he has no problem adjusting things to look good for the situation he finds himself in? He was there, he wasn’t there – he can run for Governor because he was back for business but he wasn’t in business so he’s not responsible.
Republicans are uncomfortable with Romney’s position because it highlights the elitism of the “1%” (actually 2% technically). Romney’s arrogance in his refusal to be transparent with his tax returns endangers the top 2%; it puts them at risk of real discovery.
Republican strategist Mary Matalin was arguing that Americans don’t care about Romney’s tax returns, they care about jobs (no one asked her why Republicans have not proposed one single jobs bill or how Romney’s plan of lowering taxes on the top 2% was going to magically create jobs). What Matalin and the GOP hope you don’t put together is that actually, Mitt Romney’s tax returns hold the secret to why you don’t have a good, secure job with benefits.
Ten years of Mitt Romney’s tax returns and his off-shore accounts would show Americans just how it works for the very elite, but perhaps the most clarity for all would come from Romney releasing his 1999-2003 tax returns. In these returns, we would ostensibly see (provided this money wasn’t funneled to the Cayman’s as some Bain related investments were) the profit Romney made off of leveraged buyouts and the resulting layoffs and outsourcing.
The more scarce good jobs in this country became, the less leverage a worker had. Low demand for workers in turn created a “buyer’s market” for employers, which in turn means less money, security and benefits for the worker. This was going on at the same time as the top 2% were making historical profits.
Romney might just be the catalyst for great change, for he is the poster child for all of the inequities in our tax policy. If he released his tax returns, he would at the very least be making Obama’s argument for him regarding letting the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% expire.
Since Romney’s attitude of arrogance stems from his privileged experience as a “businessman”, he is telling the American people the story of the decline of the middle class over the last 40 years, albeit without meaning to.
It’s time for him to release his most current tax returns for the last ten years, with dated amendments and adjustments, along with his off shore accounts. What I’m saying here is that even when he releases his 2011 returns, we will have no way of knowing if he has amended 2010 while he was getting 2011 ready.
Release the most current versions of the last ten years of tax returns, Mr. Romney. Let the American people see just how it works.