Didn't Mitt Romney know that if he ran for the highest office of the nation, his personal taxes were going to be of some interest to voters and the media? Of course he did. But for some reason Romney has decided that it may do less harm to his candidacy if he were to brazen it out by not disclosing but a minuscule portion of his past tax returns than allow Americans to get a glimpse of his finances. His secretiveness has naturally given rise to much speculation as it deviates from the norm set by most past presidential candidates, including Romney's own father, of disclosing several years worth of tax documents. One thought is that the Romneys, despite their enormous wealth, may have paid very low taxes over the years compared to the average wage earner with far less income. It has also been suggested that there may have been some years when Romney paid no taxes.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada dropped a bombshell recently by declaring publicly that he has learnt from a reliable source that indeed Romney paid zero taxes for ten years during a period from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. Romney challenged Reid to reveal his source ("put up or shut up") and some Republican congressmen have called the Democratic Senate Majority Leader a liar. But as of yesterday, Reid was sticking by his assertions, adding that his source is a Republican with inside knowledge of Bain Capital, Romney's company. Now there is speculation about the identity of Reid's "source." The Daily Kos is reporting that it may be one of the two Huntsmans - father & son, both Jon, both ex-governors of Utah and Junior a past rival of Romney for the GOP presidential ticket. (If true, this may turn out to be a high power Mormon conspiracy / grudge fest. Reid, the Huntsmans and Romney are all Mormons. The Huntsmans are said to be friendly with Democrat Reid but can't stand Romney, their own party's candidate)
Whatever we find out (or don't) about Romney's tax returns between now and November, may be up to how much pressure the media and the Obama campaign can bring to bear on the Romney camp and the latter's ability to withstand it. But for now, it doesn't look like Romney has made a coherent or convincing case as to why he should not make more of his tax returns public. Here is a report in the Washington Post.
The man who once said “corporations are people” apparently doesn’t believe the inverse.
When pressed on why he’s not releasing more tax returns in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Mitt Romney justified it by saying: “I’m not a business.”
Bloomberg asked Romney whether, if he was investing in a company, he would want to see more than two years of financial reports, likening that process to the American people electing a president. But Romney suggested the standards aren’t the same for people and businesses.
“I’m not a business,” he said. “We have a process in this country, which was established by law, which provides for the transparency which candidates are required to meet. I have met with that requirement with full financial disclosure of all my investments, but in addition have provided and will provide a full two years of tax returns.”
This is the candidate who, almost exactly one year ago, got into a somewhat-heated exchange with a heckler in Iowa in which Romney made that case that “corporations are people” — that is, what happens to corporations affects the people who work for them.
“Of course they are,” Romney said at the time. “Everything corporations earn
also goes to people.”
So according to Romney, a person is not a business but a business is a person for tax purposes. Ah well. I guess that can be defined as opportunistic logic. I have been wondering about something else. During this time when hot words are being exchanged between Reid, Romney and some GOP politicians, one prominent Republican who may know more about this matter than anyone outside Bain Capital's accounting office, has maintained total silence. John McCain had vetted Romney as a possible running mate in 2008 at which time he examined twenty three years worth of Romney's tax returns. McCain has not said a word against Reid or in favor of Romney.