Why won’t Romney release federal income tax returns?

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  David B. Grinberg 7 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #168035

    David B. Grinberg
    Participant

    Mitt Romney admitted this week that he never paid under 13% in federal income taxes for the past two years. Yet Romney’s tax rate is still lower than that of most middle class voters on both the low-end and high-end of the tax bracket (see chart below). Meanwhile, President Obama has reportedly paid about 20% in federal income taxes on much lower earned income compared to Romney.

    Yet Romney remains intransigent in refusing to make public his tax returns for the past ten years, like his father did when he ran for public office decades ago.

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/08/16/2259505/romney-still-cant-shake-income.html

    Romney’s financial disclosures suggest his net worth is as high as $264 million, making him one of the wealthiest candidates in history to seek the U.S. presidency“, according to CNN.

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/16/news/economy/romney-taxes/

    QUESTIONS:

    Does Romney have something to hide in his tax returns?

    If not, why doesn’t Romney just share his prior tax returns with the public?

    What does this all say about Romney’s leadership potential and veracity?

    Do voters deserve full transparency on taxes from our Presidential candidates?

  • #168063

    David B. Grinberg
    Participant

    More on Romney’s release of tax returns, or lack thereof:

    Charlotte Observer editorial:

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/08/17/3461802/romney-trickles

    MSNBC “Andrea Mitchell Reports” (video clip):

    http://video.msnbc.msn.com/mitchell-reports/48704315/#48704315

  • #168061

    David B. Grinberg
    Participant

    ANOTHER QUESTION (in additon to those aked above)…

    “Are taxes a form of charitable donation?”

    Apparently Mitt Romney thinks so, according to a report in today’s Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/romneys-equating-of-taxes-an

    Romney seemed to suggest that he might think so last week, when he responded to questions about how much he pays in taxes by suggesting that people should take into account his total contributions to the government and charities.

    Thoughts?

  • #168059

    David B. Grinberg
    Participant

    According to prominent GOP campaign and political strategist Ed Rogers, writing in the Wahington Post blog, “The Insiders”:

    Romney’s personal tax returns are now a bigger part of the 2012 campaign than his tax cut plans for the American economy. Well, he would make it easier if he had maintained message discipline and didn’t talk about them anymore.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-insiders

    Maybe it is too late; no one can defend Romney and the management of his tax returns any longer. We will know in November how much the issue and its mismanagement matters…At this point, supporters would be wise to assume that more sloppy news is coming.”

    Note: Rogers worked as a Presidential advisor in the White House to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — as well as on their respective campaigns.

  • #168057

    Denise Petet
    Participant

    According to his wife on the Today show sometime last week (paraphrased) they don’t want to release more because people will just pick on them’ or something like that.

    Whether or not he has something to hide, it SEEMS that way with his reluctance. It seems that he’s holding back, either trying to hide or struggling to damage control before he does release them.

    I feel, if it were ‘good news’ he’d have released them months ago. I think he’s struggling to keep them private until after the official nomination so that he gets it. He’s too close to ‘winning’ to risk losing it in a backlash over his taxes. This is when you wish that someone at the IRS would be naughty and behave inappropriately and pop a few photo copies in the mail. (although I’m sure his tax return files have been locked down and people soundly lectured and monitored just to make sure that that doesn’t happen)

  • #168055

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    If here were suspected of doing something shady with his taxes, then transparency is a good thing. But I don’t think that’s the issue here. This whole issue is being spun-up by opposition to make Romney look unrelatable to the “average” American.

  • #168053

    Mindy Giberstone
    Participant

    Isn’t the real story that the top 10% have a larger portion of their income from stocks/bonds and can take better advantage of capital gains/losses relief built into the tax codes? While middle classes may have some investments, their main income is salary. A small percent of investment income won’t be enough to lower your average tax rate into the 13% range.

  • #168051

    David B. Grinberg
    Participant

    Thanks for your reply, Mindy. You are absolutely correct about the “real story” and bigger picture here, which I addressed in a prior discussion last month:

    “Are you taxed too much or too little? How much should the rich be taxed?”

    https://www.govloop.com/forum/topics/are-you-taxed-too-much-or-too-l

    Please check out this discussion and consider elaborating on your views.

    Thanks again for your words of wisdom, Mindy.

  • #168049

    David B. Grinberg
    Participant

    Good observation, Chris. I can understand why some may view this issue as simply more “politics as usual” because it is, which is not unusual during a presidential election.

    But do you think, generally speaking, that presidential candidates should come clean with the American public about their tax info by sharing it?

    As you know, Mitt Romney’s father released his tax returns when he ran for public office, as have countless numbers of politicians throughout the history of political campaigns. But putting party politics aside, isn’t this a matter of trust to some degree between the candidate and voters?

  • #168047

    David B. Grinberg
    Participant

    I like your analysis Denise, which makes a lot of sense.

    I’m confident his tax info will surface one way or another before the election, either due to leaks or the public release by the Romney campaign. However, I would expect any public release to include heavy redactions. Moreover, Romney may follow the example of Sen. McCain — in a similar situation during the last presidential election — by allowing a specified number of reporters a relatively short window of time to sift through a mountain of tax-related documents made available at one particular location.

    Either way, I suspect that any release by Romney of further tax info will be closely controlled by the campaign, to the extent possible, in order to limit political damage and further media scrutiny. Yet the longer this issue remains in the news, the worse off Romney may be with the independent voters and swing states he must have to win the election.

    The most politically prudent move may be to simply come clean, answer all questions during a one-time press conference on the matter, and then move on before it’s too late.

    Stay tuned, as they say.

  • #168045

    John Evans
    Participant

    He definitely should follow the lead of his own father, who released 12 years of his tax returns when he ran. Every other candidate for President in the past 30 or so years has released multiple years of returns. The only reason Romney refuses to level with the American people is because he has calculated that what is on his returns is worse than his refusal to come clean. I feel he is absolutely untrustworthy if he refuses to release the information all other candidates have done. He’s proposing tax code changes that would benefit him far more than the average American, so voters absolutely deserve full transparency. If he won’t trust us to see his returns, why should we trust him to be President ?

  • #168043

    David B. Grinberg
    Participant

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, John, which I think a lot of people generally agree with.

    This could be an example of, Like father”…unlike son — and/or: “The cover-up is worse than the crime.”

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cover-up

    Politicians may become trapped within their insular “campaign bubble” and sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture that molds public perception. In situations like these, politicians may cause self-inflicted PR damage that only grows worse with time. Thus, the best strategy may be to fess up and clean up — the sooner, the better.

    Otherwise, the “drip, drip, drip” of negative media and partisan attacks will only intensify to the politician’s detriment and that of their campaign.

  • #168041

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    I personally don’t care to see any candidate’s tax returns. How does releasing relate to his/her ability to govern? Outside of media circles, I never heard anyone complain about not being able to see a candidate’s tax returns.

  • #168039

    David B. Grinberg
    Participant

    Thanks for your valuable perspective, Chris, which I’m sure many others agree with.

    However, if the POTUS is in charge of the entire Budget of the U.S. Govt — not to mention a myriad of related critically important financial issues/decisions — doesn’t the voting public deserve to know how a presidential candidate managed his/her own personal fortune/finances over time?

    A presidential candidate’s financial history may be instructive to some degree regarding how he/she will manage America’s finances. If there’s nothing to hide, why not just release the info?

    Also, it’s part of the media’s job to scrutinize public officials and candidates for elected office, particularly those running for President of the United States. In that regard, one may consider the media as public watchdogs to increase transparency and hold political candidates and public officials accountable for past and present actions. That’s why our nation’s founders enshrined freedom of the press in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

  • #168037

    Denise Petet
    Participant

    I also feel that paying taxes…..well that’s supposedly the ‘duty’ of a good citizen. s/he pays their fair share, it’s like paying your parking tickets, returning that library book, obeying the speed limit, not littering, etc. It can be seen as an indication of just how well that person behaves in a ‘civilized’ world of ‘law abiding citizens’, and can be seen as an indication of how well they can behave when given the power of the prez. Will they follow the rules or will they lone wolf it and indulge themselves in doing whatever they want?

    Do we want someone that cheats as our leader? Do we want someone that potentially defaults on paying their taxes to be signing off on laws that the rest of us are mandated to follow? Do we want someone making the laws that doesn’t follow them him/herself?

    Theoretically that’s what releasing the tax returns would do. Show that a candidate either follows the rules or (what is most likely the case) is smart enough to make it look like they follow the rules the rest of us are supposed to.

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