Tricky Mitt Romney has sought to dodge and parry the troubling questions about his missing tax returns, his unpatriotic offshore tax shelters, and the wholesale abuse of IRAs by his entire company to shelter massive piles of cash used in his corporate raiding Gordon Gecko style operation. Today, Romney asks America to just believe him when he says he paid 13% taxes the last ten years... As Reagan himself said "Trust but verify." Except that Romney wont allow us to verify anything. We cannot know if he actually paid anything at all. The one year PARTIAL return he released does not even contain the mandatory attachments on his foreign holdings! Furthermore the timing of certain actions, such as closing one Swiss account during a special period of amnesty for tax criminals strongly suggests that it was done to avoid prosecution. Only Romney and his cadre of lawyers, bankers, and fixers know for sure... OH and John McCain knows. What do you think scared him into picking Sarah Palin?
But lets assume he DID, by a strictly parsed legal definition, pay 13% of his "reported income." What might that "reported income" represent? We do know some things: that Romney used extensive networks of offshore banks, holding companies, and other exotic arrangements not available to the 99%. We know he, and his Bain Capital cronies, gamed the Individual Retirement Account system to tax-shelter funds that were clearly NOT retirement funds at all, but rather were pooled as a Bain slush fund for leveraged buyouts. These funds allowed the same takeovers of American companies that off-shored American jobs, shuttered American factories, and cancelled the health insurance of lifelong employees while sucking out every dollar of cash they could for themselves, and piling debt on the husk left behind. We also know that he preferred paying commissions to the same corrupt Caymans bankers used by the drug cartels to paying his fair share here at home. All of these arrangements were for ONE REASON: to make his hundreds of millions in earned and unearned income appear to be pennies on the dollar in the eyes of the law.
Sooooo... Let's give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he DID pay 13% on whatever crumbs were left behind when the piles of money left for Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, and other tax havens of the ultra wealthy. Lets assume that he did pay 13% of something (even if "something" is closer to "nothing"). Even if he paid 13% on what he actually made, and not just on the tiny reported sliver, he STILL paid a far lower tax rate than I did as a low wage worker writing on the side. Even a worker making under $9,000 a year is taxed at 15%! How about YOU, who are reading this? I would bet Mitt's Millions that YOU also pay far more taxes than 13%. I would also wager that you don't even make enough money in gross income to pay for the kind of financial chicanery necessary to rig your taxes that low. In other words: Mitt probably pays more to hide his money than any of us make in a year. I would wager that Mitt pays more to hide money than he pays in total tax... And I don't think Tricky Mitt will be volunteering to bet anyone $10,000 on any of those questions... do YOU?
This is not a nitpicking detail. This is not a celebrity scandal. This is a fundamental question about what a candidate for President of The United States believes it means to be a citizen of a community, a Nation, and a Republic. He thumbs his nose at paying taxes the rest of us take for granted that we will pay. Taxes that pay for roads, schools, bridges, police, firefighters, and yes, health care. He laughs-off the longstanding tradition of disclosing tax records for candidates, despite his own father famously saying that a single year disclosure could be a "fluke, perhaps done for show." With Mitt, we have NOT EVEN a full years return! Romney is perpetrating a fraud on the American people to hide a multitude of evils. The very thing he touts as his principal qualification, his business record, shows us a troubling pattern of callous indifference to the effects of his short-term profits on American businesses and American workers. His main point on the stump is that massive additional tax breaks for multimillionaires, at a HUGE cost to EVERY American man, woman, and child who is not a millionaire, will encourage the super rich to create jobs.
My only questions for Mitt and the 1% are these:
If the super rich have already reaped record income and wealth growth while the middle class is going under, why haven't they showed that civic spirit already? Why will the next $100s of Billions we give be any different than the last billions that they have hoarded, hidden, offshored, etc.? And lastly, Mitt, If anything I and others are saying is false, then why won't you just produce the evidence?