The importance of Romney’s tax returns
Until yesterday when Mitt announced he had chosen Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate (why appeal to the middle when you can appeal to people who were already going to vote for you? More on Ryan later.), the biggest news in the presidential race was the fact that Romney has only released two years of tax returns when the accepted standard in ten years. The Romney campaign’s failure to take ownership of this issue by releasing the remaining eight years worth of documents has been a great source of speculation and debate on both sides of the aisle. In the past, Romney has gone on record criticizing his opponents in other elections for failing to release their tax returns. Some say they don’t matter. Others would point to missing pieces of Obama’s record as if two wrongs make a right. A third view on this is that you won’t find anything illegal in Romney’s tax returns. I agree with this. If he had done something illegal, it stands to reason that the IRS would have gone after him. They didn’t. You’ll notice Obama supporters and neutral parties never accuse Romney of committing an illegal act of any kind. That’s because the argument that he didn’t do anything illegal is misdirection. So why cover up something that isn’t illegal?
The value of tax returns in an election is generally debatable, but here’s why Romney’s tax returns matter: Romney’s entire campaign and ideology revolve around the idea that the people he calls “job creators” (read: people of great wealth) is made up of people who pay their fair share, don’t cheat or exploit the system, don’t need regulation or oversight, and have this country’s best interests at heart. That idea alone is a joke to anyone who sees the routine corruption, negligence and scandal that come out of Wall Street, but if Romney’s own tax returns show that he exploits the system to pay a single-digit effective tax rate (or even worse, the 0% Sen. Reid claims), the foundation of every argument he makes is gone because Romney himself would be invalidating his own stance through his own prior actions.