Mitt Romney has finally released some of the tax returns that he had previously refused to release. Of course, he did so in the middle of the night when he thought no one was paying attention. Romney released his 2010 return and an estimate of his 2011 return just after midnight on Tuesday, and what’s in them certainly won’t help him win over voters. In fact, I’d say he’s screwed.
Romney paid a 13.9% tax rate on over $40 million earned through investments in 2010 and 2011, though Romney expects to be paying 15.4% for the 2011 returns. 13.9% is a minuscule number compared to the top rate, which is about 35%. Romney’s fortune comes from investments, which Romney doesn’t even manage himself. In other words, he didn’t earn money the way most Americans have to. He doesn’t even have to lift a finger.
But he certainly moved fast to close a Swiss bank account he once had. Turns out Romney closed the account to avoid embarrassment while he runs for the Presidency. According to Romney, the account wasn’t used to hide money to avoid paying taxes. But seriously, why else would a super wealthy one percenter have a Swiss account if he didn’t want to skip out on paying taxes? This doesn’t even include the other tax haven that Romney has in the Cayman Islands. Did he not think that account would be embarrassing? Because it is. The average American keeps their money in a small local American bank, not a high priced offshore location that is untouchable by US tax agents.
Income and tax percentages aren’t the only things the tax returns reveal. Apparently the Romneys gave about $7 million to the Mormon Church. And he calls that ‘charity.’ Really? When I think of charities, I think about St. John’s Hospital or Doctors Without Borders or the Red Cross, or even a homeless shelter. I certainly don’t think of a big church that probably spends the money on Latter Day Saints commercials and conversion efforts. Romney’s definition of charity is laughable. At a time when people are losing their homes and starving and freezing, Romney is giving $7 million to a church. He only paid $6.2 million in taxes to the federal government according to his tax returns. He could have given that $7 million to the Social Security fund or other programs that help the poor and the sick. Hell, he could have helped pay down some of the national debt with it. I suspect Romney’s church will spend the money on other things besides helping people.
Newt Gingrich bullied Romney into releasing his tax returns, and it was a good move. The tax returns show that Romney is a wealthy man who doesn’t actually work for what he makes. He pays taxes, but at a far lesser rate than most middle class Americans. He also hoards undisclosed amounts of money in the Caymans which the great majority of Americans can’t afford to do, and I suspect most would frown upon those who use such accounts. It means Romney has something to hide still. Romney may also have something to hide in returns going back further than 2010. If his tax rate was 13.9% in 2010, I’m curious to know if it was lower in 2009, and I’d like to know what it was during the Bush years of 2001-2008. Plus, I want to know more about the Swiss bank account and those older returns may tell that tale.
Mitt Romney is a guy who has tried desperately to convince us that he is a middle class American who needs a job just like the next man. But that isn’t even close to being the case. Romney has so much money that generations of his family will live like kings and queens well into the future. Romney once said he too was unemployed. Turns out, he could be unemployed for a dozen lifetimes and still not have to worry about losing his home or missing a payment on a bill. It doesn’t matter how many times Romney wears jeans and a Bass Pro shirt in an attempt to fit in, he’s a wealthy man whose only goal is to get more power so he can add more to his vast wealth that eclipses the wealth of millions of average American families combined. Mitt Romney doesn’t want to be President so he can help people. He wants to be President so he can help himself.
Romney once said that he’d be giving Democrats a gift by releasing his taxes, and he wasn’t joking. His tax returns scream wealth, greed, secrecy, and laziness. Occupy Wall Street can use this as a battle cry and Democrats can slam Romney with this all year long and call for him to release past years as well. All in all, I’d say Romney is going to be taking a lot of heat from the American electorate, and during these hard times when most Americans are struggling, I would expect nothing less.