In an interview this week with Radio Iowa, Romney proclaimed not to know about his own financial holdings. From his attacks on President Obama’s economic policy, came this revealing gem from the presidential hopeful:
“I understand and you understand, of course, that my investments have been held by a blind trust, have been managed by a trustee. I don’t manage them – don’t even know where they are.”
If you are to believe this, Mr. Romney has not a clue as to how his finances are being managed, they are just held for him and managed for him without any oversight. Perhaps they are being used to finance drug smuggling operations out of El Salvador, or perhaps they are the financial backing behind the Iranian nuclear program. He would have no idea, and by the sounds of things, he does not really care that much either. Later on, he also said:
“That trustee follows all U.S. laws, all the taxes are paid as appropriate. All of them have been reported to the government. There’s nothing hidden there, there’s nothing.”
This of course is the false argument that just because something is legal it is the correct thing to do. At one time, owning another human being was legal. At one time, women being denied the right to vote was legal. At one time, blocking a person of African decent from drinking from the same water fountain as white people was legal. If the blind trustee is engaging in behavior which is by a technical definition legal, but causes severe harm to the nation, such as investments in companies which engage in fracking or in promoting sexism, Willards willful ignorance of his assets will not protect him.
Something to consider is that the Romney campaign has been based in large part on his financial success in the business field. But, if he is so successful, then why is he not even aware of what he actually possesses? Is that someone you wish to be President, a man who cannot even keep track as to where his money even is? How can we trust him with the nations finances when he cannot be responsible with his own?
Or, is it as Paul Krugman suggests, that he is hiding it because he actually does know what is in his portfolio, and the truth would destroy him politically. Krugman also made a very interesting note, that Mr Romney has an Individual Retirement Account which may be worth up to $101 million, which is interesting because an IRA is limited to no more than $6000 per year.
Now, it is common for many politicians to utilize blind trusts to ensure that there is no conflict of interest between their policy and their financial interest. It is not universal, as some in Congress have used their connections to improve their fortunes in the past. A person running for office with heavy financial ties, or who are running on their money management skills however, would not traditionally have already set up their blind trusts before having won office. For him to have a blind trust when not active in politics would be even more unusual. Romney’s claims of ignorance of his finances, having been a private citizen for over 5 years, is highly suspect.
So, Mr. Romney, we shall ask again, what exactly are you trying to hide?