Do we need to see tax returns from Romney or Gingrich?

posted at 10:10 am on January 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Full transparency, or class-warfare voyeurism? In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I take the contrarian position that Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich shouldn’t disclose their tax returns — and neither should Barack Obama, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, or Ralph Nader, who by the way never did release them:

This tradition of presidential 1040 disclosures only goes back to the post-Watergate era, and it is not universal. According to Politifact, seven out of 34 candidates between 1976 and now refused to disclose their tax returns, the latest being Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani in 2008. None of these men won the nomination, but it could hardly be said that the failure to release their returns was a major factor in their losses.  Income tax returns don’t tell much about financial assets and potential conflicts of interest that can’t be gleaned from their FEC-required disclosures, and so the lack of that data hardly matters.

Tax returns offer no further protection against public corruption, but do offer a voyeuristic peek into the private lives of candidates.  What tax breaks do they seek?  How much do they contribute to charity? What is their precise income level and their effective tax rate? No one really believes that they will find a crime that the IRS somehow managed to miss, like some sort of financial Sherlock Holmes, and almost everyone who reads them wouldn’t have the expertise to catch one anyway.

So why do we have this tradition at all? It appears to have been a reaction to Watergate, as implied by Politifact, and a form of playing “doctor” among political opponents, as in you-show-me-yours-and-I’ll-show-you-mine. It is a surprising tradition in a country that values personal privacy, and especially in a political party that expresses so much resentment over the IRS prying into the very same areas of most other taxpayers.  Many conservatives want to get the federal government out of the business of income tracking altogether by moving to a consumption tax instead. Culturally, many of us still consider a question even from friends or family to disclose our income as at least gauche and perhaps positively rude.

Even if we put aside the MYOB factor, the tax releases don’t tell us anything we need to know that the disclosures don’t — and lead to a lot of bad assumptions and reporting.  One need look no further than ABC’s faulty headline on Romney’s supposed tax shelters in the Caymans that turned out to be for clients of Bain and not Romney himself. Ask yourselves this question: when was the last time that a tax return offered anything remotely germane to an evaluation of a candidate?  Demonstrated a violation of the law?  In the nearly 40 years since this hair-shirt practice began in earnest, the answer is never.

But even apart from the bad reporting, the tax returns are nothing more than a vehicle for class-warfare resentment.  Everyone who runs for President has significant wealth; that’s true of the current President as well as all of his current challengers.  This nine-day wonder of tax-return fever has liberals and even some conservatives hyperventilating over Romney’s 15% effective tax rate, when it’s pretty clear that Romney pays that on capital gains, not income.  If he draws more than the high five figures for income — remember that he hasn’t been employed in the traditional sense since being governor of Massachusetts — I’d be shocked.  Unless conservatives want to argue for a massive hike in the capital-gains tax rate, what exactly did they expect Romney’s effective tax rate to be?

That said, Romney has utterly botched this issue for the last week.  Surely he had to know that the other candidates would eventually make this an issue, especially after Gingrich and the soon-to-exit Rick Perry decided to play a little class warfare over his private-equity experience at Bain.  If he wanted to keep his tax returns private, he should have made this argument.  Instead he equivocated at the debate, said he’d get around to releasing them in April, which doesn’t do much for South Carolina voters, and essentially ceded the legitimacy of the demand.  If Romney thinks it’s legitimate, then he should have just released them well before Iowa and let the nine-day wonder of it play out before voters started casting ballots in earnest.

So no, I don’t need to see tax returns from anyone running for President.  Their financial disclosures should be enough.  But since I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority, let’s take a poll:


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tom
first,only and last.

Bmore on January 19, 2012 at 11:02 AM

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Yes, living in a slum can be enlightening.

What you’re talking about is bigger than a taxation issue, it’s a complete to-the-studs demolition and rebuilding of every facet of American society; changes like that won’t come easy, cheap, or peacefully.

Bishop on January 19, 2012 at 11:04 AM

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Yes, living in a slum can be enlightening.

What you’re talking about is bigger than a taxation issue, it’s a complete to-the-studs demolition and rebuilding of every facet of American society; changes like that won’t come easy, cheap, or peacefully.

Bishop on January 19, 2012 at 11:04 AM

I’m actually not. I am saying that there should be changes and that people who are insulated from the problem are unlikely to propose solutions.

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Right. All that money poured out of the country when Reagan taxed capital gains at 28%.

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Capital gains rates dropped under Reagan. Both the actual and the effective rate. Everything is relative, but maybe that is a difficult concept for you.

NotCoach on January 19, 2012 at 11:07 AM

That’s explicitly why I vote a straight democrat ticket every time.

Gotta keep those schlubs in their place and away from my Mansion on Cape Cod.

Let them eat Cheesy Poofs paid for with their EBT card.

tom daschle concerned on January 19, 2012 at 11:01 AM

I never understood conservative contempt for the middle class they claim to see as “real Americans.”

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM

But, when a small cadre of secular nobles has no experience with the mediocre (or worse) state of public schools…

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 10:59 AM

We spend more per pupil then any other industrialized nation in the world. Yet your obvious solution is more money chasing bad. Perhaps it is time to stop chasing envy and start chasing real solutions?

the exploding cost of health care, the rising cost of college educations and decent homes against a flat income for the middle class…

Directly related to the kinds of “solutions” you advocate for. Government involvement in all of the above has inflated costs considerably.

NotCoach on January 19, 2012 at 11:11 AM

These are not the droids you are looking for.

These are not the tax returns you are looking for.

These are not the:
College Transcripts
College Thesis Papers
Harvard Law Review Writings
College Loan Documents
Foreign Student Aide Documents
Explanation for why you have a SSN from a State you never lived in
Documents you are looking for.

barnone on January 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM

I am surprised so many Hot Air readers seem to think it is none of our business. Tax returns, college transcripts, you name it. I want to see it all.

McDuck on January 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM

I never understood conservative contempt for the middle class they claim to see as “real Americans.”

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Urban,you need to work on your reading comprehension. The only group is Tom is showing contempt for is wealthy leftists.
Conservativism advocates the dignity of all labor. It is Obama that wants everyone college educated and being computer scientists or community organizers. In Obama world, no one would ever suffer the indignity of being a plumber. While Conservative values mean good plumbing, Obama leftist world would stink and be a health hazard.

thuja on January 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I am surprised so many Hot Air readers seem to think it is none of our business. Tax returns, college transcripts, you name it. I want to see it all.

McDuck on January 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Tax returns don’t really say anything about anyone. People earn money and pay taxes according to the law. And if anyone we might vote for is violating tax law that is a matter of public record because they are probably facing some sort of criminal sanctions.

NotCoach on January 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I have not been interested in the Republican candidates tax returns, except to see what they support with their charitable money. But I admit when democrats release their tax returns I am looking for the do as I say and not as I do in the democrat tax return.

People who condemn wealth and greed, and then have lots of money and don’t give to charity is what interests me. Or like when Obama condemns wealth but doesn’t refuse the salary of the President when he has royalites that push his income over a million dollars per year.

Or Mrs. Obama telling people on the campaign trail they should not look for jobs in the board rooms, but should strive to be a social worker. How do you afford the lifestyle Mrs. Obama enjoys on a social workers salary?

So, I don’t know why kind of hypocrisy Rick Perry or Newt would be looking for in the Romney tax return. If they want to know how many dollars he gives to his church, isn’t that freedom of religion? He should not have to tell that.

John Kerry’s tax return revealed him to be the wealthiest person to run for president. But then, he explained, that he didn’t own all those SUV’s they belonged to The Family. The money wasn’t his, so he didn’t really give to charity. You know all those ill gotten gains he didn’t earn came from his wife’s Republican (bad) first husband’s ketchup factory. Just the act of John Kerry marrying that woman, made her millions more ethical.

Fleuries on January 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Major Chelsea Clinton is on the phone, she wants to talk to you.

Bishop on January 19, 2012 at 10:47 AM

This! LOL!!!

I’m not sure why but left-wingers always bring up the lack of military service even though few of their ilk ever have served and fewer still have any respect for the military.

Happy Nomad on January 19, 2012 at 11:18 AM

I am surprised so many Hot Air readers seem to think it is none of our business. Tax returns, college transcripts, you name it. I want to see it all.

McDuck on January 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Why?

My college transcripts are not horrible (when all was said and done, I finished with somewhere around a 3.3), but there are a few dark spots in them.

Do my screw-ups in college 10-15 years ago reflect who I am today?

I’d much rather release my 4.6 GPA High School grades. Should we be asking for those grades from our candidates as well?

And truly, the idea that we must see a candidate’s tax returns is just plain silly. Nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to incite class warfare.

RightWay79 on January 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Yes, where are Newt’s returns and where are the records of his 527 which took in tens of millions of dollars?

Do I hear crickets? Oh, the hypocrisy.

fight like a girl on January 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Or Mrs. Obama telling people on the campaign trail they should not look for jobs in the board rooms, but should strive to be a social worker. How do you afford the lifestyle Mrs. Obama enjoys on a social workers salary?

Fleuries on January 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Well becoming a grifter has worked quite well for her. Seriously, what has Michelle Obama ever done but run around playing the role of angry black woman, community agitator, and racist extraordinaire?

Happy Nomad on January 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM

We spend more per pupil then any other industrialized nation in the world. Yet your obvious solution is more money chasing bad. Perhaps it is time to stop chasing envy and start chasing real solutions?

According to this we are not actually spending significantly more than other nations and spend less than some. Click around a bit and see how we stack up in spending on education as a percentage of GDP.

And, as far as you’re unfounded assumptions, I’m perfectly happy to look for solutions that aren’t just throwing money at the problem. In DC, where I live, we’ve changed the pay structure, challenged the unions and launched possibly the most extensive charter school system in the nation. All reforms, by the way, driven by the liberal yuppie class.

The whole envy charge is symptomatic of your intellectual sloth, btw.

Directly related to the kinds of “solutions” you advocate for. Government involvement in all of the above has inflated costs considerably.

NotCoach on January 19, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Actually, government run health care and public schools are both cheaper and more effective in many countries than they are in the U.S. And the country’s whose economic growth worries people — China and India — are far more government dominated than the U.S.’s.

Not that I’m advocating an embrace of either system. But the whole “government is the problem” argument is incomplete, at best.

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Stop harping on Tax Returns and start DEMANDING Oblama’s school records!

JayMac1 on January 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM

I am surprised so many Hot Air readers seem to think it is none of our business. Tax returns, college transcripts, you name it. I want to see it all.

McDuck on January 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Their tax returns are not our business. . . and neither are yours or mine.

People try to make this an issue because they want to feed the OMG Republicans are teh evil rich meme.

Guess what, OMG all politicians are teh evil rich, if you want to play that game. The Obamas, Binden, Pelosi, Reid, the Bushs, Cheney, Gingrich, Palin, etc. are all wealthy, as are the majority of our politicians.

It’s total bull when any of them try to act like they are coming from a working or middle class background.

They are a social class unto themselves, the Politistocracy.

I have believed for a long time that we need to get rid of career politicians, impose term limits on everyone, and force them all to get real jobs at some point in their lives. . . long before Perry said as much.

cmsciulli on January 19, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Conservativism advocates the dignity of all labor. It is Obama that wants everyone college educated and being computer scientists or community organizers. In Obama world, no one would ever suffer the indignity of being a plumber. While Conservative values mean good plumbing, Obama leftist world would stink and be a health hazard.

thuja on January 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Show me where Obama said any of this. It is complete lie.

We liberals, by the way, are flooding into old urban neighborhoods and century old houses. No one appreciates good plumbers (or electricians or masons…) more than we do. ;)

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM

We liberals, by the way, are flooding into old urban neighborhoods and century old houses. No one appreciates good plumbers (or electricians or masons…) more than we do. ;)

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Sorry but as a conservative that has lived in one of those houses for about 20 years, I beg to differ with you. No one appreciates the bandwagon more than you do :-P

cmsciulli on January 19, 2012 at 11:31 AM

We liberals, by the way, are flooding into old urban neighborhoods and century old houses. No one appreciates good plumbers (or electricians or masons…) more than we do. ;)

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM

What you don’t mention is that you liberals are flooding into those areas as OWS squatters and not productive members of society.

Seriously though, any migration into urban areas (and there is that trend in some cities) is a very specific demographic. Typically young and without kids. Once they start a family, realize that the high crime and crappy schools are no way to raise their children- it is out to the suburbs.

Happy Nomad on January 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Sorry but as a conservative that has lived in one of those houses for about 20 years, I beg to differ with you. No one appreciates the bandwagon more than you do :-P

cmsciulli on January 19, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Probably we live in different sorts of neighborhoods — though we did have one staunch conservative on on our block when I moved there in ’89. (My Friend Matt beat us both, moving in in the 70s).

Here in DC, the folks moving in during the days of the crack wars were gays, students, “artists” and a few young families like mine. Not to get to into a pissing contest about plumbers, but in this case I was well ahead of the masses.

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Still need to thin it out. Romney needs to bow out now.

bgibbs1000 on January 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM

These are not the droids you are looking for.

These are not the tax returns you are looking for.

These are not the:
College Transcripts
College Thesis Papers
Harvard Law Review Writings
College Loan Documents
Foreign Student Aide Documents
Explanation for why you have a SSN from a State you never lived in
Documents you are looking for.

barnone on January 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Thank you so much…for saving me the time. (plus you had a couple more than I did)

KOOLAID2 on January 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM

What you don’t mention is that you liberals are flooding into those areas as OWS squatters and not productive members of society.

Seriously though, any migration into urban areas (and there is that trend in some cities) is a very specific demographic. Typically young and without kids. Once they start a family, realize that the high crime and crappy schools are no way to raise their children- it is out to the suburbs.

Happy Nomad on January 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Actually, a number of those families are staying on (they are my friends and me). The school problem remains acute, but public schools are improving and charter schools are springing up. And, of course, some send their kids to private schools, (as I did).

Having lived in “changing areas” for almost 30 years, it’s a pretty interesting phenomenon to watch.

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Tax returns don’t really say anything about anyone. People earn money and pay taxes according to the law. And if anyone we might vote for is violating tax law that is a matter of public record because they are probably facing some sort of criminal sanctions.

NotCoach on January 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Sorry, but I believe they do. I like to see a candidate’s charitable inclinations. In particular, I love seeing the returns of liberals. They desperately want to make the federal government over into a charitable-giving vehicle. They do so because they don’t give any amount to anything. Obama’s charitable giving was a joke up until 2007, when he had an AGI of about $4M or $5M. Indeed, Palin, on her $125K a year governor’s salary and her husband’s relatively modest annual income, gave more than Obama and Biden combined.

On the issue of transcripts, delete the grades. I’d like to see the kinds of courses our Socialist-in-Chief took during undergrad and law school. One look at his coursework followed by his earlier positions will have independents now concluding that they wouldn’t hire Obama to walk their dogs.

BuckeyeSam on January 19, 2012 at 11:45 AM

What we need to see is Obama’s college transcripts!

jqc1970 on January 19, 2012 at 11:46 AM

According to this we are not actually spending significantly more than other nations and spend less than some. Click around a bit and see how we stack up in spending on education as a percentage of GDP.

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Irrelevant. If you want to compare our education system to other nations, spending as a percentage of GDP has no meaning. $100 in the US should buy the same thing as $100 in Denmark. A more important measure are actual costs, such as teacher salaries and education materials.

And, as far as you’re unfounded assumptions…

You complain about capital gains rates and how the wealthy are supposedly sheltered from the non-wealthy. What assumption am I supposed to draw exactly?

Actually, government run health care and public schools are both cheaper and more effective in many countries than they are in the U.S….

A matter of opinion, especially on healthcare. You ignore the fact that these “many” countries ration care and underpay doctors. It is no accident that Canada has a general practitioner shortage.

And the country’s whose economic growth worries people — China and India — are far more government dominated than the U.S.’s.

I am not worried about either as it relates to economic strength. China is a giant bubble ready to burst, and India is a long way away from being any kind of global economic power.

BTW, neither country has “free” healthcare. China has something like a public option, which they implemented after dumping their government run HC program some years ago.

Not that I’m advocating an embrace of either system. But the whole “government is the problem” argument is incomplete, at best.

The problems you pointed out are directly related to government involvement. Don’t obfuscate.

College education: Government backed loans has inflated the costs of higher education considerably. Colleges will loan to anybody and continue to raise rates above that of inflation because people continue to get these loans and the government guarantees to back them.

Healthcare: Laws against interstate competition. Laws that mandate minimum levels of coverage. Regulations that generate ridiculous amounts of administration costs. ObamaCare by itself is most likely double premiums inside of 5 years if it is not repealed.

Homes: Community Reinvestment Act

NotCoach on January 19, 2012 at 11:50 AM

I do think academic records at the college level should be released. This is especially true of candidates that have backgrounds in academia.

trigon on January 19, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Naah. A/A students are admitted on an A/A basis, graded on an A/A basis, and awarded degrees and honors on an A/A basis. Other than interest in the titles of classes taken they will not tell us much.

I’m more interested in SATs, LSATs, etc. Those measures of intelligence are PC-proof.

slickwillie2001 on January 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Naah. A/A students are admitted on an A/A basis, graded on an A/A basis, and awarded degrees and honors on an A/A basis. Other than interest in the titles of classes taken they will not tell us much.

I’m more interested in SATs, LSATs, etc. Those measures of intelligence are PC-proof.

slickwillie2001 on January 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM

I tend to agree. That’s why I don’t really care for Obama’s grades. I do, however, want to see what worthless-multicultural-bullshite courses he took. I think it might prompt some fence-sitting independents to re-think that Obama 2008 vote.

BuckeyeSam on January 19, 2012 at 11:58 AM

I don’t see anything wrong with expecting candidates to be transparent about their sources of income. I don’t think it fosters envy or political advantage for either side. Pelosi, Reid, Al Bore, Kerry…the Dems have some big earners out there too. It’s almost a precondition to high office.

lexhamfox on January 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM

I’m glad somebody’s finally calling this what it is — a class warfare attack.

Andrewarama on January 19, 2012 at 12:12 PM

According to this we are not actually spending significantly more than other nations and spend less than some. Click around a bit and see how we stack up in spending on education as a percentage of GDP.

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Irrelevant. If you want to compare our education system to other nations, spending as a percentage of GDP has no meaning. $100 in the US should buy the same thing as $100 in Denmark. A more important measure are actual costs, such as teacher salaries and education materials.

Or, relevant. You could say that bigger economic entities should encourage further growth by continuing to invest in education/R&D at high levels. On the other hand it’s hard to compare things like teacher salaries and so on because of variations in cost of living and so on. But, may I suggest that teachers in socialist workers paradises like France, Denmark, Switzerland and so on are probably not at a significant salry and benefit disadvantage to their U.S. counterparts.

And, as far as you’re unfounded assumptions…

You complain about capital gains rates and how the wealthy are supposedly sheltered from the non-wealthy. What assumption am I supposed to draw exactly?

It’s entirely possible to disagree with the current tax and social arrangements without “envy” being the basis of your dislike. If you’re a grownup and not a mindless conservative parrot. I have actually known, worked and associated with “the rich” and find them generally to be intelligent, hard working and occasionally charming. I don’t want to turn their houses over to OWS. I don;t want to force their kids into public schools. I just don’t think they should get special tax favors.

Actually, government run health care and public schools are both cheaper and more effective in many countries than they are in the U.S….

A matter of opinion, especially on healthcare. You ignore the fact that these “many” countries ration care and underpay doctors. It is no accident that Canada has a general practitioner shortage.

But there are a lot of different health care systems out there. Canadians mad their bed and given the fact that even conservatives won’t touch the system, the voters of that frigid dominion are apparently eager to lie in it.

I like the Australian system.

As far as education, I’d be quite happy to send my elementary school student to school in any number of countries before the U.S., but few doubt that the U.S. higher education system is better.

And the country’s whose economic growth worries people — China and India — are far more government dominated than the U.S.’s.

I am not worried about either as it relates to economic strength. China is a giant bubble ready to burst, and India is a long way away from being any kind of global economic power.

I think we agree on this, as far as it goes.

BTW, neither country has “free” healthcare. China has something like a public option, which they implemented after dumping their government run HC program some years ago.

Not that I’m advocating an embrace of either system. But the whole “government is the problem” argument is incomplete, at best.

The problems you pointed out are directly related to government involvement. Don’t obfuscate.

College education: Government backed loans has inflated the costs of higher education considerably. Colleges will loan to anybody and continue to raise rates above that of inflation because people continue to get these loans and the government guarantees to back them.

Yeah, the GI Bill and land grant colleges really screwed things up by puting college within reach of tens of millions of students.

Healthcare: Laws against interstate competition. Laws that mandate minimum levels of coverage. Regulations that generate ridiculous amounts of administration costs. ObamaCare by itself is most likely double premiums inside of 5 years if it is not repealed.

None of these are significant factors in health care costs. Government-run systems, but the way, have dramatically lower administrative costs.

Homes: Community Reinvestment Act

Conservative propaganda to hid the fact that deregulation and Bush/Fed policies drove the bubble.

NotCoach on January 19, 2012 at 11:50 AM

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Liberal 4 LIfe – here are the 2011 tax brackets – the “middle class paying 30%” apparently starts 174,400 (single) or 212,300 (married). http://www.taxbrackets2011.com

15% is for investment income, or those earning less than 34,500. Remember too, those are marginal rates, not cumulative.

I recommend that you study up on tax rates.

Daisy_WI on January 19, 2012 at 12:14 PM

I agree fully with Ed Morrissey. There is no need for politicians to disclose their income tax returns. It is voyeurism, plain and simple. We all now darn well that Mitt Romney is extremely wealthy. He even admits that awful sin.

However, I am sure that now that we are in the midst of an income class warfare campaign, Democrats will be demanding for Romney to make his returns public. My guess is that some will be shocked, just shocked by his income. For myself it is just a yawn. Let me know when the Kennedy’s disclaim all income from their trust funds and John Kerry closes down several of his mansions and sells his yacht.

SC.Charlie on January 19, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Yeah, the GI Bill and land grant colleges really screwed things up by puting college within reach of tens of millions of students.

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 12:13 PM

I talk about the real reasons for inflated tuition and you bring up one item that effects a tiny percentage of those attending college (on our tax dollars, they aren’t paying for it themselves) and another item concerning lands grants to build higher education facilities?

None of these are significant factors in health care costs. Government-run systems, but the way, have dramatically lower administrative costs.

BS on the first part and laugh out loud hilarity on the second. You really fail to comprehend the difference between a government run program and private insurers?

Conservative propaganda to hid the fact that deregulation and Bush/Fed policies drove the bubble.

I always find this amusing. How exactly does deregulation inflate home prices? What regulation limited the price of homes prior to Bush? In what parallel universe does easy money created by forced lending and government guaranteed loans not inflate prices?

NotCoach on January 19, 2012 at 12:28 PM

However, I am sure that now that we are in the midst of an income class warfare campaign, Democrats will be demanding for Romney to make his returns public. My guess is that some will be shocked, just shocked by his income. For myself it is just a yawn. Let me know when the Kennedy’s disclaim all income from their trust funds and John Kerry closes down several of his mansions and sells his yacht.

SC.Charlie on January 19, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Thanks to seeing their tax returns, we know that the Dems are just as wealthy as Mitt so they probably aren’t going to incite a mob.

lexhamfox on January 19, 2012 at 12:31 PM

I don’t want to see their tax returns. I can barely understand my own when the accountant hands it to me.

Also, does looking at a person’s prior year return really give an accurate picture of their charitable generosity? Last year I donated $10k. 5 years ago I made charitable contributions over $200k. A 6 year average over $41k. So just to look at my prior year tax return I’d look like a cheapskate to most.

A tax return does not tell you anything about the candidate unless he’s behind bars. And you don’t need to see a tax return to figure that out.

olddog58 on January 19, 2012 at 12:34 PM

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:44 AM

I’d argue that DC public schools are not improving. Gray fired Michelle Rhee and handed the keys back over to the lousy union that is responsible for generational theft. Sorry but you don’t improve a city by putting a Marion Barry crony in charge and expect an honest government. How many scandals have erupted since this thug became mayor? Answer: too damn many.

As for improving areas I’ve got to agree with you. The area around the Navy Yard/Waterfront is unrecognizable from what it was twenty years ago.

Happy Nomad on January 19, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Maybe not but we still need to see Obama’s long form BC. In the Betty White greetings he hinted that he dose not have one, only the short form.

jpcpt03 on January 19, 2012 at 12:37 PM

I see nothing to be gained by releasing his tax returns and a whole lot of ways his opponents can use them to attack him unfairly. ABC went to Grand Cayman and tracked down the P.O. box of the investments funds Romney invested in. They were in Bain Capital funds, but they couldn’t demonstrate that there was anything illegal or that he reaped any special shelters. All I can see for these funds to be incorporated in the Cayman’s is that there were investors who demanded it.

I don’t think Mitt should release anything that isn’t required by law.

ABC has two stories about Mitt’s money. One about his paying tithing to his church and a charity he created for channeling charitable donations and the other about his “parking” of millions in the Caymans. Neither of these amount to anything, but they are perfect for the populists to take umbrage from the fact that he’s rich and they aren’t (Newt Gingrich for example) and for those trying to prevent him from being the nominee.

flataffect on January 19, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Were it up to me, I’d abolish the income tax and shut down IRS. Until that happens,
*and for so long as I have to file tax returns, to be poured over by a massive federal bureaucracy looking for errors and implicitly threatening me with jailtime,
*and for so long as the POTUS is in charge of this army of income tax flying monkeys, and the federal prosecutors who serve as his official Bag Men,

THEN YOU’RE DAM# RIGHT THAT THE POTUS, AND EVERYONE WHO PUTS HIS NAME ON A BALLOT TO RUN FOR POTUS, SHOULD HAVE TO POST HIS/HER PAST 7 YEARS TAX RETURNS ONLINE AS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO GETTING NAME ON BALLOT….and

Should have said tax returns combed by armies of citizens and oppo researchers looking for dirt, with prosecutions to follow as need be.

Sauce for goose, etc

james23 on January 19, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Happy Nomad on January 19, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Hey! I work down there. You nearby?

JeffWeimer on January 19, 2012 at 12:50 PM

I never understood conservative contempt for the middle class they claim to see as “real Americans.”

urban elitist on January 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Are you mentally ill?

tom daschle concerned on January 19, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Romney needs to show his tax returns.

He needs to explain to the middle class why he thinks paying 15% is justified while the middle class gets squeezed with 30% plus in taxes

liberal4life on January 19, 2012 at 10:15 AM

I don’t know anyone who pays 30 percent, unless you count all taxes which Romney was not. I have kept my tax records for my entire career and averaged about 9.5 percent federal income tax, while earning upwards of $90K plus. Most people don’t have a clue as to what they pay in taxes, they only know what they get as a refund because they over pay during the year,

Dasher on January 19, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Dasher on January 19, 2012 at 1:04 PM

I already brought that very point up to him; he promptly ignored it. For all their preening about considering “nuance”, they never look too far past the convenient talking-point as long as it agrees with their pre(mis)conceptions.

JeffWeimer on January 19, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Sure! All candidates should show their tax returns. So long as they all also release their school and college records…. ahem.

Book on January 19, 2012 at 1:30 PM

anyone who doesn’t think this is a political issue is blind. of course you release them NOW!!! you want to find out there a problem in august or sept TRUST BUT VERIFY

rik on January 19, 2012 at 2:04 PM

In Obama’s case he won’t release his college records not because of his grades, but because of the classes he took…. a far left clap trap.

Dasher on January 19, 2012 at 2:13 PM

I don’t care how much they made. I do care how much of what I make they think I should keep.

WingedPanther73 on January 19, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Sure! All candidates should show their tax returns. So long as they all also release their school and college records…. ahem.

Book on January 19, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Amen!

Roy Rogers on January 19, 2012 at 5:25 PM

I don’t need to see any of the candidate’s tax returns. How much they make is none of my business. It simply facilitates “envy” politics.

A candidate’s personal tax information should be just as private as yours or mine.

crosspatch on January 19, 2012 at 11:07 PM

I want to see Obama’s tax records. After all he is the one who is playing class warfare. Lets see how clean he is.

magicbeans on January 20, 2012 at 9:44 AM

In order to care any less I would have to be comatose.

ConservativeLA on January 20, 2012 at 3:21 PM

This is absolutely insane. We have Republicans playing the Hate the Rich card. Why are we putting up with this BS. The worst part about it is that there are people buying into it.

How much money a person has or doesn’t have has absolutely nothing to do with whether he or she is qualified to be president and whether or not he or she will be a good president. Why are we even talking about it unless it is to try to run down one candidate.

When Romney releases his taxes the first thing out of his mouth is that we want to see the documents from Gingrich’s House censure. If, according to him, have a right to see Romney’s taxes ‘to see if there is anything bad in there before he becomes the nominee’ then it is equally as true that we need to know what Nancy Pelosi knows in case he gets the nomination.

BTW only 4 Republican members of the House of Representatives have been censured or reprimanded by their colleagues in the last 140 years. One of those people is running for the presidency in 2012. You might wonder why so few of his House colleagues are supporting him. It is the same adulterer who, if elected, will have an open marriage with the First Lady.

MadJayhawk on January 22, 2012 at 9:48 PM

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