Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tommy And Romney's Taxing Problems

Mitt Romney and Tommy Thompson are withholding their tax returns for the same basic reason: the self-serving political narratives they are selling in TV commercials would be undermined by a fuller explanation of where and how they made their millions.

Tommy knows he'd be justifiably defined as just another Washington DC insider by greater disclosure about business relationships that came his way after serving as George W. Bush's cabinet Secretary of Health and Human Services.

And he also knows that that two-thirds of the voters in the August 14 GOP primary - - potential swing or stay-at-home voters come November - - were more aligned with Tea Partiers who know that the insiders' revolving door Tommy spun through keeps Big Government and its enablers fully-staffed, fueled and rewarded.

Tommy still wants people to think he's just a farmer from Elroy: nitty-gritty details of the real story - -  'How I Went To Washington And Became A Millionaire' - - would turn his good-old-boy story to fiction.

Romney is presenting himself and the Bain Capital investment firm he created as an All-American success story, but Bain isn't a Main Street hardware store or suburban strip mall filling station.

Bain and Romney benefited from arcane accounting methods and wrung every dollar imaginable out of a tax code that wealthy legislators provided, and which the Ryan budget expands - - including off-shore and Swiss bank accounts.

This costly technical work and the investment vehicles it drives are far beyond the means of everyday small business owners and working people, and using these special opportunities to amass a $250 million fortune paints Romney into an insider's corner smaller and more exclusive than Tommy's.

By hiding their income tax returns, Romney and Tommy are clumsily trying to conceal whom they really are.

Can they, should they get away with it?

Let's hope not - - and if they lose, some of the blame will be correctly assessed to their distrust of a full evaluation by the voting public, and their preference for secrecy over disclosure in a democracy.

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