Saturday, September 22, 2012

Romney's Tax Return Release Boomerangs: Tommy, Ryan Should Duck, Too

Mitt Romney will get more grief than relief after releasing his Federal 2011 tax return information in the heart of a Friday data-dump.

All he did was re-aggravate the self-inflicted wound over having withheld his tax return information all campaign-season-long.

In politics, one rule is don't create day-two stories. Romney has been breaking this rule this for weeks, months, to his detriment, as he declined to follow protocol and tradition dating to when his father ran for President, and thus Mitt began to attract negative media over what he was hiding in this 2012 race.

So now he has rekindled the debate with a day-126 story with information from just a second-year's release, and the information shows he is so wealthy that a) he paid Federal income 2011 taxes at a modest rate of 14.1% - - less even than the sweet 15% privileged break the IRS grants on investment income at the heart of Romney's return - - and b) has wealth so excessive that he could afford to forego deductions to keep him out of politically toxic single-digit rates.

How many Americans can afford to give away deductions for political reasons, and how many everyday voters and income return filers will use Romney's data to finally connect with him?

The Friday Romney release also undermines GOP veep candidate Cong. Paul Ryan.

Ryan was put on the ticket so the GOP could showcase their expert tax reformer, but Ryan's 'reforms' emphasize more tax breaks for upper-class investment earners like Romney who already benefit mightily from an IRS code that helps money trickle up.

Ryan's plans would have dropped Romney's rate to below 1%. Is this the right and rightly-timed message that helps Romney with six weeks left until the election?

And speaking of mishandlng tax issues - - Tommy Thompson, the GOP Senate candidate from our state, has done the impossible by managing to mismanage it even more clumsily than has Romney.

Tommy's Democratic opponent Cong. Tammy Baldwin has released multiple years of tax returns, but Tommy has said "no" to releasing even one year's filing.

Granted that there is no law requiring politicians to disclose these documents, but Tommy is among the candidates for the highest and most influential offices in the country.

Tommy's resistance, like Romney's reticence, only attracts unproductive attention in a quickening campaign, and raises questions about his revolving door trajectory out of the Bush Cabinet into multiple, corporate connections.

If Tommy feels heat on the tax return front, he can thank Romney for turning up the temperature.

Cross-posted at Purple Wisconsin.

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