The Tax Returns

You Know You've Had a Bad Week When...

The Romney camp's release of tax returns: redefining amateur hour.

The release of the Romney tax returns is so amateurish that it almost offends me. Zeke Miller of Buzzfeed gets right to the heart of things.

Romney had pledged, in that ABC interview in Israel, that he'd never paid less than 13 percent to the feds. But to make that true for tax year 2011, the campaign admits that he artificially refused to take some deductions so that the rate would stay above the magic number.

But wait a second. Isn't this the same Mitt Romney who said back in January: "I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes."

In fact, it is. So he just released returns that, when stacked against his earlier statement, disqualify him for the presidency by his own lights. Amazing. Romney's blind trust trustee, Bradley Malt, said this in response to a question from Miller:

He has been clear that no American need pay more than he or she owes under the law. At the same time, he was in the unique position of having made a commitment to the public that his tax rate would be above 13%. In order to be consistent with that statement, the Romneys limited their deduction of charitable contributions.

What put him in this unique position? His big stupid mouth. His feeling that he could just get away with it. His--sense of entitlement? The idea that no one would question his success in such a way? That this was the sort of thing to be discussed only in "quiet rooms"?

And, of course, how does it make sense to revive this issue now? When you've had your worst week of the campaign, to submit yourself to two or three more days of flagellation? What flagellation, you ask? Oh, if the Democrats are doing their jobs (and they seem to be), it shouldn't be too long before Americans know things like this, from the AFL-CIO blog:

The poorest 20 percent of America pays 17.4 percent of their income in state and federal taxes—in federal income and payroll taxes, sales taxes and other excise taxes and state income taxes. As we know, in the one year Romney has disclosed, he paid just under 13.8 percent in federal taxes, almost all of his income was not subject to payroll tax, and his state income tax bill was 4.1 percent for a total of 17.9 percent—Romney earned $21.6 million last year and paid only half a percent more in total taxes than the poorest people in the country.

Wow. The malpractice here just repeats on many levels. Or maybe they did it so Paul Ryan getting booed throughout his speech to AARP wouldn't be the top story. Hey, that's crafty! Geez.