Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Romney's Hidden Tax Returns

The threat is mightier than the execution. ~ Aaron Nimzowitsch
It's obvious that Mitt Romney doesn't play chess. If he did he'd know the above truism.  Romney's tax return gambit to keep his secret against all challenges has led pundits to speculate endlessly.

Instead of one, single embarrassing revelation there are now thousands of rumors ranging from the minimal (Romney is arrogant and stupid) to the criminal (Romney is hiding tax fraud). Every rumor sounds true, many are true, and the rumors are building a very ugly portrait of Mitt Romney. What is reality?
  • He is stupid. Romney believes he can get away with hiding what lesser politicians, including his own father, have revealed for decades.
  • There is something new. If there is nothing other than what we saw in his 2010 return then there is no reason to stonewall.
  • It's bad. There is no reason for secrecy if his tax returns show he was an extra generous donor to charities. The real question, and the root of all the rumors is, how bad?
My favorite speculation comes from BusinessWeek and suggests Romney paid zero taxes in 2008. Romney is a non-productive capitalist (He doesn't earn money by making something, he makes money by moving it around - kind of like a 3-card Monte dealer.) and 2008 was a very bad year for such capitalists. And he might have paid no taxes on a very big income due to Bain Capital.

Another possibility is that in 2009 Romney used the IRA amnesty program for fraudulent nondisclosure of offshore income (Remember those Swiss bank accounts?) and his tax returns would show criminal activity. He could test how well the "but I was forgiven" defense works in politics.

Of course, it may be nothing more than Charles Pierce's speculation. It is nothing but aristocratic arrogance. That Romney believes the peasant class has no business peeking at the family affairs.

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