romney's tax returns

(guest post by Dave)

Romney's issue with releasing his taxes is not primarily related to whether he pays a particular tax rate. In other words, Romney isn't holding back on his returns because he's afraid we'll suddenly realize he's rich. The tax thing is actually the Mormon thing, and his tax records will emphasize this. Like any good Mormon, I'm sure Romney has practiced tithing, which is a christian principle of giving 10% of your income to your church, based largely on the pre-revolt Jewish 10% temple tax. While most "normal" Christians never come close to giving 10% of their gross income to their church, I'm assuming many (most?) Mormons do. In Romney's case, this would involve big dollars going to the LDS church, all of which will be documented as deductible charitable donations on his return. Romney has (wisely) tried to play down his religion during the campaign; a review of his returns would reveal just how committed he is the LDS church - and I'm guessing he's really committed. And I'm just about certain that isn't something Romney wants GOP primary voters thinking about until after he has the nomination in the bag.


Brian said...

This came up on Slog the other day. I actually wonder if the opposite is true: i.e., that full disclosure of Romney's income and charitable giving might reveal that he hasn't given a full tithe. (It is entirely possible that he could have given millions that don't add up to 10%.)

I assume that unlike the US government, the almighty doesn't tax capital gains at a lower rate.

It's kind of a no-win proposition for Romney, when you think about it.

(cue violins)

Gino said...

even among mormons, there is a debate as to what equals "10%".

gross? net? net after taxes?

as a high profile mormon, i'm sure he's meeting the highest expectations.

but still... the 15% thing doesnt say as much about him as it does about our tax code.
mainly, it punishes those who are trying to become 1%ers, and goes a little easier on those who are already there.

Brian said...

I don't what it is, but man he is being really evasive about it. For a guy who's usually really put together under pressure, he was all over the place in the debate last night when asked about this.

Gino said...

i didnt watch it. i've only seen one, and that was enough.

Brian said...

I didn't watch it either, but I heard that bit on the radio this morning.

Gino said...

i think i know why he's hesitant.
a guy with his level of 1%ness probably has a tax return as large as a city phone directory.

given the cluster fuck our tax code is, almost anybody with an agenda, or without one, can pick it apart and find 'cheating' if they want to, regardless of how close to the law mitt tried to play it.

Brian said...

That may very well be, and I wouldn't blame him in the slightest were that the case.

But he's the wealthiest serious contender for the office in a long time. He HAD to know this was going to come up. I'm puzzled by why he seems so poorly prepared. Regardless of what you think of him (in my case, not much) the man is put together. Or at least does a hell of a job of projecting the idea that he is.

Gino said...

John Kerry was nearly equally wealthy. it wasnt that long ago. but the press doesnt go after the liberal millionaires in the same way.

oh, and i forgot... Romney, i'm sure of it, doesnt know 10% of what it is in his tax return. he'd be putting his reputation in the hands of a team of tax lawyers, who may or may not have followed his instructions as per 'legality' when preparing his papers.

Brian said...

Kerry is definitely very wealthy in his own right by mere human standards, but the big fortune belongs to his wife, and as I recall they have a pre-nup that keeps an awful lot of those assets separate. Perhaps a distinction without a difference in this context, unless they were to divorce.

Just to be clear: I don't particularly care about Mitt's tax returns. It's no secret that he's really, really rich. Like I said, I'm just surprised that he seems so unprepared, here.