Sunday, January 22, 2012

Memo to Mitt Romney: You are Digging Yourself Into a Deeper and Deeper Hole on Your Tax Returns – Here’s Some Advice


[Editor's Update:  Mr. Romney has just announced that he will release his 2010 Tax Return.  It remains to be seen if releasing just this one year will satisfy the critics.  Possibly, but probably not.]

In the 1968 Presidential race Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney was one of the favorites for the Republican nomination.  A successful business executive and Governor of a Democratic state (sound familiar) George Romney was a serious contender until he was asked about changing his position on the Vietnam War.  Mr. Romney explained that he had been “brainwashed” in a prior visit to the Front.  His candidacy and political career succumbed immediately and permanently.

Mitt Romney had been cruising to the Republican nomination, blessed by a very weak set of competitors, a lot of money and the experience and knowledge that can only come from a previous run.  But Mr. Romney cannot handle a direct attack, he get’s flustered and says the wrong thing.  On releasing his tax returns he has made such a mess of it that at least in the short term his viability as a candidate is starting to wane.

Mr. Romney had earlier stated he would not release his tax returns.  As a serial flip flopper, once he made this statement he needed to stick with it, and absorb the consequences.  But under pressure he changed his mind, maybe, sort of and now says he will maybe, sort of, release one year’s return, several year’s returns or whatever.  By letting issue drag itself out he has damaged himself so greatly that he has lost a huge lead he had in South Carolina and has now lost the primary to Newt Gingrich.

Mr. Romney continues to make things worse for himself.  One of the points that those who would have him release multiple year returns is the fact that his father George did so before him.  Mitt says that doesn’t cut a whole lot of weight with him.

Mitt Romney said Friday he doesn’t find the argument that he should release his tax returns just because his father George started the tradition “terribly compelling."

thus not only keeping the issue alive, but dissing his father at the same time.  And he still acts like he does not understand the potency of the issue.

“This hasn’t been an issue before. I’m kind of curious as to why it’s suddenly an issue,” Romney added. “I think what they want to show is that I’m wealthy. Let me tell you: I am wealthy. I’ve been successful. I did not inherit my wealth, I created my wealth.”

Can Mr. Romney really be this clueless?  Apparently so.  Maybe the horrendous results for his campaign in South Carolina will jolt his intellect.

In the interest of helping all candidates do a better job of campaigning The Dismal Political Economist is willing to give Mr. Romney the words to use to put this issue to rest, or at least as much as it can be put to rest given the mess Mr. Romney has made of everything.  Basically Mr. Romney has to make a statement like this, indicating that he was wrong not to release his tax returns, that he now understands the need to do so, and that he is, like his dad, releasing 12 years’ worth and challenging his opponents to do the same.

 Here Mr. Romney, is what you should say

“I initially did not want to release my tax returns because I believe that candidates for public office are entitled to some privacy, and that my personal tax returns are not relevant in a campaign for President.  I now understand that by not releasing them I have raised questions about my taxes and my income.  So I recognize that I was wrong, and am now providing full access to the last 12 years of my tax returns and I am willing to answer questions about those returns.  I have also asked an independent accounting firm to examine the returns and determine that what I believe, that the tax returns are in full and total compliance with the U. S. tax laws is indeed the situation.

You’re welcome Mitt, no thanks are required, glad to help out.

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