All summer long while America has been having cook outs and wishing they could go on a summer vacation like their parents did, or like the Romney’s did that time they left the dog on the roof of the car, the political geeks and freaks have been talking about taxes.
I watched the better part of 12 Republican Presidential debates over the winter and the spring. I am a political geek, I enjoy these things. In January I watched Newt Gingrich play political chess with Mitt Romney, and put him in check when at the beginning of one of those debates Newt announced that he’d just released multiple years of his tax returns and encouraged Mr. Romney to do the same.
For the most part America is still waiting.
Not all that long after, Mr. Romney released his official tax return for the year 2010 and an estimated return for the year 2011. When he was being considered by John McCain 4 years ago as a potential Vice Presidential candidate, he gave to the good lawyer Culverhouse over 20 years worth of tax returns.
Apparently John McCain is good enough to see it but the American people are not.
The weeks have gone on, and the Republican field narrowed, and Mitt Romney emerged ad the presumptive nominee. Well, okay. So now we can get down to the business of the campaign, and who is right for the United States of America, who will save our souls.
Except, there is an 800 pound gorilla in the room called the 2009 tax return of Mitt Romney.
There are those who will say that the man has submitted all that he has to legally, and that the persistent and never ending call from not just the Democrats, but Republicans also, for the release of his tax returns is just smoke and mirrors. It is an attempt to avoid the real issues of the campaign people say.
Well, actually, the demand for the tax return is the real issue of this campaign. This is deeper than what the actual number is for the taxes Mr. Romney has paid. That number could be $5 or $50,000,000 and it is less important than the principle of the matter.
This election, not unlike most Presidential elections is about deciding on the future of this nation. Who will save our souls?
We stand at a difficult point fiscally, I don’t deny that. I simply ask if we want to be a nation that embraces austerity for 99% of the country, while 1% lives under a set of rules that exist in a playbook that none of us will ever see.
That is what this election is about. Who will save our souls?
There are the Paul Ryan’s of the world running about screaming that the sky is falling and that an end must be put to entitlements. But the entitlements are what have been keeping what is left of the middle class afloat. They say that Social Security is broken, yet they will not acknowledge, morbid as it is, that Social Security is a self correcting problem. People die. The financial strain on the independent Social Security budget will lessen as, well, people die.
They say that Medicare and Medicaid are out of control, that the costs are skyrocketing. While they do that, they ignore the stabilizing factor that universal health care can provide to the market, and have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act which will eventually stabilize costs.
They point to unemployment benefits, and CHIP, and food stamp programs as these monster cash cows that are gorging at the tax trough, yet somehow….the Wall Street companies that manipulated the financial markets causing the world to teeter on the brink of depression seem to face zero penalty. On August 10, it was announced that no charges would be brought against Goldman Sachs, even though their “big short” was instrumental in watching Wall Street financial institutions falling like dominos.
This is about who will the rules apply to, everyone, or just 99% of us.
That is why what is in the Romney tax returns matters.
The tax returns are where we find out who Mitt Romney is, and if we can trust him to protect all of us, not just 1% of us.
Except, its not rally a joke, that actually happened. I say that we take John McCain at his word when he says that there was nothing in the 20+ years of returns that his team saw that disqualified Romney.
If we do that then we have a situation where no one has seen Romney’s returns from 2008 through 2009. That is two short years, and not a lot to ask for one would think, until you recall what else was happening in 2009.
The sky was falling and Wall Street was leaking money like the oil pan on a ’78 Oldsmobile.
It is possible, yes it is possible, that a man whose money comes from financial manipulations and not product manufacturing could have suffered such severe financial losses on paper that he would not qualify to pay any income tax after the financial collapse.
Is that what happened? Well fuck, I don’t know since Romney will not release his tax returns to us so that we can see for ourselves.
The fringe of the Republican Party keeps telling America that President Obama is not like the rest of us. What they mean is that he is Black.
Who is really not like the rest of us is Mr. Romney.
Please raise your hand if you have had any of the following apply to you or your family:
- You have a net worth of over $200 million dollars
- You have applied for permits so that you can build a car elevator in your home
- You have a Swiss bank account…no not a Swiss Army knife a Swiss Bank account
- You have bank accounts in Bermuda, the Caymans and other tropical nations
- You have the financial resources to be a personal bank to families renting homes that you purchased as tax shelters so that you can write the mortgage for those homes
- Own an Olympic caliber horse
I don’t share these things to belittle Mr. Romney’s success, rather I am pointing out that he lives a life few if any of my constant readers will ever see for themselves.
Now if any of this sounds like you please raise your hand:
- Raised by a single mother and grandmother
- Moved frequently in your youth for financial reasons
- Had to work twice as hard to earn a scholarship to college
- After graduating college you took an entry level job
That is a part of what your President’s younger years was like. I am willing to bet your experiences were closer to President Obama’s than Mitt Romney’s.
Romney was born to privilege. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does affect how you see the world. It is the world of privilege that holds the true sense of entitlements. Where you are expected to use loopholes and tax lawyers to pay your minimum. The rest of us have kids to achieve the same result.
So we have to ask ourselves are we a society that wishes to protect privilege or do we wish to protect opportunity? That is the question and that is the difference between not just the two parties, but also the two candidates.
If we are protecting privilege then we want Mitt Romney and his endorsement of the Ryan budget. Seniors should pay more, and there should be fewer Pell Grants, and school lunches and food stamps should go bye bye.
If we are protecting the rest of us, then we need to see if Mitt Romney feels the same.
The only way to do that is to see what he stands for, and that doesn’t come from his time at the Olympics – which doesn’t qualify him for being President.
That doesn’t come from his time as the Governor of Massachusetts – a record he refuses to embrace because their health care plan is eerily similar to the Affordable Care Act.
That doesn’t come from his proclamation that Bain Capital was a successful firm – although as of 8.10.12 in an interview with Chuck Todd of NBC it appears Mitt no longer wants to talk about Bain and business either.
We find out what Mr. Romney stands for by examining the things he won’t talk about.
His money and his faith.
There is no ability to be ready for the job of President. You might think you know if you were the Vice President. You might be better exposed if you were married to a President, but no one walks into the job: ready.
Since there is no ability to prepare, the American people must make their decision based on their evaluation of the person nominated by the party.
With Mr. Romney, the only way to do that is to look at his faith – his spiritual core which teaches him morality, and how he makes and keeps his money.
Does he have a sense of right and wrong that aligns with our sense of right and wrong?
We all understand that just because something is not illegal doesn’t exclude it from being immoral.
So I call upon Mr. Romney to give us the information that we need to make an informed decision about if we want him to be our next President.
In the meantime, Obama for America does raise some interesting questions: