Opinion: Tax returns don’t matter

September 26, 2012


Did anyone think the release of Mitt Romney’s tax returns would satisfy Democrats and make them focus on the real issues in this campaign, including President Obama’s failed domestic and foreign policy record and approaching massive tax increases? If so, please call me for a great deal on Arizona swampland.

The Obama campaign’s deputy manager, Stephanie Cutter, accused Romney of taking advantage of lower tax rates for capital gains available only to “those at the top.” Is Cutter saying Romney is wrong to obey tax law? The tax code is a mess. It, not Romney, should be the object of scorn. And by the way, Americans who make average incomes can benefit from lower capital gains taxes if they build sufficient wealth by making good investments.

Now that we know Romney paid a considerable amount of tax last year and in previous years, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should apologize for his comment about an unnamed “source” he claimed told him Romney paid no taxes for a decade. After Romney released his returns, instead of apologizing, Reid tried a new tack. “The information released today reveals that Mitt Romney manipulated one of the only two years of tax returns he’s seen fit to show the American people,” Reid said in a statement. “And then only to ‘conform’ with his public statements. That raises the question: What else in those returns has Romney manipulated?” Reid, of course, still has not released his 2011 tax returns. Is he hiding something? Suppose a “source” told me so?

I don’t care how much, or how little, the Romneys pay in taxes. I do care, and so should voters, about government overspending and a national debt that now tops $16 trillion.

I don’t care how much money anyone makes and neither should voters. Voters should be concerned only about whether they have the opportunity to make a decent living without having to depend on government. I do care — and so should voters — that our future is being mortgaged to pay for “entitlements” and huge interest on long-term debt that is greater than the gross domestic product of some countries.

Before leaving Washington to campaign for re-election, members of the Senate passed one of those stopgap spending bills, ensuring government paychecks will continue to go out. It ends what many regard as one of the least productive legislative sessions in U.S. history; not necessarily a bad thing when you consider the damage Congress might have caused were it not for a Republican House crying, “NO!” Voters should also recall the numerous bills passed by the House and ignored in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Government is supposed to be of, by and for the people, not in spite of the people. It is “we the people,” not you the government. It is the people who grant power to those who govern. It is not the government, or any politician, who has the constitutional right to limit our freedoms and shackle us to Washington.

Quote Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, Mitt. Quote Reagan. Remind people why the Democrats lost control of the House in 1994 and again in 2010. It makes no sense to vote for conservatives in one election and then vote for a liberal in another.

Four years ago, a majority of Americans were seduced by Obama’s soaring and messianic rhetoric. It’s time for us to embrace what our parents and grandparents tried to hand down to us: individual responsibility and a sense of caring for each other. If Romney makes that case in this “entitlement nation,” he could win. If not, we’re finished and what Romney paid in taxes will matter even less than it should now.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.


Armstrong 5 years, 3 months ago

Nothing new here. Libs will vote for Barry. Conservatives will vote Mitt. The real battle is for the independent vote.

jesse499 5 years, 3 months ago

All I no is my taxes is my business and only my business and that's the way I feel about anyone else's. Romney paid by the law so what the tax code is messed up but you and I take advantage of what we can to. We don't give millions to charity so I think he made up for the tax part don't you.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 3 months ago

Well, my concern is that Romney (or, more appropriately, his tax people) actually claimed resident status for both Utah and Massachusetts state taxes a decade ago.

In other words, Romney did NOT "pay by the law". When he was caught out, his Utah taxes were amended and he "retroactively" stopped being a Utah resident.

Yes. He paid the late taxes, the interest, and the penalties...but only after this was discovered - and NOT by Romney or his people. So that does not make me feel confident about Romney's credibility when it comes to his taxes.

Now we have this nonsense where he adjusts what he deducts as charitable contributions so that he can continue to claim he pays "at least" X%.

Sure. He gets to do that.

But it just seems so...soooooo...manipulative. Instead of simply admitting that he had overestimated his earnings and, therefore, his tax rate this past year, he CHOSE to manipulate his deductions.

He didn't do anything illegal. I know that. But he chose not to be straightforward. 6 weeks before the election...and he chose to manipulate for appearance's sake, rather than be straightforward.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 3 months ago

I'd agree with an awful lot of what you say. But I would add a caveat. The tax codes themselves are so complicated, it's unlikely any one person on the planet understands it all. Teams of accountants could plausibly look at the complex returns of a wealthy individual and come up with widely different numbers. At some point, they're going to hire people they trust and then follow their advice.

This is no different, in my opinion, than the multiple agreements that pop up on the internet, we agree without reading a single word, and then use their product. I know we shouldn't. But we all do it. A short time ago, I took someone to the ER at LMH where they were asked to sign multiple forms. The person was in no shape to read or understand the forms. They just signed and received the treatment they needed. It happens.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

There is no comparison. The notion that Obama isn't a citizen and the demand for his BC were completely racist and partisan in nature.

Romney's tax returns for the years he was heavily involved in Bain would show that he's a plutocrat, and let voters know that he intends to govern as a plutocrat for the benefit of his fellow plutocrats. That's why he won't release them.

But I'd guess if he did release them, it wouldn't hurt him with the minority of voters like you who believe in plutocracy.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 3 months ago

And the other difference is that President Obama released HIS documents, but NOT Mitt-wit Rmoney.

oldvet 5 years, 3 months ago

He did? I didn't know that BO had released his college transcripts, as has been requested...

pace 5 years, 3 months ago

I am weary of hearing the reason Mitt won't be specific on his plans or his taxes is because he is scared Obama will pick on him. He is asking to be in the position of authority if someone attacks us. Coddled.

jafs 5 years, 3 months ago

It's a darn good thing that we have Cal Thomas to tell us what's important and what's not.

I don't know what I'd do without him.

Getaroom 5 years, 3 months ago

Willard says, "keep your hands and eyes off my tax returns, this is MY America, My Way, and all those tax returns will show is how I ripped off the government and did it 'legally'"!
If Willard is as proud to be an American as he pretends to be why not show 10 years worth? Anyone who is as faux proud as he is should jump at the chance to publicly present his 'papers' and brag about how successful he has been as the Capital Bains job-destroyer-in-chief.

Thank you Cal, for defending Willard, in his time of need.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 3 months ago

The Rominator is rich. So? Zzzzzzzzz.......

cowboy 5 years, 3 months ago

Doesn't matter anyway , Obama is going to win by landslide

James Hardie 5 years, 3 months ago

Ha! Think again! Too funny....know in a little while won't we?

mycatsrightorwrong 5 years, 3 months ago

Obama will raise taxes... but only for those making more than $250,000, which is actually just ending Bush cuts that didn't work. So basically, if you believe high tax rates are the biggest problem our country is facing, you're highly impressionable and have been brainwashed by rich people, whose only problem in life is high tax rates.

Before anybody gives me that trickle down bs, congressional research services just came out with a paper proving Reaganomics has never worked... ever.

Boosh = http://voices.yahoo.com/congressional-research-service-findings-important-11763522.html

beatrice 5 years, 3 months ago

CT: "I don’t care how much, or how little, the Romneys pay in taxes. I do care, and so should voters, about government overspending and a national debt that now tops $16 trillion."

This is arguably a case of putting the cart before the horse. To only look at the debt without taking into consideration the remarkably low tax rates paid by the upper level earners and low rates for everyone in general is missing a large part of why we have the dept to begin with. Since Reagan tripled the dept, we have seen a steady decline in tax rates, which is seen to primarily benefit those at the top. During this time, we have had a major dept issue. Trickle down economics simply do not work.

Is spending too high? Yes. To do something about the dept will require cuts in spending (military is the largest single expense, so it cannot be off limits) as well as raising taxes.

The question shouldn't be about Romney's specific taxes as much as it should be about the tax code overall and the record low rates currently being paid at the upper level.

So yes, we should concern ourselves with Romney's taxes as an example of why changes need to happen if we ever hope to get out of debt.

headdoctor 5 years, 3 months ago

Yes Cal, we get it. Mean while in other National political news. The Republicans are livid that Obama keeps foiling their plans to unseat him. They have tried calling him a Muslim and a Marxist. The birth certificate and Social Security number approach didn't work either. They blame him for everything wrong in the past, present, as well as things in the future that haven't happened yet. Each time he out Republicans the Republicans. The most recent claim is that President Obama has a secret workshop set up in a room under the White House just off of the command center. Republican sources claim that Obama uses this high security area to protect his home brew beer recipes and also brew his beer. The most shocking revelation is that Obama is rumored to have possession of a time machine which he also keeps protected in the work shop. A few minutes ago an anonymous Republican released their overwhelming proof that Obama not only is a Marxist but that he also has a time machine.

beatrice 5 years, 3 months ago

... which means, he could actually be Marx himself!!!

Orwell 5 years, 3 months ago

It was Romney who – voluntarily – said "If I had paid more than are legally due I don't think I'd be qualified to become president." Of course, that was before he decided it would be politically expedient to pay more in taxes than were legally due.

This man has no integrity. Even if you believe his currently claimed conservative principles are important, there's no way you can count on him not to abandon those principles at 12:01 p.m. January 20, 2013.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 3 months ago

Maybe, but hiding money overseas is legal and encouraged by the tax code.

James Hardie 5 years, 3 months ago

The trouble with most in our country is in what we believe. If we believe in a lie it is true that we are deceived. Strive to seek out truth and truth outlets (sources). You are loved with an everlasting love. Go out with joy and be led forth with peace!

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