First off, has it really been a month since I last posted anything? Really? All shock aside, I've been thinking about Mitt Romney and his tax returns. Now, normally, I could understand the reticence of a presidential candidate in showing his tax returns, but Mitt Romney is no ordinary candidate. His father, George Romney, who ran for President in 1968, set the modern standard for releasing tax returns. Set. The. Standard. So, its not like Mitt didn't expect this.
But Mittens seems pretty set in his refusal to release any more tax returns. More importantly, his wife is. So what gives? What is in his tax returns that scares him off? Here are my thoughts on the subject, going from the least likely to the most likely (in my humble opinion, of course).
There's something illegal in his tax returns: Um. . .no. Mitt Romney is the wealthiest man who has ever run for President. Ever. He's wealthier than the last five or six Presidents combined. A guy with that kind of money, who has a J.D., who is as financially savvy to build such a fortune, is going to hire the best and brightest tax preparers ever. There's no way in hell he did anything illegal. And if he did, don't you think the IRS would have come down on him by now?
He paid too much/too little in taxes: This is closer to the mark, but is still missing something. Make no mistake, Romney paid a lot less in taxes than you or I. Heck, there were probably years where Romney paid nothing in taxes. And that might piss some people off. But Romney is hurting himself more by not releasing these tax returns. And if he was excellent at tax-avoidance, he'll be praised by the GOP rank and file. He's not a Democrat, after all. Republicans believe that taxes are evil. So I don't think that's it.
So, if its not illegality, or tax avoidance, what could possibly be so compelling in his tax returns that even his WIFE doesn't want the information to be shared with the public. . .
Tithing: Given the personal reaction to releasing the tax returns, there has to be something in the tax returns that Mitt doesn't want shared. And to me, the one thing that would hamper Romney, the one thing that's so personal to him, is tithing. As a Mormon, Romney is supposed to give 10% of his income to the Church. But I don't think he wants to hide his tithing because in his 2010 tax return, it shows that he gave 10% to the Church of Latter Day Saints. But what if his tax returns show that his income was A LOT higher than what he reported to the Church? That would be the kind of thing I would hide and that my wife would want to hide. What if Romney used the Swiss bank accounts, the Cayman bank accounts, to not avoid taxes, but to avoid tithing? There are loopholes with Uncle Sam, but I don't think the Church has the same view. As a high-ranking member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, proof that Romney didn't tithe would be devastating to Romney and his family on a personal level.
Anyway, that's my theory.