Friday, August 3, 2012

The Death of truth in American Politics: When the Presumptive Republican Nominee Refuses to Release Tax Filings?

Keywords or Terms: Romney’s Tax Plan; Tax Papers; Foreign Accounts; Tax Policy Center; Mitt Romney: Cayman Island and Swiss Bank Account; American Corporation

“Bain Capital is one of the world's leading private, alternative asset management firms whose affiliates manage approximately $65 billion. Our principals are the largest single investor in each of Bain Capital's funds, which aligns the interests of the firm with our investors and the long-term objectives of the management teams.” This is a direct quote from the home page of a company once managed by the presumptive Republican Nominee, Mitt Romney. No one is begrudging the wealth of this company and hardly anyone, is interested in another American Corporation falling through the cracks; rather, we will all like the private equity firm to continue to do what many American Corporations do: make gazillion dollars! Interestingly, the wealth of Mr. Romney, which is probably in a blind trust by now, is intricately tied to the future success of this equity firm.

With the ambition of Mr. Romney for the White House’s oval office, there are taxpayers who will like to know when Mitt Romney actually left the reigns of the alternative asset management firm? While some taxpayers are inquisitive about whether the asset management firm sent some American jobs overseas during the convoluted reigns of Mitt Romney, a few like me really just wants to know: if the potential ‘President Romney’ actually failed to pay taxes on his income, just like the law of the land demands; and, which many of us in the middle-income group have acceded to without complaints or refusal to release our tax returns.

This new interest comes out of two main concerns: 1) the allegation that Mr. Romney once held foreign bank account(s) in Switzerland and the Cayman islands and 2) the assertion credited to an anonymous source of Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, a fellow Mormon: that Mr. Romney failed to pay or took advantage of loop holes in the tax codes to avoid paying taxes to Uncle Sam. These are very serious allegations, if true; for, I could remember that Vice-President Spiro Agnew in 1972 had to resign from office due to issues of tax evasion. For those of you who are old like me, who actually experienced the disdain Americans had for tax dodgers, it is not uncommon or unusual, for many of us to demand, not call, that the Republican flag bearer for the 2012 General Elections, releases at a minimum seven years tax returns, this is the threshold that the Internal Revenue Service requires in an audit. Understandably Mr. Romney is not going through an imminent audit; however, he is seeking to be the boss of the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies, that is why he has to follow the law and accommodate this demands of tax payers who are very concerned about the recent allegations and assertions from as high up as the leader of the Senate Majority.

For those of you who are saying, why are we so nosy? Why are we so interested in Mitt Romney’s tax albatross? Well, we are because Mr. Romney’s proposal for a tax cut come January 8, 2013 under his potential reign, has been researched and documented by a non-partisan group, Tax Policy Center, and found to be disadvantageous to the largest group of workers in America. It is assessed and projected to shift eighty-six billion dollars away from hard working people of America; and make some of them pay close to $2,000 in extra taxes. According to the Tax Policy Center, Mr. Romney’s plan or proposal is more likely to raise taxes on middle and low income earners, exacerbate our national debts and plunge the economy into further abyss while compounding the national problem of unemployment and deficit. For those Republicans, who continue to criticize President Obama for tripling our national debt due to fiscal policies pursued to correct for Republican President Bush’s indiscretions, it is important that taxpayers demand for answers regarding Mr. Romney’s plan and his his taxation issues. It is also a time to call a spade a spade; and, not continue to allow ourselves to be hoodwinked by the rich among us and their surrogates.

True, we don’t want to go into debts to fight unnecessary wars; we are also, uninterested in cutting taxes for the wealthy, so that the helpless and disadvantaged groups among us, can continue to go without a meal or health care; just for the rich to afford a bigger yacht, extra country club passes for their mistresses and an extra roulette watch for junior; who can barely spell: forbearance! President Obama, called for the rich to do their fair share to rebound the economy by paying extra in taxes if they make more than a quarter of a million; many republican lawmakers find that intolerable and so, voted against the proposal when put to vote in congress. Interestingly, one policy adviser, who is said not to have been authorized by Mr. Romney’s campaign, released an email to the press that indicated that the expected economic growth from the proposed Romney’s tax plan was not accounted for in the Tax Policy Center assessment or evaluation. One is apt to wonder, if a man is not authorized by a campaign team to talk on its behalf, why is the individual part of the policy campaign team; and why on earth, has he released an email he is unworthy of backing? If in reality, the policy analyst is not authorized to speak on behalf of Romney’s camp, then, his assessment is not relevant to the debate. We must therefore default on the assessment of the Tax Policy Center, as correct and complete; if not the gold standard henceforth.

It is not just enough to dispute findings of the Tax Policy Group, it is imperative that the Presumptive Republican Nominee releases his tax filings for seven years, at minimum, for us to know how transparent he is going to be if we ever vote him into office. Some republicans think it is strange that Mr. Romney’s taxation record is being hounded by many Independents, Centrists and Democrats. Someday, we may be able to write into our laws that any aspirant for the highest office in the land will be required to release tax filings for a better part of fifteen to 20 years, to be above board. The truth is: we cannot afford having someone lord it on us, if he or she is actually not following decency; and probably, a justifiable request from other tax payers. We cannot be accommodating a former resident of Utah who carpet bagged to become a former governor of the State of Massachusetts; and, who promised to get back to the press regarding the inadequacies in his residency status about a decade ago; who is now making a shudder for the request of his tax filings beyond one or two years he has promised. The United States of America is not a banner republic and no one, must treat this great nation shoddily. If Mr. Romney thinks we are all fools, he must think again!

The fundamental difference between President Barack Obama and Mr. Mitt Romney is: BO is honest enough to tell the world that one of their own, a privileged man with over 250 million dollars in assets, must be made accountable on issues of a tax plan and taxation. It may seem complicated for the former Chief Executive Officer of Bain Capital to stomach, but no one invited him to run for the White House; he chose to do so; and, must be willing to take the heat, it is just part of the territory. The taxation that fuels a double trillion economy comes out of sacrifice and forbearance of many; including some of our heroes and their families, who are bearing the brunt of the foreign wars that America has been engaged in the past decade or more. If Romney wants to talk tough on Iran and make promises to take America to war, if necessary, he must be willing to pay for it; and one of the first step of doing that, is paying taxes and remaining transparent about the process.

Arguably, the new call is coming out of concern for the nomination process. If Republicans are slow to resolve this apprehension or concerns from Americans regarding Romney’s taxes, we may end up having to deal with a fracas at the Republican convention regarding his status as the Republican flag bearer; a situation that many Republicans will tell all of us is untidy. The taxation plan was part of Romney’s campaign to replace president Obama; how can that be, if he is not upfront with his own record of tax payment and a proposal he is advancing as the panacea to America’s sluggish economy. Why must we get into a drag out, to get a presumptive leader of a major political party to be transparent on an issue as simple as a tax records? Is the nation expecting too much from someone, who is aspiring to be the leader of the free world?

The answers to all these questions rely on what Mr. Romney’s does henceforth on the issue of releasing more than one or two years’ tax filings. Although it is his prerogative to do what is decent and right by the Republican Party; however, if he refuses, he is probably going to be hounded more than before as we get closer to the November elections. If you slow the process of coming clean, there are ways that the truth jumps out of the clouds of lies. Conspiracies have been known to arise from a politician failing to come clean immediately there are questions regarding personal behavior or a burning issue; and, most politicians who have been in the shoes of Mr. Romney today will honestly tell him to release the tax papers; and, let the wind blow where it may. The difficulty of holding back what Mr. Romney may be considering as a burning stick may end up being the rabble rouser within his own political party! A word is sufficient for the wise!
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