Most people have suspected that Mitt “I’m Unemployed” Romney was paying a taxes at a far lower rate than most of us mere mortals, and that was why he resisted releasing his tax returns.
Well, today Mitt confirmed it.
What had been known as the Buffet rule, because Warren Buffet has pointed out how unfair it is that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary, if about to be renamed the Romney rule, and Mitt Romney will have to defend his paltry tax rate to millions of people who pay well more, in tough times.
That will be fun to watch.
For all the talk about Mitt’s “electability”, he’s got a few albatrosses hanging from his neck.
First, he doesn’t wear well over time, and people are about to see a lot of him.
Second…well, I’ll let Greg Sargent pick up the slack:
1) At a time when the 2012 presidential election is expected to focus heavily on tax fairness, the GOP is set to nominate someone who is worth as much as $250 million, but pays a lower tax rate than many middle class taxpayers.
2) At a time when polls suggest public anger at Wall Street conduct is running high, the GOP is set to nominate someone who presided over corporate restructuring deals that resulted in mass layoffs and economic suffering — even as he raked in an enormous fortune in the process.
3) At a time when majorities support higher taxes on the wealthy and are increasingly preoccupied with inequality and the shrinking middle class, the GOP is set to nominate a candidate whose tax plan, by one analysis, would cut taxes on the top 0.1 percent by nearly half a million dollars, while marginally raising them on many lower end taxpayers.
4) At a time when Democrats are salivating to paint their opponent as the candidate of the one percent, the GOP is set to nominate a candidate who regularly says things that (fairly or not) can be used to feed this narrative. To name just a few, Romney has said that “corporations are people”; confided that he likes to “be able to fire people” who provide him services; and has refused to say whether any and all questions about inequality and Wall Street excess are rooted in anything other than “envy.”
Did I mention, too, that he’s just not a likable guy?
This election will be about the economy, unless it gets a LOT better in the next 6-7 months, and the GOP’s standard bearer is tied to the perception that the game is rigged for certain people. Not the best way to make friends in tough times.
In Lyndon Johnson: Architect of American ambition, Randall Bennett Woods relays the story of a campaign Johnson worked on where his candidate was giving a speech:
“The first time Mr. Kleberg ran for Congress,” LBJ said, “he was back home making a tub-thumper campaign speech against this opponent. I was sitting on the steps at the side of the platform, listening. Mr. Kleberg said: ‘It isn’t easy, but I guess I can understand why the good citizens of the hill country might let themselves be represented in Washington by a man who drinks too much. It isn’t easy, but I guess t can even understand why the good citizens of the hill country might let themselves be represented by a man in Washington who carouses with city women while his wife and children are back here working the land. But, as God is my witness, I will never understand why the good people of the hill country would let themselves be represented by a man who takes female sheep up into the hills alone at night!’ ” Well, the president said, “I jumped up and shouted, ‘Mr. Kleberg, Mr Kleberg, that’s not true.’ He just looked down at me and said, ‘Then let thc son of a bitch deny it!'”
Mitt Romney doesn’t have a livestock issue, but his problem is that he can’t deny those things that will make people question whether he understands them and has their best interests at heart. On the contrary, he has (wisely, I think) offered a full-throated defense of his time at Bain. (We’ll see what he does on the “I pay lower taxes than you” issue.) But these issues aren’t going away, even if they’ve surfaced too late to keep him from the Republican nomination.