Why won’t Mitt Romney allow the American People to see his tax returns? Only one reason makes much sense: whatever he is hiding will hurt his chances of winning. Oh what could it be? If the ONLY tax return Mitt Romney has released to the public is any indication, Mitt Romney may be in big trouble.
Mitt Romney’s political opponents have been publicly charging that he hasn’t paid any taxes. Maybe the facts contained therein would contradict statements and claims he’s made in the past. He could have made much more money than we now believe. It could have something to do with where he’s invested money, his affairs at Bain Capital, or possibly something about unscrupulous deductions. We can only speculate at this point. Only Mitt Romney can answer these questions, but perhaps there are clues.
Let’s just take it from what he’s already released to the public. We know from his 2010 tax return (the only filed tax return he’s released to the public) that he paid 7% of his income in tithing to the Mormon Church. The minimum requirement of the church is 10%.
Let’s just assume with a conservative estimate that he made the same amount of income he reported in his 2010 tax return, every year for the past ten years. At $20 million annually, he would have made over $200 million during the past ten years.
If Mitt Romney’s 2010 tax return is any indication of how Mitt Romney acts, he’s shortchanged the Mormon Church out of $6 million dollars. That’s a lot of money to shortchange your church.
Once asked whether his tithing payments were relevant to the election, Mitt nervously replied: “If people want to discriminate against someone based upon their commitment to tithe, I’d be very surprised.” He might be surprised, but I wouldn’t be. As a member of the Mormon Church, I can tell you it matters to Mormons.
Faithful members of the church willingly pay 10% of their income to tithing, whether they make $20 Million, or $30 thousand a year. The members paying 10% of $30K are making a huge sacrifice. When Mitt Romney shortchanged the Church by paying 7% in 2010, he still had over $18 million to play with. Geez!
Mormons commit to pay a full and honest tithe as part of their temple covenant. Not only has Mitt Romney taken that covenant, he has served as a bishop and president of a stake (the equivalent of diocese bishop) in the Mormon Church. Part of his duties included asking members if they were paying a full and honest tithe before giving them permission to attend the temple. He judged people for not paying their full tithing (something we know he didn’t do himself in 2010).
If supporters in places like Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico see him as a hypocrite, it could certainly put his chances of winning those states in jeopardy. He absolutely needs to win one of those four states to have a chance of winning the election (most likely Arizona). If not, Obama could lose Ohio and Florida and still win the election by winning the same states John Kerry won in 2004.
Let’s not forget his own father George Romney was totally dismissive of a candidate for president releasing just one year of tax information:
“Release of the document, while it might serve a political purpose, would not prove very much, he argued. One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul.”
George Romney was much more generous with his wealth than Mitt has been. George refused tax loopholes and paid over 40% of his income to taxes. He also paid nearly 20% of his income to the Mormon Church in tithes. George Romney sought to live with what he needed, and use the rest to help others. That is what Mormon thought teaches.
We can only judge Mitt Romney by what we know about him. What we do know is he shortchanged his Church in 2010. How can we be expected to believe he didn’t do so during the previous years? How can we be expected to believe he won’t shortchange the American People, if he’s willing to do so to his own church? Only Mitt Romney can clear this up… by releasing his tax returns.
Justin is the publisher The Nevada View, which has earned the recognition in the Washington Post’s “Best State-Based Political Blogs,” as well as being awarded the “Most Valuable Blogger Award” by the local CBS affiliate in 2011. Follow him on Twitter @McAffee