When the American people ask Mitt Romney for something, they shall receive! Sort of. After being pressed for quite some time to release his tax returns, and yesterday afternoon -- ironically at a time when most people are shutting down their computers and taking their eyes off of news tickers for the weekend -- the Republican candidate's campaign offered up his personal 2011 tax return, along with a brief "summary" of what he's paid over the last 20 years.
All in all, what Romney revealed is no big surprise. He paid an effective federal income tax rate of 14.1 percent on nearly $13.7 million in income last year, but he could have taken a lower rate -- about 12 percent, according to one estimate. And he decided not to take all of the charitable deductions he could have, taking credit for $2.25 million instead of the full $4 million for which he was eligible. So, bravo for that. But major questions still remain ...
Mostly because no one really cares about Romney's 2011 return! The guy knew he was running for president that year, so obviously he was more conscious of handling his taxes in a way that would appear acceptable if they went public. He picked his own tax rate in 2011, purposely paying more than he owed, intentionally taking fewer deductions than he earned in 2011. So, in essence, it's not a true reflection of what his finances are. What we really want to see are the tax returns for previous years -- dating back to 2009 and beyond.
Instead of releasing those actual returns, the GOP candidate had his accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers offer a generalized report that states Romney had an average federal income tax rate of 20.2 percent between 1990 and 2009 and that his rate never fell below 13.7 percent. That's all well and good, but again, why can't we see the actual returns?
Quite simply, this glaring lack of information doesn't make Romney appear particularly forthcoming or trustworthy. Being that there is a standing tradition of presidential candidates releasing at least 5-7 years worth, how can we help but wonder what he's hiding? When he ran for president in 1968, Romney's own father, George Romney, released 12 years of returns. By 2004, George W. Bush had released 13 years' worth. And yet, voters are supposed to blindly accept the two most recent tax returns and a "summary" from Romney? Guess we'll see on Election Day if the American people are really as a-okay with that as the Romney campaign seems to think.
Check out voters sounding off on what they make of the new details from Camp Romney ...
What do you think about the info Romney's already released? Do you think he needs to release more returns?
Image via Tony Alter/Flickr