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Monday, July 09, 2012

Paul Krugman: Mitt’s Gray Areas

Why won't Romney release his tax returns? What's he worried about?:

Mitt’s Gray Areas, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Once upon a time a rich man named Romney ran for president. He could claim, with considerable justice, that his wealth was well-earned, that he had ... done a lot to create good jobs for American workers. Nonetheless, the public understandably wanted to know both how he had grown so rich and what he had done with his wealth; he obliged by releasing extensive information about his financial history.
But that was 44 years ago. And the contrast between George Romney and his son Mitt ... dramatically illustrates how America has changed. ...
George Romney ... ran an auto company, American Motors. And he ran it very well... Romney ... restored the company’s fortunes, not to mention ... saved the jobs of many American workers. It also made him personally rich. We know this because during his run for president, he released ... 12 years’ worth of tax returns... Those returns ... reveal that he paid a lot of taxes ..., 37 percent over the whole period. ...
Now fast-forward to Romney the Younger... Unlike his father,... Mr. Romney didn’t get rich by producing things people wanted to buy; he made his fortune through financial engineering that seems in many cases to have left workers worse off... George Romney was open and forthcoming..., but Mitt Romney has largely kept his finances secret...
Put it this way: Has there ever before been a major presidential candidate who had a multimillion-dollar Swiss bank account, plus tens of millions invested in the Cayman Islands, famed as a tax haven?
And then there’s his ... I.R.A.’s..., with annual contributions limited to a few thousand dollars a year..., somehow Mr. Romney ended up with an account worth between $20 million and $101 million.
There are legitimate ways that could have happened... But ... voters have a right to know that truth..., what a man does with his money is surely a major clue to his character.
One more thing: To the extent that Mr. Romney has a coherent policy agenda, it involves cutting tax rates on the very rich — which are already ... down by about half since his father’s time. Surely a man advocating such policies has a special obligation to level with voters about the extent to which he would personally benefit from the policies he advocates.
Yet obviously that’s something Mr. Romney doesn’t want to do. And unless he does reveal the truth about his investments, we can only assume that he’s hiding something seriously damaging.

    Posted by on Monday, July 9, 2012 at 01:08 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (83)


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