Focus On Romney’s Tax Returns Ignores Bigger Picture
Romney released his 2011 tax records Friday. An immediate first impression: the former Massachusetts governor has a nice chunk of change, bringing in $13,696,951 last year.
Romney’s obvious wealth will be the first thing left-wing strategists attack. But, at this point, Romney’s wealth has been well established in the media. He is a multimillionaire who has derived most of his income in recent years from profit, dividends or interest from past investments.
The man is loaded, we get it. More importantly, why does it matter?
The Romneys gave more money to charity in 2011 than President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden combined. Romney and his wife gave $4,020,722 to charity, or 29.4 percent of their yearly income.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama donated $172,130 out of their income of $789,674 last year, which equates to 21.8 percent of their income. Biden and wife Jill donated 1.5 percent of their income, or $5,540 of their $379,035 earned last year.
Not only did Romney exceed his competition in donations to charity, but Romney also did not capitalize on all the charitable deductions for which he qualified. He left about $1.8 million off the record to stay above his stated consistent income tax rate, 13 percent.
Romney paid 14.1 percent of his income to the treasury last year in the form of income taxes. This number is greater than the majority of the American constituency.
Hopefully, this recent release will silence the media and strategists who continually demonize Romney for his acquired wealth.
No, Romney will not, and should not, release every tax return of the past decade. He has already silenced the criticism from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said in July that Romney “did not pay any taxes for 10 years.” With tax releases indicating Romney paid over $7 million in taxes the last two years alone, that statement is essentially null and void.
Romney also has no need to follow in the footsteps of his father, who released 12 years of returns when he ran for president in 1968. In case the name "George Romney" is ringing no bells in the memory bank, it’s because he lost. Releasing 12 years of returns was part of a losing strategy.
Obvious political wealth has not sat well with voters in the past, which is why Romney has avoided referencing his wealth during his campaign. In the worst economic recession of recent memory, Romney’s naysayers are implying having a wealthy candidate in office would only trigger more devastating economic windfalls.
When did success become such a villainous trait? This country was founded on the premise of opportunity and prosperity. Wealth was once heralded as the pinnacle of achievement in society.
Romney has exemplified the ideals of American prosperity. He is a wealthy businessman who has fared successfully in the private sector, and is now looking to lend his knowledge to America through a federal platform. He has solely and plentifully provided for his family.
Romney is a multibillionaire. He is a generous contributor to charity. He is the embodiment of American ideals.
And, hopefully soon, he will be the leader of the free world.