It was with much fanfare and anticipation that Mitt Romney released his federal tax records for 2010 and 2011 yesterday morning. To keep it brief, Romney made $21.7 million in 2010 and paid 13.9 percent ($3 million) of that to the federal government. It hardly has to be mentioned that a rate of 13.9 percent is far below the rate that most middle-class Americans pay. Moreover, the release of his tax returns also let the country in on the fact that Romney keeps some of his money in tax havens such as Luxembourg, Ireland and the Cayman Islands, outside of the United States. So much for believing in our “shining city on the hill”.
Romney’s devilishly low tax rate is going to be a big deal throughout this election. Today, Newt Gingrich, while addressing a question on Romney’s immigration platform, shot off this zinger:
“You have to live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and making $20 million for no work, to have some fantasy this far from reality,” Gingrich said.
Fantasy, isn’t it? Newt Gingrich has decided to attack Mitt Romney on the concept of receiving income in the form of interest payments and capital gains. The last time I checked, I don’t even think Democrats are against that. This critique goes way past tax code fairness.
As I’ve mentioned previously, the Romney tax returns are really the final straw — the cherry-on-top — that makes any semblance of Romney’s “electability” suddenly vanish into thin air. No longer can Mitt Romney even pretend to be able to relate to “average” Americans, much less the 49 million Americans who now live below the poverty line. The Republicans have done themselves into a corner.