Cooking the Books

At long last (and late on a Friday afternoon) Mitt Romney finally decided to let the public see just one additional tax return, his 2011 filing.

Here’s the rundown.

What It Tells Us

A Gigantic Asterisk

Earlier this year, Romney said he had paid at least 13 percent in taxes every year for the past decade. The truth is that his tax rate for 2011 would’ve been around 9-10 percent. So today Romney cooked his tax return and used an accounting trick to pay more than he actually owed in order to generate better headlines.

None other than Mitt Romney himself said just a few months ago that doing just that would disqualify him from being president:

“I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.”

It’s also worth noting that Romney could file an amended return later and pay his real, much lower tax rate — and nobody would ever know.

A Tax Rate Lower Than Middle Class Workers

  • Mitt Romney paid a lower tax rate than millions of middle class workers — the same middle class families whose taxes Romney wants to raise by more than $2,000 a year.
  • Mitt Romney paid a lower percentage of his income in taxes than the millions of working Americans who Romney derided as moochers and lazy victims of government dependency.

What We Still Don’t Know

  • Any details at all about any individual years before 2010.
  • What is hidden in his earlier returns that is so bad that Romney refuses to release them.
  • Why Romney thinks it’s fair to have asked Paul Ryan for ten years of tax returns during the vetting process but refuses to share more than two with the American people.
  • How it’s possible for Mitt Romney to have misestimated his 2011 income by a whopping $7 MILLION. Earlier this year, Romney said he made about $20 MILLION last year, but the tax return he released today reported just under $14 MILLION in income.

Watch this space next week for more specific questions raised by Romney’s tax returns.

What Romney Needs To Do

Come clean with the American people and release at least as many years of tax returns as he requested from Paul Ryan: 10 full years.

BOTTOM LINE: What really should disqualify Romney is the fact that he wants everyone else to pay more so he and other millionaires — including the donors fueling his campaign — can continue to pay less

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed

Paul Ryan was loudly and repeatedly booed today during a speech to the AARP.

Ann Romney to Mitt’s critics: “Stop it! This is hard.”

Tens of thousands of Libyans turn out for anti-militia protests.

How romantic comedies explain Mitt Romney.

Former Romney campaign chairman turned bank lobbyist: banks should regulate themselves.

Republicans vow to continue their witch hunt against Attorney General Holder — even after he was cleared this week.

Who to root for at Sunday’s Emmy awards.

Obamacare will help seniors save thousands.

Romney’s obvious disdain for workers.


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Advocacy Team