Ah, Romney and his taxes are back, after his campaign’s Friday release of his 2011 taxes. Not only did they dump the stuff on Friday hoping that less attention would be paid to them, but they would only take questions about them by email. (I know, it sounds like a skit from Comedy Central.) There are hundreds of pages in the filing but one important fact surfaced immediately. Romney had said that his effective tax rate was never below 13% in the last decade. And in 2011 this appears to be true. He paid 14.1% . But this was only after he didn’t use allowable deductions on contributions. Had he used the deductions his rate would have been closer to 10%.
So what’s the issue here? Romney (the hard-nosed businessman) made a rather self-righteous proclamation last summer: if he paid more taxes than he owed, he wouldn’t be qualified to be president. Here is how this was reported in today’s New York Times, “Romney Reveals He Paid 14% Rate in 2011 Tax Return.”
Mr. Romney’s tax return for last year showed just how sensitive a political matter his wealth and tax rate has become. In a bit of reverse financial engineering, he and his wife, Ann, gave up $1.75 million worth of charitable deductions, raising his tax payments significantly.
Had he claimed all the deductions to which he was entitled in 2011, his effective rate could have dipped to near 10 percent, contradicting his past assurances that he had never paid below 13 percent.
But forgoing the full deductions available to him put him at odds with his own past assertions that he had never paid more taxes than he owed and his statement that if he had done so, “I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president,” as he put it to ABC News in July.
We here at UP@NIGHT suspect that Mitt has changed his mind about his qualifications. Not a problem for him. It’s clear that he took Obama’s campaign message in 2008 about change rather personally. (Oh, and one more telling point. It seems that Romney can submit a revised return later this year, which will allow him to take the deductions. Another change.)