I must admit that I am confused about the whole tax return side issue. Say that Mr. Romney releases his tax returns all the way back to his first job flipping burgers at MacDonald’s. And in all that time, he paid no taxes. Zero dollars did he contribute to the federal treasury. He kept it all. Did not give even one iota of his vast wealth to help out the country that made him great.
What does that prove? Does it mean anything? I think not, other than that he did exactly what every other American has done since the income tax codes were enacted. He took advantage of the deductions that the politicians put into the tax code so that they could be taken advantage of. As did Mr. Obama, and everyone else with an ounce of sense who has ever filed a tax return.
Ever taken a child tax credit? A deduction for dependents? The Hope or American Opportunity credits, or a deduction for tuition you have paid? Those are all loopholes. Except when we take them, they are deductions or credits. It is only when the other guy uses them that they are called loopholes. And if you took advantage of any of these, then you are no better and no worse than Mr. Romney. He is only able to take advantage of more of them, because he has more money. Just what the Congress who enacted those crazy, circular, complicated rules intended.
I’ll bet that Mr. and Mrs. Obama availed themselves of the deduction for student loan interest paid, whenever it was possible. And the child tax credit. And the mortgage interest credit. Even though Mr. Obama touts himself as one of the wealthy. Says he doesn’t need the tax breaks; proclaims that he is willing to pay more taxes himself. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, and all that.
And what if Mr. Romney used every possible loophole to his own advantage? Decided that he would rather spend his own money in ways that he thought best, instead of forking it over to politicians to spend in ways that they thought best? Didn’t he have an moral obligation to support the government, even if he had no legal one? In a word, no.
Certainly his morality did not compel him to willy-nilly give funds to a government that did not require them of him. In fact, it is not Mr. Romney, but Mr. Obama and his cohorts who continue to stress that they would be happy to pay more taxes, if only it were required of them. Why are they waiting until it is a requirement, if they think that is such a good idea?
Why don’t they just rip off a check, in the amount they think is sufficient, or best, or stings a little bit, in service of the government they feel is so deserving? They don’t send money in to the IRS without being forced to do so. How can they be upset with Mr. Romney, who doesn’t even profess the belief that he would be happy to pay more, if he had to.
This is all a sideshow, to distract us from the main event. The true question should be, is either of these candidates capable of running this country for the next four years? The media outlets are providing us no service in this regard. They snarl and snap and grunt and growl around both of the candidates, sniffing for more dirt to toss into the air and wrangle over. But they do not press either of the candidates to act presidential.
At what point, exactly, are we going to move beyond the continual tempests in teapots? When will this presidential race be about being presidential, and about who is most qualified to run the country for the next four years? And the direction in which we want to head?
If Mr. Obama doesn’t want to run on his record, that’s fine with me. And if Mr. Romney doesn’t want to run on his tax returns, that’s okay, too. The past is the past, for both candidates. We, the voters, should be pushing them to reveal their plans for the future, for that is where we are all heading. Sometimes quicker than we might like.
The current focus is all about the latest jobs report. The latest poll. The latest gaffe, or misspeak. When what we should be hearing is each candidate’s reason for running. Why each feels that he is the best person for the job. When you go for a job interview, you don’t spend any of your precious time in front of the interviewer criticizing the other candidates for the job.
If you did, your time would be short, and the job would be given to the applicant who was able to describe how he would benefit the company. Why is the political arena so different? When did we decide that we would settle for each candidate denigrating the other, instead of formulating his own battle plan?
I can’t fault the candidates for choosing the low road, when that is what gets results. Once again we are proving the adage that we get the government we deserve. If we choose our president based upon what a good job he did telling us how bad the other guy is, instead of how good he is, how in the world can we expect anything positive to come out of his term of office?
If we elect the guy whose only job skill is to throw enough mud at the other guy that he is able to make some of it stick, we should be pleasantly surprised if he manages to get anything done while in office. And we should be shocked if he turns out to be a capable leader. Because we certainly didn’t require him to prove himself to be qualified for the job before we gave it to him.
Isn’t it time that we ask more of our presidential candidates than that they know how to sling mud? Isn’t it reasonable that we ask for some semblance of competency for the job they want to do? I can’t believe that we don’t think that the job doesn’t require the effort. Or is it just too much effort for us to rouse ourselves to do the job that we need to do as voters: properly vet our candidates. Otherwise, we only get what we deserve.