Defenders of Mitt Romney say that his refusal to release tax returns and his stashing of money in overseas tax shelters are nothing more than what most people would do if they were rich. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham even suggested that such behavior was the “American Way.”
This is an insult to the many millions of Americans who see paying taxes as sharing in the responsibility of maintaining a democratic society.
Many say Romney won’t release his taxes because the embarrassment over what is in them will do more damage to his campaign than keeping the returns hidden from the American people.
The important point in this controversy is that whether or not Romney broke the law is not what really matters.
In fact, it is not illegal for him to hide his money in an offshore tax shelter and that, precisely, is the problem. The law allows the rich to do this. The result is that the U.S. Treasury is denied billions of dollars each year needed to keep the country going. The result is that working people have to pay to pick up the slack for the rich.
On the Bain Capital controversy the situation is similar.
Romney claims he has no say in what Bain does and is not responsible, therefore, as Bain continues to swallow other companies, chew up the workers and spit them out while it outsources their jobs.
The debate over when Romney technically left Bain is of little importance. First, he installed all the people now running the company. Second, Romney himself continues to profit from outsourcing carried out by Bain.
Workers in a Bain-owned company in Freeport, Ill., are battling this week as they try to hold off the outsourcing of their jobs this coming December. Romney is a majority stockholder in the Bain-owned company doing the outsourcing. The bottom line is that as the Illinois workers get dumped this December, Romney will get richer off their pain and misfortune.
All of this is one more reason to make sure that Romney and his Republican backers go down to defeat this November. It makes no sense to take one of the architects and chief beneficiaries of the outrageously unjust system we labor under and put him in the White House. There should be no room in the White House for a man who made his fortune by taking apart not only companies but also human lives.
Photo: Gage Skidmore // CC 2.0