You could not possibly make this up. This afternoon (a Friday afternoon, it should be noted), Mitt Romney is releasing his 2011 tax returns. And numerous reporters are saying that the Romneys intentionally failed to deduct about $1.75 million in charitable contributions in order to keep their effective tax rate above 13% (according to this reporter, had he taken the full deduction to which he was entitled, his rate would have been about 9%). [UPDATE: Here is the statement from Romney’s tax guy explaining that, yes, the Romneys limited their claim of a deduction in order to increase their effective tax rate.]
That’s an obviously political move, since he’s talked a lot about paying a 13% tax rate and it would look bad for him now to release a return showing that he actually paid a lower rate last year.
But what’s much, much worse is this quote from Romney himself earlier this year:
At an NBC debate in January, Romney argued that there’s nothing wrong with minimizing taxes.
“I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more,” he said. “I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”
Uh, OK. So Romney doesn’t think someone who pays more tax than he owes would be a good candidate for president. Yet that is exactly what he just told the world that he did in 2011.
Holy Toledo. Did nobody in the campaign remember that Romney said that? Have to agree with Peggy Noonan on this: the Romney campaign is a “rolling calamity.”
UPDATE: It’s even worse. Romney, in an interview with ABC in July, actually said that someone who overpays his taxes is not qualified to be 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.