There. I've said it.
A lot of lefties have insisted we should see the Republican Party candidate's tax returns, turning up the rhetoric, you know: what's he hiding, etc. But the campaign rules don't require him to do it, so if he doesn't want to, that's his prerogative. It might look better if he did, and you can complain all you want about his unwillingness to disclose them, but I have a hard time believing that Mitt Romney's refusal to release them is going to make a difference -- most of the chorus demanding them aren't really going to vote for him anyway.
But then out came the recordings of Romney's comments about the 47 percent. You all know about them by now, how he comes across as suggesting that the people who don't pay taxes are sponging off the government, etc.
I don't think anyone should be shocked at Romney's statements. It's been a commonplace among conservatives since Reagan: government relief encourages laziness and a refusal to work for a living. Yes, we can turn to all the kinds of corporate welfare that exists, the percentage of the federal budget that goes to military contractors and all that, and you can talk about the misguided teaheads all you want, but I'll cast all that aside. So much has been made about Bain Capital and Romney's involvement in it that the question of Romney's tax returns may have an impact on his economic policies -- and now, the question becomes legitimate, in my view. If you're going to characterize everyone who is going to vote for your opponent as leeches who don't pay their taxes, the time has come to show everyone how much you've paid (if anything), what kind of breaks you've received (if any), and any places where government assistance might have helped you sustain the wealth you inherited.
If it turns out you've really paid no taxes because of various loopholes pertaining to capital gains/losses, etc, then welcome to the 47 percent, I guess. If it turns out that you've paid a load of taxes -- even in proportion to your income -- then I suppose you can keep a clean conscience regarding these remarks that seem to have ticked a lot of folks off. Either way, I think it's time Mitt Romney comes clean if he wants to stop the hemorrhaging of his campaign.