Romney’s unfair share points to deeper issues

First he said he wouldn’t do it. Then he said he’d consider it. Then he said he’d do it in the future.

Finally, Mitt Romney capitulated and released his tax returns for this year and last. And what picture did those returns paint? One that is potentially dangerous to Romney and the rest of the Republican party’s ideological stance on the state of our tax code.

Romney made $43 million in the last two years and has paid about $6 million in income tax, which comes to a tax rate of 13.9 percent. The average rate for federal income taxes in 2009 was 11 percent.

Romney said that he pays “all the taxes that are legally required.” So, we know he’s not a criminal. The potential GOP nominee might pay his share, but that doesn’t make it a fair share.

The Republican Party has been united in its effort to block all tax hikes, especially for the wealthiest Americans. That stance has been contradicted by a majority of Americans who believe the tax system should be more progressive. Now, Romney will have to contradict his tax stance against the fact that his federal tax rate is comparable to a person whose income hovers around $50,000.

Ironically, Romney’s $43 million two-year income comes out to a daily earning of $56,986. That is the number that might be most damaging to Romney’s efforts to be president. Most can’t fathom $43 million, but $56,000 is comparable to a lot of Americans’ salaries. But Romney makes that in a day, and likely pays less income tax than you, and is vehemently opposed to raising his tax rate.

Instead, Romney says he would correct the tax system of an entire different problem. The presidential candidate has charged that the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes as “unfair.” So Romney would rather have Walmart employees, the underemployed and disabled workers contribute to fixing our deficit rather than the people like himself, who make over $50,000 a day. If that thinking resonates with the general electorate, then there may be no hope for a thriving democracy ever again.

Very few hard-working people want their taxes raised, but we need a president to do the morally and economically smart thing for the country and correct the tax system that allows Romney’s returns on private equity investments to be taxed at a mere 15 percent.