Forget Tax Returns, Just Focus on Taxes

There’s been a lot of nonsense lately over Mitt Romney’s tax returns, with Barack Obama’s “truth team” claiming on Twitter that since Obama has released his forms for the past decade, he is better suited to lead this country. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, has called for them while refusing to give out her own. But she isn’t the only one. From Politico:

Over the past three months, McClatchy Newspapers asked all 535 members of the House and Senate to release their tax records. Only 17 — or just over 3 percent — handed over the documents. Another 19 percent said they wouldn’t release them. The remainder didn’t respond to McClatchy’s request.

While members of the executive branch are expected to release their tax records either while running for office or as part of the vetting process for Cabinet appointments, members of Congress aren’t held to the same standard. While they fill out annual disclosures, those forms aren’t as detailed as a tax return.

You would think that it would be even more important for Congresscritters to release their tax returns than presidential candidates, as it is they who are actually writing laws (or supposed to), yet many of them engaged in what could be construed as insider trading until that was banned a few months ago. Shouldn’t we be getting all of their tax returns upfront, today?

To be honest, not really. I don’t particularly care about the tax returns of politicians running for office. Everyone games the system, and while politicians and officials should pay their taxes—that Geithner became secretary while having such a backlog of unpaid taxes is a crime—nobody can really understand the tax system anyways. Getting politicians’ tax returns, in my opinion anyways, is really a waste of time.

The real thing we need to focus on is just tax reform, period. Our convoluted and messed up tax system is a product of pure cronyism and corruption—and needs to be junked. As long as the 16th Amendment (permitting the income tax) stands, we need to switch to a flat tax system, which would be fair, transparent, and not require absurd “tax returns.”

But no, instead of really debating tax policy, in this race, we’re debating whether or not Romney should be releasing his returns. Or about his wife’s horse.

If one thing is for certain, we deserve the crappy president we get in November.


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