The White House and countless Democrats are calling for Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential hopeful in 2012, to show more of his tax returns. He has released a couple from recent years, but very selectively. Romney is a billionaire many times over, of course, and many believe that he uses questionable tactics to avoid paying his share of taxes to the United States. Some of these tactics may include harboring money in offshore accounts and what have you. In any case, he is not too enthusiastic about showing very much information regarding his finances to the American public.
Our first point is an important one. Mitt Romney is not bound by any law to reveal his tax returns to anyone except the Internal Revenue Service. There is a such thing as privacy left in this country, at least in small pockets, and Romney has every right to preserve his own privacy by not releasing his financial documents for the general public to peruse and the no-doubt media circus that will arise from it. However, if you decide to run for an office as lucrative and powerful as President of the United States, you have to accept that if you continue to keep these sorts of things private, unfortunately, it will be viewed in a suspicious light. It’s great to take the high road and say that you have no reason to show these documents because you have done nothing wrong and are not being investigated. But be it right or wrong, that kind of plays off like when a police officer wants to search your car. You have every legal right to not allow it without it. A lot of people go “Why would you have a problem with it unless you have something to hide?” Well, I don’t really like complete strangers rifling through my personal items, especially if they have absolutely no cause to be doing so. However, I realize that in the event that I ever am in that situation, the second you invoke your right to refuse an unlawful search, you will therefore automatically be looked at more suspiciously.
There’s a reason for that. Usually when people are trying to hide something, it is for a good reason, and people know this, not just from politics or watching too many episodes of Cops, but just from their everyday dealings with others. So, the bottom line is that for someone like Mitt Romney, people are going to think he has something to hide if he doesn’t just come out with it. Consider this. Mitt is a billionaire and now a politician. That’s two strikes against him in the trust department. People already don’t trust Romney, they regard him as a rich prick that is trying to sympathize with people that lead normal lives, or better yet, poverty-stricken ones. And now he doesn’t want anyone poking around in his tax returns. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is glad to put his meager income (when compared to Mitt Romney, although still considerably more than most Americans can ever hope to see in a lifetime) out on display. The poor man’s President, right? Honest, truthful, and forthright. Then, the White House can viciously lash out at Romney’s camp for not being the same right? Hold up just a second. Let’s think this one all the way through.
Romney has every right to keep his financial data private. But taking this stand, even if he has done nothing wrong and simply wants what most Americans want, privacy, he still has to realize that people will think there is something shady going on just by the simple fact that he doesn’t want anyone to see what he has been up to. Hmm. Sound familiar? How about one President Barack Obama’s own “privacy” troubles? Remember the birther debate? Now, Common Sense Conspiracy isn’t trodding this ground over again. We have gone on record as saying the birth certificate debate is silly now, especially when the man has been President for an entire term almost. What difference does it make now? If there was a discrepancy in Obama’s fulfilling of the requirements to run for this office, that should have been determined long before the first election. But, still, the same questions that are being posed to Mitt Romney were posed to Obama then?
President Obama tried to ignore it, tried to stand on his principles and say that he doesn’t have to prove that he’s done nothing wrong. Why show your birth certificate if you don’t have to? Legally, he had been inaugurated as President. He had won the election. It was a moot point. And yet, more and more people, especially on the other side of the political aisle, started to wonder if there wasn’t something to the whole debate after all. Why not just show the certificate? Why not just offer up the proof and move on? You may not be legally bound to do so, and you may have every right to want your privacy protected, but at the end of the day, it may have been easier to just bite the bullet and show the damn thing instead of putting up with one birther conspiracy after another making the national news.
So, you see, if you really stop and think about it, President Obama and company are asking Mitt Romney to do exactly what they were asked to do earlier. The issues are exactly the same. The American public wants transparency, they want to learn more about these people that have risen to the top of the heap of American politics, and most of all, they want to be relieved and not have to wonder if there is something shady.
If Romney’s finances are on the up and up, this is a great opportunity for him to turn the tables. He could get over himself, show the returns, and then use the same arguments presented here to show that he’s being open where his opponent has not been in the past. Of course, Obama did eventually release a highly-contested birth certificate 3 years after he took office. A little late to the party.
If you have nothing to hide, then why hide? That’s what the American public wants to know, and we think the question should be asked of all sides.