If Mitt Romney emerges from the chaos that is the Republican caucus in Iowa on Tuesday with a victory, he’s likely to win again in New Hampshire a few days later and maybe even wrap up his party’s presidential nomination in a matter of weeks. But if Democrats have their way, he’ll be facing questions all the way until November about his tax return, which he recently said he will not release and which likely shows massive investment returns taxed at a lower rate than most middle class Americans pay on their (much smaller) income.
The Democratic National Committee has launched a website, WhatMittPays.com, that encourages visitors to compare their income tax rate to the “special millionaire investment” one Romney and other wealthy Americans pays on capital gains, dividends and other investment income.
Romney has been unique in the Republican primary in calling for “middle class tax cuts” and advocating the elimination of capital gains taxes for those earning fewer than $200,000 per year, the exact same threshold Democratic President Barack Obama uses to distinguish between the middle class and the wealthy when he makes tax policy.
As billionaire Steve Forbes put it when campaigning for Rick Perry this past week, Romney “fears he’ll be called a friend of the rich.” His calculation, then, is to emphasize working class concerns and use the word “middle class” as often as possible to compensate for his roughly $200 million in personal wealth and a lifetime of privilege (he did spend the Vietnam War in a French palace, after all).
Getting richer still from a retirement agreement with his firm Bain Capital, Romney could be the wealthiest man ever to win the nomination of a major American political party. And he knows it.