We now know that Mitt Romney paid $1.9 million in federal taxes on his 2011 income – an effective rate of 14.1%, when he could have legally paid less than 10%. Does this overpayment of taxes mean, by Romney’s own admission, that he is not qualified to become president?
The Republican presidential candidate … released his full tax return for 2011, which showed that he voluntarily paid more tax than required by reducing allowable deductions for charitable contributions. ….
Under questioning about his taxes this year, Mr Romney had said he would not be qualified to be president if he paid more taxes than were required.
“I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president,” he told ABC News in July.
Anna Fifield and Richard McGregor, “Romney releases tax return details“, Financial Times, 22 September 2012.
Elsewhere in the Financial Times, columnist Christopher Caldwell is troubled by another problem of Mitt Romney: “his detachment from sociological and electoral reality”.
It is seldom that one ill-considered utterance costs an American presidential candidate the election – but it does happen. Gerald Ford, not Jimmy Carter, would have been president after 1976 had Ford not said, in the heat of a debate that autumn, that “there is no Soviet domination of eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration”, and then repeated the assertion when the dumbstruck moderator asked if he hadn’t misunderstood.
In the same way, Mitt Romney’s remark about the 47 per cent of Americans who pay no income tax – that they will inevitably vote for Barack Obama because these are people “who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it” – may effectively have ended this year’s presidential campaign. ….
There is indeed an element of contempt in Mr Romney’s attitude towards the poor but a more disturbing problem is his detachment from sociological and electoral reality. He is wrong in his assumption that such voters are out of his reach. On the contrary, they are his base!
Christopher Caldwell, “Romney’s real problem is a detachment from reality“, Financial Times, 22 September 2012.
Christopher Caldwell (born 1962) is a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, an American neoconservative opinion magazine.