Today in Mitt Romney Stands in Front of Something

image of Mitt Romney with a microphone at a campaign event giving a terse little smile and gesturing toward someone, to which I have added a dialogue bubble reading: 'Well, how would YOU feel if you asked for a giant red and yellow target and no one seemed to care?!'

In actually relevant election news, Republican candidate Mitt Romney, seen above demonstrating his peerless situational awareness, still refuses to release his tax returns, having released "only one complete tax return, for 2010, along with an unfinished estimate of his 2011 taxes. What information he did release provides a fuzzy glimpse at a concerted effort to park much of his wealth in overseas tax shelters, suggesting a widespread pattern of tax avoidance unlike that of any previous candidate."

An avoidance of which Romney surrogate Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina says: "It's really American to avoid paying taxes, legally."

And that, right there, is the conservative philosophy in a nutshell. Avoid paying taxes, "legally" if not ethically, because it's your money and fuck the needy because bootstraps. Which is a terrible enough position to hold when one is merely any old member of an interconnected society, benefiting from roads and police and public schools and mail delivery, but is infinitely worse when one is a federal employee whose salary, and benefits, and pension, are drawn out of the taxpayers' pockets.

Senator Graham is a member of a party whose lives are funded by people who do pay taxes, but work in service to people who avoid paying taxes at all costs, and he calls that "really American." Gross.

And, you know, there are lots of US taxpayers who are happy to pay taxes. Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said: "I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization," which I personally paraphrase as: "I like paying taxes. With them I buy justice." Women's suffrage. The Civil Rights Act. The repeal of DADT. Healthcare. Social security. Disability access to federal buildings. (Of course, I also buy injustice, and war, and systemic bigotry, and other shit I wish my tax dollars did not fund.) There are reasons I want to give money to my government, all of which have to do with strengthening the society in which I and my fellow USians live.

I would hope even Lindsay Graham could see how that is, in fact, "really American," too.

Sure, it's not "getting filthy rich by being a corporate raider and then sticking your millions in offshore accounts" American, but still.

* * *

Vice President Joe Biden naturally had the best line about Romney's tax evasion. Speaking to Latin@ voters at the National Council of La Raza's annual conference, he said of candidate Romney: "He wants you to show your papers, but he won't show us his." Oh, snap!

And finally: Mitt Romney also tells some "really American" lies about when he actually left Bain Capital.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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