The tax return discussion is good for Mitt Romney. This week, Mitt Romney’s 2011 tax returns have been released and as always the media has began a race to post a ridiculous amount of short articles about it that in reality tell you the same three things.
First, Mitt Romney paid too much in taxes. He paid 14.1% whereas he could have paid as low as 12.2% by one estimate traveling around, even though he had one quote questioning why anyone would want a president who wasn’t competent enough to minimize his taxes.
Second, he gave a lot of money to charity while not taking deductions on all of it, most of it to the Mormon church. And third, he made a lot of his money through methods most people seem to deplore but at the same time wish they could have used.
But what most of these articles aren’t doing is going into what this all means. Personally, I see this release as a well-timed and positive release for Mitt for 3 reasons:
1. People will finally be sick of this topic: This is a topic that Mitt has been trying to avoid for a variety of reasons, but after this week people will be so exhausted with the media overload of the same boring facts about his tax returns that it will no longer matter. Everyone I have talked to on this issue says the same thing: We get it by now. Mitt is rich, and he uses that money for his benefit. People are getting overly saturated on this subject, and Obama will not be able to win over many more voters by saying this anymore.
2. The news is generally positive: No matter how it has been framed, speculation about why he paid 14.1% and not just the minimum he pledged of 13% isn’t going to really hurt Mitt. There really isn’t a new audience of independents who will now switch from Mitt just because he paid too much in taxes. However, there is an audience that could be swayed by seeing that he donated 20% of his income to charity and felt the need to pay his fair share so much that he didn’t even take credit for all of it.
3. It covers up the actually bad stories about him: The Libya comment, the secret video at the $50,000 dinner, and a variety of other news stories portraying him in a negative light are dropping out of the spotlight as this picks up. So even if this is framed in a negative light, it is all old news and probably won’t lose him too many voters, while those other ones definitely would if they continued.