Mitt Romney has captured the Republican presidential nomination in all but name, and is running strong in the polls in his quest to become the next president of the United States. He has done so, largely, on his promise and his promises of doing a better job of managing the American economy than has the incumbent.
Thus his refusal to release more than one or two years of his tax returns, along with the continuing confusion of when he really gave up control of the Bain Capital investment firm, strikes even many Republicans as troubling. In recent days, such conservative stalwarts as columnist George Will and the editors of The National Review have been among those tearing their hair over the What-does-he-have-to-hide? message that was being sent by Romney's stonewalling.
Romney has released his returns for the tax year 2010, which showed that he paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent on $21.6 million in income. That rate (you know, lower than that paid by Warren Buffett's secretary) is possible because much of the Romney family income is taxed at the lower capital-gains rate and because of other legitimate tax shelters. The Romney campaign says it plans to also release the candidate's 2011 tax returns, which aren't final because the Romneys filed for a routine legal extension.