There’s a vending machine in the office where I work, and on most days it gets no money from me. But today was different. It was the middle of the afternoon, and instead of getting up to get myself a cup of coffee–I love coffee and will probably drink it every day until I die–I went to the vending machine to see what a dollar could get me. I was in a Snickers kind of mood, and when I pressed the numbers for the Snickers bar, the machine did its thing and the candy was dispensed. And then, since the candy bar cost 85 cents,the machine gave me back a dime and a nickel.
As I picked up the candy bar and my change, I looked at the two coins in my hand. Fifteen cents can’t buy much of anything anymore, and they could have just made the price a dollar, and I still would have paid it, anyway. I wouldn’t pay more than a dollar, but the act of getting something back, no matter how small an amount, probably makes some people feel like they aren’t overpaying.
But then I started thinking about a story that appeared online today, in which Senator Harry Reid claimed to have heard from a Bain investor that Mitt Romney paid no taxes for a period of ten years. I thought about how absurd it was for a vending machine to give me more money than a multi-millionaire (several times over, at that) gave to the government for a decade. It’s wrong on every level, if Romney went any length of time without paying his taxes.
In order to refute these charges, since they came to the Senator from an unnamed source, the one thing that Romney can do is release his returns. If I’m paying taxes, while he isn’t, that makes all of us who do pay taxes into chumps. And, more importantly, it shows a serious lack of moral character on behalf of someone who would think they do not need to pay any taxes whatsoever.
Romney and his family have benefitted from the use of bridges, roads, airports, shipping lanes, food inspection, police and fire protection, and a host other services that were provided to him by the taxpayers. If he accepted any of those things, and then refused to kick in ANYTHING to help pay their costs, then how could such a man ever be trusted to run this country?
I pay my taxes, maybe not gladly, but willingly because I realize that I get something in return for it. Romney, on the other hand, decides that he needs to pay nothing at all for the services he enjoys. That makes him a crook, in my mind. Whenever you get something, as he most certainly did over those ten years, you must be willing to pay for it. And if there was no payment made by the Romneys, then they will have stolen from us all. Their refusal to pay means that the rest of us must pay more to cover their share, and this is a lot more than I am able–or willing–to afford.
I wasn’t going to vote for this man months ago, and these revelations about his tax situation haven’t done a thing to change my opinion. But there must to be some in this country who pay their taxes every year, and don’t appreciate how Romney seemed to think that taxation somehow didn’t apply to him.
If the story is even partially true, and people learn about it and still vote for Romney anyway, then there’s really no hope for any fairness at all. And if skipping out on tax liability–and massive tax liability, at that–doesn’t disqualify one to lead this nation, it’s hard to imagine what might.