Taxes are on everyone's minds, and the Obama campaign is calling on Mitt Romney to release his taxes to the press. As a great example of why Mitt Romney doesn't want to release his taxes to the press, Slog tipper Raphael sent along this great Timothy Egan editorial from the New York Times, in which Egan compares his taxes with Mitt Romney's taxes:
I’m going to pay double Romney’s rate on a mere fraction of his income. But you won’t get any class-war envy from me about a man worth upward of $250 million paying the same rate as someone earning, say, $55,000 a year. Nope. There’s a larger point here than the inequality one, compelling though it is.
Remember: The tax return is a blueprint for how to earn and spend money. It encourages us to do some things and discourages us from doing others.
One disincentive, comparing Romney’s taxes to mine: don’t work. The tax code discourages work, certainly for the rich.
The other place to report money earned by doing actual work is on Schedule C. That’s where I put income from books, talks, pamphleteering. And so does Romney. Under the profession category, he doesn’t report himself as a businessman or a politician. He’s listed as “independent artists, writers or performers” — just like a mime, or Carrot Top.
Egan's a great writer, and he makes reading about taxes—and what a President Romney would do to all our taxes—a joy. (Even if the realities are incredibly depressing.) I tell you again: Go read the article.