I guess I’ve spent too many years complaining about Republican cover-ups to insist on one now, but if ever there were a time it would be at the sight of naked Republican congressman Ken Yoder of Kansas cavorting in the Sea of Galilee. According to this report in Politico, about 20 GOP Congressmen, staffers and family took part in an impromptu swim last August (though the others were partly or fully clothed). Eric Cantor, who was on the American Israel Educational Foundation (AIPAC’s affiliated charitable organization) sponsored trip was quite perturbed—perhaps because the group waited till after he left the party to take their swim.
Now, good progressive that I am, I must confess I can’t get too fired up about public nudity. And in fact I applaud the discovery of the rare Republican who’s an advocate of full disclosure. I just wish a little of that would rub off on Mitt Romney, who seems to be a great deal more interested in hiding his family jewels (or at least the taxes he paid on them) from the light of day than Rep. Yoder.
So what’s the big deal about seeing Mitt’s tax returns? Well, first of all, the other candidates, including President Obama (and as we all know, Mitt’s father, George), have always shared theirs, so why not Mitt? Now we all know he’s rich. That part’s fine. Seriously, I haven’t heard the most die-hard liberal complain about the fact that he has money. But the question a lot of us do have is exactly how he got that way. Since one of the economic options to deal with the deficit is to raise the tax on capital gains, I’d like to see how much that would cost the man who aims to put himself in the best position in the world to sway that particular decision to his benefit. Even more importantly, I’d like to see if Mitt took advantage of one of the special amnesty programs for people who hid income in offshore accounts, of which Mitt has many. Did he pay all the taxes he owed each year, or not until amnesty was offered? That would tell us if he’s one of those people who loves his country so much he’ll do anything for it—except help pay for it.